Monday, December 29, 2008

Holiday storytelling

One of the children's book blogs I follow quoted the first lines of the new book by Lemony Snicket, The Lump of Coal. "The holiday season is a time for storytelling, and whether you are hearing the story of a candelabra staying lit for more than a week, or a baby born in a barn without proper medical supervision, these stories often feature miracles."
Holiday storytelling and miracles do indeed go together. From George Bailey seeing his town as if he had never been born to the Grinch's remarkable transformation from thief to benefactor, all's well at the end courtesy of a supernatural force. The character has learned his lesson and the viewer trusts the change is permanent.
For those of us writing about the ordinary world without a holiday theme, the character transformation from beginning to the end has to be just as dramatic and miraculous, sans the supernatural force. The challenge is to make a series of events which put transforming pressure on the character.
I have my 'series of events' as plot points on index cards on an 8-foot roll of paper hanging in my basement. I hope to spend some time this week tweaking those for the umpteenth time. They need to be logical and somehow able to bring about a miraculous change in my character by the end of the story.
Poor Sophie. She's really in for it.

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