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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Writing Class » restarting Assignment #1--starting a story (Page 1)

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Author Topic: restarting Assignment #1--starting a story
Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Someone once asked me if any plots are really new. Probably not.
What is new is how you make the plots mean something, how you apply those plots to your own characters, who are different from any one else's, how the story you tell touches the minds, hearts, lives of the people who read it.

Plot is only part of what makes a story, and only one way to get started.

Stories can also start with characters, or ideas (take at least two different ideas and come up with some way they can both be part of the same story), or even settings.

If you start with characters, you ask yourself first of all, what does the character want? Why doesn't he/she have what he/she wants? What does the character do about getting it?

Or, you could ask yourself, if you have decided to start with a contented character, what would cause the most pain to this character? And what would the character do about it?

If you start with a situation or setting, ask yourself who is the character who suffers most from this situation, or who is unhappy in this setting?

If you put two or more ideas together, ask yourself about the characters who would be most interesting and most affecting in working out those ideas.

(It all, really, comes back to characters, you see?)

So pick one of the above places to start, and let's discuss your selection.

(This is a restart, because the original topic had gotten too large with all of the discussion. So this is to let us start the discussion with new stories.)


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LeetahWest
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Ok, here it goes.
The idea is, I believe, a Character driven Mileau.

The Mileau I wish to describe is the world of Spirits who have passed on. What is it that people do there? What does it look like? The differences of being a spirit with no body vs. a mortal with a body. What is the purpose in the Life after Death?

The Characters are, in effect, Satan and his lover. Satan has never been born on Earth so he never had a mortal body. His lover, on the other hand is given a body and her mind is blocked of all previous knowledge of life before mortality when she was allowed life on Earth. So she forgets Satan. She dies at the hands of her husband and when she is back in the spiritual realm Satan wants her as his lover again.


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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Okay, LeetahWest, start asking your questions.

Does she remember her life? Does she remember Satan now that she's dead? What does she want?

Since your description talks about roles, it sounds more like a Character story than a milieu story. What milieu are you exploring anyway?


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LeetahWest
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The milieu is the world of the afterlife. There are so many different ideas out there about what the afterlife is like, I thought I would do my best to make one that seemed a little more tangible than the Pagan imagery that plagues most Christian beliefs.
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WriteRebekah
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Kathleen, I love your opening questions. In my current story I've been fretting about the "what does the character want/what's in the way" approach. It's a relief to see another approach just might possibly maybe perhaps?? be okay.

My MC is happy as a clam (just how happy are clams, anyway??) in her present condition, and if it were up to her, she'd stay put forever. The rest of the world's running amok, though, and of course (because it's fantasy) she's about to find herself at the heart of the drama.

I've sketched out various plot points and characters, but I'm at the point where I need to kick myself in the literary hindquarters and just write. But where to begin? A happy character in a happy home is a very, very unhappy place to begin a story! -help please? The only pain I can conceive of for her now is, I suppose, the idea of losing this perfect setup. But is it kosher to start with a happy happy girl?


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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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LeetahWest, okay, I can see how you're doing a milieu story. It isn't unusual to start with one kind of story (milieu) and then do another kind of story as you go along (in your case, character--with the role of Satan's lover question).

Again, you can develop your plot by asking questions. Some more good ones (besides the ones I suggested above) include what the character would do, and what would go wrong when she does it, so what does she try next?


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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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WriteRebekah, when things are going well for a character, there are a couple of ways to start your story for them.

1--have something go very wrong in their happy life (in a Character story, you'd have them suddenly have to do something entirely outside of their comfort zone, but they would do it because of who they are)

2--have something happen elsewhere that convinces the character to become involved (in an Event story, things can be going wrong all over the place, but the story doesn't start until the main character decides to do something about it)

I hope this helps. What would really touch your character and give HER the kick that she needs to get going?


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LeetahWest
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This assignment has helped me a ton. I think I am finally ready for #2! Thanks so much Kathleen.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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I'm happy to be of assistance, LeetahWest.
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RyanRussellLunde
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Rebekah, The story I am working on "Xander" fits into the same category as your "content" character within this discussion.
Specifically #2 of Kathleen's "content" character type story plots.

You had asked for advice earlier on how to start your "content" character story. Explaining how I did mine is the best I can do.

