Friday, November 6, 2009

Blog Chain: Queen's Gambit

It's time for another blog chain!

The fantastic Christine has chosen this round's topic, and it's one that's been on my brain the past few days.

How do you create a wonderfully dramatic story? Are there any questions you ask yourself, or specific things you keep in mind to ensure that you have the level of tension necessary to propel the story forward?

Answering this is harder than I'd expected. It's something that I'm dealing with right now as I work my way through my NaNo book. It's a middle grade novel so it won't suffer lulls in action as well as an older YA might. There's not a lot of room for characters to sit around and talk. Things have to move.

Basically, the way that I've been going about it is to take everything the character wants, dangle it in front of him, and then give him the exact opposite. Or better, yet, give him exactly what he wants but show him that it's not what he really wanted. Like my NaNo character, Button. He wants to be popular. Well one day he wakes up and he is. First everyone wants to be his friend, then they want to be just like him, then they begin to dress just like him, and it gets to the point where he has what he thought he wanted but it sucks.

I'm reminded of this game my brothers and I used to play called Monkey in the Middle. Two of my brothers would toss a ball back and forth while I stood in the middle trying to grab it. I think that's sort of how I'm writing. I keep taunting my MC with what he wants, even letting him get so close he can smell it, only to grab it back at the last second. I think it works because when he finally achieves his goal, it'll be satisfying.

Yeah. Sorry if that wasn't terribly coherent. My brain is a bit mushy this week :)

So head on over to Cole's wonderful blog to see how she tackled this, and don't forget to check out the awesome Michelle, who posted before me.


  1. Your approach sounds very familiar to Michelle's. I guess that means people find it effective. ;)

  2. Not completely incoherent. I liked this post. I find it interesting that you've given your character everything he wants only to make him realize it's not all it's cracked up to be.


  3. I love this...give him what he wants, but not how he wants it...LOVE THAT!

  4. I love the monkey-in-the-middle analogy. It's very true and effective for keeping your characters' eyes on the prize while tormenting them with it.


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