Building off of a previous post, I wanted to make Fridays the day of the week that I share excerpts of writing that I’ve done in the past through writing prompts, random stream of consciousness, parts of larger works, or as part of my 100-200 daily word exercises.
The point being to attempt to examine what I’ve done for clarity sake and whether or not I can make sense of it…not only to those who read it but to myself as well.
Today is a bit different. Unlike previous entries, I don’t have a particular writing submission to talk about today. Short of not having anything that I was too passionate about analyzing, I instead wanted to be a bit more contemporary with my topic today and engage in a stream of consciousness approach.
What am I thinking about? Quite a lot in the last week or so. Particularly in the United States of America (for those who read this from other countries) and concerning several violent acts against innocent and unarmed people that have occurred. This blog isn’t political in any way, so I’ll refrain from going deeper into that train of thought.
Instead, let’s take this in another direction in relation to figuring out a stronger narrative for your story. This is something that I’ve constantly been referring to in previous posts and it’s something that I feel is very important (and I’m still working to improve on). A weak narrative means an unstable foundation not only for the story but for the characters and setting involved; and in a burst of word vomit for this Friday morning, the part that I’m picking at the most right now is motivation. Our art is a reflection of our reality(*); and just like you would question the motives of people in real life doing things that usually would be uncharacteristic of the norm (people in powerful positions acting irrationally, hint, hint), the same uncanny examination should be shown within the confines of prose.
My most recent example would be my NaNoWriMo manuscript from 2014. Something that I’m still so iffy about that I don’t even want my close friends to read it yet. Now of course I’m immensely proud that I was able to complete it within the deadline, but I felt like I soon put finishing the 50,000 word objective over writing something that made complete sense (which I’ve been told from other participants could happen at times). I don’t feel comfortable divulging the entire plot until I reign in that literary bucking bronco, but I will say that by at least halfway through rereading that 125 page novella, even I questioned why my characters were acting the way that they were. The motivations that began the story weren’t there by the end and it almost felt like nothing really happened.
Talk about a blow to the ego. Something that I invested so much time in and especially during a period where I worked a job that had me on twenty-four hour on call sometimes addressing issues at crazy hours of the day….and I felt like my time had been wasted on something that I felt was slightly incoherent by the end.
But I eventually got out of my feelings and saw the silver lining once again. The hardest part was writing it. This is something that I’ve mentioned in a previous post. Now the easy part is combing back through it and finding the narrow thread connecting everything together and making it bigger.
- What is the backdrop of the story? Does it tie into the present and what’s going on?
- Who are the main characters and why should I make the reader pay attention to them?
- What action or event motivates the protagonist into moving the plotline forward?
- What relationship does the main character have with the antagonist? What will cause them to clash? How will it be resolved?
Those are just a few questions off the top of my head that I thought about in addressing my novella and actually making it readable going forward. Motivation for someone’s actions is important to consider both in real life and on the page. Some food for thought on this morning.
Until next time.
* Referencing the youtube channel MovieWeb. I do not own this content in any way*