One summary I wrote of my story went something like this: Xander is content with his life as a crop farmer's son until his world is turned upside down when his family is separated by war. He embarks on a quest to reunite his family and discovers that his place in the war is more important than he could ever imagine.

I had struggled with how to make the opening scene "exciting". I wanted to show Xander with his happy family in his happy home to contrast with the devastation that would follow when his village is unexpectedly attacked and also set the ground for character introduction. It seemed boring to me though, the "leave it to beaver" sensation made me nauseous. Even with witty humor, interesting personalities and family quirks that people can relate to (all that self proclaimed possibly erroneously), it still felt dry.

I'm sure an expert writer could make it interesting enough, but my solution was to add a short prologue that tells the reader that the antagonist is searching for Xander. My hope is that while the reader is learning about this happy family that threatens to bore them to death, in the back of the reader's mind there is tension building because they are wondering when the character from the prologue is going to ruin the day.

I'm not saying it's the only way to do it or the best way. It's just one of the ways and might give you a little insight. Create something that indirectly looms over the happy story ready to make it sad at any moment.

[This message has been edited by RyanRussellLunde (edited October 10, 2011).]


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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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SuziQ
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I have a question - I hope this is the right place to ask it.

What is the best approach when you are working with a multiple storyline situation where there is basically an ensemble cast? Do you need to pick a main story to tell? What's the best way to start the story - from one of the storylines or the event/situation that ties all the storylines together? The story I'm writing is very heavy character development but there is a single "event" that ties everyone together sooner or later.

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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SuziQ, my first thought is to recommend that you do at least a rough draft of each of the various characters' stories, and then see how you want to organize them.

Another thing that could help, might be a kind of storyboard outline, like the things they do for movies. Make a little "sticky note" for each scene of each of the characters' stories and put them all up on a big board (or wall) and move them around until you like the way they are organized. Then write up the scenes.

I like to point out that you don't have to write a story in the order in which it will be read, just as they don't always make movies in the order in which they will be viewed. You can write the parts that interest you most (and carry your interest over into the writing), and then write the next parts that interest you, and so on.

Once you've got as much of it written as you feel you need, in order to organize it, then you could start moving stuff around to see what works best.

So now I've offered three approaches. You are the one who knows your story the best, so only you know which one will really work for your story.

There is no "rule" that says which you have to do, and no reason you couldn't do all three if it helps you.

But I do recommend that you write what is itching at you to be written first, whichever approach you end up taking. You can always make changes in the rewrite.

I hope this helps.

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SuziQ
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Kathleen, that's actually a big help. I think the whole storyboard idea is wonderful. I am very character oriented and find that trying to "write the plot" at the start has kinda sapped my passion for the characters. There is so much going on that it's overwhelming and I let that really just sideline me from writing - so I will try just letting the bits write easily and then worry about the whole tying together of the story.

I appreciate the feedback.

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Thank you, SuziQ. It's nice to know I was able to be of some help to you.

Write on!

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debraj
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My story is about a vampire who has survived a purge of not fully human beings. The deal is she has to do the work she is assigned and she assigned as a police officer. She cannot have more than 3 slips. Slips = biting a human. She has slipped twice. She is on her 89th day. She is not wanted on the force.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Okay, I'd like to ask some questions, if I may (one of OSC's recommended ways to develop stories, by the way).

1--why did she survive? because she has agreed to do assigned work? and what was the purge like? since she's assigned work and she has a "three-strikes-you're-out" hanging over her, then everyone (or at least the ones in charge) must know who/what she is--again, why did they let her survive?

2--why police work (usually considered a position of trust)? (no wonder she isn't wanted on the force) isn't this like asking a druggie to work on the narcotics squad?

3--what happens after the 3rd slip? how does she deal with the temptation to slip? if everyone else like her is dead, why would she want to keep living?

So, you have a situation and some conflict here, but aside from the possible goal of wanting to avoid whatever happens with that 3rd slip, it doesn't seem that you have any desperate wants or needs for this character.

4--so why should the reader care?

These questions aren't intended to tear your story down, but to let you know what I, as a reader, am thinking as I read your story description.

They are also intended to help you think about what you've shared so far, and if you haven't got answers yet, to encourage you to think about what the answers need to be that might make the reader care about this character.

I hope this helps.

