Tags: groundwork

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Writing Excuses 6.25; When Characters Do Dumb Things

Writing Excuses 6.25; When Characters Do Dumb Things

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2011/11/20/writing-excuses-6-25-when-characters-do-dumb-things/

Key points: Don't just make character do dumb things because the plot requires it, because then readers disengage from the character. Let the audience have information that the character doesn't, but don't let the reader get it too far ahead of the character! Dumb choices should make sense as far as the character knows -- even if the reader wants to let them know that there is something else they need to know. Dumb choices may be personality based, a character flaw, or driven by emotion. Pay attention to the consequences -- really dumb choices should have strong consequences. Avoid plotting that requires a character be stupid. Dumb choices often are dumb because you didn't lay the groundwork. Give your characters good reasons for their choices.
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[Brandon] I'm going to go ahead and do our writing prompt because I've been gone for so long from the podcast. I'm going to suggest that you actually create a really solid romance where the characters can't be together for good, character-driven reasons. Not because of a misunderstanding. Not because they have an argument in act one and then hold a grudge. But because of legitimate, either cultural biases or character biases. Write a story about that romance where in the end they don't get together.
[Howard] And not because one of them is dead?
[Brandon] And not because one of them is dead, and not because either ot them are stupid. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
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Writing Excuses 6.20: Endings

Writing Excuses 6.20: Endings

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2011/10/16/writing-excuses-6-20-endings/

Key points: Endings need to live up to the promise of the beginning. For the Hollywood formula, the protagonist has to overcome the antagonist, achieve his goal, and reconcile his relationship with the dynamic character. The closer these three happen to each other, the more emotional impact. Endings can fail due to lack of earlier groundwork, or because it's overstayed. Don't hold back on your ending, but raising the stakes doesn't always mean the fate of the universe. Root it in the wants, desires, and needs of the characters. The groundwork and promises of the beginning are a social contract fulfilled by the ending.
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[Howard] What if I give a really good writing prompt?
[Dan] Okay.
[Lou] The writing prompt to end all writing prompts.
[Dan] Let's see it and we'll see.
[Howard] Take your least favorite recent movie. Take the first 15 minutes of your least favorite recent movie and write down what you believe the groundwork was that was laid. Now ignore the rest of the movie. Write the ending. I'm not playing how it should have ended with the... We should have just flown the eagles to Mordor. Do something tricky and sensible and wonderful with the first 15 minutes of your least favorite recent film.
[Dan] Excellent. Okay, we'll let you stay.
[Howard] Thank you. This has been Writing Excuses. You are out of excuses. Now, go write.
Me typing?
  • mbarker

Writing Excuses 6.14: Suspension of Disbelief

Writing Excuses 6.14: Suspension of Disbelief

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2011/09/04/writing-excuses-6-14-suspension-of-disbelief/

Key points: Suspension of Disbelief. Plausibility. Helping the reader pretend that it is all real. Don't be too tidy. Insert things that are just part of the world, not plot specific (beware fluff!). Don't ask readers to suspend their disbelief about too many things. Let readers know early what they need to believe. Don't break human nature. When readers believe the characters and the story, they will stick with you for fantastic things. Lay the groundwork. Don't shoot yourself in the foot with Chekov's gun. Start by making small things plausible, and build up to being strange things. When characters are surprised, it can help readers believe. Try bathos -- a dash of ridicule in the midst of intense drama and emotion.
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[Brandon] All right. We're going to take this out. Mary, you've got a writing prompt for us?
[Mary] Yes. I want you to write a story and make us believe one impossible thing. If you can't come up with it on your own, try teleportation.
[Brandon] Okay. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.