main
side
curve
  1. Welcome to the new boards! Details here!

Workshop - **So what comes next?** Complete 2/22/09

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by dianethx, Jan 21, 2009.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. dianethx

    dianethx Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Mar 1, 2002
    This is the first of hopefully a series of very short workshops (no more than a couple of weeks per workshop) on various parts of writing. If you'd like to volunteer to run one, please let me know. The list is here: [link=http://boards.theforce.net/fan_fiction_resource/b10304/29224130/p1/?16] short workshops on writing [/link]

    [b][color=darkblue]Workshop: So what comes next[/color][/b]

    [b]You've just posted your latest post to your story. The birds are singing, the computer is humming along and all is right with the world?. until that fatal question. What comes next? [/b]

    Hopefully, this workshop will get you to plan ahead, to think about how to organize your story, to brainstorm ideas and tap into that most precious treasure ? your imagination.

    [b]What we will be covering: [/b] [blockquote]1. A discussion/question session among host and participants about what they can expect from the workshop
    2. Suggestions from the host/participants about story problems and how to solve them. [/blockquote]
    [b]Ground rules:[/b][blockquote]1. This is a workshop. That means there will be work! LOL, at least a little bit of work.
    2. This is supposed to be a friendly, helpful workshop. Keep in mind that behind every post is a person with feelings, hopes and dreams. Please remember that when posting.
    3. While we will be looking at stories on tf.n and other places, please do not link the stories. This is not a place for advertisement of your or another person's fics.
    4. This one is the most important one of the bunch.
    [i]It is highly likely that there will be constructive evaluation of work presented in the thread. People can learn a lot by doing but the thread participants don't have to give examples of their own work if they don't feel comfortable doing so. I'd like any constructive evaluation to be as gentle as possible. I find people learn better (and listen harder) if they get examples and suggestions on their work in a non-judgmental and helpful manner (heavy emphasis on helpful).[/i] [/blockquote]
    One more thing ? I'm only the host. If you have a question or additional ideas about the topic, please feel free to ask it here or else PM me. No problem!

    Now to answer a few questions before we start: [blockquote]1. What problems have you had with finishing stories in the past and how did you overcome them?
    2. Do you think of the ending first or last or somewhere in between when working on your story?
    3. Do you plan out your stories or just start writing? A mixture?
    4. What do you expect to get from this workshop?[/blockquote]

    And now onto the workshop. [hr]
    You've started your story, set up canon characters and/or new characters, built worlds or used ones from GFFA, decided on a writing style, a Point of View and now you're stuck.

    If you are having problems thinking of what to do next, what do you think is causing the problem? The blank page? The next word, the next action, the middle, the ending? Do you even have an ending?

    If you do not know the cause, you might want to step back a bit and think more about what your story is actually about.

    Answering the following questions may help. (You can post the answers here or not, depending on whether you want your readers to know what you are doing but you should at least write them down somewhere. You could also use an old story if you want to practice.) Note: I got questions 1-3 from [link=http://www.sff.net/people/Alicia/art1.htm] SFF Net writing [/link]
    [blockquote]1. What is the storyline? Write a single sentence to describe it.
    2. Write a one sentence summary of the message or the moral in your story.
    3. Who is the main character? Who is this mostly about? There may be two main characters but rarely more; who are most important ones to the overall arc of the story?
    4. Where is the main character going to be at the end of the story ? physically, mentally, morally, and emotionally? How has this person changed?[/blockquote]
    Example:
    [i]Star Wars Episode 4 - A New Hope[/i][blockquote]1. Young farm boy learns>
     
  2. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Jedi Grand Master star 9

    Registered:
    Mar 26, 2001
    1. What problems have you had with finishing stories in the past and how did you overcome them?

    My main issue is getting through subplots to the end that I intended. I have an ending from the beginning (something I've practiced since taking up piano, where my mom's slogan was "begin with the end in mind." Usually, my problem is keeping the subplots under control. In Lest Ye Be Judged, I started out knowing that, by the end, [hl=black]Anakin Skywalker was going to be killed by lethal injection at the end of his war crimes trial.[/hl] To that end, I had to set up the political and military climate as well as the legal process, then weave in character development and make sure that the final emotional effect was a result of several subplots. The result was over 365,000 words long.

    2. Do you think of the ending first or last or somewhere in between when working on your story?

    I learned my lesson on my first story here on the boards. I began a series of vignettes that had no definite ending, but were just mushy tributes to Luke and Leia and their friendship. Then my muse threw in Darth Vader. All of a sudden, I had a storyline and at the end, Leia was going to get killed and Luke was going to become a Sith. I even had the ending written. By the time I got to the ending, Leia escaped, Luke became a Sith and the 30-page story ended 400 pages later. I vowed never to do that again. Now, I start with the ending so set in stone that I get panic attacks if I change it.

    3. Do you plan out your stories or just start writing? A mixture?

    It's a mixture by and large. I always know the ending first, but other than specific stopping points along the way, I just write to the conclusion without a ton of planning. I'm working on a 5-part series that is now on part 2 and each part has to end at a specific point in time, but also has to progress at a steady pace. It's a story that takes the main character through 18 years of character development and if I let her get to a certain point too soon, I'm utterly screwed. Do you know how hard it is to write someone having panic attacks as a result of post-traumatic stress disorder without getting her so freaked out by her politically strong husband that she thinks he has some Dark Side qualities? I start each book of the series with a scene from the end of the story. Book 1 had her five minutes before her execution. Book 2 began with her being released from carbonite. We know that in the end, she is put in prison and killed. We don't know when.

    4. What do you expect to get from this workshop?

    I really hope to get a better sense of pacing and how to plan my stories more effectively.

