Hi, I’m Jessica’s Creativity and I’m here to give you some tips on changing things up with your story.
How’s your word count coming along? Have you reached a bit of an impasse where your character doesn’t know what to do or your plot is refusing to move forward?
It’s possible your Creativity’s attention is waning a little. But you can fix that! How?
I’ll let you in on a little secret: Most Creativities love it when you throw in something random to spice things up.
Why not try one of these?
- Introduce a new character – Suddenly your protagonist’s brother, a trapeze artist currently ‘between traveling circuses,’ turns up on the doorstep with an overnight bag. Or your protagonist’s mother calls to ask her how she is and if she’s washed behind her ears recently. Or your protagonist is out kayaking and sees the girl of his dreams, only to have her washed down the rapids and out of his life!
- Discover a dead body – It might be the body of one of your main characters (gasp!) or the body of a complete unknown (now you must discover who has been killed) or it might not even be a human body (‘Oh my goodness, George. I’ve squashed an ant!’).
- Fire your protagonist – Nothing changes things up like unemployment. Does this give your character chance to apply for their dream job? Jump on the next boat out of here and sail to that harbour they’ve always wanted to see? Or does it mean they now have to work at Greasy Joe’s to make ends meet?
- Give your protagonist a new pet – Perhaps they buy that cute little puppy which has been making eyes at them from the pet shop window every morning. Or their next-door neighbour goes on holiday and asks your protagonist to look after their boa constrictor for the week. Or a bird flies into the kitchen window and damages its wing, so now your protagonist must care for it.
- Kill off a wealthy relative and provide your protagonist (or antagonist!) with an inheritance – The sudden addition of money often shows a person’s true colours (I’m currently aqua with chocolate stripes, but that’s neither here nor there). Does your protagonist buy a new car? A new house? Plane tickets to the other side of the world? Donate to a charity? Or imagine if your chief bad guy suddenly had a windfall? ‘Yes! Now I can finally build that secret evil lair I’ve been planning since childhood!’
- Inflict a natural disaster – Perhaps an earthquake hits suddenly. Or maybe a hurricane/cyclone warning has been issued and everyone must batten down the hatches. How do your characters cope with disaster? And what will they do with themselves when they have lost everything?
Remember, the first draft is for you to explore all the exciting possibilities of your characters, location, theme and plot. So have fun! Be random. Splash out and paint on your page with great, fearless strokes!
Also, have a read of this post from The Office of Letters and Light blog about where authors found their real life inspirations for characters like Mr. Darcy, Sherlock Holmes and Alice (in Wonderland).