Part 3 -- NOVELS

Bare-bones formula of a novel: character+goal+obstacle+struggle+climax+resolution.

CHARACTER: Write down everything you know about your main characters. Give them 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/CONFLICT: 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, jealousy, hatred.
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.

CLIMAX: The final struggle to overcome the biggest obstacle is the climax. It is toward the end of the story and is dramatic. The hero usually wins over adversity and learns from the experience

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. But even if there is tragedy, the best stories end with hope.
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Writing Tips Part 2 -- Picture Books
Writing Tips Part 4 -- Breaking into Children's Publishing
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Writing Tips Part 1 -- General
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