    My main project right now is the Wife of Deceit series, so I'm going to answer those questions posed by dianethx and I am going to put it in the context of book 3:

    1. What is the storyline? Write a single sentence to describe it.

    This is the story of Lady Palpatine's experiences throughout the Clone Wars.

    2. Write a one sentence summary of the message or the moral in your story.

    The moral of the story is that it is wise to trust few and trust your own instincts when it comes to loyalties.

    3. Who is the main character? Who is this mostly about? There may be two main characters but rarely more; who are most important ones to the overall arc of the story?

    The main character is Amne Selrieen Palpatine, the First Lady of the Republic who shares her political values with such people as Bail Organa and Mon Mothma. It is entirely from her perspective. The supporting actor is Chancellor Palpatine, who claims to have the same values, but is acting contrary to them.

    4. Where is the main character going to be at the end of the story ? physically, mentally, morally, and emotionally? How has this person changed?

    The end of the story is the kidnapping of her husband from Coruscant, just before the beginning of Episode 3. At the time, she is in the Chancery Mansion (the equivalent of the White House). Mentally, she is finally recovering from a significant trauma--her own capture by
     
  3. ardavenport

    ardavenport Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Hmmmm, I'll try the opening questions:

    1. What problems have you had with finishing stories in the past and how did you overcome them?

    - losing interest in the story / keep writing
    - another story idea takes precedence / keep writing on the first story
    - an event or character that looked good in the outline isn't so great in the written story / rewrite
    - the solution to any of these for me is to keep writing.

    2. Do you think of the ending first or last or somewhere in between when working on your story?

    - all three.

    3. Do you plan out your stories or just start writing? A mixture?

    - plan out the stories

    4. What do you expect to get from this workshop?

    - like to see what other people do. Maybe finish a story outline that has been languishing for a long time.

     
  4. Corellian_Ale

    Corellian_Ale Manager Emeritus star 4 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2008
    (would have sworn I had posted this last night)

    1. What problems have you had with finishing stories in the past and how did you overcome them?
    Most of my stories involve original creations, so I usually have the intention of their ?story? lasting, so I have a hard time of how I want one story (or chapter) in their overall story to end, and how it will affect the next chapter and if I will have to change it.

    2. Do you think of the ending first or last or somewhere in between when working on your story?
    Usually I have a general idea, and if I?m lucky it solidifies as I?m writing, usually when I?m a good ½ to 2/3 into the story.

    3. Do you plan out your stories or just start writing? A mixture?
    Much like Ish, and I suspect many others, it?s a good mixture. If it?s all research, research, research ? planning, planning, planning ? notes, notes, notes; I will get burnt out. At some point I just have to start writing the bloody thing and going back and filling in the documented details later.

    4. What do you expect to get from this workshop?
    Better habits on keeping myself focused, and not distracted by side-trips. Just generally keeping my eye on the prize.

    ***

    1. What is the storyline?
    It?s about a man named Dapen Marr who has already suffered unordinary hardship in his life, and is looking to bury his past altogether. Unfortunately his methods are self destructive.

    2. Write a one sentence summary of the message or the moral in your story.
    One must be confront their own pain lest they begin to use it as a shield or create pain for others.

    3. Who is the main character?
    Dapen Marr

    4. Where is the main character going to be at the end of the story ? physically, mentally, morally, and emotionally? How has this person changed?
    I haven?t decided ?when? the story of Marr will end yet. I guess I would like to see him in a nobler role, taking accountability for the actions he takes, and letting go of the ones he had no control over. I would like it if he was not pretending to be a good person, while using his past as a shield for whatever choices he makes in the present and future.

    ***

    Exercise 1

    In TPM, Yoda confers that the council has granted Obi-Wan the duty to fulfill his former Master?s request that he train Anakin to be a Jedi.

    Ending 1 ? Obi-Wan flat out rejects the idea of him training Anakin , due to the fact he is in agreement with the Council?s original determination that Anakin is too dangerous to be trained as a Jedi.

    Ending 2 ? Anakin is returned to his mother on Tattooine, with a Jedi secretly assigned to watch over him and his development into adulthood.

    Ending 3- Obi-Wan is coerced by the council to take Anakin as his padawan, although Obi-Wan secretly harbors a resentment that Anakin was to be his replacement as Qui-Gon?s padawan and the circumstances that surrounded it.

    Ending 4 ? The council agrees that Anakin must be trained under their graces, but Yoda is to be the boy?s Master, not Kenobi.


    Ending 4

    Surprisingly humbled compared to most of the Jedi of his generation; Anakin Skywalker rode the turbolift in 500 Republica in silence with his partner on this, his first mission as a knight. The glum and solemn figure from his early days as a Jedi-to-be, Obi-Wan Kenobi seemed to look through his mated long bangs at the younger with what seemed to be distain.

    ?My apologies Master Kenobi if you see this assignment as a mere babysitting assignment, I?m sure it was not a reflection of the Council?s judgement of your skill.? Spoke the younger Jedi evenly and compassionately.

    ?Your apology is unnecessary, as Jedi we must cope with the task we are given, despite our misgivings. To be honest, at least the senator is how the locals say, ?easy on the eyes?.?

    ?I was referring to us having been paired together, but that answer sums up your feelings on the issue just as nicely.?

    ?About coping with your youthful enthusiasm??

    ?No, about me being easy on the eyes.?

     
  5. dianethx

    dianethx Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Mar 1, 2002
    We will be going over subplots in a post or two. I know subplots can be a problem. I know I have the same concerns.

    I know a lot of people who start stories with no ending in sight and end up not finishing them. Hopefully this will help a little.

    We will try. It's not going to be a long workshop, mostly tips on how to approach fleshing out a story. But it might be a bit helpful. I hope.

