The (Emotional) Payoff

Well, as I write, figure stuff out, and do my research, one question comes to mind: Am I writing a plot-driven story, or a character driven story.  Most of the time this seems like a simple choice, but I can’t find there balance between the two.

For the record, plot-driven is when events happen to your main character(s), and the MC(s) react to the the plot.  Genre stories can (not always) be plot-driven.  Melodrama (my fave) is for sure plot-driven–bad things happen to good people.

Conversely, character-driven stories focus on the desire and/or fears of the MC(s)–how the MC(s) react that tells the story. Literary stories are often considered character driven, and many of the the stories are about the character’s journey. The story has an emotional payoff.

Therein lies the problem for me. I like both, but found myself straddling the line between the two in an incomplete way.  What this does mean is looking at my work and revising it to be more character-driven. As always, I got rewriting to do, but I like that when I fell off the wagon, i was able to refresh my POV.

As always, happy creative endeavors.

 

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Nine Stages

For the past few days I’ve been pushing forth the idea of now or never with my writing goals and projects. The time has come to push them forward, because keep dreaming of them being published and/or produced as opposed to getting them completed really isn’t good for me.

So today I’m a starting projects, with goals and deadlines involved. Hopefully by June of 2018 I’ll have completed writing them, and will move them to the next plateau.  I’m listing my goals below to show what I’m thinking and going. I’ll start of small, and keep intensifying the work.

Stage One:

  • First deadline: 11/30/17
  • Choose four of my story ideas.
  • Convert the ideas into premises.
  • Type the story ideas and premises.
  • Begin preliminary research (article, book or two).

Stage Two:

  • Deadline: 12/31/17
  • Main Character notes (identify MCs heart’s desire or greatest fear, wound, or flaw).
  • Add notes from other characters.
  • Do more research (minimum 4 additional resources).
  • Initiate first draft of outline (minimum: ACT One for each project).

Stage Three

  • Deadline: 1/31/18
  • Complete act Two AND Three of outlines.

Stage Four

  • Deadline: 2/28/18
  • Allow 1 Week for outline draft cool downs.
  • Begin writing Act 1 of each screenplay.

Stage Five

  • Deadline: 3/31/18
  • Begin writing Act 2 of each screenplay.

Stage Six

  • Deadline: 4/31/18
  • Begin writing Act 3 of storylines.

Stage Seven

  • Deadline: 5/31/18
  • Cool down period. Go work on something else/distract self.

Stage Eight

  • Deadline: 6/30/18
  • Complete rewrites and then relax. Project done for the moment.

Stage Nine

  • Deadline 7/31/18
  • Look for agent.
  • Send out queries
  • Submit complete projects.
  • Start new projects.

Wish me luck.  Happy creative endeavors.

My Precioussss

I don’t quite nuance that title as well as Gollum does in the Lord of the Rings films, but that was the aim.

As I continue to research, write, and learn, I noticed a lot of my characters are very much blank slates to a point that things happen to them, as opposed to them making things happen.  My characters can and should be active and not passive in their respective worlds.

That said, some of my characters are all inadvertently in melodramas (bad things happen to good people).  For example, in my novel, the MC (main character) is a dancer, but really doesn’t do much—other people cause the trouble. He just happens to be in nearby, and gets dumped on. No fighting back, and barely even a snappy line or insult.

The one time he was active is when he was placed in a situation where he had the option to run or fight. He chose to fight. I LOVED that scene. Totally my fault for the lack of an active role, though.

The MC was too precious to me to be active, OR to have true flaws to address and explore within the story. This is killing my stories from the inside. It plays a part in why I sometimes stall time after time on projects.

Let’s face it, I can procrastinate with the best of them—I’d clean my room before I spent the day writing (my personal flaw).

Ironically, the one melodrama story I worked on, has a very active character doing bad things while struggling to maintain the façade of an upstanding man of the town.  His actions cause problems as opposed to waiting, and he reacted to events. Dude has so many flaws, I was like this is good.  I have to know more (my nosy self).

