Friday, July 21, 2006

LESSON 20: The Inner Journey

Auh...we made it, Friday. I'm barely awake so I'm going to make this fast, so I can catch some Z's

Today we continue with Donald Maass' Writing a Breakout Novel. This is a fabulous book and I encourage each of you to buy it. What I'm presenting here is by no means a full lesson and there is a wealth of insight and additional info that will help you.

In case your just joining us...What I am attempting to do here is present truncated versions of each of the lessons in the workbook. We're done with Character Development, now we're moving on to Plot Development! Today's lesson is in Section TWO: the Inner Journey.

Plot development creates easy to see plot points. Less easy to identify are your protag's inner turning points. Call it growth, call it exposition, but get inside your characters head and find out where he/she is right now1

Take the time to demark the inner turning points in your current WIP. We want to know about your characters, particularly how they are changing. Show us. A sense of the trick inner lives unfolding is one of the hallmarks of a breakout novel.

Step 1: Choose any turning point except the climax.

Step 2: Wind the clock back...How does the character feel about himself NOW!

Step 3:Write a paragraph in which you delineate this character's state of mind or state of being at this earlier moment.

Step 4: Now, write a paragraph in which you delineate this character's state of mind, or state of being ten minutes after the turning point.

Step 5: Use the material you generated in the steps above to pull together a single paragraph.

Note: Has your life ever changed in a moment? Was there an incident, a second in time where your life changed irrevocable. Bring the same inner transformation that has taken place into a very detailed exercise.

Follow-up: Some novelist only do a short amount of work. Find out the feelings of a child. What does it feel to be like a child? Find out the answers from a child!


  1. Bernita said...
    I think I do that, but I'm not sure.
    These are so great, Bonnie.
    Very grateful to you.
    Shelley L. MacKenzie said...
    What's the difference between points 3 and 4?
    Bonnie S. Calhoun said...
    Shelley...LOL...the difference between 3 and 4 are two words....I goofed...LOL...I was half asleep when I wrot e this last night. I'll fix them!
    David Meigs said...
    These lessons on plot are my favorite.

    God bless!

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