This week: Problems Add UpEdited by: Dawn Embers
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Drama Newsletter by Dawn
"Comedy just pokes at problems, rarely confronts them squarely. Drama is like a plate of meat and potatoes, comedy is rather the dessert, a bit like meringue." - Woody Allen
When it comes to conflict, drama and struggles, it seems like the problems don't often come just one at a time. There are a couple of sayings that claim to know the math such as "double trouble" and that it always "comes in threes." I don't know if there is an exact number, but I do know from experience that there are times where "when it rains, it pours." At work, the past couple of weeks have been one of those times. It seemed like every issue decided to come up all at once, as if every difficult action had to all happen at the same time.
While it doesn't help for my sanity at work, like many aspects of daily life, it gives me something to think about when writing. Conflict is important for any type of fiction. For Drama it is essential.
Sure, we could give the main character one problem to face at a time, keep the focus tight so the reader doesn't get lost trying to find the path or story arch. But where is the fun in that? Another option is to layer in the conflict so that problems overlap.
Or just topple the character over with many problems at once... That won't work for every story but there are going to be some situations where it will work to pile everything on within a shortened time frame. Most of the time, you want to provide layers with the struggles.
Some quick tips:
- Consider the story length. Amount of conflict will vary when writing a short story versus writing a novel.
- What problems do you want your characters to face?
- Remember not to make the character drown all of the time.
- Write with dramatic flair, however you define that.
- Have fun bringing on the drama(problems).
Ofter dealing with all of those problems, creating drama, and working hard, don't forget to relax. Don't let the struggles of writing, editing and story perfection overwhelm. Take a break and give your characters a break too.
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How does the conflict develop in your story? Does your character face one problem at a time or do issues pile up?
"We respond to a drama to that extent to which it corresponds to our dreamlife." - David Mamet
"What is drama but life with the dull bits cut out." - Alfred Hitchcock
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