Monday I mentioned the site Writer Unboxed, which I find extremely helpful, funny, inspiring, and probably one of my most favorite sites about the craft and business of fiction. I found this recent post exceptionally helpful: The Storyteller and the Roads Not Traveled. In it the author talks about the paths our characters can take and the questions we can ask to help determine which path is the best. Hint: It's never the easy one.
- Which path actually raises the stakes? Go with that one.
- Which path is going to take pressure off the main character? Avoid it.
- Which path is going to pull the narrative action away from the main characters that the reader is invested in? If possible, redirect so that the action belongs, more closely, to a main character.
- Which path is more visually compelling?
- Is your character pulling you hard down a certain path? This is important. Sometimes characters know why they need to do what they need to do long before you do. A character telling you her story – voice – can carry a novel and truly make your decisions incredibly clear. Someone else is making them for you.
- Which path scares you? Fear is a positive indicator.
- Is there a path you’re dying to write? Prize that one.
Friday, I'll be back with more questions for you and your characters.