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debraj
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I was thinking that she survived originally because people were horrified by the purge which was a "witch hunt" and burning. I have reconsidered her being on a third strike and using that as a rule. Maybe one slip when she was a teen. But always being watched. Forgiven due to her age. Next one she goes.I hadn't thought of police as job of trust. Will need to think about that more. But I was sure her speed/strength would help. will give it more thought. #3 - the only answer I have is to part one -she would be exiled to the waste - a badland where she likely would not survive. I hadn't thought about why she would want to go on, or if she really does. But I can see that would have a lot to do with her attitude/behavior. Wow! There's a lot more to think about here. Thank you. I will work on this more and try again.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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If she only survived by accident (where she really didn't do anything, she just happened to live until people stopped the purge themselves), then you could afflict her with what's called "survivor guilt" (a kind of reverse "why me?" that can really burden some people).

Maybe instead of having her be a police officer, have her be a kind of two-legged police "dog" or hunter, with a "handler" who really doesn't want to work with her, doesn't trust her, and resents and fears her speed and strength.

That way she doesn't have the authority or the position of trust a real police officer would have, but she would still be doing a kind of police work. And the part about her being not wanted would make sense. (And you could build some interesting dynamics in her relationship with her "handler.")

Of course, you'd need to figure out how her "handler" controls her--what kind of hold, besides the three-strikes thing (after all, the handler doesn't want to be the victim of her "third strike," right?) her "handler" has over her. I don't know if you want to go with something like a crucifix or holy water, though. Maybe an ultraviolet light projector (flashlight kind of thing, or laser pointer?) would work, or a mild taser, perhaps. Or something to do with how they purged the vampires in the first place. I guess it depends on whether you want to go with vampire mythology or not.

More to think about anyway.

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debraj
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I feel better about where I want to take this. I realized through the first feedback that she would have to be a tool for the police and not a full fledged officer. That seemed a better way to go and might give her something to want in the end.

I think that might change the lead to her handler. Does that make more sense? Not sure here.

I am rethinking the vampire portion of it, but still want her to be supernatural. But I really like the idea of an ultra violet light taser.

Thanks again. I am still trying to find the best storyline here.

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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By "lead" I guess you mean the protagonist? The best protagonists are the ones with the strongest motivation, the ones who suffer most from the situation, the ones who have the most to lose or the greatest desire.

I think that is still your supernatural tool. What could the handler lose or want or be motivated by that would be stronger than what she wants?

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debraj
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Okay. I didn't want to have to change the protagonist. The supe/tool does suffer most she has few rights and little freedom. Thank you
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Progonoskis
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Howdy. Just got to this collection of posts.

SO, unrelated but totally related question:

IF I share a story idea here, do I have any protection that someone else will not take it and run with it?

I don't mean to sound greedy or overly confident in my idea; on the other hand, I do have faith that this is a really neat concept and I would like to be able to work on it without worrying about the v e r y l o n g t i m e it takes me to finish stuff.

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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I completely understand your concern, but there are no real protections for ideas.

Copyright applies to what you've actually written in story form and not to ideas. One of the main reasons for that is proven here on the Hatrack River Writers Workshop forum time and time again when someone starts a Writing Challenge and gives people an idea (or even a combination of ideas) to write on.

Invariably, every single story is unique. Ideas are all over the place. The writing is what makes them copyrightable.

Also, one idea is not enough for most short stories anyway. You have to have at least two ideas, and more, if your story is complicated.

And everyone is going to put together different ideas with the one someone suggests or tells about or mentions. So even if you told all of us your idea, and we all decided to write something from that idea, we'd still add our own ideas to it and our own characters and our own settings and our own themes, and the result would not look very much like your idea at all.

Jane Yolen gave an entire Guest of Honor speech at a convention on this topic, and one of her main points was that concern over protecting ideas implies that ideas are the hard part of story writing. And that's another reason for copyright protection for writing and not for ideas. The writing is the hard part. The ideas are easy.

So, I hope this helps.

If not, there is still the fact that if you post an idea here on the forum, plenty of people will see it and be able to testify (if you really need them to) that you posted the idea here first.

I really don't think you need to worry though. Real writers have so many of their own ideas to work on that they're not likely to steal anyone else's, and even if they do, the writing won't be the same. Most writers don't have time to write up all the ideas they already have anyway.

