Jump to content

Your projects


Recommended Posts

I kinda have a theme, but I wasn't consciously aware of it until I read your post.  Without getting to much into it, here's an example of what's hanging me up.  The lead character was an orphan who was raised in mines by dwarfs and has no idea where he came from.  He encounters a small group of his own people and goes away with them.  He has practical reasons of doing so (the plot pretty much drives him to do so) but on a personal level, he's motivated out of a desire to connect with his roots and find out more about his origins.  This group as a whole, in turn, is searching for a secret meeting place where supposedly dwells what's left of their people.  So the overall theme is finding "home" and belonging.  The central character's arc is complicated by the question of whether he is actually heading home, or leaving it by undertaking this journey.  The real tragedy is that he ends up betraying the group.  He's placed in a situation in which he's forced to do something that he knows is going to forever alienate him from the people that he spent so long searching for.  I can see the betrayal, how it happens, and the fallout from it.  But I don't know why it happens.  I've got to give this character a motivation for betraying his people, and its got to be something relatable to the reader.  We're supposed to sympathize with why he did what he did.  This is where I'm just spinning my wheels.  I don't know how to figure out why he betrays everyone.  I just know he has to because there's no story if he doesn't.  Of course I know that this is for me to figure out.  I'm not asking for suggestions or input.  I'm just confused on what strategy or thought process is supposed to lead me to an idea.  And the more I think about it, the more lost I get.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 239
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

It's funny also to see people saying they write things just for enjoyment. A couple years ago when my parents moved we went into attic to go through crap. I found a box full of old notebooks which bas

I’m about to start a new project, if anyone cares I can post my real-time progress if anyone wants to see my BS in action.

For my actual projects. I really need to replace all the baseboards in the house and paint. But it's hot. That's the project I need to work on.   I started selling these pom pom wreathes for $200 a p

Posted Images

This is a case of putting the plot before the horse, which happens sometimes.

You’ve got all the pieces there, you got a great thematic drive, you just need to find a reason he does this thing.

If he’s the hero, I’d say the betrayal comes as a mistake of some sort. Is he tricked? Is he doing something he thought was right, but backfired?

Dramatically speaking, being caught between one’s adopted people and their true people is a classic trope.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

This is a case of putting the plot before the horse, which happens sometimes.

Might be a really dumb question, but is this also what is known as plot driven?  As opposed to character driven?  I've never been able to fully wrap my head around the difference between plot driven stories and character driven ones. 

Quote

If he’s the hero, I’d say the betrayal comes as a mistake of some sort. Is he tricked? Is he doing something he thought was right, but backfired?

I've got these questions at least somewhat figured out.  For a long while now I've been leaning toward the latter.  He idolized these people, and he feels let down.  He feels that they could, and should, be better than what he is seeing.  His betrayal was his way of trying to force them to take accountability for something that they had done (still don't have a clue what that is).  Kinda like how Wesley Crusher betrayed his friends in the TNG episode The First Duty.  I think I'm going for something like that.  Only the results here are far more devastating.  Or like how Bilbo betrays Thorin by handing the arkenstone over to the elves.  Intensions were good, but still kind of a crummy thing to do, betraying people who'd come to trust you and accept you like family.  I just have to figure out what these people did to warrant that kind of betrayal, and I'm feeling like this involves a huge chunk of the story that I haven't even begun to develop yet.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

Plot driven vs character driven just refers to where the motivation to keep the narrative moving comes from.

Star Wars is plot driven— there’s always a Macguffin or situation leading the characters around. There’s character stuff, but it is triggered by situations contrived by the plot— example, Luke meeting Ben because he chased after R2.

If it were character driven Luke would have told Owen to suck it and gone off to see Ben of his own volition.

There other big difference is the final climax. If it’s an action scene, it’s likely plot driven. If it’s character driven it will be a more emotional confrontation.

If you do a good job, you do both and people in the internet fight over which it is.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 5 months later...

I think I have my story!  Everything just fell into place.  Literally just now.  Everything fell into place like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.  All the pieces were there.  I just could never see how they fit before.  I know how the hook is delivered in the opening "scene."   And the final "scene" compliments it nicely.  I know how and why the betrayal happens.  Tank, that advice on finding the right thematic drive made all the difference.  Once I did that, the characters just took over and kinda wrote the story themselves.  I still have things I need to develop further, but the big picture is there.  This was such an excruciating process.  I can't imagine doing this for a living.  I've been beating my head against a wall for so long, but the real progress came in flashes of insight.  I'm so excited right now!  

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/14/2021 at 8:00 PM, Quetzalcoatl said:

I think I have my story!  Everything just fell into place.  Literally just now.  Everything fell into place like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.  All the pieces were there.  I just could never see how they fit before.  I know how the hook is delivered in the opening "scene."   And the final "scene" compliments it nicely.  I know how and why the betrayal happens.  Tank, that advice on finding the right thematic drive made all the difference.  Once I did that, the characters just took over and kinda wrote the story themselves.  I still have things I need to develop further, but the big picture is there.  This was such an excruciating process.  I can't imagine doing this for a living.  I've been beating my head against a wall for so long, but the real progress came in flashes of insight.  I'm so excited right now!  

That's great!

