Start with the Master List

Okay, so we’ve got our Master List. Now it’s time to find solutions for each problem.

This can definitely be a challenge for people, and full disclosure: sometimes I won’t see the best solution until I’m actually in the act of revising.

And that’s fine! When that happens, I pause what I’m doing, go back and make the new changes, and continue from there.

So let’s go back to the example from Lessons 2 + 3, and let’s say two of your recurring Character Problems are:

  • A character acting out of character.
  • A character whose goal doesn’t feel real or desperate enough in each scene.

To me, that looks like a problem with your character’s initial desire being “too weak” and so you’re letting the plot dictate what they do instead of their own deep motivations. The stakes aren’t high enough, so you need to raise them. That way, their current story desire is so desperate they will make bad choices to get what they want/need.

So maybe a sister who was only missing you now make a kidnapped sister with a a time limit on her life. Or maybe a boy who wanted to get on the homecoming court because he wants to be now faced with a bully who will reveal all his most awful, tragic secrets if he can’t get on that homecoming course. (I have no idea why a bully would do that, but you get my point about raising stakes! 😂) 

One last time for the people in the back:

It is 100% okay if you do not have a strong enough grasp of craft yet to feel comfortable finding solutions. You will learn as you go!!

And again, here are links to resources that might help:

Let’s say you can’t find the solutions on your own—maybe because you’re a beginner or maybe because you’re just totally tapped dry from that toddler that never lets you sleep. No worries! I’ve got some tips below to help get your brainstorming muscles into gear.