    I asked
    The questions you really need to ask yourself are these:
    1. What has changed by the end of the story?
    2. What were the questions in the story and have they been answered?
    3. Have the main characters come to some conclusion or what have they learned from their journey?


    Do you think those questions helped you (or would help you in the future) with understanding where the story needs to go?

    And for the exercise, even though you don't need to tell us which ending you chose, have you chosen one? We will be dealing with the ending in the next exercise so you need to choose one, even if it's not the one you will do in your story. Really, you don't have to post it, though. :)

    ***************

    Ah, most of those probably won't be addressed in this workshop. It sounds more like a motivational, someone needs to kick butt, kind of problem. I agree that your last statement about writing is just about right. Most of the profic authors I've talked with say the same thing; no matter what, don't stop writing even if you think it's awful. They say that they found, in general, that when they go back to the 'awful' writing later, they usually can't tell where the 'awful' parts are. It's all a matter of perception.

    Events or characters that look good in the outline don't look good in the fic - we might be able to help there. It's better to find out ahead of time if it's going to work but sometimes we just have to backtrack. The profic authors also have told me that sometimes you just have to rip up some of what you've done and redo it. But I think the outline should help in this regard since it gives you highlights of the story for the events.

    Characters may need to have one of those personality profiles done. I've not found them to be helpful since I've got it all in my head but other people find it very useful.

    Anne, it would be a good idea to do a story outline, even if you aren't going to post it here. Just to give you something to play with.

    *************

    I hope this will help you with the problem. I know that some of my characters have lives past 'The End' but at some point you have to let them go. Very hard at times.

    Hopefully, the workshop will help wi
     
  6. dianethx

    dianethx Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Mar 1, 2002
    Ah, endings. So you know your final goal, the end and what happens to your main character(s).

    Now it's time to fill in the gaps a bit ? between where you are now and where your ending? ends.

    It's time for a rollercoaster ride! [face_whistling]

    Think about it. Plots will include twists and turns, ups and downs, sometimes a slow ascent and then a terrifying drop. A rollercoaster.

    But keep in mind just what a rollercoaster does. With each twist or drop, it's still climbing higher and higher until the long, long fall at the end. Tensions are created, answers found and more questions asked as the main characters live and learn and stumble into increasing danger before the final resolution.

    From [link=http://www.sff.net/people/Alicia/art1.htm] writing plot [/link] Plot - "?.an outline of the events that demonstrate the protagonist's external and internal problems, show the rising conflict and increasing stakes, and come to crisis, climax, and resolution. Think EVENT-- actual discrete happenings where the protagonist interacts, makes decisions, confronts an obstacle, investigates, enlists an ally, makes an enemy, gives into temptation, searches for something missing, breaks the rules... some action that manifests the protagonist's personality and purpose. Don't forget that each event will have consequences that will bring on the next event."

    So we are looking for major events to link the place where you stopped writing to the ending you've decided upon.

    Since the main characters are the most important ones in the story, it is their conflicts that should get attention. Yes, there will be sub-plots but those, we'll ignore for now.

    Again from [link=http://www.sff.net/people/Alicia/art1.htm] writing plot [/link] "What kind of event is most likely to cause trouble for this protagonist? In what situation is the protagonist most likely to try and fail because of the internal problem? Can you outline a series of events showing rising conflict and higher stakes? What will be a good "crisis/dark moment" that forces the protagonist to finally overcome the internal conflict in order to triumph? What climactic event can show how much the protagonist has learned since the beginning of the story? How does the resolution show tangibly the theme of the book?"

    Now we need events most likely to cause trouble or bring out a crisis of physical danger or moral choices. The main events!

    Rising conflict and higher stakes as we approach the final battle ? of wit or conflict or desperation or humor or character development.

    Exercise 2:
    I want you to take the ending you decided on last time and add main events between the ending and where you stopped writing. Ignore the smaller events for now but I want you to increase the tension with every event as it approached the ending.

    Focus on one or two major events and then fill some of the gaps with the other important main events.

    Example for exercise 2:
    In TESB, Luke leaps off the gantry and away from Darth Vader, falling to what appears to be his doom.

    Exercise 2a: Focus on 1-2 major events in your story:[blockquote]1. After being captured by Vader, Luke is forced to kill a Rebel prisoner.
    2. Furious and guilty, Luke decides that the Dark Side is the only way to destroy the Sith and gives into it.
    3. The Ending - Luke turns to the Dark side and destroys Palpatine and Vader. He sits upon Palpatine's throne and rules the galaxy as the new Sith lord. [/blockquote]

    Exercise 2b: And then fill in between the lines a bit. These should still only be major events and only for the main character(s). [blockquote]1. Luke is captured by Vader and brought to the Emperor.
    2. Tortured, Luke grows more and more desperate to escape but Vader tells him his only way free is to turn dark.
    3. Luke is forced to decide between killing a Rebel prisoner or having a child murdered by Palpatine. Luke chooses to kill the prisoner. Vader congratulates him
    4. Luke decides that he will fake darknes
     
  7. ardavenport

    ardavenport Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Hmmmmmmm, let's see....... this is something I've been pondering....

    1. What is the storyline? Write a single sentence to describe it.

    Luke Skywalker gets his first lesson in the ways of the Jedi from old Ben Kenobi on the long drive to Mos Eisley spaceport.

    2. Write a one sentence summary of the message or the moral in your story.

    You have to move forward.

    3. Who is the main character? Who is this mostly about? There may be two main characters but rarely more; who are most important ones to the overall arc of the story?

    Ben Kenobi and Luke Skywalker, but from Ben Kenobi's POV, with everything that he knows and Luke doesn't.

    4. Where is the main character going to be at the end of the story ? physically, mentally, morally, and emotionally? How has this person changed?

    Ben Kenobi will really be ready to start teaching Luke, even knowing what happened with Anakin and his doubts from that failure.


