Sunday, February 17, 2013

SCWC: Happily Ever After - Make Them Earn It

-        Conflict; driving toward a black moment that sticks with people
-        A black moment is a pivotal turning point where all seems to be lost and the hero might not win. Lead up to this with conflict (what are consequences?).  Make the stakes high enough to make the reader give a crap.  Moment of change for hero.  Can't be easily solved.
-        Transformation/growth must occur in character(s).  Worst fears/secrets must be realized, confronted, and overcome.  Character must not be the same person they were at the beginning (ex: Pretty Woman).
-        Black moment needs to be a scene that has been building since the beginning of the book (otherwise it won't be as believable).  Deepens as danger or conflict mounts and culminates in final climax that leaves the reader wondering what the heck will happen next.  Will the hero win?!
-        Difficult to sell a tragedy nowadays.  People like happy endings.
-        If the black moment is solved too easily, readers will be pissed.  Don't come up with a magical solution to fix it.
-        All the good guys don't have to live.  Kill off characters even if you don't want to (if it serves the story, if it helps transform the hero).
-        Characters should have great depth so that readers will care about them
-        Black moments can be risky (killing children in Hunger Games).  Necessary to make the character's progression/evolution more believable.
-        Even if the hero doesn't “win,” the ending still needs to provide some sort of satisfaction
-        Life isn't about how hard you can hit, it's about how hard you can get hit and continue on
-        Hero could lose everything, but does the right thing anyway.
-        Black moment has to be the character's absolute worst fear.  And why is the character so terrified of this?
-        Black moment should be so huge that you as a writer should be asking yourself “Holy crap, how am I going to fix this?”

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