"You can be safe and unfulfilled, or you can live your destiny but be scared shitless."
Had a great time at the Michael Hague Special Event this past Saturday! First off, a big thanks to the New Jersey RWA for sponsoring him. And now, the highlights:
1. One of the most valuable pieces of information for me was his Six Stage Plot Structure. Basically he outlined the Six Major Stages that every (successful) plot goes through, and the point in the story where each must occur (what percentage of the total pages). I'm not a huge fan of formulas, but I think this will help me to check and see if the major conflicts/meetings/breakups/etc in my story are happening in the "right"places.
2. Another crucial piece of info I found helpful: your protagonist must have a goal that's VISIBLE - which means every audience member or reader will envision the same idea. For example, a goal of seeking revenge after being fired from a company is not visible (what does "revenge" look like?). But a goal of killing the top 5 executives of a company after being fired is a visible goal - everyone will know, basically, what that involves.
3. He did a nice job defining Inner Journey for creating characters and talked about moving your characters from living their Identity (the emotional armor a character wears, based on past wounds and fears) to their Essence (a person's "truth" once you strip away the armor). The quote at the top of today's post basically refers to that idea :)
4. He used a lot of movie/TV clips for illustration, and since he's a screenwriter and has worked with many major actors/actresses/directors, he had a wealth of knowledge upon which to draw. That was a great addition to the day.
5. He's funny! During one of our exercises, he said, "Now, I wouldn't recommend you apply this to a project that's 5 drafts in and due to your editor in 2 weeks. I really don't want to f**k you up that way. Apply it to something you're still just in the early stages of."
The only thing I wasn't crazy about was his tendency to answer specific people's questions very specifically - which sounds like a good thing at first, and is if you're that person. But for the other 99 people in the room, to sit there for 20 minutes while he dissects one person's character arc was a little frustrating at times.
Other than that, it was a great day, and I definitely gained valuable information which I plan on using as I go back through Sex on the Beach for revisions...beginning this week!