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Adam Lorton
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In the story I want to write I'm showing the point of view of multiple characters that are on two opposing sides. on one side, there is the humanoid race called the Hylarks, and on the other side the humans. In this story it is the Hylarks world and to them humans are just a myth a scary bedtime story.

I have three characters from both sides that I want as permanent characters and characters that I've made that die and when they die a new character that was affected by the other characters death in such a way that it causes them to move the story forward. Some of those dead characters will even lead to a permanent characters point of view.

Do you understand what I'm trying to do with this? Have I made too many characters to work with?

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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How long do you plan for the story to be, Adam?

Think about some of the books you've liked that have had lots of characters (if you've liked any, that is). How many characters do they have and how long does the story have to be to give them all a fair amount of coverage and development in the story?

Consider LORD OF THE RINGS, for example. Four hobbits, a wizard, a dwarf, an elf, a returning king, and a nasty little former hobbit. Nine characters, plus some other strong and well-developed supporting characters, and they needed three books-worth of wordage to get all their stories in.

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Progonoskis
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Thanks, Kathleen. A little belated, but anyway. Good info. -Progo
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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posting so this topic will be visible
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Jed Anderson
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Kathleen, I have a question for you: what do you do when you have the character/s figured out, the plot figured out, you know how it ends, but you don't know how to get there?
I've been stuck with this question off and on for almost two years in a story that I always seem to come back to.

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History
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I actually like this situation, Jed.

If you have a preconceived plot and ending, then you have a general idea where your characters are going and what conflict(s) they will face and overcome to achieve their goal(s). You may find, however, your characters may know this far better than yourself. The best thing to do in this situation, in my humble opinion, is just start writing and see where your characters take you and who they meet, etc. Give your subconcscious free rein.

My experience, especially when I first started writing long ago, was that I was a "middle man." I was certain I had the beginning and the ending of a story all figured out, but I felt my best writing occurred in the story's middle where I just wrote without preconceptions and ended up reworking the beginning and ending to bring them in line with the middle.

Give it a try.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Dr. Bob/History has a good approach to try, Jed Anderson. Just remember that the first draft is not the final draft. You are going to be rewriting it no matter what, so just let it reel out of your brain as needed.

Another thing I like to recommend is to not worry about writing the story in the order in which it will be read. They don't necessarily make movies that way, and you don't need to write stories that way.

So ask yourself what is the most vivid and exciting part of the story for you as a writer RIGHT NOW? Go ahead and write that part first. Then write the next part that you can imagine and that you're excited about. And keep going that way.

When you've written as much as you can in that manner, jumping back and forth through the story as you are inspired to do, go through it all in the correct order, and see what you need to insert, if anything, to get from each part to the next part you've written.

And write those connecting parts as needed.

And then get ready for the rewrite, because there will always be at least one of those.

Hope this helps.

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Jed Anderson
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I'll take this advice and give it a shot.

Thanks

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Awesome Amy
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I have been working on a two-part story for a few years. I keep getting stuck becasue I can't decide if I need to finish the first one first or not.

Basically it is about a princess and prince from neighboring countries. They start out as nothing special but become the heroes of both nations during an invasion from another country.

The second part is several years later. A young woman, possibly another princess, has heard the stories and idolizes the first woman. But when she finally meets her she is disappointed. Eventually she learns that there is more to life than battles and glory.

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Well, on the one hand, it's better to at least get something finished, or you'll end up with a lot of starts and not much else.

On the other hand, it's harder to write something if you're not all that excited about it, or at least, not as excited about it as you are about something else you want to write.

So, I'd recommend asking yourself which story you're most excited about right now. If the second story is more exciting to you right now, finish it first.

Then finish the first story.

Just remember that when you finish, all you really have is a first draft, and that you probably should do at least one rewrite before you let anyone else see it.

But get the first drafts done in whatever order you decide to do them. Otherwise, you don't have anything to rewrite or to show others.

I hope that helps.

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Catherine Collingwood
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So I have a some characters and an idea, and I can't figure out if this is a character story or an idea story.

Three characters: #1 is a 25-year-old recently relocated to the area for a fresh start, with a vague idea of going back to school. She finds a job with a public adjuster company. #2 and #3 run the company as a partnership. One is mid- to late thirties and thinks he's God's gift to women, with some success, but is actually very lonely. The other is a family man in his mid-forties who's resorted to criminal activity (insurance fraud) to pay bills for his disabled daughter.

