25 February 2010

Character Emotions

Someone asked after reading Return of the Sacred Feminine what the Sacred Feminine actually is. 

I'm not an expert by any means. If fact, I'm not really sure I know the answer well enough to respond. What I do know, or at least, feel is that with all the war and upheaval going on there is an imbalance. 

I found on the internet that the Sacred Feminine is associated with the qualities of wisdom, justice, beauty, and compassion. The Sacred Feminine destroys old forms and brings new ones into being (which certainly seems to be occurring now). The Sacred Feminine connects us to our instincts, our feelings, and the imagination of the heart.

The last two qualities point to two critical elements writers employ when writing novels, memoirs, and screenplays:
  1. destruction of the character's old personality to bring about character transformation 
  2. showing character's emotions and the expression of emotion, not through internal monologue but through actions, reactions, non-verbal communication, and what comes through the body not the mind.
More plot posts on:
#1 Character Transformation

#2 Character Emotion

23 February 2010

Return of the Sacred Feminine??

Images on the news often portray an imbalance. That the old world order, the patriarchal world of rules and judgments and wars and control needs a bit of balance. Only trouble, the sacred feminine stays lost or hidden, is out of reach.

Yesterday's plot consultation gave me hope of the sacred feminine reveal, return, and balance restored.

Ah, the joys of being in on the birth of greatness.

Thanks for inviting me...

Be brave.

Dig deep.

19 February 2010

Plot and Emotion cont.

In the hopes of inspiring yet another emotional layer to your characters, I add the following to the list of behaviors that do NOT work in effective communication.

Focusing on own feelings
Claiming amnesia
Changing the subject
Taking the high moral ground
Trying to win
Hating to lose
Agreeing, but not really
Giving up
Giving orders
Taking over the discussion
Giving suggestions
Getting hurt
Becoming delicate and vulnerable
Losing perspective
Facial expressions like boredom, anger
(This list comes from my dear friend Teresa LeYung Ryan and adapted by Emilio Escudero)

For the earlier mentioned behaviors that do NOT enhance effective communication, More on Plot and Emotion

Next will be a list of What Works.

16 February 2010

More on Emotion and Plot

Following the in-depth article Emotion Makes the Character with tips for creating emotion in your characters, I offer the following:

Use of the following behaviors, which impede effective communication, create conflict and tension and reveal character:

Walking away
Short Temper
Not listening
Talking over
Looking away
Debating the complaint
Threatening to leave

(List is thanks to my dear friend, Teresa LeYung Ryan, and Emillo Escudero. Thanks!)

Gotta run. More later....

10 February 2010

Universal Writer's Traits: Sound Familiar?

At a couple of the recent plot workshops, I asked writers to fill in a Character Plot Profile for their protagonist's Dramatic Action goals and Character Emotional Development traits, the antagonist's, and for themselves as a writer, too.

Following is a random sample of the responses in relationship to themselves as writers:

Dramatic Action Plot
  • Long-term goal: Write a book, finish, publish book
  • Standing in the way: Family, job, poor discipline, distracted, lazy, nothing, integrating two characters and timeline
  • Stands to lose: No sense of accomplishment, disappointment, not much, self-respect
Character Emotional Development Plot
  • Flaw: Perfectionist, procrastination, resistance, lack of clarity, impatience, falls in love with my words, disorganized, not knowing where it's going
  • Strength: Imagination, use of words, language, dialogue, action, short stories
  • Hates: Solitary act of writing, starting, loneliness, emotionally painful, doing it, internal critic, judgment, first drafts, rewrites, self-doubt, getting stuck
  • Loves: Translating ideas into words, losing myself in the process, first draft, rewrites, magic, fun
  • Fear: Can't do it, that it's no good, words won't move people. be bad at it, not good enough, I'll never finish, negative feedback, that it's lousy, triviality, no one will care, that criticism of my writing is a criticism of me, rejection
  • Dream: to be remembered by a child
  • Secret: I'm as afraid of praise as I am of criticism, write in my head first and then on paper
Any of this sound familiar??

09 February 2010

Jigsaw Puzzles, Not Everyone Likes Them

At a recent plot workshop, one of the writers stopped me on the way to lunch to ask for help. I asked her to tell me a bit about her project.

As soon as she starts in, I'm hooked. She has a truly novel idea with an even more novel format in which to tell her story.

As with most highly creative writers, she has trouble bringing the story into focus. She wanders to one plot point and then flits to another unrelated point. I hold each of these fragments and slowly begin to put them into position in my mind for the overall structure. (I've been weird like that since I was a kid, and a non-verbal one at that. I remember stories about how I could put together jigsaw puzzles of any piece count with the pieces upside-down and only the grey backs as reference. Hey, I warned you I was weird that way.)

With lunch plates chiming and my stomach grumbling, I wait as she retrieves yet another element of her story. The deeper she goes, the more self-defeating talk pops up.

"This doesn't make any sense."

"You're doing fine," I say. "Keep going."

"It's probably not any good."

"You're doing fine," I say... over and over again.

Finally she blurts out enough for me to help her locate the key scenes

After she rushes back to our workshop room to jot the scenes onto her newly created Plot Planner for her individual project, I shake my head in despair. If she has so many doubts in her head in just recounting ideas, how is she ever going to overcome the demons long enough to write the story?

Sure, she's outside the box and that can be challenging in this time of high conformity and deep suspicion of anything different. However, I firmly believe those of us lucky enough to call ourselves writers are being called to create. When we and our flaws sabotage ourselves from showing up to write and from reaching our goals of completion, yet one more idea the universe looks to us to manifest disappears and who knows how much longer the evolution of our planet will take because we doubt ourselves before we ever even try???

Based on the picture I saw in the jigsaw puzzle of her story, I saw greatness.

Hope you show up for your jigsaw puzzle today. I see greatness there, too...