Don't neglect a third aspect of storytelling
An idea as a hook, possibly even an actionable advisory idea. Dig it, and believe I did this intuitively already, maybe, probably not.
Kurt Vonnegut had this amazing lecture on YouTube. About time lines. It may not be the exact same advice but it’s always helped when I’m writing. https://youtu.be/GOGru_4z1Vc
Also you just gave me the idea I should probably write a chapter I will never only use sparsely as my character soapbox. Maybe I should do that for all of my characters.￼￼￼
I need a T-shirt that says Antics is not enough. (Even with the singular verb).
The soapbox for your new novel sounds great! With global warming and climate/environmental issues being a hot topic, the idea of people being “sponges” for all of humanity’s filth and how we’re the only thing we properly dispose of is a brilliant notion. Can’t wait for it’s release! (next year???)
Btw, I started the ten weeks of writing project that I said I’d keep to in yesterdays post. I did the math and worked out that if I stuck to writing for a certain amount time and and hit so many words per day, by the end of the 10 weeks/summer I’ll have a 200+ page book give or take (which is what I’m aiming for). I recall Douglas Coupland once saying that his average word count for a day was 450-500 words and that once he had his words it gave him a kind of protective shield; the rest of the day could be “a flaming bag of dog shit”. I think the man may have been onto something with that.
Hope everyone has a great time at workshop tonight! Always remember that the mic stand makes for a decent weapon should the crowd turn on you.
Thank you for sharing the helpful writing lens of Suzy Vitello to avoid flat Point A to Point B storytelling. I think it might be interesting to have two strong characters oppose each other with differing worldview/philosophy. Like two religious zealots, or cult leaders or politicians.
On a side note, a few weeks back you threw out "Let's Go Play at the Adams'" as a possible read. I just finished it. Very disturbing and well written. What a 70s time capsule! I tried to learn more about the author since the worldview/philosophy was very "unwoke" compared to contemporary literature but unfortunately it seems he has only the one fiction book. His other writing is non-fiction about sailing. Kind of funny considering the themes of the fiction book. I loved the shifting POV between characters and was sad when the book was finished for a number of reasons. Thanks for the book rec.
Good luck working on your new book. Looking forward to reading it.
What works better - a character with a philosophy/ worldview that they struggle with, or a character with a philosophy/ worldview that they have firm convictions about?
This is a great post which I am going to read several times.
I was flipping channels the other night and somehow Brad Pitt in Fight Club came up. Someone said most young men want to have Brad Pitt's body in that movie. Then someone said all women want his body in that movie.
Then, "that was a while ago, at this point Brad Pitt wants Brad Pitt's body in that movie."
I love this. I have spent the last few years working with a developmental editor who has hammered home that subtext is where the story lies. The motivation, the emotion, all of that is all that matters. He had me watch shows, read books, anything to get me to understand the importance of subtext. You have beautifully described why subtext can make or break a story taking it from mediocre to meteoric. I remember him once telling me, "I don't care if your story is about how you woke up and took a dump. Make me understand why I should care about YOUR dump and I will happily read it."
Seems to me the real hard part is the method with which one presents such a rationalization/justification. Thought verbs aren't allowed. Ping-pong conversations aren't allowed. Long spiels of thought process without action might lose the readers easily. What are some of the methods to present the vertical of the story besides short powerful speeches? I assume we strive to create scenes where such ideas are communicated one way or another?
Is it any wonder that I'm writing a time travel book?
"The population explosion was engineered to provide more people who could inhale the asbestos from 9-11 and sieve the mercury and heavy metals from the sea. Our livers and fatty tissues collect all the muck and viruses, and the only thing people really do dispose of properly is our own bodies. "
Not to d-ride on you too hard here Mr. P but something I think you do better than almost anyone is to pluck an idea from the zeitgeist, something we all feel and that is just starting to be talked about, and blow it up into compelling or hilarious satire.
I spend a lot of time and other resources following alternative health news and one idea that's become prevalant (and that I'm a proponent of) is that our environment has become toxic in more ways than we can hope to understand. It sounds woo-woo but our cells really are under attack by everything from metals to mold to microplastics to microwaves. So, it seems you've taken that idea and flipped the script, so to speak. Looking forward to reading it.
Thanks Very helpful advice but I'll have to let your suggestions ferment before I can use them
I love the vertical/horizontal axis. It's really just another way of saying internal/external,though, isn't it? Or is it more complex than that?