Monday, July 2, 2007

Two problems

I was feeling pretty good about my new novel, but over the weekend, I realized I have two problems.

Problem #1: I'm 20 pages into it and the reader knows:
  1. Who the main characters are
  2. What the setting is
  3. Back story (but not too much)
  4. The overall tone of the story
  5. The voice of the writing


....the reader does not know what the story is about.

That's a problem.

I'm on page 20 and I haven't revealed the central question (to use a scriptwriting term).

I like to reveal what the story is about very early on.

In How to Steal a Dog, the first sentence - the FIRST SENTENCE - is:

The day I decided to steal a dog is the same day my best friend, Luanne Godfrey, found out I lived in a car.

Problem #2: I don't know the ending.

This is not a problem for all children's book writers.

But it is a problem for me.

I'm not one of those writers who loves to just "see where the characters take me." In fact, I hate that. I want to know where I'm going. I don't mind not knowing exactly how I'm getting there, but I want to know where I'm going.

Longfellow said: Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending.

But, hey, what the heck does Longfellow know about anything....


Anonymous said...

And here I thought you were a writing goddess. You mean, you don't just sit down and let the gold spill out? ;)

Good to know I'm not the only one who finds herself in this predicament. Every time I start writing by the seat of my pants, I regret it. I love that getting-to-know-my-characters, throw-the-voice-onto-the-page stage, but if I don't know the ending, I get stuck every time. Ugh.

Jill Esbaum

Kate said...

I rebel violently against mapping out my story. I know it would make everything easier but I have such a hard time bringing myself to do it!

Anonymous said...

{{}}. I bet you'll figure those answers out before I do, and you know how long I've been asking those questions :).