My Writing Discovery
Date Taken: May 12, 2015
Photographer: K.S. Norton
Lens: Nokia Lumia Refocus
Okay you got me, apparently I went back on my promise yesterday. I was supposed to post an expert for WIPpet Wednesday and that turned to be a failure. It rained all day, which is no excuse. But in fairness after I came from my part-time, it was already seven. I ate din-din (dinner) with the family; a nice bowl of spaghetti and salad on the side. By this time it was eight p.m. I spent the remainder of the night reading Writing Screenplays that Sell by Michael Hauge for my class, Writing Workshop I: Film.
Let me tell you guys something, this book is a gold mine. Although it is tailored to writing screenplays it has vital information that can be instilled to writing novels, which is the format I primarily write in. I’m only on chapter four but I’ve gather so much from those couple of chapters. I’ll share a little of what I’ve learned.
Chapter Two: Story Concept | Outer Motivations | Desires
Is all about your story idea and how you can get the most out of it. What intrigued me was the section after called Outer Motivations.
The protagonist’s goal, what are they after or who?
Now, I have been asked by many experience and aspiring writers, what do my protagonist want? And my answer was always the same, to get this… to do that… to fulfill this… and every time I get the same response, but what does he/she want. What is their desire? What is their overall goal? For some this may come as easy. But for others, especially with in-depth stories that involve more than one, it can a little nerve wrecking. The protagonist(s) all have a mission, a motivation, to start off their journey. It’s the pin-point that starts the story rolling. It’s what apparent and usually seen through the protagonist’s actions, rather than dialogue.
According to Hauge, there are two motivations for a character, outer and inner. I’m going to talk a little about the outer motivation and how I define it. It’s pretty much the same as Hauge states, but more into the way I would explain it. Okay? Okay.
Without an outer motivation there is no story. If the protagonist doesn’t have an outer motivation, something to strive for, how will the story start? I’m pretty sure will still be stuck with their everyday life, which can boring to your readers.
[The] visible finish line is what I term the hero’s outer motivation, because achieving it will be outwardly apparent to the [reader], as opposed to invisible desires such as acceptance, belonging, revenge, and fulfillment.
So, I interpret it as, the reader does not understand or cannot relate to your story if you simply put that the hero wants to fulfill their destiny. What destiny? It’s vague and one of the many things as a writer I am trying to improve. I believe the outer motivation is written before the actual story, so, as a writer we have a basic outline. The example Hauge gives below is from the movie Slumdog Millionaire.
…is about a hero who wants to reunite with the love of his life and rescues her from a gangster…
My whole opinion is that outer motivation can be used as that one sentence that describes your entire story. It allows the readers to get an understanding of what your story is about without giving or saying a lot. Novelist have a harder time writing one-line sentences about their stories, because you are so used to giving detail descriptions. I could be wrong, but for me, it is a battle. But after reading about outer motivations I had a decent image of what was expected. In many of the courses I have taken, I am taught to write that one sentence that’ll hook the reader/audience and tell who are my protagonist, antagonist, and what my protagonist wants. Sadly, it’s not quite getting up there to the old brain. I’m a visual learner, I need lots of examples. And Hauge provides lots of them and an outline. Here is the outline he provided in his book, Writing Screenplays that Sell:
It is a story about a ___________ who wants to __________.
I took that outline and came up with this for my novel, Tellus: Budding Rose:
Tellus: Budding Rose is a story about identical twins who wants to find their parents killers during their planet’s upcoming war.
What do you guys think, is it understandable, familiar?
I thought pretty hard about it, and it may need a few tweaking. But overall, I believe outer motivation and this book can be applied to writing novels. It has some really interesting information that I am now using to further develop my own stories. Reminder, this is to help develop your story. I’m not sure it will answer all your problems as far giving your story depth or pushing it forward. It’s to help figure out the protagonist desires and start your story going.
Look out for the inner motivation post sometimes this week!