Tuesday, June 21, 2016

June Mentor Text Check in and Challenge: Conflict

By Kirsti Call

Have you ever felt like the resolution to a story came too easily?  We love to see our characters struggle to get what they want.  Without the tension or conflict, the story feels flat, unsatisfying and unresolved.

Here's the June Mentor Text Challenge:  Read at least 3 of your favorite character driven picture books, notice the conflict and ask yourself these questions:

1. How many failures does the MC suffer through?
2. How does each failure help the MC change or try other solutions?
3. How does the conflict lead to a satisfying resolution?

Now read your manuscripts and ask yourself the same questions:

1. How many failures does the MC suffer through?
2. How does each failure help the MC change or try other solutions?
3. How does the conflict lead to a satisfying resolution?

There are so many incredible character driven books that use conflict to make the story resonate with us.  Let's use them to help us write the very best conflict that we can!

What books do you recommend as stellar mentor texts for conflict?





14 comments:

  1. Excellent post Kirsti! Especially since I have read numerous PB's this month. Great questions to consider while editing.

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    1. Thanks Traci! I'm going to try to use these questions too :)

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  2. I love this idea Kirsti. Thank you for the challenge.

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  3. Ah, a breath of fresh air in my email inbox! Thanks for posting this. I've been missing my picture book research. I just received 2 separate pieces of feedback on one of my manuscripts, and I can already see how to answer these questions. Thank you!

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    1. Yay Angie! I'm happy these questions are helpful!

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  4. Ooh, what a great post, Kirsti! I will take the June challenge!

    The first mentor text that popped into my mind is Brave Irene by William Steig. It's an oldie and quite long by today's standards, BUT Irene's perseverance despite struggles and failures in the snowstorm is truly heroic. When she succeeds in the end it is such a sweet and moving satisfaction.

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    1. Woo hoo! I'm glad you're taking the challenge! I'll have to read Brave Irene. I love William Steig!

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  5. Thank you for this post, Kirsti. I'm keeping those questions beside my computer :)

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    1. Great post and excellent questions to keep in mind while reading and writing PB's. l am Cow, Hear Me Moo, is another example of a book where a MC faces conflict.

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