Monday, November 10, 2008

"Hurt the Bunnies"- Inspiration Station 2

So here we are, almost half-way through Nano! And some of us are half-way through our nano novels too! Hooray!

But one thing that happens around this half-way point in any novel is that the author hits that nebulous place called "the middle."

The middle is what happens between the beginning and the end of a book.

And the middle is where we authors often get stuck. Our characters begin to flounder. They may start having lots of unimportant conversations, or wandering around doing lots of activities that may seem important when we write them, but that aren't always moving our characters forward toward where we want them to be in the end. It can be very frustrating!

So, for inspiration this week, here are some suggestions shared by speaker Pam Zollman at the recent SCBWI Carolina's Conference.

Pam said:

1.) When you get stuck in the middle, it may be because you have used up all of the information you know about your character. It's important to know what makes them tick.

2.) Readers don't want to read about cute little bunnies that are doing just fine. We want to read about bunnies that have problems. "So, hurt the bunnies."

3.) Know what your character is afraid of, and throw it at him.

4.) Don't make the ending simple. Make it hard for your characters to get there. Make them struggle hard throughout the middle.

5.) Getting bored? Something not working? Try a change of scenery - time, location or character attributes.

And last but not least...

6. Just keep writing. The only reason you're stuck is because you stopped writing.

Thanks Pam!

Best of luck to all as we press on throughout the second half of Nano 2008!

See you next Monday for another "Inspiration Station" post.


C.R. Evers said...

I missed that part with Pam Zollman, so thanks for sharing those points.

I need to go hurt the bunnies now. :0)


Jacqui said...

Mmm. I love "hurt the bunnies." Not really, you know, but in the book.

Brianna Caplan Sayres said...

Lots of good advice! Thanks so much for sharing!

Brianna : o )

Janelle said...

Hi Christy
Yeah, you really missed a good presentation by missing Pam Zollman. I think I took more away from Pam's talks than from anyone else at the conference. Lucky for you, I've got your back and I took notes. : )

Janelle said...


I neglected to clarify earlier that Pam Zollman used to be an editor for Highlghts. She is now the author of many books for younger readers. And she likes to wear fun hats.

Hi Brianna and Jacqui,

How is your writing coming? I love that "hurt the bunnies" concept too, Jacqui. So simply put. So easy to understand and implement in our novels.

Bish Denham said...

Excellent tips Janelle. Sorry I missed you Monday. I got very distracted.

Janelle said...

We missed you, Bish! Hope Happy the Dog is well. See you next Monday.

just Joan said...

Oh, I've hurt the bunnies. I hurt them bad! hee hee hee

Wait, why am I laughing? What's wrong with me? I need to go to therapy. *wink*

Thanks for the inspiriation.