In Building Better Plots, Robert Kernen provides a quick quiz to help you decide if your subject matter is strong enough to sustain a novel. I thought these questions would be a good platform to start our discussion.
Does your concept create obstacles that effectively challenge the characters? If so, which specific elements will be the source of that challenge?
Does your concept provide a strong backdrop for exploring the strengths and limitations and psychology of your characters? What specific elements does the plot have that provide vivid comparisons and contrasts that will delineate your character in intriguing ways?
Does your concept provide a strong environment for the messages and themes you want to explore? What metaphors and motifs grown naturally out of that environment will illuminate those themes and messages?
Does your concept provide any realistic hooks that will make it easy for the audience to relate to? What elements will they relate to? Even if you are writing science fiction or fantasy, you will want to give your audience some element to which they can connect their sympathy.
Does your concept provide enough tension to hold the audience’s interest? What are those sources of tension?
As always, any topic that will help us improve our writing is fair game in these discussions, so feel free to bring up any of your writing concerns.
The group No Whine, Just Champagne will meet here at this article for a live discussion about writing and the writing life on Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 9:00pm ET (8pm CT, 7pm MT, 6pm PT). Hope to see you, but if you can't make it then, the discussion will continue during the days afterward, so please stop by and tell us what you think.