You’re almost done, Nano Warrior. Hang tight and pound out those words, the end is nigh… Let’s talk about simplicity…
Yes, I do realize I watch waaayyy too many cooking shows–Iron Chef, Master Chef, Hell’s Kitchen, Chopped–I can only excuse it because I CAN’T COOK. I’m not even ashamed of this little facet of my personality. It’s a given and all who know me are currently nodding their head sagely (yep, you can do that) as they remember numerous incidents that support this claim. However, the opening line from Iron Chef fit perfectly for this little post.
I’m not sure how many of you out there have children that have been inducted into the hive mind of a little computer game known as MINECRAFT, but my Prankster Duo are devote practitioners. This morning as I’m taking the younger one off to school, he couldn’t wait to share his plethora of MINECRAFT song parodies with me. (Yes, they were amusing and some were really well done, surprisingly enough!) But it got me to thinking–why is it in this day and age of some the best computer game graphics EVER–children are thrilled with a game made up of pixellated graphics that would make the original PONG blush? I live with massive computer gamers/geeks/whatever you want to label them, and I’ve shaken my head as they are enthralled for hours by the beauty and stunningly frightening realistic graphics of their chosen games. The artwork is mind-blowing and I swear if I could figure out a way to have some of those artists do my covers, I’d be thrilled.
Sorry, got a little sidetracked.
So what’s the appeal of MINECRAFT versus, say Sky Rim or Arkham Asylum or one of those other epic computer games?
As I wove my way home through rain slicked streets this morning, this little revelation set off a chain reaction.
I’m at the dreaded middle section of book 3. You know that part–where you start to wonder if your story is really all that enthralling, are your characters sporting enough dimensions to hold readers, maybe it was fluke I managed to get the other books done? Yeah, that big black hole most writers hit smack dab in the middle of their creations. It sucks. And it means that I’ve struggled the last couple of weeks to keep my story moving forward. Buried under all these doubts, it’s hard to find your way out. So I shut down my Macbook, went to lunch with someone I’m blessed to call friend and critique partner–Snarky Dwarf. Over some luscious Mexican food, she helped me start an escape route.
Funny thing was, as we were digging it hit me–plots don’t have to rival a soap opera labyrinth. Not only will you get lost as you write, but your readers will get tired of trying to find their way and leave. Your plots, no matter how deep they go, should be spawned in simplicity. It’s your characters that should possess all the secret nooks and crannies that make your story shine. Yet, no matter how complex your characters are their underlying motivations have to be just as simple. There are three basic human emotions that tend to help motivate your villain to grandiose heights: jealousy, vengeance, greed. These three also make for some really good reasons on why your hero/heroine is under attack.
So while I may never grace the stage of Iron Chef, I give you the secret ingredient for your writing dish–Simplicity!
What emotions do you use to help motivate your characters?