Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Story Masters : The Emotional Landscape

by C.L. Phillips

Would anyone like a ringside seat to the detailed recap of the Story Masters workshop in Houston Texas, held November 4-6, 2012?  The first day kicked off with eight hours of Donald Maass.  What follows are the key questions and statements from his lecture.  Hope you enjoy!

What moves reader's hearts?  The emotional landscape.  

 How do you get in touch with that emotional landscape?  Answer these questions:

1)  What is the feeling you are most afraid to put on the page? 

2)  What do you avoid?

3)  What would people not understand?

4)  When does this feeling occur in my life?

5)  What feeling makes you tremble when it occurs?  Who provokes it?  How does it manifest in your life?  How do you know ou are having this feeling?

Answer these questions in detail, and you have an authentic feeling backed with reason.  Find an example of this feeling from your own life and ask where you can place this feeling into your protagonist's journey.

Now of course, I have more notes, but I thought these questions make a nice exercise.  If you read the questions one at a time, work on the answer for three minutes and then move to the next question, you will have wonderful material.

When I attended the workshop, I'd recently finished two manuscripts, so I made a set of tables for each, and worked on both novels at the same time.  What made that fun was the fact that I had to work so fast I couldn't edit any thoughts that came into my head.

So my advice for today - lock and load.  Lock down the questions.  Load up the answers and don't look back.  Your story may be gaining on you.

In Nanowrimo we trust....

Keep writing!


Joyce said...

I have Donald Maass' Writing the Breakout Novel book and workbook. I always read through them before I start my first rewrite of anything. Good stuff!

Back to the writing cave...

Patg said...

I'm not afraid to put anything on the page, but I feel the need to please agents and editors causes a real stunt to this process.
And it depends on the piece, some 'feelings' can be way over done.

C.L. Phillips said...

Well, this doesn't look like a very popular post, so I'll make my next post about James Scott Bell's insights.

Joyce said...

Cindy, I suspect comments are down this month because of NaNo. December is likely to be the same because of the holidays. In other words, post whatever you'd like!