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Friday, December 31, 2010

WOW_WHEN YOU HIT A STONE WALL


It happens to us all.

We're writing along in our C.A.R. (conflict, action, resolution) when WAM!

We run into a brick wall. Our muse deserts us. And we find ourselves mired in the middle of a chapter with no ideas as to how to get out.

Now, most of us will think a colorful metaphor or two at this time.

I want you to instead think _WOW!

W ..... Want

O ..... Obstacle

W ..... Way

WANT :

I. First WANT

No, not your want. Not even the want of your main character. The WANT of your reader ... which is ...

A POWERFUL EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE.

A.) Emotion is the life's blood of all fiction : romance, thriller, mystery, horror, and science fiction.

B.) But it doesn't come from reading about the other guy having a terrible, challenging time. No, it doesn't.

C.) It comes from the reader BECOMING THAT CHARACTER to ...

find love, face that horrendous terror, fight that unbeatable foe, solve that baffling mystery ... to win.

D.) The reader becomes your main character when ...

1.) You lure them into the mind and heart of your MC.

2.) By speaking of the common angst we all have :
loneliness, alienation, yearning for love, desire for esteem in the eyes of significant others.

3.) Make them laugh, even if there are tears. The reader will return to your books again and again if you can do that.

4.) What is the worst prison punishment short of execution?
Solitary confinement.
We all need to connect. Bereft of that link to another human soul we wither inside.

5.) Your main character must seem real to the reader, must reflect some spark or lack within the reader herself.

Her wounds must bleed real blood. Their pain must echo throughout the remaining pages. Her triumph over them will be all the more uplifting to the reader.

II. Second Want :

A.) The WANT of your MC.

B.) If you're mired down in a chapter, see if you can find the WANT of the MC or her adversary in it.

C.) If you can't or if it is not immediate and primal ... there's your problem.

OBSTACLE :

I. Obstacle is related to WANT

A.) How do you make someone want something?
Say they can't have it.
See a "Don't Touch. Wet Paint" sign, and what do you do?
You touch the blasted wall, don't you? Sure you do.

B.) Your OBSTACLE is directly tied in to your MC's WANT. If you've done your craft right __ the WANT's basic nature carries within it, its own obstacle.

C.) And that nature is CHANGE
Getting the WANT will change your MC's life drastically.
Not getting it will change it for the worse.

II.) Look at your trouble chapter :
If the OBSTACLE is not primal, immediately threatening, and nearly overwhelming ... there's your problem.

A.) Most readers would love to change their lives ...

B.) to add more excitement
to add a sensual, seductive love interest to their days
to finally achieve control and mastery over their jobs or problems.

WAY :

A.) This is not just another way to say action ...
though it always involves action.

B.) WAY springs from the manner your MC goes about tackling the OBSTACLE.
It must ring true to your MC's basic nature :

1.) Each person has their own style that manifests itself in how she sees and solves her OBSTACLE.

2.) In A TALE OF TWO CITIES, Sydney Carton loves another man's wife. He sacrifices himself to save him so that the woman he loves is not shattered.

3.) In real life, 28 year old D.H. Lawrence loves 32 year old Frieda Weekley, unhappy wife and mother of three children. He runs off to Europe with her, making violent love, writing poems that shake up the literary world,

There are only two things now,
The great black night scooped out
And this fire-glow.

This fire-glow, the core,
And we the two ripe pips
That are held in store.

Listen, the darkness rings
As it circulates round our fire.
Take off your things.

Your shoulders, your bruised throat!
Your breasts, your nakedness!
This fiery coat!

As the darkness flickers and dips,
As the firelight falls and leaps
From your feet to your lips!

and, alas, sees her "share her abundance with acquaintances" along their European trek.

4.) Both WAYS sprang from the basic nature of the man involved. Both were true. Both WAYS stir strong emotion when you read them, don't they?

C.) WAY must spring from the three act nature of any novel :

Act I.
The stage is set, the conflict painted, and the characters have fun.

Act II.
The rug is pulled out from under the MC, the adversary draws blood, all seems lost.

Act III.
The stakes are raised, the MC rises from the ashes, a last ditch duel to the finish comes to a resounding climax, where the adversary is defeated but with great cost.

1.) If you are mired in a chapter, check to see where you are in your novel, the beginning, the middle, or towards the end.

2.) If you cannot see the fun in the beginning, then THERE'S your problem.

If it's in the middle, and the rug's not being pulled out in some devastating way, BINGO.

And if your MC and adversary are blowing kisses at each towards the end, you have found the bedrock of your problem -- and you're one sick puppy.

*) Happy New Year's Eve, Everyone!
I hope this post helped you in some small way to make it out of the next pothole you fall into. Roland
***


22 comments:

  1. Happy new year Roland! I did enjoy this post- it will be something i can reference and when i start revising and looking at my plot holes or slow points or whatever- I'll be able to check here and be inspired. have a great weekend and I hope you are safe this holiday

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  2. Brilliiant Roland!!!!! Happy New Year as well.
    Lisa xx

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  3. I am really enjoying your acronym series. And this is just what I needed to read today, as I am in the early stages of a chapter and it is being sassy already.

