Writing Tips -- Part 3 -- NOVELS
Click here for Writing Tips - Part 1 (General Info)
Click here for Writing Tips - Part 2 (Writing Picture Books)
Click here for Writing Tips - Part 4 (Breaking into Children's Publishing)
Reference Books about Writing for Children
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Bare-bones formula of a novel: character+goal+obstacle+struggle+climax+resolution.
CHARACTER: Write down everything you know about your main character. Give him/her background and personality. Not just a physical description, but also what goes on inside the brain and heart. In children's books, the character can be a person, animal, or thing. For readers past third grade, most characters are humanoid.

GOAL: Give your character a main goal. He can have a few lesser goals, too. For example, if your character is a girl lost at sea, her main goal would be to survive. Her smaller goals would be escaping a shark, staying awake, swimming to an island, getting drinkable water, getting food, building a hut, etc.
OBSTACLE: Create an obstacle that prevents your hero from attaining that goal. This creates conflict. Here are the most common kinds of conflict:
1) Man vs. man -- usually hero vs. villain.
2) Man vs. nature -- storms, lost in the woods, attacked by wolves -- survival.
3) Man vs. self -- the hero has some kind of inner problem like shyness, phobias.
4) Man vs. the unknown -- supernatural stories; sci-fi.

STRUGGLE: Create a way for the hero to try to overcome that obstacle, but don't make it easy. He may try and fail several times. He may overcome one obstacle, and then run right into another, bigger one.
RESOLUTION: This is the very end of the story where everything is tied together. If it's a mystery, it's where you explain all those weird clues. If it's a love story, it's where you say they lived happily ever after.
CLIMAX: The final struggle to overcome the biggest obstacle is the climax. It is toward the end of the story and is usually dramatic. The hero usually wins over adversity and learns from the experience. The best stories end with hope.
Bare-bones formula of a novel: character+goal+obstacle+struggle+climax+resolution
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