Lately, I’ve been thinking about the pivotal idea inside my manuscripts. This isn’t the theme, the elevator pitch or the query letter summary. The heart of the manuscript is fulcrum on which the plot balances.
Many years ago, I had the great fortune to have a manuscript critiqued by the brilliant Audrey Couloumbis. The story was about two boys who got separated and lost in a thick fog.* The protagonist realizes that if his friend had been with him, the experience would have been fun. Audrey pointed out that this was the heart of my story. If the boys were together, they’d be having an adventure, not a scary experience.
Yesterday, as I was revising CBL, I came across the line, “The final confrontation would be between his reality and mine.” This is the heart of my novel. Yes, I need to have action and excitement, but the mind games are even more important. The plot balances on the relative sanities of the characters.
What is the heart of your story?
* The fogs in California are so thick, we could play hide and seek in them.
May. 18, 2013: The Writer's Almanac
3 hours ago