For over a month, Don Maass has been tweeting short fiction hints called “Breakout Prompts.” Inspired by the great information he is giving, I have decided to do a series of posts, with each one including one or two of his prompts along with my own thoughts/commentary. If you apply Don Maass’ prompts to your writing, I can guarantee that your novel will greatly improve.
So, without further ado, on the post and the first prompt.
The characters in your novel should be very real to the reader. They need to be multi-dimensional. They need to be multi-layered. Readers must be able to relate to your characters. Your characters should not be perfect, just as we as human beings are not perfect.
Prompt #1: “What’s the worst thing your MC [main character] does? Whom and how does that hurt? Now work backwards, set it up to hurt even more.” #Maass
Think about your own life experiences. Have you ever done something (knowingly or unknowingly) that really hurt another? Has anyone hurt you? Think of the emotions, the feelings, and the rationalizations that accompanied that experience.
Put all of that into your MC and into whoever was hurt by the MC’s actions. Pour the emotion into that scene (or series of scenes). Make it real. Make your readers feel everything with raw intensity.