Lisa Cron in Wired for Story on page 130, uses the analogy of earthquake fissures that lead to the big one in the life of the protagonist. The “first hairline crack and its resulting offshoots are like fault lines, running through the center of the protagonist’s world, undermining everything. As with an earthquake, the cracks tend to be caused by two opposing forces, with the protagonist caught between them.”
What is the first hairline crack in your story that starts the ultimate change in your protagonist’s life?
Lisa Cron, on page 129 in Wired for Story, talks about obstacles to block the protagonist’s goals . She states “Obstacles mean nothing unless, beneath the surface, the seeds of that conflict are present from the outset, as they begin pushing their tender shoots through the soil in search of the sun.”
I thought about my novel, Hada’s Fog, when I read that page. I have external and internal conflicts in the first couple of pages, but I’m wondering if I planted enough seeds for the underlying need. What Hada desires in the beginning, is different than what she thought she wanted or needed at the end. Hints for the reader to suspect that everything about Hada is not what it seems is something for me to keep in mind as I polish this last draft. Her complaints and internalizations might be a bigger mask than I intended.
Cron says on page 143, “The story must make complete sense without the reveal, but in light of the reveal, the story must make even more sense.”
Lisa Cron in Wired for Story has a “Story Secret” on page 103. She says, “Anything conceptual, abstract, or general must be made tangible in the protagonist’s specific struggle.”
On the following page, she quotes E.B. White, “Advice to young writers who want to get ahead without any annoying delays: don’t write about Man, write about a man.”
It’s all about specifics.
In Wired for Story, on page 31, Lisa Cron corrects the myth that the plot is simply what the story is about. She says that the reality is, “A story is about how the plot affects the protagonist.”
She continues on page 39 that “the plot’s goal isn’t simply to find out whether he snags that brass ring or not; rather, it’s to force him to confront the internal issue that’s keeping him from it in the first place.”
I’ve found her book to help in digging deeper for the real story behind the inciting incident and the continuing plot.
In the morning writing class I teach, we are using Wired for Story by Lisa Cron as a text book for discussion in class. The subtitle is The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence.
In the Introduction, page 2, Cron states: “Our neural circuitry is designed to crave story.” She goes on to say, “For a story to captivate a reader, it must continually meet his or her hardwired expectations.”
And, I like what she says, “…a powerful story can have a hand in rewiring the reader’s brain–helping instill empathy…which is why writers are, and have always been, among the most powerful people in the world.”
That idea puts writers in a whole new category. Let’s write and rewire now.