Perhaps I should view my other stories as melodramas, and then I will dare to break them away from their precious, protected blank slate. I’d like to move forward in writing. A bother has to evolve creatively.

As always, happy creative endeavors, and don’t get stuck like I did.

Sixteen II, or Tell Me How You Really Feel

Yesterday I discussed writing down modes, getting them to a premise state, and wishing to type them up, and revising them. Overnight I thought about a book I was reading, and later heard the author speak, which reinforced the ideas of how emotion can drive a story forward.

So, I have a few more questions to ask of each premise:

  • So, how do these characters feel along this journey they’re going through?
  • Do these emotions change during the course of the journey?
  • What do they evolve (or devolve) into?

For the writing of the novel, the TV script, and the idea I worked on for the blog, feelings weren’t considered as the story progressed. For the novel I know I was mean to my main character, but he was kinda mellow and things happened to him, it felt like the idea was greater than the person going through the experience.

I should be so focused all the darn time, but theres something to be said for having a methodical approach especially when the goal for these stories is for them to evolve from where they currently stand.

So todays assignment is to look over what’s written, and figure out how each character feels about their life and their situation. My theory is that they will have a different or stronger directions. There will also be a moment of clarity where the character better defined.

Happy creative endeavors.

Tuesday Adventures

So research is getting done, some ideas are flowing, and I need to get more organized.  The ultimate goal is always to get the stories completed, and never forgetting that writing is rewriting. Sounds daunting, but at the same time highly rewarding.

I was discussing with peeps how sometimes goofy ideas can be fun AND lead to greater stories. TO be honest, it leads me to something left to center and challenging me to figure out how this particular story works, and how I try and resolve story and character issues.

The good part that I’m learning is that I need to push the ideas further into a more concrete direction (premises). Remembering this will help me do better in the future.

Part of this is about pushing forward, which sometimes feels overwhelming, and staggering. On my part, I simply need and want to do more to my my stories clearer, developed, and putting in the hours to get to that polished point.  It always seems like the goal is miles away, and I have yet to get started, even though I’ve already started.

So today is going to be more like other days to keep writing with a new step, “push myself harder to get to a polished story.”

As always, happy creative endeavors.

When the Pane Shatters

Window pane, of course.  Yesterday consisted of me working on some lines and descriptions for a horror story. It was something to keep the hand and mind occupied-as opposed to buys. Busy to me meant my hand was simply moving, and mind darting all over the paper.

I want to push this further, since I keep getting my focus broken, so these staccato-esque sentences and fragments may help, and it keeps me writing, so I’m in favor of that.  Also I want to know what this is leading to.

On a side note, I was reminded that the fantasy script contained a LOT of horror elements, and this over three episodes was it’s one consistent element. I still need to make clear what the main character’s evolution is going to be.

Part of me says he needs to work better with people, another part says he needs to chill, while another part suggest he needs to close his cases and worry less on others.  More work to do.

Have a good weekend, and happy creative endeavors.

 

Family Affair

After yesterday’s post I let some ideas marinate some more and found myself asking why these characters do what they do. I took it a step further and decided I should do it in two or less sentences.

Dad: He resents the hell outta his family for cramping his free-spirited style and punished them with 100% no contact for years.  Now he wants a second chance.

Mom: Hates feeling vulnerable after hubby dumped her and the kids, and this has lead to eventual toughness, and her second chance with her son. She fears she’s falling back into old patterns, especially when her husband comes back into their lives.

First Son: Embraces his vices (drinking, gambling, affairs) as they serve his narcissism, and thus makes him feel better about himself.  It’s really about what people can do for him.

Second Son: Has had an emotional disconnect with the world, and has a new chance at life, but must find his voice/confidence, or he’ll drag himself and others down. Often spends time peacefully in his thoughts.

I have more ideas for characters, namely the grandparents. The main thing was to get the family in place.

Also this is a sort of fantastical story, however the characters needed to feel real to me, or else they’d simply be passive in the world. The true tension will come from people not events.