Thursday, June 22, 2006

Good Thursday! Auhhh...almost the much to do and so little time!

Today we continue with Donald Maass' Writing a Breakout Novel.

In case your just joining our regularly scheduled program...what I am attempting to do here is present truncated versions of each of the lessons in the workbook. Today's lesson is in Section One: Larger-Than-Life-Character Qualities.

Hey the guy is talking about zingers. Now this is right up my alley! He's not quick on the draw with retorts but he's happy that one of the pleasures of writing a novel is that an hour later you can still go back and add one in! Until the manuscript is turned in, there's plenty of time to slot those zingers in.

Zingers, barbs, shots across the bow, those things that you hear that you wished you had said...How do you build a larger-than-life character in your current manuscript? What does your protagonist say, do, and think that he, she, or we, would never (well in most cases I might)ever venture?

Use this exercise to develop those qualities...but do not rely on that alone. Look for opportunities throughout your story to heighten these qualities.

Step 1. What is the one thing that your protagonist would never, ever say?

Step 2.What is the one thing that your protagonist would never, ever do?

Step 3. What is the one thing your protagonist would never, ever think?

Step 4. find places in your story in which your protagonist will say, do and think those very things. What circumstances? What consequences?

Here's some clues about larger than life actions.

Winking as a stranger is easy for a flirt, but not for a shy person. Taking a swing at someone is nothing to a boxer, for a nun it would be life changing....I was going to say for Bernita, instead of the nun...but for some reason I don't think that would be too life changing for either for that case...LOL

Okay...what ever it is, it has to come as a surprise, feel big, feel outrageous.

We'd all like to feel that way at one time or another. Here's your chance. Let your character do, say, or think something memorable!

Find twelve more points in the story where your protagonist can break out!

Find a single point where the protagonist pointedly lets an opportunity pass by!

Lesson done!

Let's go for some life-changing questions...LOL!

Why the sun lightens our hair, but darkens our skin?

Why women can't put on mascara with their mouth closed?

Why don't you ever see the headline "Psychic Wins Lottery"?

Why is "abbreviated" such a long word?

Why is it that doctors call what they do "practice"?

Why is it that to stop Windows 98, you have to click on "Start"?

Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavor, and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons?

Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?

Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour?

Why isn't there mouse-flavored cat food?

When dog food is new and improved tasting, who tests it?

Why didn't Noah swat those two mosquitoes?

Why do they sterilize the needle for lethal injections?

You know that indestructible black box that is used on airplanes? Why don't they make the whole plane out of that stuff?!

Why don't sheep shrink when it rains?

Why are they called apartments when they are all stuck together?

If con is the opposite of pro, is Congress the opposite of progress?

If flying is so safe, why do they call the airport the terminal?


  1. Rulan said...
    Does making my protag break down in tears count? Muahahahaha

    I am really enjoying this series. Keep up the good work. You've giving me things to think about.
    Rulan said...
    lol. I forgot to add, I really enjoyed those questions. Way funny. he he
    David Meigs said...
    Great writing tips tonight!

    But, was this question asked?

    Why ask why?
    Bernita said...
    Now, Bonnie, you know I've only said THAT word five or six times in my life and used it in print ONLY once!
    I felt so guilty...

    These lessons are so great!
    Denise McDonald said...
    Why don't sheep shrink when it rains?

    my fave - LOL
    Bonnie S. Calhoun said...
    Rulan...I make people cry all the time...I don't think that counts unless she is Mother Teresa!

    Thanks Curm, but Maass gets the credit. I'm just the vehicle!

    Bernita...the more you do it , the more you like it! Did I just say that! Yikes!

    Dennie I keep wondering about that, every time the cleaners shrinks a sweater!
    Anonymous said...
    Oh, I like it. Nice to get some helpful hints from others beside JA.
    Sandra Ruttan said...
    "Larger-Than-Life-Character Qualities."

    Is it wrong to wonder if that applies figuratively or literally to romance writers?
    Elizabeth Krecker said...
    This is a great series, thanks Bonnie!!
    Anonymous said...
    It is very informative article!! Especially the life changing questions it gives a huge impact to me and I think to others also. Are there more life changing questions? I really enjoyed reading it.
    Jasuro said...
    This is really cool! Its very interesting that I am now looking for your other lessons. Thanks a lot.

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