Grace. “You can’t work or earn your way into it,” says Rick Bass. “It comes to you, unbidden.” But does it, for your protagonist?
This is the allee at The Mount, in Lenox, Massachusetts. Would your character think it’s peaceful? Or terrifyingly empty?
John Irving says that writing a novel is actually searching for victims. Who are the casualties in your story?
A character opens a door … and anything could happen.
Who are your protagonist’s friends? Write about your hero’s relationship with them, and how he might have to stand up to them during the course of your story.
Take a look at your characters. What animal’s characteristics do they display—on the outside, and on the inside?
What is your greatest sorrow? How could you fashion it into a story? Write about how you can find the courage to do that.
The maxim is: Never start with weather. And yet weather exists. What would happen if you changed the weather in a scene? Might it amp up the tension?
Kids and animals are too much competition in scenes … usually. Try writing a scene with your protagonist interacting with either, or both.