ambition, blogging, books, craft, creativity, drafting, editing, experience, fiction, inspiration, plot, process, psychology, Uncategorized, work, writing

Two Pages (11/09/16)

So, the pen sketch yesterday was useful, and it reads well so I may keep it but I’ve moved things on in order to get to the next set of beats/scenes in order to start bringing together the A and B plots.

When I use these terms, it’s borrowed wholly from Story and The Story Grid, in which you have the following:

The External or A plot is where you have your external conflict and action go on. Explosions, bullets, external events and forces that challenge and complicate your characters. The object of desire for this plot can be the recovery of a magic item, the defeat of a monster or the uncovering of truth.

The internal or B plot runs counter to the external plot. An example McKee gives is ‘Out of Africa’ where Karen Blixen rejects the notion of ‘owning things’ in order to save her soul and identity. It’s what lies beneath the surface of the character, notable by it’s absence in the likes of James Bond, although the Craig-era brought with it, the existence of it in terms of his ageing, the usefulness of his methods in an age of drones and open source terrorism etc.

Now, they don’t necessarily have to intersect but I think that they should because it adds emotional weight to the piece, especially if the successful resolution of the internal plot offers up an insight, an ally or a realisation that allows them to demonstrate the traits necessary to see through the resolution of the A plot.  From even thinking about these, you’re thinking from a point of how to sell, or even pitch your work to people who don’t care about the thousands of hours you’ve put into it, your cogent argument for the inclusion of adverbs. It might take away some of the delight and whimsy you find in writing, but that’s a good thing. I thrive on being a productive adult, not someone who expects a standing ovation because I’ve written something. My concern is with my work, it’s quality and potential because that’s the only thing I have control over. I don’t write for the marketplace and trends because they change. That 50 Shades meets Harry Potter you’ve been working on, posting sentences out of context because the need to be seen to do it is more important than the actual achievement? It’s going to look flat and lifeless if it doesn’t burn like a UTI with your passion and investment in it. It’s not the sloppy, uninformed passion though, it’s the application of it. A sniper round rather than a shotgun. You can, and will write mess but you don’t have to share it. Show us the trick itself, not the endless hours you spent learning how to perform it without flaw.

There will be passion and magic invested in it. I’m open about the points where I write and it’s wonderful, but amongst that are the days you get it down on paper with the same passion that you brush your teeth or shave. Do you brush your teeth passionately? Should you? No, you do what is necessary then get on with your day, you work on improving your technique so your gums don’t bleed and you do it without thinking about it.

The results are there in your smile.

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