Monday, September 24, 2007


You've written the first few chapters of your book.
If you're anything like me, the first 3 chapters are a breeze: all brand-spanking new, exciting, the characters just bursting to tell their story with loads of pizazz and dazzling conversation and building attraction.

Then it hits.
Chapter FOUR!

How do you keep the pages turning when the initial buzz is starting to wear off?

First up, work out what you want to achieve from the next 3 chapters or so.

The tension must build.
There must be a turning point to galvanise the characters into action.
The stakes are upped.
The conflicts developed.

This is what Jenny Crusie refers to as ACT TWO in her Basic Linear Four Act Plot, where everything BUILDS.

We want to throw our characters off course a tad, get them thinking beyond the initial attraction, throw them a few minor curve balls but nothing to drastic yet. Plenty of time for that later!

In COURTING CUPID, there are several major revelations in the story, revelations that will bring Blane and Camryn to absolute, seemingly unsolvable conflict. He wants marriage and kids, she doesn't, she craves the excitement of city life, he craves a sea change.
Layered into these big conflicts are clues, hints given that build towards the revelations that will drive them apart.

So when you hit chapter four and your enthusiasm flags as it inevitably does, concentrate on building.
The tension, the stakes, and the wordcount will follow!

(For a full explanation of Jenny Crusie's Four Act Plot Diagram, visit her website and check out the notes under her Aussie conference.)

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