Monday, February 24, 2014

Target Practice for Writers

My life consists of zipping around all day, dropping my kids off at school, practices, sporting events.You better believe I will take any and every shortcut to make my route quicker. When constructing your protagonist's route or story arc, he will most likely want to take the shortcut to reach his destination or his goal. And when he insists on getting from point A to point B the fastest way, you will without hesitation throw obstacles in his way faster than my son can shoot a BB gun.

When I was growing up, my sister and I walked or rode our bikes everywhere. We became experts at finding the shortcut to the park, the creek, the giant indoor swimming arena located two miles out of town. Even though we passed the beginner course eons ago, my mom insisted on signing us up for extra lessons. For Pete's sake, we were already on the swim team! We passed advanced swimming lessons, diving lessons, lifeguard training lessons where you jump into the water and try to make flotation devices out of your clothing.

Getting your protagonist from point A to point B means target practice for you as a writer. To get to the swimming pool across town, this is what happened every time my sister and I chose to take the shortcut:
1. Sneak through neighbor's yard to get to railroad tracks
2. Walk along the tracks and get off whenever a train passed, avoiding sudden death
3. Cut through the middle of an insane asylum to get to swimming pool.

Yes, you heard me correctly. We were young and stupid, what can I say? This facility had no gates, no security, no high walls. It was the eighties. Mentally challenged residents went for strolls along the lawns, sidewalks, rooftops. OK, it wasn't that bad. Most of the time a caregiver accompanied the residents. But, occasionally, one would wander alone, mumbling angry words and balling his fists like he was ready to rumble. I grabbed my sister's arm, squeezed my eyes shut and increased our speed. We always made it through the shortcut and reached our destination.Your protagonist will too. Just make it nearly impossible the next time he chooses to take the shortcut.

#MondayBlogs #amwriting #writingtip

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