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What the hell do you want now? Inspirational writing 3 of 10

Wanter’s Blog, desire date 130315:23

So we have all these people in your story. Do they all just sit and watch tv all day? Sit in a coffee shop and stare at their phones or laptops?

NO, all these people want something. Something big, a story worth writing about often involves someone’s life work or life goal. And chances are the story/ book/ movie is about what each of them want and what they’re willing to do about it, or the consequences of not doing something. Or likely you’ll show how people screw things up.

A well crafted story will combine steps 1 & 2. An introduction of a character will instantly start piling a list of things they want or have to do (by the end of the story). Certain action figure/ video game/ comic book driven stories often pile on all the good guys and bad guys in rapid succession, which I think is hack. You can tell they‘re trying to get as many action figures out of it as they can.

Each person should get more time to develop than a parade of 1) hey, I wanna get laid, 2) hey, I’m the tough guy who’s going to kick ass for our cause, 3) hey, I’m the sarcastic sidekick, 4) hey, I’m the girlfriend of the protagonist and mother of the group. Yeah, these are overused story elements, the better writer can turn these elements on their ass and make something no one has seen before. Yes, we know now the girlfriend kicks ass and the guys are shlubby wimps. You know people who defy movie/ tv stereotypes, use them!

This is the part of the story where the leading male/ female sings the ballad of how they have to save their country, but they also want crazy sex and if there were only someone out there that can help with both.

Sometimes it’s not all about the big goals. There was an episode of Community based on the group looking for a purple gel pen, and 1 person (Annie) basically holding everyone hostage til she gets her favorite thing back. But out of it came a lot of discussion and revelations from the group.

A good story can have people on the same “side” that want things that conflict with each other. A lot of times it comes in the form of a competition, or someone has to get the 1 promotion. Tickets are selling fast for a show and who can get a pair?

Sometimes the need is an accident that disturbs our character’s every day life. There’s an earthquake. A couple is having problems, the wife gets on a plane and then it’s hijacked.

And chances are a protagonist will even be content with the way things are (at a “low“ level). This thing that happens disturbs that and they have no choice but to act. Many characters have their caretakers actually killed or living area literally wiped out. They have nowhere else to go. They have no family left. The crew is enjoying their snacks when they get dispatched to an emergency call. You and all your friends get fired instead of laid off so the bought out company wouldn’t be responsible for your unemployment.

The real trick is to not broadcast the ending by the character’s need. We know the single guy starring with Drew Barrymore is going to wind up with her at the end. We know the poor guy will get a job and money. We know the team that can’t get a win will take the championship. The trick is to make the goal interesting enough to hang in there, but there may be an unexpected result. A whodunnit is only good when you can’t figure it out in the first 20 minutes.

Okay, so now what do we do, team leader?

 

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2013/03/15 - Posted by | Writing course in 10 sessions | , , , , , ,

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