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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Process of Writing: Part 13

Now we come to opposition. What would a story be without a healthy dose of opposition?  boring.

Now that your protagonist knows what he desires and the problem has been introduced, the opposition must come into the story to hinder the hero's progress. Enter Darth Vader.

To be a true opponent, the antagonist – the opponent – must want the same thing or desire as your protagonist. This is vital because it sets up the foundation for the conflict.

Think Star Wars  again, Both Luke and Vader desire the same thing, a mixture of control, power, and revenge. – Remember, desire is a bad thing in the end.

There are three levels of opposition:

1.    Small – At this level of opposition the protagonist, the good guy, is competing with the antagonist, the bad guy, for an object.

·       Again let’s look at Star Wars. In the beginning of the story Luke and Darth Vader are competing for possession of the two droids, C3PO and R2D2. 

2.    Intermediate – This is the level of competition where the protagonist and the antagonist compete for power over a particular place or person.

·         We see this level of struggle represented next in that Luke competes with Vader for the person of Princess Leah.

3.    Superior – This is the third and final level. At this stage the hero is pitched against the villain for whose way of life will ultimately dominate as the rule.

·         For this example think about the ending of Star Wars as the dreaded Death Star is closing in on the planet where the rebel base lay hidden. On the bridge of the ship, Darth Vader and his crew gloat in preparation of the final destruction of the rebel alliance and extending the empire’s rule throughout the known galaxy. Contrast this against, Luke and the rag-tag band of fliers as they prepare to fight to free that same set of people to live in freedom.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Process of Writing: Part 12

Last time we talked about the concept of the Problem/Need of your protagonist: the good guy. This time we will focus on the Desire.

Ask yourself what exactly is desire? In this discussion let’s define desire as an intense longing for, a deep craving that pushes or pulls your character through the lines of your manuscript.

The Desire is the particular goal of the protagonist in the story. It is what your hero wants outside of his or herself. In the best manuscripts this desire is often discovered in the end to be bad.  As writers, we must keep in focus while developing the story, that it is the protagonist’s need, solving the problem, which is truly necessary to be fulfilled or satisfied and not the desire.

Consider the character of Luke Skywalker of Star Wars fame. His driving desire was to get revenge on the Empire for having killed his aunt and uncle and before that the death of his father. But as the story and the trilogy are developed we discover along with Luke that his true Need/Problem was the redemption of his father and the discovery and protection of his long lost sister.

In my novel N.H.I.: No Humans Involved, my protagonist, Nate Richards’ problem is to solve the new series of murders, but his desire is to impress his command and become a new hotshot investigator.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Process of Writing: Part 11

If you have ever had a serious class or have been a serious student of screen writing, then you have undoubtedly heard of John Truby. So far we have discussed character development and introduced the concept of plot. Let’s today, look at story structure done the Truby way.

Truby introduced 22 steps to creating a great story. we will look at these over the next few post. Today let’s look at step one: Self-Revelation – Need and Desire. As the author you have to establish the protagonist’s need. What is missing within your main character?

The need becomes the real source or the core of the story. In the best storylines the need is of a moral nature. This translates into your character, of necessity, needing to act improperly at the beginning of the story to establish the need.

The Need is what the protagonist must have in order to gain a better life. In contrast the desire is what the protagonist wants. The protagonist must be aware of the problem, but not of his need. Because the need is the source of the story, the writer must be aware of and never lose sight of this.   

In my novel N.H.I.: No Humans Involved, Nate Richards’ problem is to solve the new series of murders, but his need, which he is blind to, is to rediscover his faith.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Process of Writing: Part 10

I hope you’ve enjoyed our guest bloggers, Donna Fletcher Crow and Val Gray. I’m sure you were helped and much enjoyed the information they shared.

But now it’s back to how to get ‘er done…that is ideas from me on the Ray way of writing.  Let’s talk plot.

When you hear the word plot what thought comes to mind? How the story moves? That thing that makes you want to turn the next page? Or just how everything will work together? All of this is true of course. For purposes of this discussion lets define plot as a plan or a strategy to move your story and the reader from page one to page the end.

It’s also a good idea to keep the reader interested, not so much to keep them happy. What you want from your reader is emotion and in most cases anger works just as well as happiness; sometimes better, but I digress.

Attached is worksheet I received from one of the many mentors that have helped me along this journey. I hope you’ll find it both interesting and useful.

The way to do this is to compare your proposed novel to one you know and love, but that is similar to the one you are creating. Then just fill in the blanks.

Bringing the Plot Alive!

Notes based on a study of novel ______________ 
By: ______________
Number of pages ____ for ______chapters.

1.    In the opening lines, how did the author arouse my interest and curiosity? 

2.    On which page-how far into the action- is each character introduced?  

3.    How is each character introduced? 

4.    Is something said about one character by another-something derogatory, perhaps?

5.    Where do flashbacks occur and what purpose do they serve? 

6.    How are flashbacks introduced? 

7.    What subplots are there and how are they resolved?  

8.    Where does the middle crisis of the story occur and how is the major problem solved? 

9.    How many pages does it take after the main climax for all things to be solved and all things are revealed? 

10. In the final chapter, how does the author leave me?