    Exercise 1:
    Take a moment in one of the Star Wars movies (or any other movie or book that most of us would be familiar with) and write 3 or more endings to the story and then choose one to expand upon with a paragraph or two describing how the main character has changed. You can go as wild as you like but keep in mind we are going to build on it.


    Luke goes back to the farm, finds his aunt and uncle dead and runs off with Ben Kenobi to be a Jedi.

    -1- Luke goes back to the farm and is killed by stormtroopers. Ben Kenobi is sad, takes the droids and leaves for Alderaan alone.
    -2- Luke goes back to the farm and gets to the farm before the stormtroopers, has a huge fight with Owen. The stormtroopers arrive and they are all killed. Ben Kenobi is sad, takes the droids and leaves for Alderaan alone.
    -3- Luke finds his aunt alive, hidden in the closet where Owen locked her. They leave and Luke, Beru, Ben and the droids leave for Alderaan.


    (3.) When Luke returns to Ben with Beru, Ben convinces her that she has to leave since she won't be safe with the Empire after her. They have a lot to talk about on the road to Mos Eisley. Beru tells Luke what she really knows. Ben has to cough up a little more information that he wanted to (but not about Anakin being Vader since Beru didn't know that). Beru is tough but upset, widowed and tearful about Owen and the farm. Luke wanted to leave the farm but is learning how high the price was. Ben does not know how to tell Luke about being a Jedi with Beru there.


     
  8. Arldetta

    Arldetta Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 19, 2002
    It's my turn!!

    1. What problems have you had with finishing stories in the past and how did you overcome them?
    I never manage to get to the end! I love starting things and even though I know basically what happens I have a Dickens of a time getting from point A to point B without getting overly drawn out and bored. :(

    2. Do you think of the ending first or last or somewhere in between when working on your story?

    Sometimes Yes, No, Absolutely. Oft times an idea will strike and I'll have this great beginning and then flounder my way to the end.

    3. Do you plan out your stories or just start writing? A mixture?

    I have planned out some and then others I had no plan whatsoever and just let my fingers do the writing. Although that experience was not as much fun as having a plan. As I already said, I always know the beginning. And most of the time I know the end too with a couple of key moments thrown in for good measure. It's building things up and filling in between the main points that I'm starting to have more trouble on.

    4. What do you expect to get from this workshop?

    A renewed sense of direction. :) I'm trying to write again but it's those simple chapters between that are torturing me!


    Exercise 1

    At the end of 3:RotS, Padme goes to Mustafar to confront Anakin. He gets mad at her and eventually fights Obi-Wan.

    Ending 1: Padme chose to help Obi-Wan find Anakin and when she realizes he's lost allows Obi-Wan to step in and do what he must.
    Ending 2: Padme says Yes to Anakin's proposal to rule the galaxy. They plot to overthrough the emporer and both take over the senate and become the first Emporer and Empress of the Republic.
    Ending 3: Padme, being a powerful and intellegent woman, seeks Anakin out to confirm what she already knew to be true. She attempts to kill Anakin herself but after failing Obi-Wan does it. She dies due to injuries from Anakin's anger not because she "lost the will to live."
    Ending 3a: Same as above only she lives and goes into hiding with Leia. She remains close friends with Bail and shortly after the Rebel alliance is formed she dies and Bail takes Leia as his daughter.
    Ending 4: Obi-Wan decides that Anakin is right and joins forces with him and both become Sith Lords under Palpatine.

    #3 Ending for Exercise 1

    Holding each other at armslength, Padme looked beseachingly up into her husband's eyes. "Obi-Wan told me terrible things, he said you killed Younglings." At the downcast expression on the young man's face, her heart sank. "Please tell me you didn't. Not all those children in the Temple." His continued silence left her feeling cold inside. A hard resolution to the hope she had for him. "So, Obi-Wan was right you have turned to the darkside."

    "Stop talking about Obi-Wan! He's only held me back from the beginning. With the knowledge of the Sith I can finally protect the ones I love. I'll be able to stop death itself."

    "I would sooner choose death over turning my back on everyone else. Those people in the Temple, the Jedi gave you better life and this is how you repay them. If I had known you would one day use the power they showed you on them, I would rather Obi-Wan had not trained you at all. We could have been happy together just as two people living a simple life. I don't want you to save me from death, I want you to be a part of my life."

    "I am a part of your life. And it's a life I cherish above all else. With my power you will live forever."

    "I don't want to." Grasping at one last glimmer of hope she begged, "Let's go to Obi-Wan, he wants to help you, save you from the Darkside."

    "No! I don't want to see any Jedi anymore. He can't help me. And once he's gone only the Chancellor will stand in the way of us ruling the Galaxy." As Anakin spoke he turned away from her and held his hands up as if to embrance the sky.

    He truly was lost, Padme knew it now. Corrupted from within and blind by lies. She pulled the small dagger from her sleeve. W
     
  9. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 11, 2005
    Writing Workshop

    Now to answer a few questions before we start:


    What problems have you had with finishing stories in the past and how did you overcome them?

    Endings are a killer for me. Since I just tend to start, like an impulsive child, once an idea hits, I have little forethought on where it will end. Fore the most part, I haven?t overcome them. I have two major WIPS in past that remain unfinished.

    Do you think of the ending first or last or somewhere in between when working on your story?

    Endings come to me somewhere in the middle as the story is working itself out. This very problem is why I have avoided multi-post stories for most of my TF.N career. I?ve even left two part stories dangling. It?s embarrassing.

    Do you plan out your stories or just start writing? A mixture?

    I just start once an idea hits. I?m compelled to get something on paper. I have little patience for planning because I don?t think I?m good at it.

    What do you expect to get from this workshop?

