Saturday, February 27, 2010

AML Session: Stephen Carter

Stephen Carter: “Channeling the Muse: Using Outlines to Strengthen Literary Fiction

(No pic again: sorry!)

Feels like Oliver Cowdery: wanting to translate, hadn't prepared himself

SC not a natural born writer, but "I'm a persistent cuss!"

Presentation: the musings of a high-fxning-autistic writer (son high-fxning-autistic, learned to read emotions on a person's face, just as SC learned to write effective stories)

Of the idea that planning is an essential part of putting a story together. Writing a story like literary architecture.

Using this basic idea more consciously could improve their work

Base of every story: character arc
"these are the basic bones of how I put together a story"

1: give character a goal

2: make something to oppose that goal: antagonist/antagonism

First two things: essentially plan of salvation: antagonism in all things

3: kick the conflict up a notch: test the protagonist in larger and larger conflicts

We want to see increasing levels of conflict: once past level one, don't want that level again; increase intensity

4: Need dramatic need; goals transitory, but dramatic need is in opposition to goal: dramatic need: change the protagonist needs to make inside: interior spiritual need

Getting dramatic need to work is key to making story work, to get character to change, even to make reader change

The Sopranos is a good example of this model

Tony Soprano afraid of losing family b/c of his job as mob boss, but can't leave the job b/c made an oath, won't break his oath

Constant larger and larger conflicts

Structure of tragedy: pro. gets goal at expense of dramatic need

Structure of drama: pro. gets dramatic need at expense of goal

Ideal: stretching pro. b/w dramatic need and goal

Another ex: Avatar

Disappointed w/movie: pro. only had a goal, no dramatic need

Conclusion: Increase tension b/w goal and dramatic need: stretch it, make them almost mutually exclusive

(Notes taken on my iPhone Notes app during the session.)


- Tyler-at-large: chasing clouds, blogging live