Monday, May 01, 2006

What characters want

Monday at last. So glad the weekend is finished, all that relaxing over with...

I'm kidding. It's actually getting really hard because I've got quite a bit of paying work on. But I'm not kidding about doing this blog - and more importantly, the screenplay.

I've been reading some helpful stuff in Making a Good Script Great, like this gem on character spine:

"The spine of the character is determined by the relationship of motivation and action to the goal. Characters need all of these elements to clearly define who they are, what they want, why they want it, and what actions they're willing to take to get it.

If any of these elements are missing, the character line becomes confused and unfocused. There's no direction. We're unclear who to root for and why we're rooting for someone at all."

I had no problem with character motivation for my main protagonist, but still the story needed fleshing out. So last week I began to write down what each supporting character wants. A very interesting exercise! And even though subplots were covered a fair few chapters ago, this new information is helping me develop good subplots.

Well, hopefully good.

I've been realising that sometimes I'm too smart for my own good. I don't mean that in a bigheaded way... by 'smart' I mean too analytical. I find it far easier to write a non-fiction piece on most subjects; only when I really start applying myself can I envisage a fictional treatment of a topic.

That's where some of the nonsensical exercises from The Writing Experiment come in. The use of random words, etc.

Recently I joined the workingstories email group, which has some very interesting thoughts on the parallels between Jazz music and organisational storytelling. It's not Hollywood, but it is an emerging use of the craft of story in a practical setting.

News of note:

Screenwriting resources
  • Apparently there are over a million words about the screenwriting industry at ... including some great message boards I've just discovered.
  • How the Alligator man became a script reader.
  • It's not writing a "great" script that counts, it's writing the right script, according to ICM's executive story editor Chris Lockhart.
  • Adrien Brody and Lindsay Lohan to star in Speechless. Good premise: "an introverted type (Brody) ... is asked to give a speech at a friend’s wedding and ends up hiring a service that lets someone else (Lohan) speak through him."


At May 01, 2006 11:48 AM, Blogger rie said...

just discovered your blog here, after seeing you posting on _united 93_ over at csweb... looking forward to seeing how your writing progresses as i face the very very beginnings of the process of trying to write a screenplay.

a resource you probably have already discovered and devoured... _the art of dramatic writng: its basis in the creative interpretation of human motives_.

if you haven't read it, do. an amazing read, crystalizing the basics of how to make characters round, and a plot compelling.

nothing fancy, just good, old-fashioned common sense. which i must lack, because when i read this book, i keep going "well, no kidding - i should indeed be doing/considering just that. why aren't i?"

keep blogging, man! and, more importantly, keep writing! (-;

peace -- rie


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