Author Anne Bustard spoke about revisions at our January monthly meeting. She offered three questions we can ask that will help us clarify who our characters are and what our story is about. If we focus on these questions during revisions, we can take our work-in-progress to a higher level.
Question 1: What does my protagonist want?
Anne said the reader should understand from the beginning what your protagonist wants. When you're clear about it, you can then more easily show what's at stake. Which in turns keeps the reader engaged because they want to find out if the protagonist will get what she wants.
If you don't know what your character wants she suggested a few ways to find out. You can brainstorm, have your character write a letter, reread your manuscript, or work on the original three questions Anne discussed at the meeting. Along the way you'll find your answer.
Question 2: What is my protagonist's controlling belief?
The decisions they make, the way they respond to things, and the way they live their life will be determined by their controlling belief. What pushes your character into action or is the reason for their inaction? What would be their motto in life?
Question 3: What question is this story answering?
When considering this, keep in mind that it should be universal, something we can all relate to.
Thank you Anne for your suggestions on how to focus our efforts during revisions so we can strengthen our writing!