Peter Capaldi, photograph by Carolyn Cole
The Blacklist Season 2 promo (x)
Hello there, writerly friend~
For those of you wondering, this question has to do with the quote I posted earlier today:
So, what is the point of this quote? Well, the thing is. Storytelling is most effective when there is drama, and danger, and something at risk. It’s okay to have coincidence worsen a character’s day. If your character is trying to escape from prison it’s entirely fine to have coincidence get in the way. Oh, you know the 8:00PM patrol? Well they just decided to patrol at 7:50PM so your plan just went to hell.
This is good. If tension was an element— it would be fire, and the only way to keep that flame going is to keep feeding it drama and danger. This is why the climax of a story is practically a firestorm, everything that could’ve gone wrong goes wrong, and the characters have to attempt to survive against all odds.
This is what telling stories is about: drama and danger.
People tend to think that a story ‘needs’ combat, and death, and cataclysmic events to make a climax interesting— and that is the wrong way to look at things. It’s not about conflict— it’s about something being at stake. An engaging story needs to have something in the balance— and no, it doesn’t have to be the fate of the world. It can be a character’s dream of fame, or their hope for a better future.
This is why it is okay to have things go wrong, it’s more fuel to the fire.
Now, that being said… Why is it bad to solve problems through coincidence? Because you are throwing a bucket of water on your book’s tension. Let’s go back to the example I mentioned prior.
Your character is trying to escape from prison, but the 8:00PM patrol is ten minutes early. The whole plan just went to hell— except, just as the patrol is walking towards their cell, the patrol says “Wait, I forgot to take my break” and turns around.
It would be like a horror movie where the main character is running away from the killer— and then suddenly trips, they are left defenseless, they’re going to die, they’re done for, except— wait, they just found a gun in the bushes. What a stroke of luck!
Or what a way to kill the tension.
Some of you may be nodding your head and saying "This sounds like Deus Ex Machina, Max talked about this not so long ago" and you would be right. Having things unexpectedly get better is pretty much what Deus Ex Machina is, if you want to learn more about that, you can click on that link.
Now, I have encountered a lot of young writers in the past who have difficulty with this lesson— and I understand. Sometimes you feel like you have walked yourself into a corner. That you can’t write anymore, and that you need a quick fix.
Thankfully, I have just the thing for you. You know what to do when you think you’ve walked yourself into a corner? Have things go wrong.
Have things go wrong, and write them without fear. Trust your characters, meet them by the fire, and I can promise you that you will find a way out together. But, please— please, do not throw water on the fire. Don’t go for easy or quick fixes. Write dangerously. Follow your characters into hell.
It will be more fun that way c;
How do you feel knowing your work impacts people you never met ?
AU where female characters aren’t treated like shit by their own writers and fandoms
"May the blessing that was given to me be sent from me to him, may he be released from death."
Fire is catching! And if we burn, you burn with us.
Andy Warhol at work.
9 years of SPN - 9 years of Sam and Dean
i want to wear your hoodies and stay up talking about the universe with you until 3 am and i want to hold your hand and kiss your face and hug you when im sad and have marathons of our favourite shows
I went over [with my father] when I was seventeen to do a sweat lodge… My task was to find the rocks to put into the pit. But I was told that I couldn’t just go and collect rocks, I had to ask whether they wanted to come… I was quite naive and I was on my own so I could’ve not done it, but I just sat and went, “um, d’ya wanna…? D’ya wanna come? It’s nice and warm in there. No? Okay. Nothing, you’re giving me nothing!”
Hayley Atwell on The Jonathan Ross Show (February 9, 2013)