22 March 2011

Thinks Like in Fireworks!

Terrific comment from a writer I work with -- she thinks like in fireworks with ideas going off in all different directions. No wonder she has difficulty pinning down her story. It's as if in every writing session she embarks on yet another story. Yet, it's obvious that her themes remain consistent throughout. Based on that we begin our work.

For her, the process is not about generating scenes. For this writer, her process involves analyzing what she does have. We begin with key scenes at energetic markers: 
Since she has revealed to me all the defining traits of a classically right-hemisphere dominate writer, such a task of analyzation brings up all sorts of resistance from her. 

As we work our way through the maze, her next toughest assignment is to hone in on her story and begin to commit to one route over another. She searches for assurances that the process will lead her to a publishable book in the end, which is impossible to determine until she reaches the end of the process and finds out what her story truly is all about. So, rather than commit, she continues to flit from one idea to another. 

No amount of reassurances from me or anyone else about believing in and relying on the beauty of her writing brings her peace. Such a belief has to originate from inside herself. Something in her back-story seems to be preventing this. And, just like with the protagonist, as this writer writes her story, she also embarks on a personal, emotional and spiritual journey to determine how her back-story negatively affects her front story and writing life.

No wonder writing a story from the beginning all the way through to the end can take so long and become so difficult.

Even so, and setting aside her dream of publication, I still believe to my core that the process of writing and the self-discovery writing brings us are worth the time and effort. Always... 

How does your back-story negatively and positively affect your front story and writing life?

Click on green highlighted plot concepts for further explanations via video. Each time a concept is referenced you are directed to new information.

To watch the entire Plot Series: How Do I Plot a Novel, Memoir, Screenplay? go to my YouTube channel. Currently, there are 26 Steps -- only one more to go. A directory of all the steps is to the right of this post. Enjoy!

01 March 2011

Back-story Informs Front Story

Fascinating consultation today. The back-story the writer has developed becomes a clear motivating force behind the protagonist's actions and goal setting throughout the entire front story. The back-story serves as a beacon for the writer to filter her decisions through to bring more depth and emotionality to the story. 

Readers connect to the story through the character. 

Readers identify with the characters through the characters' emotions.

During the consultation, the back-story develops in such a way to bring more emotionality into the story as the protagonist reacts, sometimes inappropriately, based on the pain she suffered as child and continues to feel, though basically unconsciously so.

Not wanting to give the writer's story away, I give examples here to show you what I hope to convey.

To begin with, the back-story is the time when and the reason why the protagonist's innocence is lost. This can be at a young age years before the actual story begins or more recently but still before the actual front story begins. 

This defining moment may be something the character overheard and took to heart and has lived her life by ever since. This moment may be some sort of negative treatment toward the protagonist earlier in her life that she now carries with her, unconsciously or not, and that interferes with her capability to achieve that which she most longs for. 

Back-story provides brilliant motivation for the character's actions even when the character is virtually unaware of it or believes her motivation comes from elsewhere.

In other words, if the protagonist was betrayed at some point in her past (back-story), she from that point forward feels betrayal in the actions of others now in the front story. If she was abandoned in her back-story, she feels the same pain she felt as a child even now as an adult and even if the current behavior by another is actually benign and insignificant to others but never to her. Perhaps she was lied to, physically abused, emotionally bullied, neglected... you fill in the blank for your character. 

This WOUND then becomes what she must become CONSCIOUS of and overcome in order for the sense of perfection to be restored in the final 1/4 of the story. 

The back-story never has to be revealed in the story at all. However, so long as you as the writer knows the protagonist's back-story, you then have compelling motivation for the protagonist's actions in the front story. 

Just remember, the back-story is not the story. 

The front story made up of the primary plot and that is the story. 

Plot Series: How Do I Plot a Novel, Memoir, Screenplay? is playing on my YouTube channel. Currently, there are 22 steps. A directory of the program is to your right. Each link takes you to a video that explains that particular plot concept about the universal story.

Benefits of watching the Plot Series:
(Directory of all the steps so far is to the right of this post.)
1) Become a better writer
2) Play along on The Santa Cruz Traveling Mystery Tour and win a free plot consultation with me