Friday, November 11

SiWC 2011: Character and POV: The Voice of Your Story, by Bob Mayer


I love Bob Mayer's writing! I've read his (excellent!) blog, Write It Forward, for the past year or so and was eagerly looking forward to taking this workshop. I was not disappointed.

I should apologize in advance; my notes are sketchy in places because sometimes I put down my pen and just listened.

As always, any mistakes and distortions in the following are completely my fault, not Bob Mayer's.
"I'm convinced fear is at the root of most bad writing."
Stephen King
How do you get great reviews? Great blurbs for the front of your book? You network. Networking is very important.

Also, character is everything.
- What is your character's core need?
- What is their pathological maneuver?

Emotion is more important than logic.

Your characters must want something concrete. This concrete thing, though, can in turn illustrate an abstract need/want.

Motivation
- Every character thinks the story is about them.
- Everyone has a core motivation. Motivation can be anything.

Peel away what the character wants and then find out what they need.

The protagonist goes up Maslow's hierarchy while the antagonist goes down.

Both your antagonist and protagonist need blind spots. Needs produce blind spots.

Do not name a character unless the character is important.

What if your protagonist fails? The answer will tell you what is at stake in your book.

Your protagonist has to overcome their fear even though their fear is their primary motivator.

(Book recommendation: How To Write The Breakout Novel, by Don Maass. KW: This book was recommended at almost every workshop at the conference.)

Character Description:
- Keep it brief and distinctive
- You're not writing a personal advertisement
- Don't have your character look in a mirror when it comes time to describe what they look like! One thing you can do is use other points of view to describe other characters.

The stages of change:
- Denial
- Anger
- Bargaining
- Depression
- Acceptance
=> Have your character go through these stages, don't have them suffer a loss and, the next moment, be okay with it.
=> How do we know when someone, say a friend, has changed? We see it.
=> At the end of the story we need to see our protagonist do something emotional they weren't able to do at the beginning of the story. This will show that they've changed.

Point Of View
1st person: I am sad.
2nd person: You are sad.
3rd person: She was sad.

The 2nd person destroys the 4th wall.

One advantage of 3rd person limited is that you can't info-dump.

What voice should you write in? The voice you enjoy reading.

What should you write about? Write about the thing you're most afraid of. Put it on the page and out there for people to see.

When should you break the 'rules of writing'?
1. Know the rule.
2. Know when you're breaking the rule.
3. Take responsibility for breaking the rule.
That's it! Hope you found something useful. :)

These are my notes from other workshops I attended at the SiWC this year:

- Don't Flinch, Robert Wiersema
- The Psychology of Plotting, Michael Slade
- The Inner Journey, Donald Maass
- Getting Started and Heading in the 'write' direction, by Robert Dugoni
- SiWC 2011: Writing for the Web, Rebecca Bollwitt

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