This is generally how it always works for me, but my timeline is greatly condensed because I've just done it over and over so many times. It's that 10k hours of practice thing. My first scripts took almost a year to write as opposed to the weeks it takes me now. That's just practice.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 6 months later...

So, I'm stuck on the ending.  It's funny because I always wanted to focus on the ending first.  My thinking was, how was I supposed to write anything else if I didn't know where it was all going?  But now, I have practically everything but the ending, and I'm stuck.  I don't know by what means I'm supposed to find a satisfactory resolution to everything I've done. If Vader had just stood there and watched Luke get fried and the rebels failed to bring down the DS shields and lost the battle, or if Frodo had been allowed to keep the ring, those would have been pretty sucky endings.  Without the right ending, isn't it all just a bunch of pointless events?  Isn't it the ending that determines whether or not it was all worth it? 

I just watched this video thinking it might help, but it's only left me more frustrated.  This video covers 6 questions supposedly needed to write a story, but doesn't get into how I'm supposed to go about finding the answers.  I have pretty satisfactory answers to all of them except "how does it end?"  Identifying the thematic drive helped with everything else.  Once I did that, things started flowing.  Is the thematic drive also supposed to inform me of the ending?  Because it's not helping with that.  I don't know how to find the pay off.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

So, with the knowledge that my script is never going to be anything more than a script hanging out on my computer, instead of finishing draft number 3, I think I'm going to try to turn it into more of a novel. That way, if I ever get it good enough to want to share with others, I can always self-publish and say "Hey, I wrote a book!"

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

So here's what I'm thinking now regarding endings.  One of the ingredients should be a certain amount of irony?  There was a certain bit of irony in having Vader turn at the last minute and save his son.  There was also some irony in the one ring's corruption of its possessors leading to its own destruction.  I'm not saying that every story should end like an M. Night Shyamalan movie, but doesn't there have to be some kind of twist or surprise somewhere?  And if not, what exactly is the thing in an ending that provides the "payoff" for the story?  

Link to post
Share on other sites

Endings have to be unexpected, twisty, and surprising-- but at the same time, they have to make perfect logical sense and have been set up., It's the hardest part, really. If you go too far out of the box, people will scream DUES EX MACHINA. If it's not out of the box enough, it's labelled as predictable.

I always find my endings by knowing what I want the status quo to be after the story ends. Like, what's the coda? Whether we see it or not, what does the hero have as a life AFTER the story is done. You have to know that. Then you look at the most extreme complicated situation you have them in at the end of the second act. They should be so far from that spot it's bananas.

Then you devise the chain of events needed plot/story wise to get them from where they are, to that end. What has to happen to get them there? That's your final act/ending. At some place in there, your hero has to make a choice or decision that either reflects the core theme of the story, or shows they have learned their big lesson. That gives the emotional payoff.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks.  That was helpful.

Quote

I always find my endings by knowing what I want the status quo to be after the story ends. 

This is my big sticking point.  I can't even answer that question.  The story currently lacks a villian, and without that, I'm having a hard time figuring out what the status quo should look like at the end.  Originally, I just wanted to write your generic fantasy story.  And like most classic fantasy stories, it was about good vs evil.  But it turned into something else.  Now, there are no good guys or villians.  There's only two groups of people with different idiologies that clash, and the hero is caught in the middle.  He has loyalties to both sides.  But without good vs evil, his choices just seem kind of arbitrary to me.  His flipping sides could be seen as a culmination of the hero's journey, or it could be a fall.  I'm having a hard time knowing which it is, or why any of it is going to matter at the end of the day.  

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

Tank, I've found a lot of what you said in this thread about writing to be kind of abstract, mainly I guess because it isn't my thing and doesn't come naturally to me, but I saw the movie Vengence over the weekend, and I was able to identify all of the components in it you  talked about here.  Some were subtle, some weren't, but they were all there.  There was the initial hook, all the first act set-up, the lead character's major malfunction, the call to action, the twist where the big plan falls apart, all of it was there!  Having broken it all down, a lot of what you've said here is making more sense to me now.  For example, I had a hard time with this...

Quote

 At some place in there, your hero has to make a choice or decision that either reflects the core theme of the story, or shows they have learned their big lesson. That gives the emotional payoff.

I get this now!  I've been thinking of an ending as a character learning some big lesson, but it doesn't have to be.  It could just be the hero doing something unexpected that drives home the theme.  For example, at the beginning of the movie, someone told BJ Novak's character that he thinks with his brain, but doesn't know how to think with his heart.  That's his major malfunction.  And then the rest of the film is him wrestling with his gut instincts.  That was the theme driving the whole story, gut vs brain.  Someone doesn't have to learn some big philosophical lesson in an ending.  It could just be a character discovering something new about themselves that reflects the theme, like how to trust your gut, or how to lock on to a target when you turned off your targeting computer.  I think I'm getting this!  

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's funny-- none of it seems abstract to me, this is how I think and organize my thoughts. I've been doing it a long time now, so maybe it's just second nature.

But if you show me a spreadsheet with numbers i will get physically nervous and annoyed.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

I read this thread and now I'm a bit annoyed at myself for never finishing that writing project I started 5 years ago and then quit. Maybe I'll give it another few pages and see what happens. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.