September 28, 2008 § 1 Comment
I’ve thought a lot about what I’m going to write next, and logically that will be my nano novel since that is the next thing coming up. Last year, I used an idea that was already developed and I knew where it was going to go.
This year will be something new. I may stick with the same genre (minus vampires, I’m completely done with them), but I’ll be stepping out onto untested ground.
One thing I learned in my writing class over the summer was the fact that I have a hard time coming up with a story. I know some stuff I want to have happen, where I want it to happen, and how I want my characters to develop and grow, but when I think about it, the hardest thing to come up with is the story formula. My instructor described it this way:
What we want, as storytellers, is to understand and use the driving energy of story, which comes from a character who wants something. When that character is in some way sympathetic to the reader and when that something, that goal, is represented tangibly in the story and beyond the easy reach of the character so that there are obstacles along the path to the goal, then we have a story. The resolution of the story comes when the goal is either attained or it is replaced by something unforeseen and more important.
His first response to me when I turned in my story idea was something along the lines of “Yeah, great, but you’re not following the formula.” I got a little huffy at that until I realized he was right. And when I rewrote my proposal with something more along the lines of what he was asking for, I found that it became much easier to write now that I was aware of what the character wanted and what her goals were.
Situations have always happened to my characters, but this new way of looking at things allows my characters to take control of their story and opens up new channels of ideas. It’s a formula, but one that seems to work.
I’ll be trying to focus on this during Nanowrimo, and hopefully it will be another successful year!