The idea I'm mixing in here is something I ran into in a class: one of the telltale indicators of life insurance fraud is when the decedent's blood type doesn't match the blood type captured during the physical exam for policy issuance. But it's possible (albeit rare) for people to either change blood types or have two blood types. Thing is, when it's little person vs. big insurance company, that's not always easy to fight.

How can I even start here? As of yet I haven't even managed to figure out the inciting incident.

Don't worry about the technical insurance details here; I'm able to handle that. I'm looking for the *story*. Help?

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Have you ever listened to or attended one of OSC's 1000 Ideas in an Hour sessions?

I ask because the way he handles them is to get you to keep asking questions, and to toss out the first or second (or even third) answers you come up with to those questions.

Some of the questions are things like

What could go wrong? (this question is one you can keep asking as you develop the plot--if something goes wrong, what does the character do about it? and then what goes wrong with that? and so on and so on)

Who will suffer the most from the situation? (that actually comes from SF/F author James Blish who asserted that the character who suffers the most from a situation is the character the story should really be about -- because that character's struggles will be the most interesting)

What does the character struggle with besides what's in your already developed idea--what are the character's deep, dark secrets?

What does the character really want?

What does the character do to get what she or he really wants?

What could go wrong with such an attempt (see above)?

Try asking some of these questions, not only to get deeper into a story, but to get deeper into the characters.

And don't settle for the first ideas that come to mind--everyone probably will think of those--find something else, something more original and interesting, and go with that.

You are welcome to do that here, if you like, or, you can create a topic for brainstorming your idea in the Open Discussions about Writing area or the Fragments and Feedback area that is most relevant to how long you think this story will be.

I hope that helps.

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Julz
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Kathleen,
You have my respect. I've been perusing some of the discussions here on the Hatrack site and sincerely appreciate the real consideration and thought you put into responses to readers. From what I've read you have our best interests in mind in terms of encouraging some great thoughts and ideas to help them grow and flourish. What a priceless gift. I've had few editors that took the time to do this. Of course, re-reading your writing once it's been through copy, city and managing editors helps you see where they've "helped" your story along and aides your growth as a writer. But I value the way you help writers to think for themselves. It's incredible to have this kind of encouragement from a knowledgeable writer. I've had a few friends ask me to edit their work and offer feedback and your approach here puts it in an all new, refreshing light. Thank you for your willingness to help so many stories along. It makes me look forward to joining these forums when I begin writing in earnest. I esp. appreciated the note about OSC's 1000 ideas in an hour. If you could point me in the right direction to access that resource, I'd really appreciate it!
Thanks again.

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Oh, wow, Julz, you are going to make me cry.

Thank you so much for your kind words.

I wish I could point you to a publication of OSC's 1000 ideas in an hour, but so far as I know, he hasn't done that. Probably because they are basically spontaneous discussions conducted in person with a large group, and how could someone publish something like that?

His two books on writing, CHARACTER AND VIEWPOINT, and HOW TO WRITE SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY will give you a lot of what he tries to teach in those sessions, but that's all I know about.

He also has his own "writing lessons" on this website with a bunch of little discusions you may want to read:

http://www.hatrack.com/writingclass/index.shtml

The one on beginnings (near the bottom of the list) can give you an idea of how he develops ideas into story and shares some aspects with the 1000 ideas in an hour sessions.

I hope that helps.

And thank you again for your lovely, kind words.

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Reziac
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quote:
Originally posted by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury:
If you start with characters, you ask yourself first of all, what does the character want? Why doesn't he/she have what he/she wants? What does the character do about getting it?

I started with a character who was completely busted. Then I backtracked to figure out how that happened, and let him bumble along for a while until a direction appeared.

It occurs to me that my MC doesn't actually "want" anything other than to be himself. I need to speak to him about his lack of motivation in life. He'll probably tell me to butt out and leave him alone!

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extrinsic
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quote:
Originally posted by Reziac:
I started with a character who was completely busted. Then I backtracked to figure out how that happened, and let him bumble along for a while until a direction appeared.

It occurs to me that my MC doesn't actually "want" anything other than to be himself. I need to speak to him about his lack of motivation in life. He'll probably tell me to butt out and leave him alone!

