|The author, Dane F. Baylis|
Just heard via e-mail that a short story I submitted to an on-line publication a couple of months ago has received a go ahead pending revisions! Hot-diddly-damn!
Now To Recover A Bit Of Decorum.
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
All right gang, believe it or not, everything we've done up to now has been the easy part. We've looked for that story idea in its broadest terms. Maybe it came from inside our own life or we found it in a newspaper, or in a song, or written in archaic Chinese script on a two thousand year old cocktail napkin. Where ever it came from, as long as it is something that truthfully stirs your emotions, then it is time to pursue it.
So, we have a story idea. We've determined what type(s) of conflict we're dealing with, and how they will probably be resolved. We've asked the Major Dramatic Question (MDQ). So, what's left?
Well, it's like erecting a building. As they say, you've done the ground work. You've cleared away the unwanted distractions, laid down a foundation and begun to assemble your materials. Now it's time to put up the framework that will hold everything together. The drawback here is, it's still not time to go all writerly on me. Just like any good construction, we're going to consider the details carefully and commit them to paper without actually starting on that first draft. The more detailed, layered, and lively you make this part, the more engaging your finished piece will be.
We asked questions of ourselves to find an idea we had real feelings for, now we will ask questions about the story itself. Some of these will deal with characters, conflict, and resolution. It will inevitably be more detailed than we can cram into our tale, or should even want to, but don't let that deter you from being as detailed as possible. It will only make the later steps that much easier.
Let's start with characters:
*Who is the main character?
*What does he/she look like?
*What makes him/her angry? Happy? Sad?
*Do they get along with peers? Do they have friends?
*What events lead them to the main event in the story?
*Other characters? How do they relate to the MC?
*What does your MC want?
*How does he/she try to get that?
*How do those actions effect other characters?
*How do those actions effect the setting?
*What obstacle(s) keep your MC from attaining their goal?
*How does the MC overcome those barriers?
*Is your MC successful at getting what he/she wants?
*What, if any, consequences occur because of your MC's actions?
*How do the actions change your MC?
*Is the MC better or worse when the central problem is overcome?
This is only a basic list! You should be able to think of any number of other questions that will begin to clarify your ideas. Don't be afraid to spend some time on this.Now you can see why I am such a lover of NOTEBOOKS! The more detailed you are here, the more you can focus on the art and craft of writing. You are taking away hundreds of stopping points that would require your attention while you are in the process of trying to relate a hell of a good story. It's like being an actor. The more thorough your preparation the better your performance. Just like that actor, if you have the physical details down, you can concentrate on bringing alive the emotions that an audience craves.
In the meantime...live, love, write!
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Dane F. Baylis