Monday, April 6, 2015

What's Your Easter Egg?

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter! I spent mine trying to get some relaxation time in, while fixing some plot and character problems in one of my manuscripts. There was a place, a little more than 30% in, where it felt flat, and had no direction. Kind of like this:


Now what?

Ultimately, it meant I hadn't yet gotten to what that story really was--it was floundering, with nothing holding it together. I'd added too many directions, and made the story wider instead of deeper.

But it needed to go deeper. That was the creamy filling that the book's egg was missing.

Which meant my character needed a clear focus, a motivation, even after she'd experienced a pretty significant trauma. And it had to directly relate to the mid-point reversal.

And then, when I saw the the end of an episode of Better Call Saul, called Pimento, I finally found my missing Easter egg.

I won't ruin Better Call Saul for those who want to see it, but suffice to say that Saul (Jimmy) finds out that he's been strung along for quite awhile by someone he thought he trusted (which is exactly what happens to my protagonist). Watch if you dare:




My protagonist's motivation was not only to try to fill the holes in her life, but acknowledge that they were there in the first place. And because the antagonist would never allow her to do that, that's where they could bat heads at the mid-point reversal.

Armed with my Easter egg (and its creamy filling) I'll go back to revising that section with a completely new purpose--both with what the antagonist intends and how my protagonist has to get around it.

To to sum up, if you have a section of your book that's falling flat, revisit the following questions:

  • What does my protagonist really want here (their Easter egg)? Why do they want it? How will it help him/her?
  • What does my antagonist really want here (their Easter egg)? How will he/she thwart my protagonist's efforts to get what he/she wants?
  • How will this section relate to the mid-point reversal (or other places where protagonist and antagonist go head-to-head)?

Hopefully, by the time you've worked through this, you'll find Easter eggs that you might not otherwise have discovered.



Your turn. What's your protagonists's Easter egg? Antagonist's Easter egg? How will they help your plot and character development?

6 comments:

  1. I was just telling a friend that I'm stuck in my story. And then your post came through the email. This is incredibly timely! Thank you! I need to dig deeper into my character and her motivation.

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    1. I'm so glad, Lin! If I can use my way out of the quicksand to help others, then so much the better! You can also determine how the motivation affects the character's actions--and what decisions she makes.

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  2. Ah. I think I know why one of my books is bogging down. Not enough about what the antagonist wants. Thanks for the reminder of this issue.

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    1. Wonderful, Elizabeth! Sometimes finding what the antagonist wants can be just as helpful as what the protagonist wants. You can also determine whether the antagonist's motivation directly relates to what happens to the protagonist in the inciting event.

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  3. Aha. Seems like excellent advice and very timely for me as I've hit a snag in this manuscript. Thank you!

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