Writing Lecture/Objective Fifteen
A Changing Central Character
Having talked about the importance of knowing where you're going with your story, let me say again it isn't necessary in this workshop to know exactly where that is. The workshop is designed to help you fingure out where you want to go. While you don't have to figure it out right away, by the time you finish this workshop, you will definitely know where the story is heading and where that point is down the road where you will be ultimately be writing The End.
A story is a journey. The reader or audience signs up to enter a vicarious relationship with your characters and to follow along for the ride. Okay, with that understanding, consider what is it that readers or audiences are straining to see. Sure, they want to see the story played out, but what are they looking for along the way? The answer to that is CHANGE! Hopefully, it's change for the better, but in a tragedy, it might well be change for the worse. There are lessons to be learned in both. If the change is positive, we traditionally think of the story as a comedy. If it is negative, its called a tragedy.
Let me make a point here for the benefit of my younger readers. In the traditional sense, comedy was not the situational or stand-up comedy you're familiar with. It refers to whether or not the ending of the drama was happy or sad. In the end the reader or audience experiences a pathos which can be either laughter or tears. It is a venting of emotions which can be uplifting or gut wrenching, but either way, it's the cathartic pay-back the consumer hopes to receive in return for the cost of the book or the price of admission.
Remember the Dramatic Premise, how you looked at the synopsis earlier and wrote that premise in both a negative and positive sense? Remember how I said that DP was the backbone of the story? Well, the thread of what the audience will be looking to discover is a trend line showing that change. Will it lead the CC to becoming a better person or lead him or her to destruction? Will, in the end, the audience feel warm and fuzzy, or will they be disconsolate and moved to tears?
The Greeks, who invented drama, knew a good story can be satisfying with either the most positive or negative of outcomes. They liked a happy ending, but they also lived much closer to the edge than we do today. They tended to carry much more emotionally laden baggage than we do today and welcomed a mechanism to help them get some of it off their chest. The writer needs to decide which direction on the continuum this tale is headed and prepare the reader emotionally for where it's going. The key to doing this is a moving target where the CC is constantly in a state of flux, undergoing changes the reader can see, follow, and relate to in order to anticipate where the whole story is going.
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"
Ms. Katz - Head Administrator