A to Z Challenge 2013

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Blog Chain - Where's The Drama

Okay, here we go. This is the type of question I've been dreading. And as I read through my fellow comrades' answers in this blog chain, the dread continues to build. So what is this grand question? Well, Christine started things out by asking the following:

How do you create a wonderfully dramatic story? Are there any questions you ask yourself, or specific things you keep in mind to ensure that you have the level of tension necessary to propell the story forward?

The first problem for me is the idea that I have any conscious control over my story. As my NaNo writing is progressing, the truth of this statement is becoming harder and harder to swallow. What started out as a story about one man escaping a society where he does not fit in has morphed into something entirely different. Every time I sit down and write, the story leaves the planned track I have for it and finds its own way.

So how can I answer this? The harsh truth is that I really have no idea. Since I am learning so much from everyone else around me, I would like to think that at some point my writing will be on purpose. I suppose there are a few things I do to maintain a level of drama however. I like to end each chapter with a cliffhanger. For example, in one of my chapters, the chapter ends with Mara telling my MC Trevor that she is his wife. He didn't know he had a wife before that moment, and to be honest neither did I prior to typing the words.

I also like to put my characters into danger, leaving the reader anxiously turning the page to find out what happened. I have a scene in NaNo where Trevor and his friend Brent jump into a taxi driven by someone they thought they could trust, only to have the man gas them into unconsciousness. There ya go - drama.

What I imagine is that when I go through editing this first draft (the fact that I can see myself completing an entire rough draft is amazing to begin with), I will be keeping questions such as this in mind the whole time. My NaNo WiP is supposed to be a thrill ride, so of course I'll have to make sure every word keeps the reader on the edge of their seats.

My basic answer to this question is that I don't honestly know how I do it. I just hear the words in my mind and put them down on paper. I don't have enough experience at this point to know whether this is the right way to do it or not, but it is how I get things done.

In case you haven't read them, Sandra answered this question before me and Kat is all set to do the same.


B.J. Anderson said...

"I just hear the words in my mind and put them down on paper."

Great post, Eric. I'm a big fan of the voices in my head, as well. :D

ElanaJ said...

I love the part where you said you'd "write something on purpose." I'm still struggling to do that. Everything I do seems to be by accident. Le sigh.

But even accidents can be good, right? Yeah, let's go with that.

Kat Harris said...

That's why I enjoy being part of this blog chain so much. There are people in every stage of the writing process -- beginning writers, those who are in the revision stage, those who are in the querying stage and those who have gone on to see their writing dreams come to fruition.

It's great to be a part of it, and I'm glad you're a part of it, too, Eric.

Mandy said...

I'm right there with you Eric! I never what's going to happen until I write it. I'm so organic it's not even funny. I feel overwhelmed when I hear things like character arc, rise and fall, plot, tension... AHHHHH! Scary.

I think that being a storyteller by nature allows you to create this things without being formulaic. A good story has all the necessary elements without overthinking it. You're on the right track. Keep it up!

christine said...

Awesome post Eric. My experience is that writing by "accident" is never really by accident...most of the time a lot of structure and plotting finds its way in - whether we meant to consciously or not :D!

K.M. Weiland said...

One of things I love most about writing is how organic the creative process is. I like to just step back out of the way, and let the ideas roll where they will. But I'm also a control freak and a perfectionist, and I want to make sure each story is just right. So I've found a balance between the organic flow and the structure. I throw my story ideas into the back of my brain and let them cook and wiggle around as they will for a few years, without attempting to impose any kind of premeditated structure on them. When it finally comes time to start writing them down, that's when I start looking at things analytically and critically and asking the questions that will shape the story appropriately.


i don't write fiction; however, i do just write a story exactly as i would tell it to a group of my friends sitting in my living room. with far less cursing. glad to find you

Cole Gibsen said...

Eric, I'm totally with you. I'd like to think that I have some great formula with rules. A system. But the truth is I just wing it and hope it works. :)

Glynis said...

One of my characters killed a rival, Not content with killing the planned character, he went off plot and suited himself!
Darned characters, you just cannot keep an eye on them 24/7 without them doing what they want. *grin*

Sarah Bromley said...

I like what you have to say about not really being sure how you write dramatic scenes, that they just happen because that's the way you write them. Usually, that's how I write, too. It's that creative spark that gets the ball rolling.

Galen Kindley--Author said...

I use pretty much the same technique, Eric. I know as a reader, if the chapter ends with a question about what’s gonna happen next, I sure do want to flip the page and go on. One problem I’ve encountered is chapter length however, sometimes, that, “Oh my gosh” moment comes right away and ending there would mean the chapter is too short, or, the reverse. I don’t know the “school solution” for chapter length, but, just kinda go by intuition. Still, I tend to write chapters on the shorter side. Readers have actually told me they liked that…I think they said the reason was it made it easy to find a break point when they had to run off and do something else.

Best Regards, Galen

Imagineering Fiction Blog

Shaun Hutchinson said...

Great post. Don't worry too much about writing on purpose. I find that the best thing for me is to get to know my characters as well as I can and then let them tell the story. Sometimes I throw up roadblocks and see how they react, but more often than not, they throw up their own roadblocks.

Also, I outlined the heck out of my NaNo story. I mean, I really outlined it. By the end of the first chapter, my MC had introduced me to so many things that my outline went out the window.