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:~: Wednesday, June 27, 2007 :~:

Back To Basics

I went to a chapter meeting of my Sister's In Crime group over the weekend. They had a speaker, a screen writer, whose topic was using screen play structure in your novel writing process.

While I didn't get a lot out of the film clips he showed and analyzed, he was a neat guy -- funny and wholly entertaining. And at the very, very end, he said something that hit me like a dart in the middle of my forehead.

He was boiling the writing process down in closing and said, "It's not rocket science. You've got to have the basics in place. You've got to have a bad guy. You've got to have a likable protagonist. That protagonist has to want something substantial. You've got to have someone keeping the protagonist from getting that something..."
I didn't hear anything else after that.

That was what the manuscript I've been attempting to revise is missing. (Well, one of the things it's missing.)

Yeah, I've got a villain. I've got a hero and a heroine with their GMC wound in knots with each other, with the plot and nailed down. I've got internal conflict, external conflict. I've got conflict all over the damn place.

What I don't have is a definite someone standing directly in their path to reaching their goal. It's there, but murky, hidden in the shadows of all the other conflict I've got going on. I needed to beef it up, bring it out, shine a light on it so the biggest obstacle didn't blend in with all the other little ones.

Sometimes, it pays to go back to basics. That's why I never stop learning. No matter what you've learned, all it takes is one person saying the same thing a different way or showing it in another light or just at the right time or in the right language...and you've learned something new, or relearned something valuable.

What are the basics you know so well you sometimes overlook?

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5Comments:

Blogger Linda Winfree said...

Interesing post!

Basics I tend to lose sometimes? The idea that there are two types of conflict: internal/external.

And that those can be broken down into a handful of basics:

1) man vs. self (my hero is his own worst enemy right now)
2) man vs. man
3) man. vs. nature
4) man vs. society
5) man vs. supernatural

I think sometimes if I'd apply all that college English major stuff I learned to my writing, I'd have fewer problems, LOL.

6:30 AM  
Blogger Joan Swan said...

Man vs. self is a very tough one to pull off. You are the perfect writer to tackle that one, Lin! It will be intense, no doubt.

8:55 AM  
Blogger Linda Winfree said...

Thanks for the vote of confidence, J! Right now, he has a little man vs. nature going on, too, LOL.

9:38 AM  
Blogger Joan Swan said...

Never too much conflict!

1:54 PM  
Blogger spyscribbler said...

The things I overlook keep moving around. If I look at them, I forget something else!

What can you do?

4:18 PM  

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