Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Turning points & tying threads

Special moments or turning points, plus which threads need tying up/which don't at the end of the novel -- this is the challenge from my bespoke advanced writers group, to teach tomorrow.

Moments, now that's a good one. I've thought through and come up with Pinnacle, Earthquake, Clarification Moments, plus Historical Moments (less personal) and Triggers (not necessarily moment-experiences... but related). It's quite philosophical or fateful. What is a special moment, how do we recognise it, how create/find it? And then, how to use and place it in a work? Then of course, writing it.

I think we'll read out Ian McEwan's car crash near-miss from A Child in Time. And Stephen King has a snippet of good advice in his On Writing. We'll do some life-listing, some intense sense recall, some writing. And plenty of discussion.

As for endings -- anybody out there have good endings exercises to share? I have a few, but it's hard really... because you need all the stuff before in order to play with endings. So we will talk over 4 writers' comments on endings (Marshall, Gardner, McKee, Ray) and see what we all think. So much depends on the particular work in hand. Might play with Ray's 'chain of events' end-check and Cinderella to exercise ourselves re tying up threads.

As for Hero's Journey, episode 4 this week, Transformation of the Hero. They mostly have not seen Star Wars and my fav Disneys, but have seen Titanic, so I rewatched it on Saturday night. Okay, it's corny, cliched and spectacular, but it certainly is good story-telling. And loads of archetypal elements... does even Shakespeare use these? one student asked. Yes, m'am, have a look.

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