Saturday, March 10, 2012

Reference Book Rehash - Weeks 3, 4, and 5 (WGBfYA)

Author: Regina Brooks
Title: Writing Great Books for Young Adults

I’m a bit behind in my Reference Book Rehash – this is why I needed to have the rehash in the first place – so I’m combining weeks three, four, and five in this one post.

Chapter Three of Writing Great Books for Young Adults is a short chapter on character. Once again, Ms. Brooks runs through several exercises that evoke teenage emotions and help us choose which character is the best one for our story. By the end of the chapter we’ve got a main character who is three-dimensional and imbued with all those emotions we dredged up in the last chapter. The most important thing I took from the chapter was a reminder to always keep your character’s motivation in the front of your mind and to make sure he acts accordingly. That motivation should be clear to the reader so she’ll care about the character and not lose interest.

Now that we have the character in mind, the next two chapters deal with the plot of our story. Chapter Four deals with several different types of plots. Ms. Brooks lays out the structure of a plot, fleshing out Freytag’s pyramid. She works through it clearly, explaining the action at each step. I especially liked the descriptions of the different types of denouement – I’m a firm believer that the wrong ending can ruin a great story.

Chapter Five is all about building the plot of the story. It is so packed with information that a summary might be as long as the chapter itself. Ms. Brooks gives a rundown of plot faults and ten factors to help determine if the plot works. I’ll definitely be revisiting this chapter when I’m struggling with types of conflict or a plot that I just can’t figure out.

How do you build your plot? Does it revolve around your character’s motivation?

More Details
Week 1
Week 2