    Structure. I would really like to have some kind of application that I can put to my story idea; a mechanism that will help me develop the idea before frantically posting and then leaving it to languish.

    Execise 1a

    Star Wars Alternate Endings

    Luke returns home when the slaughtered Jawas are discovered.

    Endings?

    1. Luke?s grief and guilt cause him to take over the Farm and live in anonymity, despite Obi-Wan?s pleading.

    2. Luke tracks the squad of storm troopers and kills them all, thus beginning his life of crime.

    3. Luke arrives home before the attack. He is horrible disfigured in the attack, but survives, vowing an end to Imperial tyranny on Tatooine alone.


    Luke Skywalker watched as his aunt and uncle were beaten and tortured before they gave the storm troopers what they wanted. Everything in him screamed to intervene. But, he would die too. His tear soaked eyes followed the convoy of dewbacks as the troopers left the homestead. As fast as he could manage, Luke scampered down the rocky hillside and made his way into the domed entrance of his home. Making a quick travel pack for the desert, he struck out, following the trail. He was now on the hunt. He would kill the entire squad if it took the rest of his life.

    Execise 1b.

    I don't have a WIP that I care to continue at the moment. They are old and lined with cobwebs. I do, however have a story idea for something new.
     
  10. ardavenport

    ardavenport Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Hmmmmm, first ..... the forum software is very annoying for replying to multiple replies. I've been on other forums where they automatically show the whole page of that you're replying to. You have to click a button to see the replies, and they're displayed backwards. Very annoying for trying to get into the interactive part of a workshop. Tabs on my browser help a lot, but software is annoying.

    And quoting multiple replies is a lot of cutting and pasting. <sigh> I wish there were a better way; it's so much easier to reply generically. But direct quotes make the discussion more active.

    The only mechanism that has worked for me is completing a draft before posting any of a story. Not the preferred method for everyone for sure.

    Having an outline for my stories is never enough for me because the story can change so much when I sit down and write it. HOWEVER, even if it's going to change just having the outline makes the story easier to write just because I have a goal that I'm writing toward.

    One thing that helps with me is to make sure that someone is either talking or doing something in real time in every few paragraph. The more action there is in the story, the more activity there has to be in the story (for a lot of action dialog doesn't count as activity). Even little things count. Someone scratching or picking their nose still keeps the story moving.

     
  11. Arldetta

    Arldetta Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Ditto on the replying bit! I haven't been to these boards in a LONG time. So trying to figure out how to quote and such has really been a bother. And then on one reply I was working on I wrote a whole bunch of stuff and then thought maybe I should add a quote. By clicking on that "Quote this message" I wiped out everything I had just finished typing. I virtually cried! :_| Got so irritated that I never posted my reply because I didn't want to type it all out again. Oh well.

    Anyway, I agree. I do like something happening in my story all the time. When I was in school, my teachers often mentioned having movement in your writing. They can't see what you are seeing in your head so you have to express it in some way. Obviously, you don't want to be repetative either so you learn to develop those descriptive skills. Of course, adding in someone picking their nose would be fun! LOL. [face_laugh]

    Man I wish I could simply write a draft! Everytime I've tried it ends up being 30 pages long with no end in sight. I used to have such wonderful muses, they would move faster than my fingers could type. Then after writing like 5 fics all at one time, I burnt them out. Now it's a struggle to keep a fic going. I've even switched fandoms and found myself in the same situation. It's an age-old problem I face for myself. But I'm slowly making my way through it. Thanks for the ideas. I will keep them in mind. ;)

     
  12. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Jedi Grand Master star 9

    Registered:
    Mar 26, 2001
    Exercise 2:
    Exercise 2a

    1. Amne leaves immediately after his attack and as captured upon her arrival at Corellia instead of in-transit because the traitors weren't able to intercept her with the change in plans.
    2. They attempt to leave the planet, but are blockaded by CorSec.
    3. They use her as a bargaining chip and kill her when the Republic refuses to meet their demands.

    Exercise 2b:

    1. Amne leaves immediately after the attack.
    2. Upon her arrival at Corellia, her guard detail changes and one of the new guards allows her speeder to be bombed.
    3. She awakes as the hostage of a separatist faction, held in a small safehouse in Coronet.
    4. She overhears them discussing the need to leave immediately before the Republic can respond.
    5. CorSec closes down all spaceports and calls in aerial support to shoot down any ship that violates the blockade.
    6. Her captors take a holo of her and send a message to the Republic stating their demands. They give six hours before they will leave the planet and threaten her if CorSec does not let them pass.
    7. The Republic counter-offers to meet with them to discuss their demands. Most of them scoff at this, but their leader insists on giving it a chance.
    8. Ten minutes before the scheduled meeting, one of their sentries sees that CorSec is moving in and assumes that they are not going to honor their agreement.
    9. They drive her under fire to the spaceport and take off while live-broadcasting to the Chancellor's office and the Governor-General's office so that they will call off CorSec.
    10. The G-G calls for them to be allowed to leave, but one of the fighters fires on them before this order can be issued.
    11. On live broadcast, they shoot her through the forehead.

    ardavenport--I like this scenario. It says a lot both about Beru and Owen. There's interesting conflict with her having just found out about Vader's relationship to Luke.

    Arldetta--LOL, your version of Mustafar is pretty much exactly how I wrote the ending of Episode 3 in 2002, so I think it makes a lot of sense for her to confront him. Better dialogue than Ep. 3, too. How are Padme's injuries inflicted--with the Force or with her own weapon? I like the twist of Owen and Beru refusing Luke.

    brodiew--I like all of the ideas that you threw out, especially the one about him tracking down the stormtroopers.

