The Wave

I met a new novel writing class last night, and one of the students said she has started a bunch of different stories but doesn’t seem to follow through with any of them. Maybe it’s a good time to think about how stories develop. Many begin with a character, which is great, but right away that main character needs a problem. A big problem. The problem can be expressed as a goal or desire of that character, confounded by obstacles. The shape of the story then becomes like a wave, with tension starting as a bump in the ocean, rising until the climax. At the climax, or as the wave crests and breaks, the main character must act, make a decision or otherwise attempt to solve the problem once and for all.
Writing Tip for Today: If you are struggling with a partial novel/story, consider plotting or at least reviewing how the tension grows as the reader nears the top of the wave or climax. Are you allowing your character to win too easily? If so, increase the stakes by placing character in a more important situation, adding obstacles and weaving in an emotional gut punch the reader cannot ignore. More on that next time. Stay tuned.

About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

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