Dead plots are actually a symptom of dead characters. Too many writers have characters that are not alive, and yet the feedback they receive from editors, friends and family is related to the plot. The plot is rarely the issue. Depth of character reveals plot. Do you think about the “plot” of your life on a daily basis? Most of us don’t, however we find ourselves in the middle of drama everyday because we are defined characters. When situations get tougher and pressure is applied, that character and the fears and desires we are chasing on a daily basis flare up and cause us to behave in the most fascinating ways. It is the same with your characters: the more definition and the higher the stakes, the more intense the plot naturally becomes.
So be very careful when trying to diagnose a problem with your story. Cancer can make a patient sluggish, but the doctor’s job is not to just treat the exhaustion, that would be absurd. In most cases, the cancer of a story is rooted in character and a lack of depth. Invest time in really bringing your character’s to life and you’ll create a vibrant story.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
I just read a wonderful posting by an agent I’ve been following in the blogosphere named Jessica Faust. Her blog entry Rolling With the Punches mirrors the internal changes that form the daily landscape inside our own company. Currently in our third year, we’re successful, but we’re still working incredibly hard on a daily basis to define ourselves and then articulate who we are to our audience. I believe that it is this willingness to dive into the insanity every single day that makes the ride such a blast. Some days are up and others are down, but every one is full of raw emotions: joy, terror, pain, sorrow, fear, splendor and a regular dose of anxiety. I look forward to our five year birthday and truly believe that will be the time we really settle into who we are. For those of you on this crazy journey called entrepreneurship (as an artist or as a company), please weigh in on the challenges you’re facing. I’d love to hear.
Friday, February 6, 2009
I just read a posting from a writer who was afraid to rewrite a chapter. They couldn’t muster the courage to do it and wanted to know if it was okay to just redevelop the plot around a chapter that didn’t work so they could avoid rewriting. I’ve never heard such a lazy sentiment. Writing is rewriting. If you’re afraid of rewriting, you’re not really even writing yet! Sometimes I’ll rewrite a chapter 12 times. You do what the story tells you needs to be done. Great writing is not produced, its arrived at. If you’re not sweating your story…your logline…your marketing copy…your bio…then you’re not really writing. You’re just putting some words together and hoping they have the intended effect. That’s like diving into a pool and hoping you can win a medal. Who does that? Writing is rewriting, so get in the pool and start swimming laps with your words.