Week One - Writing a Favorite Author Chapter Template (FACT)
The Three Step Character Development Process
Please Take Note! For the first assignment there are two things I want you to do. First is develop an understanding of what the components of a good chapter are and second, learn how the Three Step Character Development Process works.
It starts with writing vignettes which are abridged chapters of what will be going into your novel. These vignettes should not be all dialog, or all exposition, or all of anything for that matter. They need to be a smattering of some of this and a little of that. I explain it in more detail in the link to the The Favorite Author Chapter Template below.
One of the basic tenets of the workshop is that Plot follows Character. If I've said it once I've said it a thousand times, a novel starts with a character and goes on from there. One doesn't really need a plot to start with, only a character. That character will lead to other characters and characters tell the story. All that's really required is an ear to listen and means to capture the firehose of information that follows. Writers Block, "Bah humbug," whoever heard of that?
In the past there were students who brought to the workshop material already set in stone. Caution: Don't show up with burdensome plot and character baggage that is no longer plastic enough to fit the forms of the model.
To best illustrate the Three Step Process I decided to try something new. In my "vast experience" and past workshops, I found that the Three Vignette Model is a great way to start a novel. I give the three parts, functional names and change them when I write my first draft.
In the first vignette,(part) called Placid Waters, the student gets to introduce a Central Character (CC) show him/her in the context of a Story World (SW), paint a Before Snapshot and show her Wants, Needs and Desires. Vignette 1 is the first of three looks. It introduces the reader to the CC on the home turf of their SW. This world is one they're familiar with and more or less control.
The second vignette is named Caught in the Current. In this one the CC is drawn from the comfort zone of their life and thrust into an uptempo of events that carry them towards a Life Changing Event (LCE). Here the CC faces forces they're not accustomed to dealing with. The reader gets to see more character as they watch the CC trying to cope with, understand and deal with a fluid and dynamic situation. Nothing like putting your Point of View (POV) character under some real pressure to see what they're made of.
The Third vignette is titled, Over the Edge. In this one the CC finds themselves carried into a situation beyond all their expectations. In the writing vernacular it's called the Life Changing Event. It's something totally unexpected. This is the third opportunity to show the CC's mettle. It so happens that in writing these vignettes, an added benefit is that the sketches illuminate the first three chapters of a novel. The trick is for the student to envision writing the three vignettes as a set and not see each as a stand alone.
Writing the Favorite Author Chapter Template
So after you read the Favorite Author Template, you can do one of two things. Choice #1 is to print out the components and percentages used in mine. Take these and post them to your workstation. Choice #2 is to take a chapter from a novel written by your favorite author and do one of your own. Either way, once you have a template, you're ready for the week's big challenge. Read the prompt and checklist below and then click on the model. Three Step Character Model
Week One Writing Assignment
Rewrite Pandora's three vignettes from Kindred's Perspective, and post in the "Classroom (Assignment Forum) of EWW" as a bitem.
In this exercise you will take the Pandora example and rewrite it from the POV of Kindred. Keep in mind what writing from a different Point of View is all about. The whole point of the exercise is for you to show Character... all the plot you need is pretty much provided, except you'll have to elaborate a little on the back story of how Kindred got to be where he was. Let his character shine through. Show his physicality, giving the reader a Before Snapshot..., you know what he was like before the Life Changing Event (LCE). Make him enigmatic... someone who departs from the vanilla stereotype. Show some inner character... what makes him tick. Use an example of someone from life..., maybe you have to embellish some, but somebody you once knew is a good starting point.
Going over the falls (...and meeting Pandora) is his LCE. Show Kindred's Wants/Needs/Desires (WNDs). Try and convey his personality and don't be afraid to show his warts as well as his redeeming attributes. In the first vignette make sure you include introducing your reader to the story world, showing him on the cusp of getting drawn into an uptempo of fast moving events. In the second show him drawn into the current, pushed along and buffeted by outside forces. It's said that a person's whole life can flash before their eyes when facing death. In the third vignette, you're given Pandora's account of what happened and you listened in on their conversations. There's still plenty of room however, left for thoughts, showing character, since you have the added benefit of being able to portray a CC's thoughts through interior dialog. When you finish post it as a "bitem" in the Classroom forum under your name, titled POV Exercise.
Note: To show thoughts in ML write, used here at Wdc, the syntax is "Curley bracket in, I, Curley bracket out". This is followed by the text of the thought. The close out syntax is Curley bracket in, /I, Curley bracket out.
Use this checklist to be sure you have included all of the vital aspects in your vignette. It will be the one I'll be using to write your review.
Show me a copy of the FACT template you'll be using.(Just the components and percentages)
Have you rewritten the exercise from the POV of Kindred?
Does your submission show you understand what POV means?
Do you understand the difference between character and plot?
Have you made a concerted effort to develop character?
Have you painted a Before Snapshot of his physical appearance and character?
Have you hit on his wants, needs and desires?
Is he a bit enigmatic (weird) and if so how was it evidenced?
In vignette 1 do you show the Story World?
In vignette 2 do you show what happens as he transitions outside it?
In vignette 3 do you show him embroiled in a Life Changing Event?
Assignment Forum Comments
Comment in the "Lounge for Exploratory Writing Workshop " on at least two of your colleagues' comprehensive posts. Check to make sure all of your fellow writers have received comments.
Remember Learning from each other is an important aspect of a workshop. Make your comments positive, encouraging and uplifting. Let Percy be the bearer of sad tidings.
All aspects of this assignment are due no later than
Thursday, the 8th of August, 2019, Midnight WdC time.
Percy Goodfellow - Workshop Instructor
Links to The Exploratory Writing Workshop
Welcome Letter - "Exploratory Writing Workshop Welcome"
Introduction - "Intro - Exploratory Writing Workshop "
Assignment Overview - "The Weekly Assignment Overview Page"
Assignment Forum - "Classroom (Assignment Forum) of EWW"
Dictionary of Writing Terms "Dictionary of Terms"