     
  13. Arldetta

    Arldetta Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Really? Oops. [face_blush] I know my hubby and I have often talked about what a horrible end Padme has. She was so strong as queen in Episode one to see her end up dying because of a broken heart when she knows she has a child on the way is just dumb! :rolleyes: Of course in 02 I think I was still trying to get over Qui-Gon dumping Obi-Wan for that dopey little Whinakin. Um, I'm just going to stop now or else I'll go on forever.

    As for your questions, I would say they were primarily Force related although I could see how her own weapon might be turned against her. I would have to think about that. And I was thinking, the Lars' really didn't have any reason to take Luke in. I mean, his father already paid the price for attempting to rescue Shmi. So why would Owen want to be saddled with Luke? Perhaps it could be his reason for being so nasty toward Luke. It was a thought and I said, let's go with it. ;)

    Thanks for checking out my post!
     
  14. dianethx

    dianethx Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Mar 1, 2002
    ardavenport ? Have the questions helped any? They are supposed to make you think about the main character's story arc. Hopefully, you can get a clearer picture once you know how they are going to change by the end of the story.

    The results of exercise 1 was pretty cool. I liked that Ben didn't know how to tell Luke about the Jedi with Beru around. That could make things quite difficult.


    Arldetta ? hey, long time no see!

    A lot of people have this problem. They start out great and then don't have an ending but they keep on going for a while until they finally run out of steam, flounder a bit and then stop altogether. It's really crucial to know the story and character arcs and where they are going to end up. I have a little bit more to say about endings at the bottom of this post.

    The other problem you mentioned is filling in between. I can certainly understand it. It's always hard to see where to go when you've got this huge chasm of emptiness going from beginning to end. But I think if you break it down into smaller parts, you'll be able to see what to fill that empty space with. That's what exercise 2 is really all about, filling in the blanks, picking one or two high points and then filling in those spaces ? the highest points of a rollercoaster or a mountain range. The valleys come in later but they do come in.

    Great job on the first exercise and the second one, too!

    That's a good place to start. Perhaps some brainstorming might help. How about in your spare time, you think about one point between the ending and where you stopped? It could be a small moment or an argument or even Qui thinking about destiny. It might get you started.

    You're welcome. I just hope the exercises are getting people to think that maybe it's not so hard after all. It just takes one step at a time.


    Ah? you aren't the only one that happens to. I know several people who leave their readers hanging, not just in this fandom but others as well. The muse doesn't always cooperate, even for people who plan out their stories ahead of time.

    But you also say that the endings do come to you. That's good, even if it's in the middle! At least that way you can plan the rest of the story.

    Like I told Arldetta, it takes a single step to start. By looking at the main character first, you should be able to see how the story arc has to go. It's really their story; they have to be the one to change in the end. Minor characters help the main character along but they aren't center stage. It's the main character that drives your story.

    Exercise one ? loved it. I really liked that Luke would go off after the troopers, rather than back to Ben.

     
  15. Arldetta

    Arldetta Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 19, 2002
    I know, isn't it weird! Who'd thunk I'd make it back here afterall? LOL.

    It's funny. Do you know I still have my outline for FnB? And one also for Reliving Shattered Dreams. (btw I am working on it. almost done with chap 4.) Which very much resembles exercise 2. I have all these plot points which a couple are irrelevent now because I am not writing them. Although knowing what happened helps me keep some continuity within my own storyline. One of the issues I am facing right now is that I have not written much since the end of FnB (for Star Wars anyway) and since that time, I have changed. I've grown, my thoughts and feelings are different, I see things in a new light.

    Back then, I had fabulous muses. Words just flowed from my fingers. And I dare say they over embellished a bit too. I think during FnB filling in wasn't the hard part. I liked letting the story work itself out and lead me to an end. Only the muses just wanted to keep writing and getting them to focus on an end was hard. Now I have plot points and ends but no filling. It's the happy medium I seek.

    Brainstorming! I would love to do that. Unfortunately, real life has hindered this concept on many levels. I finally passed one exam only to start studying for another. And since moving, I have not found anyone here I can really mesh with to talk things through. Online I have become defunct due to an exam that took me over a year to pass and because I put my life on hold until I did, I let all contact go. Hence, why I'm kinda popping back on here now. But I'll see what I can do. ;)

    Me too, me too!!! I have often been impulsive too! And I have
     
  16. dianethx

    dianethx Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Mar 1, 2002
    Arldetta - we'll have to catch up later (email me with brainstorming things if you need help!). I hope that this workshop will help with filling in the blanks. ;)


    I hope you all have been doing your outlines, even if you don't post them here. We'll be building on them in the next couple of exercises.

    This next part is short. It will give you time to catch your breath. [face_wink]

    Before we go on to the next part, there's a few things that you might need to keep in mind with outlines and plots. We aren't going to address them in this workshop but they can be important. Think of them as [u]footnotes[/u] for this workshop. They aren't the focus here but they should always be remembered.

    From [link=http://www.writing-world.com/mystery/opening.shtml] mystery writing[/link] -
    [i][b]Escalating Conflict[/b] - One of the classic story structures involves three attempts to resolve a problem, the first two attempts not only failing but actually making the situation worse, the third finally succeeding.
    First, the protagonist is seen as active and determined, two heroic qualities. Second, failed attempts raise the question of whether the protagonist will ever overcome, increasing suspense. Third, the response of readers alternates between tension and relaxation, keeping readers from growing complacent and thus bored. [/i]

    [i][b]Twists and Turns[/b] - Readers don't stop reading when the pages almost turn by themselves and one way to achieve this impression is to introduce twists.
    Words of caution: There is a limit to the number of twists you can introduce before readers roll their eyes. ?Another mistake to watch for is too many twists of a certain type. If your first twist is a case of mistaken identity, you shouldn't repeat that pattern unless you're writing comedy. Related to this concept is the timing of the twists. ?Surprise the reader with your surprises.

