ACTION–OBJECTIVE–PARITY!!

My previous post focused on a character’s action-objective. Now, I want to expand the discussion and consider action-objective in terms of parity. In physics, parity may be defined as an intrinsic symmetry. In terms of narrative, parity means equality. It means that you, the writer, know and understand the motivation and objective of the viewpoint character and the important non-viewpoint characters in each scene. You know what they want and why. And if you don’t know what and why yet, you discover it. For example: Say we are writing a scene from the viewpoint of Jane, a 37-year-old singer, who is engaged …

Continue Reading

ACTION———-OBJECTIVE!!!!!!!

Writers have much to learn from actors. Actors are trained to take action in every scene. They have a main objective–win a first date, force the bad guy to show his hand, sweet-talk the doorman, seduce a rival’s hubby–and they pull out all the stops to achieve it. The objectives in each scene build toward the big story objective. If the big story has the requisite conflict, you’ll find conflict in every scene–in the form of obstacles that stand in the way of the actor achieving her goal. Obstacles may be environmental, intrapersonal, and/or interpersonal. For now, let’s focus on …

Continue Reading

QUOTE OF THE DAY–TRUE CHARACTER

Today’s writing quote, one of my favorites on character, comes from Robert McKee’s powerful book STORY: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting. “TRUE CHARACTER is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure–the greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character’s essential nature.” Whether you are writing a screenplay, novel, play, or memoir, I believe the quote holds true. Think about people close to you, think about yourself, think about your characters–and now make a quick list of defining, revelatory choices made. What was the context of the choice? What …

Continue Reading