When I sat down one day to write a novel I didn’t think to myself, “Hey, I know! Let’s write a novel!” Instead it was more of an anti-boredom thing. I was helping proctor standardized testing but because my certification hadn’t come in yet, I couldn’t actually say anything. I just had to sit there with a notebook and escort kids to the bathroom. So, I began to write.
Now, that particular MS is trash. It’s filled with all of the basic tropes to make bad fantasy. But, it didn’t go through extensive revisions or anything. Maybe someday I’ll sit down and try to fix all that is glaringly wrong with it (hello HERO CHOSEN ONE trope). And if I do I will have a plan.
One of the things I do when I write is have a basic plan of where I’m going, if not for the whole book, at least that scene.
I look at a few things.
- What does my character want to accomplish RIGHT NOW?
- What is in the way of my MC doing this?
- What is my MC going to do to get around this obstacle?
Once I’ve answered these questions I’ll look at it again and ask: What will make this more interesting to the readers? This is raising the stakes. I try to raise the stakes, especially in emotional moments, as much as I can. And to be honest, a lot of time this doesn’t happen until I’m in revisions. Deep into revisions.
Just something to think about when you’re writing, is there something that could heighten the tension for these characters? The higher the tension (and this doesn’t have to be life or death, think getting caught by your teacher cheating or something) the more invested everyone is going to be.