For Tourmaline .’s Halloween Challenge, “decor,” I thought it would be a great inspiration to put up my decorations early, but it’s supposed to rain for a week, so I thought I might make some decor inside instead. Decor makes me think of lamps and wallpaper and carpets, but once I got started appreciating the things my friends and I have made over the years, I was exhausted. I definitely need to appreciate my decor more.
Things brought out from corners, corners created by entertainment “systems” or pianos Things covered in dust and cobwebs gathered, brought into communion, become a community of treasured objects, electrified, let, no longer in shadow, creating their own shadows, playing together in foreground, in background, circling, layering, finding their place so I will see them like I have seen them with love before and as I arrange them, the dust scatters, the webs break the bulbs warm and they glow, wax flows, and surprises me with unexpected beauty of planned destruction. If I had saved that candle, left it contained and whole; I would have ignored its purpose and plan. These days of creating are expanding, building one on the next, finding ways to combine find each other, another word inspires connections, overnight multiplying into multitudes, overlapping concepts grow and spark searches in more dark corners.
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in the dark
beware nightmares even rules breaking taboos fear we because shivering killing of tales from chills and thrills savor later and before remaking lore spinning manipulator smelling fear milling fiction storytelling frightening for stages fading firelight closes dreamtime and encroaches dark while treats dinner after sweets with mouths our filling gathering fire flickering
Yesterday’s obligatory scenes brainstorm was fun. It led me to starting the exercises in The Breakout Novel Workbook (affiliate link) by Donald Maass. I took a look at the novel’s public stakes and making them worse.
Then I took a look at the worksheets from Writing &Selling your Mystery Novel (affiliate link) by Hallie Ephron. Today I’m going to make a second copy of the protagonist worksheets and fill them out for both my detective and my MC. Once I’ve done that deep-dive into my main characters, I’m going to explore their internal and external conflicts as I continue through the Plotting chapters of The Breakout Novel Workbook.
I just remembered that I bought a copy of The Emotional Craft of Fiction (affiliate link) by Donald Maass this summer. I turned to chapter 5: The Emotional Plot and read:
Many authors motivate their characters with external circumstances. I must do this, because if I don’t, that will happen. The stakes in such stories are also external. Things need to come out right or, gosh, life will be terrible for everyone. There’s nothing wrong with what I call public stakes; they just don’t have automatic emotional effect. Personal stakes are the more reliable way to make a story matter to readers. Personal stakes are why protagonists must act for themselves. It’s the drive that comes from inner need and yearning. It’s what would propel a protagonist toward change, even if the events of the novel weren’t happening.
Maass, Donald. The Emotional Craft of Fiction (pp. 82-83). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
And just last night I started plotting in my workbook with exploring public stakes. 😉 So today, I’ll be adding personal stakes to my plot brainstorming.