Wednesday, January 6, 2016

January #IWSG: Clear and Present Danger


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Jack Ryan, Jason Bourne, James Bond all have one thing in common besides the first letter in their names: a clear and present danger. The stakes are always laid out before them and are never lost in wordy prose or the muddy middle. It's pretty clear they will die if they don't act. The sense of an immediate threat always lurks in the foreground.

Getting back to the basics of writing this holiday season, I was inspired as I picked up James Scott Bell's Write Your Novel From the Middle. Your writing must have clear stakes whether you write sci-fi, fantasy, contemporary. Knowing the stakes will make your story a page-turner. Great book for both plotters and pantsers!

Over Christmas break Missouri experienced some wild weather. We enjoyed sixty degree days, flash flooding and tornado watches. Last week I had to make a pizza run smack dab in the middle of a storm. Well, I didn't think about the clear and present danger until I had jumped in my car with my youngest teenage son and looked out the window. He said, "Drive, Mom. We can make it." I have two teenage boys. Of course, it was an emergency...to get pizza...in the middle of a tornado watch.




I binge-watched the Bourne movies recently and realized the incredible resourcefulness of Jason Bourne. He drives a stolen car at breakneck speed while pouring alcohol over his non-lethal gunshot wound, tending to his injuries and dodging an assassin and a dozen police cars. He gets away, silently slipping into the night without any recognition that he's awesome or a pat on the back for beating the bad guys at their own game. One thing I love about Bourne is that he never gives up; he never quits. He just keeps pressing toward his goals.

What clear and present goals do you have for this year? Write them down. Stay positive in 2016 as you balance writing with life and kids and laundry and interruptions and pizza runs in the middle of life-threatening weather. Remember, we're in this together!

October #IWSG

Come join Alex J. Cavanaugh and the Insecure Writer's Support Group. We discuss our fears, insecurities, ups and downs of the writing p...