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Camp Care Package #3: Remember that “stuck” can mean different things...

Author Jennifer Ziegler is your Camp Counselor this week. Find all Camp Care Packages in Breaking News throughout the month of April, or learn more about Camp NaNoWriMo!

1) Remember that "stuck" can mean different things: 

Stumbles always happen. Remember that “stuck” can mean different things. Maybe you don’t know what will happen next. Maybe you do, but it feels wrong. Maybe you lost that emotional fervor. Pinpoint the problem and then prescribe the fix. If structure isn’t holding together, stop and organize your content with an outline. Sometimes that wide view of your story will show you where you went wrong. If things just feel wrong or thin, perhaps you need to spend time getting to know your character or thinking on theme. The important thing is to be honest with yourself when you assess. 

Writing Dare: Write a scene where your character gets "stuck." Maybe they're stuck in the mud, or stuck in a room with a character they despise. What happens? How do they get out? 

2) Get to know your characters:

Sometimes a story peters out or loses pull because you don’t understand your character. Remember: Characters drive the story, not you. Everything they do should be based on what they want. And what they want is based in who they are and what they’ve been through in life. Take the time to figure them out. You need to know more about your characters than will end up on the page -- more than they know themselves.

Writing Dare: Let your character shout their desires from the rooftops! Write a diary entry for them where they confess their deepest wishes and dreams. Go big! These could be things they'd never admit to anyone else, or things they never even realized they wanted before they started writing.

author photo

Jennifer Ziegler is an author of quirky, contemporary middle grade and young adult fiction, including such titles as How Not to Be Popular, Sass and Serendipity, and Revenge of the Flower Girls. Her books have been featured on the Lone Star List, the International Reading Association’s Young Adults Choice list, recommended on NPR’s “Tell Me More,” and optioned for film. Jennifer serves on the faculty of Vermont College of Fine Arts’ MFA program on Writing for Children and Young Adults.

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