    [b]Subplots [/b] - The subplot can be a reflection of the main action?. A subplot can be the inverse of the main action?. A subplot can be used to prepare the reader?. If the protagonist seems indecisive, a subplot where the person is decisive allows the reader to accept when the protagonist finally shifts into gear. A subplot can be used to expose character.
    Words of caution: Don't allow the subplot to overshadow the main action. The subplot has to be interesting but not too interesting. The subplot must be memorable enough that the reader is not confused when it reappears. At the same time, the subplot should not be the only thing the reader later remembers. Chose your points of entry carefully. You don't want the reader to be left frustrated every time you pull away from the main story. The subplot should seem a natural extension of your plot or the reader will start skipping ahead. [/i]
    ******************


    Now on to the next part.

    [b]Filling in the blanks. [/b]

    You've gotten a great start on figuring out how the story is going to proceed.

    Now's the time to think about what else you need to make this all work.

    You have to think about additional plot points for the main character(s) and that darn rollercoaster. If you noticed, in the last exercise, the tension steadily increased (or should have done). Now is the time to decrease tension in the plot outline so that the reader has time to rest between high spots. You can use humor or romance in a drama piece; you could use drama in a humor piece but whatever you do, there needs to be some quiet time between some of those plot points.

    You know what the high points are. Use those low points!


    [b]Exercise 3:[/b]
    You have your listing of major events from exercise 2. Now is the time to expand on your outline and add minor plot points for the main character(s). These should reduce tension. Let your character breathe for a little bit, just so the tension can increase later. [color=firebrick]Rollercoaster[/color]!

    For exercise 3, write a series of reduced tension plot points that you want to include in your story. [blockquote]Add them to the li>
     
  17. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 11, 2005
    I'm stuck on Exercise 2. I'm not sure how to proceed. I picked my ending in Exercise one, but I don;t think get the instructions for #2.

    Edit: Here is me doing...not trying.

    2a.

    Luke kills his first, solidifying his resolve to complete the job.

    Innocents are killed and injured when Luke executes number three.

    Luke is gravely injured in his attempt to kill the fifth member of the five man squad.

    2b to come.


     
  18. dianethx

    dianethx Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Mar 1, 2002
    brodiew, let's see if I can explain it a different way?

    You chose this as the scenario - Luke returns home when the slaughtered Jawas are discovered.

    You chose this ending:
    2. Luke tracks the squad of storm troopers and kills them all, thus beginning his life of crime.

    Then you expanded it a bit as follows:

    2a.

    Luke kills his first, solidifying his resolve to complete the job.

    Innocents are killed and injured when Luke executes number three.

    Luke is gravely injured in his attempt to kill the fifth member of the five man squad.



    It's a great start. The tension is rising with each kill and the tension really mounts with the last sentence as Luke is injured.

    But you need to ask yourself if the last sentence (Luke is gravely injured in his attempt to kill the fifth member of the five man squad) in your listing for 2a is really the true ending of the story?

    Are you going to leave Luke injured as you type in 'the end'? Has the 5th member of the squad been killed? Plus you mentioned a life of crime in your initial ending. What is Luke going to do after the 5th member is killed? Is there more?

    If there is more to the story, you need to add it to the 2a list and make sure you have the true ending as the last sentence in the list.

    If I've misunderstood and the true ending is the one you listed originally (Luke tracks the squad of storm troopers and kills them all, thus beginning his life of crime), then that should be in the list for 2a. You want to always carry the ending through for each exercise to remind yourself of your final goal.



    We'll start filling in the gaps in the next exercises so that by the end of this workshop, you'll have a complete outline.

    Hope this has helped.
     
  19. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 11, 2005
    Thanks so much, diane. This is a great help. I didn't understand that the last sentence in 2a needed to be the finale of the story. I'll amend that. These initial three expanding sentences are our beginning middle and end, eh?

    Adding details in between the three fleshes things out. I'm feeling more confident now. I don't want to get behind, but it can be a little intimidating for vig writers like myself.
     
  20. dianethx

    dianethx Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Mar 1, 2002
    brodiew - you're doing great! You've got the idea of high tension just right. When you get a chance, start working on exercise 3 but no hurry. I'll be hanging around the thread even after the last exercise for anyone who needs help.



    everyone - let's talk a little bit more about tension.

    Tension can get your heart pounding or your cheeks flushed or your stomach clenching. It can also make you go ohhhhh. But in a quiet moment, there's also tension, just a lot less of it. Here are two examples.

    First example:
    Obi-Wan and Anakin have a lightsaber duel at the end of ROTS. The whole thing is pretty darn tense. But let's break it down. (forgive me if I miss some things. I haven't watched it in a while)

    First high tension point - Anakin strangles Padme and she falls to the ground.
    Then there's discussion as Obi-Wan walks down the ramp (not as tense)
    Discussion
    Discussion
    Anakin says, "You will try" and goes after Obi-Wan (my heart is racing here)
    Fight
    Fight
    Fight
    Anakin has Obi-Wan by the throat (oh, no)
    Fight
    Fight
    Fight
    They go onto the gantry and the lava flows over it blocking their escape (more oh, no)
    Discussion
    Discussion
    Fight
    Gantry falls into the lava and they swing on those wires and fight (wow)
    Fight
    Discussion
    Discussion
    Obi-Wan lands on the bank of the lava river and Anakin jumps (don't do it!)
    Anakin's arms and legs get cut off, screaming as he burns (yuck)
    Moaning
    Discussion
    "I hate you." "I loved you." (me crying)
    Obi-Wan leaves and end of scene.

