Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Boot Camp Day 2

Well, day 2 of Boot Camp with Orson Scott Card was also great.

Today we DID do the story openings, and he DID get to mine and I DID make the same mistakes as everybody else.

The main mistake comes down to this:

As fast as you can in your story opening, have something happening, and have it be clear what is happening.

Don't do anything coy, like not name a character (calling him "he" or "she") or doing some weird thing with no explanation of why people are doing the wierd thing.

The example he used was a car chase--imagine a car chase at the start of a movie. Two cars chasing each other around for 5 minutes. It would be boring.

It's only in the middle of the movie, when you know who is in the cars, that the car chase is interesting. The suspense does not come from asking, "Who is in those cars?" The suspense comes from wondering, "Will the car chase come out the way I want it to?" Do I want the guy in front to get away? Do I want the guy in back to catch the guy?

If you don't understand, you don't care.

So no vauge openings where you see a strange scene the reader doesn't understand, be it a place or an event or an act--the less clear it is what is happpening, the less engaged the reader will be.

Nearly every manuscript opening had some variation of this problem.

Then we reviewed the cards we all wrote for homework last night with complete story ideas. It was amazing. The process he was trying to teach us--the idea that we need to be open to the fact that there are a billion ways to write each story, and how to spot the holes in a story--was so easy with other people's ideas that it seems bizzare how hard it is with your own ideas. But doing it with other people's stuff is great practice and great fun. I honestly now want to write some version of every story my group talked about today (not saying I will . . .).

We also did another 1000 ideas an hour session on the price of magic. And the implications of the price of your magic. And how to find a character with that. And how to make that into a story.

Now is dinner, and then the Q & A on the business of writing. Then--

Well, then I have to write a story. By 10:00 am on Thursday morning. Done, ready to be photocopied by 10:00am Thursday morning.

Wow.

Wish me luck.

You may not hear from me for a while.

1 comment:

Ryan & Lizeth said...

Sounds like a real bootcamp. Things seem to be super busy for you. Sounds like you are enjoying it though. Keep learnin' and stay up on your homework.