Thursday, August 14, 2008

List of Ingredients

A new idea has swept you along in its wake, past the speculative state and into the stand-and-deliver state of getting some things down on paper. In the abstract, it is a lovely idea, drawing handsfull of subsidiary characters along in its wake, filled with the usual array of details that make it seem all the more real. A protagonist suggests herself, as does a subsidiary character who is present solely to represent evil incarnate,

But there is also the wall to be hit:

Who is the central character?
What is the story about?
What is the prize to be won?
What is the price to be paid?
Why should we care?
What is the Major Dramatic Question?

Without answers to these questions, there is no story, and all the flashy equipment spread about is mere distraction from story.

These questions may be evaded, avoided, worked around, but if the huge gob of doubt in the pit of the stomach is to be dealt with, they must be seen, dealt with, fit in place.

Thus there is no safety, even when the Big Six Questions are answered, well in the writer's mind, because then the challenge is to get it down in something resembling grace.

Ah, yes.


Querulous Squirrel said...

Central character: narrator
About? ridding herself of the story
Prize? freedom
Price? going through the hell of telling the tale and hopefully surviving
Why care? Because her life depends on you hearing the story
Major dramatic question: Will she be able to tell it at all? Over and over, until it is all told out and done with, dead and buried inside of you.

Anonymous said...

The why we should care question always trips me up. I take it too and go all nihilistic. A we're-all-going-to-die-and-the-earth-is-going-to-explode-so-why-care-about-anything answer.

I know why I care to read other stories, but why does anyone else care? That makes we want to crawl into bed.