Tuesday, January 24, 2012

maximum impact

I recently had a short story critiqued in a writers' workshop. This was a good experience because it reminded me of some things I needed to be reminded of, namely, a short story should be as dramatic as possible. I'm a bit embarrassed to say my rough draft could have grabbed the reader more. It could have had a bigger impact.

In revisions I found maximum impact came from knowing my protagonist and making sure all aspects of my story were interconnected.

  • Every other character in the piece should have had a strong connection to the protagonist. For example, it's not enough to put a child in danger, the child should be related to the protagonist, if possible.
  • The setting should be important to the protagonist. It's not enough to put the protagonist in the setting. The setting should be crucial to the protagonist--this is the place he or she has to be.
  • External plot complications need to be unique to the protagonist. Think about the protag. Determine what's the worst possible thing that could happen to him/her--and then make it happen.
  • External plot needs to be linked to internal character arc. In our example, perhaps the protag him/herself was in peril as a child, so he/she cannot abide kids in peril. Would your protag sacrifice him/herself for said child? Ooh, now that's dramatic.

What do you think? Do you have any tips for achieving maximum impact in fiction?

Good luck with your writing!

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm...Drama is crucial...like friction between two people right in the beginning....Hmmm...I need to thnk on this some more.