Monday, June 17, 2019

On Expectations

What is your character hoping will happen?

Is this clearly expressed on the page?

In a 300-page novel, there will be any number of choices for your main character to make, the results of which will comprise the plot of your story.

If we don't know what your character expects to happen or is wishing for, how will we know she's getting what she wants? How will we know when her hopes have been dashed?

Expressing our character's desires is a great way to raise the stakes in our stories.

Missing the 8 o'clock train out of the city isn't a big deal if one is coming along at 8:30 . . . unless your character has been given an ultimatum and has to be at her spouse's boss's home for a dinner party at 8:30 or he's leaving her for good.

If we don't know that, despite getting off work late (again) and getting stuck in city traffic (again), she's desperate to make that train, we're (as the reader) unlikely to feel the appropriate amount of pressure.

On the flip side, the character's actions and reactions would be very different if she was looking for a reason not to make that train.

Use your character's desires to keep your readers invested, and make sure her expectations are clearly stated so we know if she's progressing or facing setbacks. 

Be Brilliant!