But, I never put my post about up about my last PFC class, so here we go:
First we discussed the types of stories that are out there:
- Monster in the House – scary thing in confined space. Add people to the mix = primal, something everyone can relate to: Jaws, Alien, Panic Room
- Golden Fleece – quest myth. Star Wars, Wizard of Oz, Back to the Future, heist movies
- Out of the Bottle – cinderlla – want something to save them; scrooge – need to change evil ways, teaches a lesson
- Dude with a problem – ordinary person in extraordinary circumstances: Die Hard, Titanic, Shindler’s List
- Rites of passage – tales of pain and torment from an outside force, 28 Days, When a man loves a woman – serious movies with serious issues
- Buddy Love – actually a love story in disguise – Dumb and Dumber, also any Romance books and movie. Relationship, love is the focus, be it lovers or friends.
- Why done it? – who is not as interesting as the why. Law & Order, China Town, the Insider
- The fool triumphant – fool is actually wise – Forest Gump, Dave, The Jerk, silent clowns
- Institutionalized – common cause, united few for the many, sacrifice the goals of the few for the benefit of the many – MASH, American Beauty, Godfather
- Superhero – extraordinary person in an ordinary world – Dracula, Gladiator, Beautiful Mind, Superman, Batman, Xmen
For the first exercise we had to pick ONE of these and explain why we selected the option. By restricting yourself to one of these options instead of trying to fit everything about it into as many categories as possible, you can help find the greater motivation behind the story - the most important thing.
Next, we talked about dialogue. Here's what Pam had to say:
- Must progress the story forward
- Not unnecessary chit chat – might happen in real life, but has no place in fiction
- If it’s a conflict scene, the dialog must carry the weight
- No repetition
- Works as hook
- Use tags/action to show character as they do stuff = define character traits, etc.
- Never use said if possible – replace with action or don’t have it at all – NOT about replacing with special words and adverbs
- Watch dialect – use sparingly
- Distinct voices
- Each person should have different tones, quality, levels of sophistication and degrees of formality, rhythm and speed
- Easy method: contractions with or without
- Remember order is important. Example method: FAD: feeling/thought comes first > followed by the action/rection > then the dialogue
Exercise 2: Write an action scene between two characters. Make the dialogue distinctive. No he said/she said.
Exercise 3: POV and emotion exercise
- Pick your POV character
- Pick an emotion
- What color is that emotion?
- Taste of the emotion?
- Covey this feeling as best you can from this POV – in dialogue
For closing words Pam gave us this to think about:
It is recommended to have three story lines in your novel. Think about how they braid together. They start in different places, but they intersect. Sometimes they are independent, other times events happen that might require all three to come together.
I assume we'll be working on this more when we go back to class next week. As always, homework is to take one of the exercises and expand it into three pages.