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Yes, this is still the HOS work-in-progress diary. Which means HOS is still in progress and not finished. And no, I'd prefer not to look back through the tags and see how long it's been since the last entry because I already know it's been a scary*ss big old gap of time. Too scary. Can't think about it.

So happier and maybe more productive to think about what I'm doing now and how I got restarted. Two things:

1) A friend's critique and piece of advice that showed me a new way to view the story.

2) Reading Amazon's Hunger Games message boards, particularly on the Peeta vs. Gale question, which I blogged about the other day.

How these two things are related: My friend's advice was to think about the story not in terms of what the main character wants most but rather in terms of what the reader will want for the main character. Reading the HG message boards showed me that the desire of the reader can be a powerful thing that may transcend what the author actually puts on the page. That is heady stuff to work with, and it fired me up.

For one thing, my main characters rarely want a specific, identifiable thing that I can focus the reader on, anyway, and use that to mold and shape my plot. My main characters generally do not want something, and that is much harder to work with plot-wise. In HOS, Eddy--the main character--certainly has wants at the beginning of the story, but they are vague and not tied to the plot. The same wants we many of us have at one point or another in our lives.

But there is an imposed "want," imposed by her mother, and that is to marry a wealthy man. While she certainly reacts to that, I don't think it works as that proverbial plot driver because it is not organic to the character. It isn't what is going to change her.

So maybe what's going on in this plot is that it drives the MC to discover just what it is she does want. Hey! I like that. Know why? Because it brings us right back around to what the reader wants for her. The reader will know long before Eddy knows what she really needs and then my job is to fill the reader with anxiety that Eddy won't choose what they know is right for her. And do that without Eddy looking like a clueless halfwit that the reader wants to drown. It's okay to want to shake the MC from time to time, but not to the point of frustration and putting-the-book-down. That can be a tough line to walk.

Okay, more in a bit on a tool that's helped me enormously. It's one I've seen other people use, but I've never been able to figure out how to apply it to my own work until now.

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
amygreenfield
Aug. 3rd, 2010 07:18 pm (UTC)
Brilliant!
melissawyatt
Aug. 4th, 2010 12:20 am (UTC)
I love this idea of thinking of the reader in a plot sense but not in a marketing sense, if that makes sense. I think it goes back to the promise you make when you begin the book and helps you to hold to that promise and not veer off course--which is what had happened to me. I was so far of course, I wasn't even in the ocean anymore.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )