Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Learned two very important lessons in class today.

(ONE) Always bring a spare pen

(TWO) Only trouble makes for an interesting story

I went very low key in terms of accessories for this class. Not even a real notebook. Just a clipboard, pad of paper and a pen. Yeah. A pen. On the bright side, my pen died with ten minutes left in class, not at the beginning! I will be bringing two pens from now on.

In today's class we talked about story arc, and how conflict and tension breed interest. I'm not good with conflict. Not in real life, not in stories. I often have the beginnings of a story, but it's the conflict bit where I fall flat. At least knowing what needs to be there will help me create stories around ideas and characters I've created/found/invented. And my teacher gave me a wonderful tidbit, in that she said writers often find characters, and create scenes, create lives for them, before they invent the conflict that will make their lives a story worth telling. This makes me happy. I've gotten that far, I have people and a place, I've started to write about them, and then it just feels flat, or I'm unsure where to take things. This class totally gave me something to think of, another way to view the creation of a story. Even through all the pain, you can tell I'm excited. Can't you? Well, I am.

This week's assignment is interesting, I have to write a very short piece about two people in a car having a fundamental conflict: one wants something the other isn't willing to give. I've been thinking all week about what kind of conflict I want to write about, what characters I want to use. To be perfectly honest, I don't want to invent anyone new. I'm just not that good at it. But mostly, I really want to work on Maddie and her world, make it more real, make it solid, believable. I want her story to work. I want there to be a viable story there! So I'm thinking of Alejandro and Maddie in the car. I'll still need to do character work as I don't feel like I have Alejandro nailed down yet, he's still too nebulous for me. So I want to do that before I begin, or as I work on it anyway.

I'm not sure how well my idea will work... The argument I want Maddie and Alejandro to have aren't one I want to fully explain to my class. They are all so middle class, white bread, vanilla beans. I just don't think I could. So I'm going to have to be careful about it.. Also, with the wording, I'm not sure how exact we are meant to be. I'm thinking Maddie wants Alejandro to go with her to a party at her friends, and he refuses. Argument ensues. 250 words is not a lot to get that all out. I hope I can manage it.

I doubt I'll have time, but another fun idea I had would be Jazz, my succubus assassin arguing with her manager on a phone headset while speeding down a highway in a stolen sports car. Arthur, her manager wants her to take a job that's on her NO list (children, families, politicians), but the money was so good, he just had to ask her first. I like the juxtaposition of the revving car, the sleezy manager, and calm Jazz. We'll see. I still haven't done the demon bar idea from assignment one. Chronic pain, it eats time.

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