In an email, a writer friend offered this suggestion in regard to my being stalled on my writing:
“Before you do any further work on bethel or especially start a new story — I’d like to challenge you to do some pre-plotting. You know you can finish a story, but in order to make it the strongest it can be (and this is a lesson I myself am learning right now as I work through this completed novel And am completely changing/adding some character motivation and conflict) I think more attention needs to be paid up front to the characters goals and conflicts.”
Funny, we must have ESP because I was thinking of something along those very lines. I actually took some time today to make up a character worksheet for each of my characters. After working on that, I sat down and made up a GMC (goal, motivation, conflict) worksheet for each character. My immediate thought while doing this was ‘if there’s no goal, no change in the character by the story’s end and that character doesn’t move the story forward, then I’ll ax them’. Who was it that said ‘Kill your darlings?” These exercises took several hours and though I still haven’t made my final decision on who will have to go, I have learned a lot more about my characters. I think this will truly help me decide if my story is heading in the direction I had originally planned and if every character in it is vital to the story.
This is what I love about being a writer. The camaraderie, the ability to shoot off a quick email and say ‘hey, I’m stuck! what do you think?”. Who’s your go-to writer that you know you can run to when you’re in need of some good advice?