Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Karl’s Handy Guide to Writing Part#1

I wouldn’t consider myself a great writer.

I don’t flip words with delicate ease and I don’t describe a situation with a mastery of prose.

I do feel like I can spin a good yarn.

Tell a tall tale…

And keep people interested in what I’m talking about.

Over the years I’ve found there are a few concepts that will help you write/ tell an interesting story.

I don’t claim to know how to make you or me a better writer.

I just have a few tricks you may or may not have heard.

Hold on here we go.

#1 Know your characters. You’ve heard writers say. “the character writes itself”..there’s a reason they say that. You need to learn “who” your character is in order to have them act through you to tell the story. Hmm sounds crazy? Well it’s easy actually. Just start asking your character question. Where and with who did you have your first kiss with? How many people are in your family? Where were you born? What’s your favorite food? Have you ever stolen some thing? Have you ever cheated on a test? Ask questions both intimate and mundane. Be creative in what you ask and you will be surprised how the answers mold the characters in your mind. Soon that character will begin to write it self as you imagine how they would act in a given situation

There is no set amount of questions you need to ask. Just ask as many as you need to feel like you know the character. Think about how well you know your siblings or your friends. You should try and know your characters better than that.

#2 Jeopardy/ Conflict. It’s not just a game show it’s an important part of a good story. Why are the characters in conflict? What keeps them in conflict and why does any of this matter to them? Answering those questions will create the drama your story needs to keep in interesting. It could be glory or greed or revenge. Motivation/conflict and Jeopardy.

#3 Big and Small it’s all worthwhile. When you look at the plot of a story it needs to work on a both large scale and a small scale. Many writers focus on one end or the other too much.

Think of Harry Potter. On large scale it’s giving us the viewer a look into the secret world of magic. Where the battle between good and evil is raging.

On a small scale it’s Harry and his group of friends getting along and growing up and learning to become adults.

It works because we see the small moments between the characters that make us care about them. When they are challenged in the larger story we feel a sense of jeopardy for their fate. Therein lies the drama and the beginnings of a good story.

That’s it for now.

Happy Holidays and Good Writing!!!


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