External complusions to change are dramatic problems for a character who's blissfully content as he is, regardless of hardship, misery, a loose cannon affecting his community, whatever. And are opposed by wanting not to change. The bases for a dramatic complication are there in the compulsions and resistance to change. Three compulsions to act before taking action are a mainstay of folk narratives and, coincidentally, narratives in general. And three refusals prior to taking action.

A challenge might be developing a tangible dramatic complication to coincide with the intangible one of not wanting to change, though. Theme-wise, a tangible want or problem wanting satisfaction that parallels not wanting to change might be a compelling want for a material gain, like money, fame, or more influence upon his destiny. Seeking one or all of those might show him he's got to change his mind about wanting to be left alone.

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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One of the forms that OSC's "Character" type of story takes is that of a character in a role that he is happy with, but who is forced out of that role (his "comfort zone") by something, and the story is about how he either gets back "home" or how he learns and grows into whatever new role he has had thrust upon him.
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Reziac
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quote:
Originally posted by extrinsic:
External complusions to change are dramatic problems for a character who's blissfully content as he is, regardless of hardship, misery, a loose cannon affecting his community, whatever. And are opposed by wanting not to change. The bases for a dramatic complication are there in the compulsions and resistance to change. Three compulsions to act before taking action are a mainstay of folk narratives and, coincidentally, narratives in general. And three refusals prior to taking action.

If Terrible Things hadn't happened to him, he'd have continued ambling along with no real direction until he got himself killed. ("...but there are no old bold pilots.")

The Terrible Things interrupted his life so thoroughly that he couldn't go back, and he didn't know how or where to go forward either. And yeah, it took him several duckings and dodgings to discover that life went better when he seized it rather than letting it seize him. Which also got him into trouble, but of a different sort. Eventually he figured it out, tho, and I could lay off chasing him with a broomstick. [Big Grin]

I hadn't thought of it in terms of folklore, tho, or kept count. [Smile]

quote:
Originally posted by extrinsic:]
A challenge might be developing a tangible dramatic complication to coincide with the intangible one of not wanting to change, though. Theme-wise, a tangible want or problem wanting satisfaction that parallels not wanting to change might be a compelling want for a material gain, like money, fame, or more influence upon his destiny. Seeking one or all of those might show him he's got to change his mind about wanting to be left alone.

Yeah, as things progressed and he found himself repeatedly thrust to the top of the socio-political heap, he discovered that's where he belonged. When the final 'thrust' happens, he's ready to accept it. I suppose the whole thing might be one-lined as a 'rocky journey of self-discovery'.... one might say he gets the most of what he really wants (being left alone to be himself) when he accepts who he is.

Or, kinda what KDW just said. [Big Grin]

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arriki
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I'm working on a snowball kind of story. Everybody seems to be happy and going their own way. Then a minor character discovers something hidden long ago. He reveals it to a main character and starts a little snowball rolling down hill picking up momentum and mass along the way until it's a veritable avalanche, threatening everybody.

Of course, there are humans involved but they appear secondary to the humanoid aliens who wind up fighting for (not WITH the humans) their own survival.

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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So this story is what, an event story? (the status quo is changed and the characters need to try to re-establish it, or create a new status quo), or an idea story? (the characters need to figure out what this hidden something means and what to do about it)?

It doesn't sound like a character or milieu story, so which of the other two do you think it is?

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arriki
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Hmmm...I vote for the latter. They are trying to figure out what to do about the threat to their entire species.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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If it's an idea story, the resolution comes when they've figured things out (solved the "mystery" so to speak).

If they have to do more than that, it may really be an event story. The resolution to event stories usually comes when they have neutralized the threat (and restored the/a status quo).

Have I explained the difference understandably?

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arriki
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They figure some things out in book one (the idea story or is it merely set up?). In book two, they take action but the problem only deepens (an event story?). Book three is when all hell breaks loose. They take greater action and the problem is finally resolved (definitely an event story).

Or so I believe.

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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So will there be any kind of resolution at the end of books one and two, or will they have cliff-hanger endings?
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arriki
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I want there to be endings but I can't figure out how with the big story arc unresolved. In each, a major story arc gets resolved but the big one -- saving everyone -- doesn't until book three.

I do not want cliff-hanger endings. It will be so-o-o hard to sell or even show to agents a book one like that.

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