This evening, we have a video guest post from Ken La Salle. In a humorous parody of Paint Paint Paint (a PBS series), Ken looks at what might be a typical day of creation for a writer.
Author and playwright, Ken La Salle has brought his shows to stages from Los Angeles to New York to San Francisco. You can learn more about Ken from his website at www.kenlasalle.com and see his books on his Amazon.com Author’s Page.
Any time you are having trouble structuring your story’s plot and look for advice… God help you. It’s a heaving sea of templates and graphs and step-ins and theories and jargon, and many run to book length. Some, like “Hero’s Journey” verge on being religions.
I would suggest that you look for the simplest, most powerful skeleton key you can find. And I’ll be a little more directive; I think it might be this video by Michael Arndt, who wrote Toy Story 3 for Pixar. Yes, it’s about screenwriting. Yes, it deals only with the first act… but the principles are valid in any story, and once your first act is nailed down, you’re on your way. See it here: http://nofilmschool.com/2014/04/get-your-first-act-written-pixars-michael-arndt-shows-how-video/
An even simpler, and very time-tested, principle that cuts you to the chase is the concept of “tragic flaw”. Remember that from reading Hamlet and Macbeth and Sophocles? Anybody will tell you that your hero or protagonist or MC or whatever you want to call them doesn’t absolutely have to have a “tragic flaw”. But it sure does make it easier.
As Arndt says, faced with trouble, he can take the moral high road or the low road of his own weakness…and if he takes the high road you don’t have a story. Another term for “taking the low road” is “tragic flaw”.
But there is another way to set that mechanism up without there being anything wrong with your main guy. You don’t need a flawed main man—just hook him up with a woman who’s no good for him and let her do him wrong. My best-reviewed and most popular novel is “Sweet Spot”, featuring baseball star turned Mazatlan political journalist Mundo Carrasco. He’s a character that both men and woman alike find pleasant: he’s a main thing that’s made that book sell. But there is nothing really wrong with him. What he has, to generate conflict and dip him in the soup, is an obsession with a woman. And she is a femme most definitely fatale, no question in your mind that he should get the hell away from her. But what’s a guy going to do when he’s being led by the leading portion of his anatomy? He’s infatuated. That’s a real key to the appeal of that book: chicks dig the idea of a guy who’s so gone on a woman that he’ll follow her right down the tubes. Continue reading “You Don’t Need a Tragic Flaw, Just the Wrong Woman”
Among my people, it is said that the vigor of battle brings the warrior closer to the nether world.
Great significance is accorded to the first animal a warrior sees after combat, for it is said that in this moment, more than any other, we can see what the future holds for us.
My friend Axor saw the rabbit. He would soon be blessed with abundance. Hrull saw the hawk, signifying victory in his next battle.
I kept quiet while the others celebrated. I did not want to admit I had seen the raven. Yet, inwardly, I began to prepare myself…
In 250 words or less, tell us a story incorporating the elements in the picture. The 250 word limit will be strictly enforced.
Please keep language and subject matter to a PG-13 level.
Use the comment section below to submit your entry. Entries will be accepted until Tuesday at 5:00 PM Pacific Time.
On Wednesday afternoon, we will open voting to the public with an online poll for the best writing entry accompanying the photo. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday.
On Friday afternoon, the winner will be recognized as we post the winning entry along with the picture as a feature. Then, at year end, the winners will be featured in an anthology like this one. Best of luck to you all in your writing!
Entries only in the comment section. Other comments will be deleted. See HERE for additional information and terms.