One of the problems I have is writing main characters who are slightly depressed and face problems which anyone else could easily solve. Imagine James Bond going in to speak to Q, who sets aside his design for laser-firing bullets with flying knives and says, ‘Have you tried Meet-Up?’
Typically, at times like these, I wonder if there is a writing book that might help. This gives me the sense that I’m doing something, while actually just enabling me to procrastinate.
But the original problem is real.
Most of the time we already know the answers to our problems. We just need a wy to look at them differently.
I began to imagine a self-help book that would specifically address the issue I face and then wrote out what it would say. I came up with:
- Turn it inside out: make the character outward-facing. Attempting to achieve something concrete in the world but being frustrated in their efforts.
- Make the goal simple and clear, with a reward that anyone can identify with: love, money, defeating an enemy
- Make their opponents determined to thwart them and in ways that eventually test all of their abilities.
- Write scenes that are entertaining but have a sense of risk: trying to attain or achieve something that is important
- For each scene or plot, is there a sense of excitement?
I went back to my plot and began to see how I might refocus it away from the heroine’s internal doubts, towards a challenging situation that she needed to deal with.