Philip Brewer's Writing Progress


Friday, 14 May 2004

I made hot cocoa this evening. It may be our last chance for hot cocoa until fall.

[Sculpture of herons at bus stop on Fox Drive]

It rained yesterday and today. Now the front has moved through and the rain has stopped. Tomorrow is supposed to be cool and pleasant and Sunday warmer and pleasant.

Because of the rain, I didn't exercise much yesterday or today, but before that I found time for 4.5 miles of running and 41 miles of bicycling. I'm planning a long run of around 6 miles on Saturday. Sunday I'll take a long bike ride. I haven't done enough riding yet to know how long of a ride would be appropriate. Maybe something in the 30-mile range.

Three of my bike rides this week were to work. On one of them I noticed this sculpture of herons. This statue is just a couple of blocks from the statue of a wind-blown woman that I photographed a couple of years ago. But I almost never go along that stretch of Fox Drive, I always go along the Boulware trail instead. So, I'd never noticed these herons.

I've been thinking about my story. I have a hero that I like, and a pretty good bad guy. The bad guy wants the hero to do something the hero doesn't want to do, and can apply considerable pressure. The hero, though, has a secret resource that will let him win in the end. (The secret resource, by the way, is really cool.) Sadly, this doesn't add up to a good story. If the cool secret resource is strong enough that the hero can just win, then there's no real story at all. If it's not so strong, but the hero manages to win anyway, that's even worse--unsatisfying and forced. To be a good story, things need to look bleak at the start, not just because we don't know about his secret resource, but because they really are bleak. Then, at the end, the hero needs to draw on some inner strength, or make use of something that he's learned over the course of the story, and win because of that, not because of his secret resource.

Sorry, I realize that's all pretty tedious. Just struggling to put a plot together, and doing it out loud. It helped, though. Obviously, the secret resource, cool as it is, must be neither secret nor so powerful that it solves the hero's problem. That doesn't answer all my questions, but does save me from making a few mistakes.

I'll keep working on it.


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