    All of that fight was intense. All of that fight left my mouth dry and heart racing but there were parts that just stood out in my mind even after a while. Those are the high tension parts in that fight. But you notice that we also need the discussion, the continuation of the lightsaber duel, the floating platforms for the plot. Yes, they are tense but of less intensity than the others.


    Second example:
    Now a quiet moment.
    In ROTJ, Luke tells Leia that Vader is his father.
    This scene doesn't make my heart race like the ROTS scenes but I just wanted to hug them both here.

    Luke asks Leia about her mother. Not very tense.
    Luke says he doesn't remember his. Slight rising tension
    Leia asks Luke what's wrong. Not very tense
    Luke tells her about Vader. Huge spike in tension for both (this is the high point of this scene)
    Luke says that there's more. Much lower tension than the Vader sentence
    Luke tells Leia about their being family and she has the power, too. Rising tension as Leia realizes what he's saying
    Luke tells Leia that he has to face Vader. Spike in tension almost as high as the Vader revelation.
    Leia tells him to run away. Low tension compared to facing Vader point
    Luke repeats that he has to face Vader. low tension
    They kiss goodbye.
    End of their scene together.

    Now notice that the Luke&Leia scene doesn't have nearly the intensity of the ROTS fight but there is still tension there. It's all a matter of perception and balance.

    So don't worry if your story doesn't have the ROTS tension. It might just have the ROTJ tension instead. :)





     
  21. ardavenport

    ardavenport Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Hmmmmm, well I don't want you to think that I've forgotten.....but I haven't really figured out an ending for the story I proposed in Lesson 1. The only thing I can think of is to go all the way through ANH with Beru accompanying them. Anything else seems to be a disappointment. But I always resist re-writing the movies. So, that's where I've gotten stuck. (that and writing on other stories)

    And would Beru really survive the Death Star? She's a frontier woman and I'm sure knows how to shoot, but she may not be that fast. Having Beru get killed there would really up the tension. Or perhaps Obi-Wan has to rescue her and not let Vader kill him? None of them quite sound right.

     
  22. dianethx

    dianethx Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Mar 1, 2002
    ardavenport - perhaps the ending you've chosen isn't really what you want. It's perfectly acceptable to go back and find another ending that's more to your taste. Endings are hard!

    If you want to stick with the scenerio that you've written, then you really need to decide where Beru is going to end up. While she is tough, running through the Death Star would throw the whole dynamic of the group off and she's likely to get killed. Could she remain behind in Mos Eisley? Did she have money put aside at the farm that they could use to hire a transport off world? She knows people on Tatooine. Could she try and get some of her friends or relatives to help get them off world? Could the group split up so that Beru and Luke have a tearful goodbye?

    Hope this helped.
     
  23. ardavenport

    ardavenport Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Oh, it's very helpful. I'm just a bit slow with the exercises. I think it's that I've picked out something that's hard for me to plot, since plotting is part of the workshop.

    Now, to get to Exercise 2, I actually need to find the end. All I have is the situation to start with. I don't actually have an end, which makes it tough to figure out what to do next..... So far, I have.....

    - Luke finds Beru alive, takes her back to Ben and they all go to Mos Eisley. Crowded speeder - Luke and Beru in front, Ben in back with the droids.
    - They arrange for passage to Alderaan for all of them. It's not safe for Beru to stay behind on Mos Eisley.
    - They get captured by the Death Star but hide in the smuggling compartments.
    - They want to leave Beru behind in the smuggling compartment. But she would rather not stay, she knows how to shoot and no place is safe anyway.
    - The rest of the Death Star plays out as it did in ANH, but Beru takes the droids to go hide on the hangar closer to the ship to wait.
    - ...........and now that I think about it, the rest of the movie would play out the same as it did.

    What's different?
    - tension between Beru and Han
    - possible chemistry between Obi-Wan and Beru? (they are of similar ages)
    - Luke finding out that his aunt is tougher than she looks
    - Beru telling Luke the true story of how she met Luke's father, and why she and Owen lied about it (anyone with even remote connections to Jedi could be arrested by the Empire)
    - Ben having to answer more questions about Luke's father
    - Beru in the audience when Luke and Han get their medals at the end.


    I've kind of lost which exercise I might be on. Exercise 2 with more tension? Exercise 3 with less? The details feel difficult to fill in, since I'm not really happy with the ending. Repeating what they did in the movie is not very exciting to me. And I think I'd like to contrive a way for Obi-Wan to not get killed on the Death Star.......I'm really not sure how that could happen.

    This last bit is a big source of slow writing for me.....wanting to hang onto some event, or even an ending that is clumsy for me to write......... usually the only thing that gets me out of situations like that is letting go of the clumsy event by finding something I like better. I'll have to think about that for this exercise.....
     
  24. dianethx

    dianethx Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Mar 1, 2002
    ardavenport - think of who the main character is in your scenerio. Is it Luke or Ben or Beru? If it's Beru, then you wouldn't be telling the same story as the movie since Beru is hanging out with the droids. In that case, the story really isn't about what happens to the other characters but Beru's internal story (and the increasing tension of waiting for them to return to the hanger and her being around when Luke blows up the Death Star). Saving Ben might actually be incidental to Beru's plot.


    As for the tension, you don't have to have a lot of lesser tension, just some. It could even be a single scene as the tension is growing.
     
  25. ardavenport

    ardavenport Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Oooooh, how very right.

    I'm all over the map about who's story it is. Since ANH is really Luke's story, then I'd want the AU to be someone else's, just to make it more AU. I'm not sure if I would choose Beru or Ben. Beru would be the obvious choice I suppose, since she is the focus of the AU, but I would still be tempted to follow Ben closely. Especially if I wanted him to survive the Death Star - making him a focus of the AU as well. However, if I later wanted to follow up on any chemistry between the two characters (much later, since Beru is newly widowed) I would want to switch between their POVs.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.