Philip Brewer's Writing Progress


Wednesday, 09 April 2003

The story I just finished ended with the hero making the right choice after having been making the wrong choice. That's a satisfying end to a story, and a satisfying plot structure. It's not the only structure, though. Lots of stories have a hero whose choice is clear.

The rewrite I was working on before writing this new story, for example, has a hero who has been trying to accomplish something for a long time, who now comes into possession of the means to do so. So, I now realize, that's not exciting. There's lots of powerful stuff that happens, but the central story is just, "Oh boy! Now he can do what he's always wanted!" That's hardly a story at all.

So, I'm thinking about how to fix that.

One simple possibility would be to move the thing he needs someplace where it's hard to get. That would probably be a great solution for something like an episode from a TV series: You establish early that you need the special hoosis, then make it hard to get the hoosis, but once you get it you use it and the story is over. I don't think that's the right choice for this story.

I could make it a quandary. As I'd envisioned the character, he's fixed on his path. But that's not necessary. I could make him much less certain. That's a reasonable option for this story--the special hoosis would give him great leverage, the possibility of enormous personal advantage. Choosing to use it, rather than trade it away, could make a good story.

I think what I'm running into is that my original concept of the story changed. In the original vision, he wasn't going to get the special hoosis. He'd get something, but something less. But I don't like that idea. I don't want it to be like episodic TV, where this plays like one episode of a season-long story arc, and the hero can't get the hoosis because that has to happen in in the last episode before the season finale.

Well, enough about story structure. I'll mull over possibilities and come up with one I like or else write something else.

I had my first actually good run of the season this evening. It was my usual run--to Kaufman Lake, around the lake, and then back again, but this time I ran the whole way.

I expect my next run will show a bit of backsliding, but by next week, that ought to be my standard distance. Then I'll add an extra lap around the lake for my "long" run.

In the meantime: Ow! My legs are tired and sore.


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