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Nutshell Version: Adrenaline Shots for Plots!

Ever get bogged down in the middle of your manuscript? Have you lost interest, tempted by a shiny new idea just over the horizon? Or perhaps you've finished, but your rejections have comments such as "Didn't live up to its promise" or "I couldn't finish this."

Before you shove the project in a drawer forever, ask yourself these three questions, gleaned from my recent "Adrenaline Shots for Plots!" workshop and tighten up the sagging middle with an infusion of fresh new energy.

1. How can the protagonist's (hero's/heroine's) situation go from bad to worse? Can you alter the goal? Make the consequences of failure more dire? Create a ticking clock and then allow it to unexpectedly spring forward?

2. How can the antagonist (villain) be strengthened? Can s/he find the "magic bullet" the protagonists been searching for? Can s/he come into a position giving him/her power over the protagonist? Can the antagonist's motivation become more urgent?

3. How can the protagonist be handicapped? Does a friend or mentor betray him/her (or appear to)? Could a death (real/symbolic) or injury (physical/psychological) send him/ his reeling? Can the unthinkable happen?

Create a list of ideas on how you can make your protagonist's job impossible. Then write yourself into a box and dig deep to invent a new way out!

Comments

Sheila said…
Great shots! Working on sequel--ack. Thanks for the post!

Raven
Good luck, Raven! Sequels can be a real challenge.
Donna Maloy said…
One of the most thought-provoking workshops I've been to this year! Thanks, Colleen.
You're very welcome, Donna! So glad you found it helpful!
J.D. Faver said…
Thanks for the great workshop, Colleen. It was jam-packed with great ideas and tips. And thanks for this nutshell with the key points.
*hugs*
~J
You're very welcome, J.D.! It was nice to see you there!

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