DANE CURSE IS FREE AUGUST 6 & 7th 2015!
Published Feb 10, 2015
Genre: Soft Sci-fi Detective Novel
Series: Black Cape Case Files #1
Exclusively on Amazon
If you lose a black cape, and can’t go to the cops, then you come to me because that’s what I do. I’ve been in the game for years. I know all the curves and all the angles, and if it gets rough then so be it, I got plenty strength, I’m double tough, and I never quit. And if need be I’ll pull my artillery to get you some answers, because I don’t care about the mistakes you’ve made or how you chose to live your life, sometimes even the unjust deserve a little justice.
At least that’s how it was before a mysterious murder threatens to plunge Gold Coast City into a super powered war unless I find the killer in five days' time. But getting to the truth won’t be so easy. I’ll have to face ruthless black capes with secrets to hide, a powerful government agency bent on national expansion, and even teams of white caped heroes whose intentions are less than pure.
No easy task for a small time PI, so I’ll need every bit of my strength and guts if I’m going to find the killer, save my city, and maybe even get some justice for the greatest hero the world has ever known.
They’re the holy trinity of fiction, and in this post I’m going to let you know just how to use them so you can elevate your writing, because if you don’t have them, then you’re not writing a story, you’re just describing an occurrence.
So what kind of goals are acceptable? Actually, the answer to that is any kind is fine, but there are generally two types of goals, tangible and intangible, and your hero needs both. In The Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen’s goal is to survive, which is easy to grasp, but it’s hard to imagine because we have to ask ourselves, “What does she have to do to survive?” Or more precisely: What will victory look like? The answer is killing all the other tributes. Ah, now that’s something we can picture, something we can touch, something tangible.
So survival is the intangible goal, but killing the completion is the tangible one. The tangible goal also serves another purpose: when it’s achieved we know the story’s over.
But one obstacle’s not enough (unless you’re writing a very short story). More than likely your hero will encounter lots of obstacles because the more obstacles you throw in front of your character the more tension and investment we have. And as the plot moves along two things happen; the deadline nears which puts time pressure on the hero, and the potential ways for the hero to overcome those obstacles and get to their goal, begins to dwindle. The loss of both makes for compelling fiction.
So there it is; goal, obstacles, and stakes. And remember that they work together to create interest and excitement. A noble goal is nothing if the obstacles are small. And big obstacles lose all punch if the cost of failure is non-existent. But if all three line up then the story will grab any reader’s attention regardless of their personal preference. Here are three examples:
1. The goal needs to be easily understood, and we need to know why the hero wants it. Why it’s so important. This is called motivation. If we can’t see what’s so special about the goal then we won’t care.
2. The goal needs to be 4 things: simple to understand, vital to the hero, possible, but crazy difficult.
3. The sidekick, the love interest, and yes even the villain need their own goals because they’re all the heroes of their own story. If they don’t it won’t feel real to the reader.
4. Each new obstacle has to be harder than the last. The tension needs to escalate, not diminish.
5. No plot holes. Many people misuse this term, but it’s real meaning is when a character could solve a problem simply, but doesn’t because it would be inconvenient to the plot. Think the eagles in Lord of the Rings.
6. Raise the stakes. I see this all the time, a story starts strong with clear goals and obstacles, and the stakes are laid out. But they never change. Raising the stakes in your story is vital. If you ever saw Wreck-It-Ralph you know that the stakes went from Ralph’s personal goal of being respected, to the destruction of his own game, to the destruction of Sugar Rush and every other game in the arcade. Nice!
And that’s how the big three work together to provide structure and tension. Without them we have a string of occurrences that people won’t care about, and certainly won’t pay to read about. But if you make this trio your allies then these three weapons will slay your reader’s boredom like the Furies themselves.
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