This is another sticker and ribbon ornament I made like the dragon ball on Day 4. It fits well with a theme of Mixed Messages. From a distance, it is a nice star-shaped ornament with a splash of non-traditional colors. Upon closer inspection, the images this ornament is made out of are a depiction of The Battle Of Hamza.
#vss very short story
Carmen stared at her quaking and shaking tree. When the elves emerged brandishing Shotels and sickle blades, she feared they focused on the Herod part of the Christmas story.
Today’s Poetry Prompt and Poem
Today, I received a photo prompt:
photo by Modesto artist Joseph Anthony
The Golden Food Mart In The Night
The blinding lights reveal temptation
A golden oasis in the night
A beckoning promise of satiation
Bars on the windows and locked up tight
The light polluter sends mixed messages
Offering warmth and welcome from afar
When the real message is “someone will see you”
Everyone is a thief in the dark
Though we are in a rush to dive in to those details, let’s stick with the big picture for a while.
Genre and obligatory scenes
In The Story Grid: What Good Editors Know by Shawn Coyne, he says:
A Genre is a label that tells the reader/audience what to expect. Genres simply manage audience expectations.
There are five primary expectations of the audience
- to know how long the story will last
- to know how far to suspend disbelief
- to know the style, the particular experience of the story
- to know how the story will be structured
- to know what the general content of the story will be
Mr. Coyne contends that your story’s genre is made up of five parts that form to these five expectations: Time, Reality, Style, Structure and Content
The first three are easy: 1. What is the physical length of your story? Did you write Flash (under 1,000 words), a short story, a novella or a novel? Is it short, medium or long? 2. Is your story based on real events (biography/factualism), complete fiction but could happen in the real world (realism), so far fetched it could not happen in the real world (Absurdism) or Fantasy? 3. In what form are you presenting your story? Is it a cartoon, dance, musical, documentary, drama, comedy, or is it literary?
Coyne breaks Structure into Arch-Plot, Mini-plot (passive protagonist contending with internal struggle) and Anti-plot (inspired randomness; Waiting for Godot) where Arch-Plot is the most common structure that most closely follows The Hero’s Journey.
He breaks Content into External Content Genres (action, horror, crime, thriller, love, performance, society, war and western) and Internal Content Genres (worldview, morality and status).
Today’s challenge: Define your genre for the five expectations.
My novel is: A long, realistic drama following the Arch-Plot structure and should follow the conventions of a Thriller which is an External Content genre.
The Obligatory Scenes for a Thriller
Now that I’ve identified and specified my genre, what does that mean to me? Coyne kept talking about the obligatory scenes of your genre and I’m glad he started with Thriller since that is what I’m writing. Let’s see if I have covered the “obligatory scenes.”
Coyne says the Thriller genre comes from a mash-up of Action, Horror and Crime and share many obligatory scenes and conventions. Here are the obligatory scenes for the thriller:
- An Inciting crime
- A MacGuffin- In fiction, a MacGuffin (sometimes McGuffin or maguffin) is a plot device in the form of some goal, desired object, or other motivator that the protagonist pursues, often with little or no narrative explanation. -Wikipedia
- Red herrings
- A Speech in praise of the villain
- The stakes must become personal for the hero. If he fails to stop the villain, he will suffer severe consequences. The hero must become the victim.
- There must be a hero at the mercy of the villain scene
- False ending. There must be two endings.
Also, the often used convention of the ticking clock.
So, looking at this, I need to think about 4 and 7. Since we wrote new endings yesterday, I guess I was a bit prescient, or we’re on the right track. Let’s go with the latter.
I was disappointed to see that there weren’t more lists like that in the book, but there are on the website StoryGrid.com.
You’ll need to search around and piece the lists together, but you can also do that from reading and watching films in your genre. Coyle recommends that everyone master the elements of The Love Story because it makes an appearance in many other genres. Here are the obligatory scenes and conventions he outlines for The Love Story.
The Love Story -obligatory scenes
- The lovers meet
- Confession of love (a bit premature by one character) causes conflict
- First kiss scene (moment of intimacy not necessarily physical)
- The lovers break-up
- Proof of love scene
- Lovers reunite
graphic by Anjela Curtis
Two brothers break into parishioners’ cars during Christmas Eve Service and steal everyone’s presents. The Christmas Spirit, arrives to avenge as they examine their loot.
Don’t Forget To Read!
Now that you’ve defined your genre along the five expectations outlined by Shawn Coyne in The Story Grid: What Good Editors Know take another look at the six books you chose on day one. Are they still good examples of books in your genre? If not, try to find some better examples. As The Hiding Place by David Bell is not turning out to be a good genre comparison, I think I’ll pick up A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny
Happy Reading and Writing!