I know this was supposed to go up yesterday; but I have an perfectly reasonable explaination.
I fell asleep.
I know, probably not a good enough explaination for a college professor, but there is a reason I dropped out. Not that I didn’t turn things in on time; I had a baby. Duh…
So, time to sum up the work of somebody else!
Beginnings. They can be fickle. They often catch us up. Many people have a great story running around their heads and can’t get past the word “The” on the first page. They let the cursor sit and blink them into submission.
Our friends at Writing Excuses help us get past the dreaded one word writers block with some good ideas on how to start. First we have to set up expectations and promises of our peice. You have to make a ton at the beginning of the episode and then have to full-fill them all by the end of the peice. If you don’t, you hd better have a sequel in mind or a very good reason it wasn’t fulfilled.
Howard refers to this as “Body Language” and Brandon calls it “Tone Promises.” Prologues or first chapters will accomplish this and it doesn’t HAVE to have a prologue. We like prologues for back story, but I often find them to have too much exposition and not enough story. They feel clunky. But first chapters work wonders.
I tried to write a prologue for my book “Keep Running” for SO LONG and they all felt clunky. So I decided that I wouldn’t. It didn’t need to be explained that my world was in an economic appocalypse, I could do that with tone and description. The key was to give the reader something to latch on to. So, it opens with an assassination. But we never see the assassination take place, all we see is a mansion with dogs, hear gunshots, and then we meet our characters.
That promises my readers that this will be a mystery novel. Mix that with some action hero stuff, and we’ve got a good thriller on our hands. Edge of your seat kind of stuff. If that’s my promise, that this is a thriller, then I have to fulfill other things as well. Car chase, check. Shady weapons deal; check-aroo. And finding out who framed our good protagonist; check.
Now, this brings us to the characters. If I have characters, there must be a development of those characters. A character arc. Non-satisfactory characters have no character arc, the character changes in no significant way.
Then there is the plot, we have to set that up. What’s gonna happen. One particular formula they kept referring back to is the M.I.C.E quotient. and the Hollywood Formula. As I’ve been listening to Season 11, they have referred to both of these principles quite often.
I listened to both of those episodes, linked above, and encourage you to listen to them along with today’s episode, as they help explain what they are talking about in those principles. I’m going to do a couple posts on what I think of those episodes after this one, so stay tuned.
Today, it’s a long one. Luckily, the next episode is a wild card. No worries.
Start writing your story! Write 500 words, focusing on just one of the promises you’ve identified for your story. Then stop, and start writing another 500 words with a different promise. Aaaand then do it a third time.
Yep. 1500 words. A day late.
Oh, I’ve done worse. I’ve tuned in a 6 page paper an hour before the deadline. Done it. No worries. This won’t be a problem. But, I’m going to take my sweet time on it. Because…