… and the main character comes to a realization of what he/she must do to move forward. It’s called the epiphany. In movies we have all the special effects and scenery in the world to keep them interesting. The main character might be on a mountaintop thinking. Or off in a canoe. Or swinging on a porch swing. Or walking through the desert with a droid. And then there’s the amazing John Williams score in the background. You know what I’m talking about.
But we don’t have that luxury in books. We have to fill in that time. Nor can we simply allude to it. We have to deliberate and reach a verdict. And for middle grade readers, we can’t afford too much navel gazing. We don’t want to to lose them.
Darcy Pattison has this helpful post on epiphanies:
I’m working on the epiphany of a character-driven middle grade novel right now. And I’ve got three chapters of self-talk, dialog, rumination – some different settings, but talk nonetheless.
How do I let the reader know what my MC has learned?
So how do you do it? How do you gussy up a character-driven, middle grade epiphany? Even THAT sounds boring. What do you do to keep it interesting?
- Make it funny?
- Intersperse action?
- Use the “Pope in the pool” technique from Save the Cat?
- Keep the tension high? If so, how?
I don’t want to water it down or make it longer. So, maybe it needs less gussying and more trimming.
- Maybe there’s more I can do with inference.
- Maybe I’m explicitly stating too much.
What are the best character-driven middle grade epiphanies you’ve read? How were they achieved?
Middle grade writers, HELP!