Writing the Middle Grade Novel - From Start to Finish: Part One
By Suzanne Lieurance
Are you aching to write a middle grade novel but you don't really know how to get started much less finish such a project? Then here are a few tips to help you get going:
1. Start with a main character - your protagonist. Ask yourself - What does this person want more than anything in the world? The way your protagonist strives to get whatever it is that he/she wants will become your major plot or storyline. Your protagonist should not be perfect. If he/she is, he/she won't be believable, so don't forget to give this character a few flaws. But remember to give readers some reason to like this person. Readers need to like your protagonist so they'll care what happens to him/her. If they don't care what happens to him/her, they won't want to read your book.
2. Create another character (or situation) who will try to keep your main character from getting what he/she wants most. This character (your antagonist) doesn't have to be evil. He or she just has to be at odds with your main character for some reason.
3. Get to know the people who will be in your story REALLY, REALLY WELL. To do this, create a profile for each of your main characters, or create a series of questions to ask your characters and then interview them to get their answers to these questions. One of the questions you ask your protagonist should be "What do you want more than anything?" Another helpful question to ask he/her is, "What are you most afraid of?" As you're asking these questions to each of your main characters, you'll discover each of their strengths as well as their weaknesses.
4. Decide on the point of view (POV) you will use to tell your story. Your story should be told from your main character's point of view. But will you tell it from this character's 1st person POV or his/her 3rd person POV?
Try writing the story from a 3rd person POV first. After you've written it, check the voice of the story. Is it weak or strong? If it's weak, rewrite the story from the 1st person viewpoint of your main character and see if that strengthens the voice.
These tips should help you get started. Next, you'll need to know how to plot and write your story so you avoid a sagging middle and you don't run out of steam before you finish your manuscript. Read Part 2 of this article for tips to help you start writing your story.
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FOR PART TWO of Writing the Middle Grade Novel CLICK HERE.
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