Last Friday and Saturday I took the opportunity to attend a conference presented by Capital City Writers Association. At this conference, I was blown-away by the Guest Speaker, Michael Hauge: StoryMaster. Having heard other writers speak of him, I was curious about what all the excitement was about at hearing this guy speak. Now I know.
His ability to break down and analyze a story for both a novel and screenplay was amazing. I sat in awe at all this genius had to share. He was so extraordinary. His approach to writing was something that I had not thought about in my own writing. He opened doors for me that will allow my own writing to be much more interesting with more focus on the inner and outer journey. There is more to a story than just a good telling. He let me see the possibilities!
In his three act outline, everything was broken down to when each event happens and how to keep the reader interested in the story. Obviously, the readers must find a way to like your character, but there was more! They had to connect and feel empathy for the character. If the read cannot feel anything for your character, then they will not want to read the book because they will not care enough to waste the time on a boring read. That whole idea seems simple enough, but the way it was presented just made everything snap into place. It helped me understand the whole of the character and made me dig deeper to really see what was driving my own characters forward.
It was also interesting to hear that if a scene does not move the character toward their goal or give any valuable information, then the scene does not need to be there. Wow! What an eye-opener that was for me. Although it makes perfect sense, my scenes may not have been doing that. If I thought the scene might be funny or cute then I believed it would add to the story. However, if it does not really move the plot forward then it should be deleted or expanded to make that happen. Unless, of course, the funny/cute scene adds to the understanding of the motivation of the character. Then that scene must stay to help the reader understand the character better. Brilliant!
With this new look at my own writing, I know that I will need to redo some scenes and edit some stuff in and out to make the story itself better. It was so wonderful to learn all this and it came at a time when I was being to slump. I had not written anything productively on my WIP for over two months and I was beginning to feel like a failure. Although the story is there and waiting to get down on the page, I have no idea where it is really going. After this conference, I know what needs to be done and what I have to do – beside put my a** in the chair and write!
Once again I am enthused by the idea of writing. I feel reenergized and more dedicated to writing that book. This conference has rejuvenated me and I am ready to move forward and become the writer that I have always wanted to be growing up! I have come to the conclusion that I must schedule time in my planner to get this done and not deviate from that plan.
There is so much to do now! I can’t wait to get this going again!