See this thread


John's had too much coffee, so let's talk about stakes, realism, and melodrama in fiction, particularly fiction for kids and teens.

This was empowering advice. Further down the thread is this:


For these sorts of writers, what feels melodramatic while we're writing is going to be compelling and moving to the reader reading. If you're worried your scenes or characters are melodramatic, chances are you NEED to push them farther than you think you should.

Wow. Melodrama isn’t a bad thing. More fundamentally, what appears as melodramatic to me — the author — may not appear quite so over-the-top to the reader.


That drives the current rewrite in a useful direction.

With (now) seven non-fiction books, I’m too used to merely stating the facts. Not portraying those facts in a way that leads to sympathy for the protagonist and a building hatred (or fear or disgust) for the antagonist(s).

I need to make sure the Red Knight’s struggle with vows, secrecy, and justice is a larger, and more apparent problem. And, of course, the Mage’s intention to press forward, burning bridges, and alienating those he’s left behind.

This is a lot of fun: no more wooden practice swords, I can move in for the kill in each chapter.