On Wednesday I posted my method for breaking the dreaded block. Plot Your Way Out of Writer’s Block You tackle it like you would most big tasks, break it up 🙂
1. Blurb – One sentence of what it’s about. Great article on this here: Your Novel In One Sentence
2. Back of the book synopsis – A paragraph or two expanding on the first sentence.
3. Underlying meaning/feeling?
4. Voice or tone.
5. Characters: Name, Role, Goal (for this story), Ambitions in life, Values.
6. Main Conflict.
7. How the MC should grow.
I’m doing this for the book I’m editing (and about to send off to beta readers, yikes!) The Gods Defense.
1. Blurb. In her article, Kristin Lamb says a great one sentence “log line,” aka blurb, looks like this: 1) your protagonist 2) active verb 3) active goal 4) antagonist 5) stakes.
Ex: Prosecutor Cassandra Berry is tricked into working for the gods and must use her psychic powers to help them stop Ravena from using an ancient curse to wipe out human civilization.
I’m not saying this is a good one, I’m still working on it, but you get the idea 🙂
2. Back of book synopsis.
Ex: Ever since the gods woke up 2 years ago and brought magic back into the world, people have had to try to adjust to the change. Everything from grass to people suddenly have magical powers and the lawyers are having a field day trying to keep up with it all. Gods have claimed territory but swore to humans that they have no intention of subverting culture, government, or law, they just want to meld into it.
Prosecutor Cassandra Berry’s latest assault case has hit a wall; the defendant is claiming the new ‘Gods Defense,’ that Dionysus made him do it, and the judge is actually allowing the defense! Cassandra knows Dionysus will ignore a subpoena and pulls the only string she has, Apollo, the god who has claimed Nashville as his territory and who’s been trying to get her to be his personal lawyer since she graduated because she’s a powerful psychic.
If only that were Apollo’s true goal.
Technically this is just to kick off the book, doesn’t really get into the whole thing. Sooooo, still not sure if I need to change it or not. But it gives you an idea, and that’s basically what I’m going for.
3. Underlying meaning/feeling.
Ex: Love, trust, cost.
Not sure if I should have three of them but oh well. If I have to pick just one, it’s love 🙂
4. Voice or Tone: I’m still sussing out the diff between these, they have a tendency to tie together. And not sure how to write it down in a few words anyway. So, I’ll just say the tone in this is supposed to be light and fun and a little snarky, with dark things happening to make it nice and grey.
Ex: Cassandra Berry, MC. Goal: Just wants to do her job, then wants to stop the curse. Ambitions in life: To use the law to make the US, or at least her city, a better place; wants to be a judge. Values: love above all, honesty, justice.
Apollo, initial protagonist, then love interest and mentor. Goal: Stop the curse w/o losing too much power. Ambitions: to become his own man, outside his father’s shadow; to be a better man than his father. Values: love, protecting others, power.
Ravena, MP. Goal: To use the curse to weaken the greater gods and devastate civilization. Ambitions: to never be under the thumb of those more powerful again. Values: Security, survival, power.
I also have two sidekicks I have to do this for and some more secondary characters I need to flush out, but you get the gist.
6. Main Conflict:
Ex: Cassandra and the gods want to protect the modern world from the curse while Ravena and his lot want it to wipe out civilization.
7. MC Growth:
Ex: Cassandra learns everything comes with a price, and she’s willing to pay it to protect those she loves.
Alright. That’s it. 🙂 This exercise is meant to help shake things loose when you’re stuck in a book, but it’s also helpful when the book’s written and you’re trying to edit.
Happy Writing 🙂