Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What a Girl Wants

I plan to work on a Geek Girls book that I've been kicking around for about a year -- The Geek Girls Guide to Dating a Rock Star. I like the premise. I like the characters. For months now I've been trying to figure out why the thing won't move past page 45. Then Writing Partner Extraordinaire, Charity, said, 'Ahem. Maybe your MC doesn't know what she wants ... or needs.'

And, like most things writing-wise, Charity was right. So I'm spending the last hours before JaNo considering wants and needs and the difference between the two. I'm also pondering external v internal goals and conflicts, and how many is too many. What do you guys think? Is there some magic number?


Marianne Arkins said...

I so suck at all that stuff, D. I hope someone can give you a good answer, cuz I mostly just muddle and muddle and muddle until something makes sense!

Amy said...

Well, Blake Snyder (Save The Cat!) talks about the "Six Things That Need Fixing" but even he says this number is fluid. When I started my project, I only had five, but I left #6 there, all blank and needy for a problem, and about halfway through the book I figured out what #6 was. For a 60K word book, six seems about right.

In my beat-sheets (you can download one from his site, I think), this is probably my favorite section because it really helps direct the plot/spine of the book. You don't just deal with one thing at a time, but it really helps keep the action moving because everything your MC does is dealing with AT LEAST one of those things at any given moment.

Also, they don't all have the same weight. Some of them are little things and some are big, but it helps give the character (and story) depth and layers.

Like an onion ;)

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I like one main internal conflict. There can be others, but I'm such a character-driven writer/reader that I do tend to focus on the main character and his/her compadres, and if there's too many things to be fixed in each one, then I get muddled.

As far as external... hmmm... I guess I'm still attached to some of the basic rising/fall plot thingies.

How's that for muddled?

Charity said...

I always feel that there's something the character wants--or thinks she wants. She can see it, so can the reader.

Then there's the something the character needs. She probably doesn't know what it is. The reader might or might not.

At some point, it all comes crashing together, and boom, you've got a plot.

Yeah. It's *that* easy.

edeevee said...

Here we go, ready or not, huh?

Marianne - Muddle is my default setting too;)

Thanks Amy, for the Blake Snyder info. I've downloaded a couple of his tools and they look really interesting.

Jen - What I'm hoping for is one main conflict that all the other ones (internal and external) can feed off of. Got my fingers crossed.

edeevee said...

Easy-peasy lemon squeezy, C? Hope I get it right or youse got a lotta fixin to do :)