    Alrighty, my ferry is pulling into seattle, gotta deboard. Have a great New Years. Hope it's a quiet one.

    J

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  4. Jodi : Ah, those sassy chapters. They challenge us to become better writers. Have fun in Seatle. Try not to be sleepless, right? Have a great safe New Year's Eve.

    Lesapea Musings : Good to see you again. Glad you enjoyed this little signpost on the road to a stronger novel. Have a great evening tonight!

    Summer : It's always good to see a comment from you. I hope my acronym posts help make your writing more fun and productive. You have a safe and happy weekend yourself, Roland

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  5. Great post--I like the way you represent elements of a story as acronyms.

    I hope you have a wonderful New Year! :)

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  6. Great ideas for those potholes!

    Wonderful old movie vid, too. Thanks. Love the song but I don't believe in forgetting "auld" aquaintances. I hold them close to me in my heart....Unless I couldn't stand them:) Then well, forgetting is best.

    I'm wishing you a Happy, Healthy and Successful New year!:)

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  7. The want of your reader, I love that! That's so important to remember because it's not all about us. Great addition to the acronym brilliance!

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  8. hola mi amigo,

    feliz anno nuevo 2011 y un fuerte abrazo para las 12 campanadas^^

    happy new year^^

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  9. ...I've spent the past hour thoroughly enjoying C.A.R., and the lessons to be learned. (and by the way, I'm a raging fan of Lebowski, and laughed out loud at your earlier post:)

    Be safe, my friend, this New Year's Eve, and trust in your talents while announcing this year's proclamations. Publication will happen, sooner than later. It simply has to.
    EL

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  10. Thanks, Rebecca. And feliz anno nuevo 2011 and good fortune para las 12 campanadas! Roland

    Heather : Yes, I sometimes get so caught up with my characters' wants and my own that I thought it might be helpful to point out our readers' wants to my friends. Happy New Year.

    Terry : Didn't that short vid tell a complete, heart-wrenching story? I believe you're right. The past, if forgotten, just repeats itself in painful ways. Have a lovely evening tonight, Roland

    Golden Eagle : I'm glad you got something useful out of my post. And have a great New Year's Eve and the following months. Roland

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  11. Elliot : Yes, the Dude abides. I'm more of the Sam Elliot stranger type, though! I'm glad you've enjoyed my acronym posts. Here's to a successful year for us both! Bestseller list for you, agent & publisher for me! Have a great evening tonight! Roland

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  12. Have a fantastic New Year Roland D Yeomans!! I love your WOW way out!!! It's one thing to write a character in a situation but it's definitely different and more satisfying to embody one's characters from inside out and to breathe four dimensional life into them! Take care
    x

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  13. Thanks, Kitty, for breathing new life to my post with your description of it. I like your version better than mine! LOL. May your publication dreams come true this new year! Roland

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  14. Happy New Year, dear friend. May it be kind to us all!

    Great post, that rebel, Olivia

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  15. Happy New Year!! WoW - love it, will have to save this post, is going to be very useful I think :) Especially as now I can begin book two *happydance* cause The Arrival is now available on Amazon!!! Wooohooo! One monster resolution done and another to go *lol* ahh but life would be boring if we didn't set insane goals ;p

    The Arrival,available on Amazon NOW!
    www.damselinadirtydress.com
    www.thebirthrighttrilogy.com

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  16. I didn't know that about DH Lawrence. Wow!

    Love the 'one sick puppy' comment, made me smile.

    In my first, and favorite wip, I couldn't think of the right antagonist...I didn't have a focused obstacle. It was just general and vague....but I think I've got it figured out. I just need to focus it and make it more intense. This helped me conclude that, thanks.

    I hope you have a very wonderful new year!

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  17. I hope your new year brings you lots of joy and happiness - enjoy!! :)

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  18. Words Crafter : On your first WIP, you were learning. You'll write better now. Think STAR WARS. Who do you think of, Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker?

    Now think IRON MAN. Who do you think of first, the brash Tony Stark or the suit of armor? Force of personality wins every time.

    I wish you a prosperous New Year!

    Nicole : Congrats on your book being able to be gotten on Amazon!! Consider me going there right now. Happy New Year's Eve!

    Olivia : Only happy surprises for you this evening and all through the New Year!! Roland

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  19. Just wanted to stop by and say Happy New Year. I wish you all the best for 2011.

    I definitely recognize Vivien Leigh, but I'm trying to place the dude. I feel I should know him, did he usually wear a stash?

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  20. Wendy : The name's Robert Taylor of IVANHOE fame. And no, he didn't usually wear a 'stash. And the very best to you, too, this New Year!!

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  21. Happy New Year and thank you for another helpful post full of useful information. You helped me examine a scene in my current nip that just was not working. I realized that the scene lacked something, but I could not pinpoint it. You covered it nicely; my obstical was not primal or urgent enough. After reading your post I am making necessary changes and it is flowing much better.

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  22. Melissa : You've made my evening by saying my post helped you over the hurdle of a challenging chapter. I'm very happy that it is flowing much better. Have a great Sunday and a beautiful New Year, Roland

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