Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow (Writing) Lessons: Part Two

I'm pretty sure I live in Georgia. But I'm wondering if I've slipped into some alternate universe. I mean, there's STILL a couple inches of snow on the ground and brrrr! Baby, it's cold outside. So, I bundled up to take a little trek, seeing as how I'm stuck in this freezing universe at the moment.

It wasn't horrible, I suppose. I dressed in layers. That's the trick. Which brings me to Snow Writing Lesson, Part II: Layers.

Without layers, I can step outside for the journey, but I won't get far before I give up. Better to be prepared for the adventure. Pull on that thermal shirt, and then a flannel shirt, and then the toasty, knitted scarf, and finally my extra-thick, winter coat. Maybe even that goofy stocking cap. All those layers make a difference.

What about your adventurous novel? Or your short trek of a story? Have you added all the layers you need to make the difference between a richly woven, complex tale or a one-dimensional, static fizzle-out? You might want to start with your characters.

Characters can add a ton of texture. Multi-dimensional characters are interesting, believable, and keep the reader hooked. Flat characters, not so much. You might want to check out Darcy Pattison's Checklist of 17 Character Qualities (and maybe even the related posts.) I heard Darcy speak at a conference; she's a pretty multi-dimensional character herself.

Or take a look at the Character Workshop offered by Holly Lisle. Lots of interesting story paths to consider when answering those questions.

Bottom line: Bundle up your writing in warm layers. Then, your readers will follow your story anywhere. (Um, maybe not into some freezing alternate universe where it's crazy cold like Georgia. But that could just be me.)