What's the BIG IDEA anyway??
As promised, I'm sharing a series of posts with you on all the great info from the Mary Kole webinar I attended. Honestly, there was so much, that I'll have to break it up into several posts. Now, I'll be putting Mary's words into my own because that's just how I roll ... but know that all of it was inspired by Mary's awesome lessons on writing for kids.
To kick it off, I'll start with the basics .... and that is the BIG IDEA.
Big Story Idea, that is. In boiling down our stories there has to be a big idea or big question, or there's no story really. Pretty basic, but it's easy to toss so many ingredients into our story stew that we forget the most important one of all.
So we figure out our BIG QUESTION or BIG IDEA and if you're like me, write the logline before the first draft so the BIG IDEA stays forefront in our mind throughout the drafting.
Next, we determine what idea will contradict our BIG IDEA--therein lies the prime conflict and heart of the story. It helps if we know WHY we want to tell our story. WHY the world will want to know about our particular characters and plot.
From this, we figure out our HOOK and the EMOTIONAL TURNING POINT. Each story must have them or who will want to keep reading?? In determining these basics, you have a rough draft for a query as well.
So what does a STORY ARC or plot look like:
* Inciting Incident
* Turning Point (or point of no return as James Scott Bell puts it)
* At least THREE attempts to solve BIG PROBLEM, each time stakes being raised.
* Black Moment (when all seems lost)
And just a bit on the kid market, as advised my Mary Kole:
Right now, modern and future settings are working very well for MG. Some violence and romance are okay, but should be kept to a minimal for MG. For YA, romance is always powerful. Paranormal and dystopian are a tough sell right now. Some currents trends are light sci-fi, time travel, dream worlds.
Voice is vital for the teen market. And endings are best when bittersweet. The idea of sacrifice and the complexity of a world of possibilities is what draws these readers in. There needs to be BIG decisions made, consequences, disillusionment, and tests of courage and character.
Tune in next time for more on First Chapter Objectives from the uber amazing Mary Kole.
Tell me, have you noticed anything new trending in the kid market or market in general? What questions do you ask yourself before knowing if your story idea is worth writing?