Monday, June 26, 2006

Lesson 6: Character Turnabouts Surprises

Good Monday and I can't seem to get this post on line...Speaking of surprises...Whatdaya think about the new look? I got the horizontal menu up just fine but Mimi is helping me get the stupid banner to work! Now that I know how to do these things I'm getting dangerous...Bwa hahahaha!

Today we continue with Donald Maass' Writing a Breakout Novel.

In case your just joining our regularly scheduled program...what I am attempting to do here is present truncated versions of each of the lessons in the workbook. Today's lesson is in Section One: Character Turnabouts and Surprises.

It would be interesting to compare early drafts to finished manuscripts to compare how scenes get resolved. We normally don't get that opportunity, but many times we find scenes that do not play out the way we expect them to.

The whole thrust is a surprise, or perhaps the scene turns in an unexpected directon, or a character does something that we do not anticipate. This comes from trying different approaches to a scene. In essence, that is what Reverse Motives...the next exercise, is about...trying different approaches to see if they work better. Here's an exercise.

Step 1. Pick a scene featuring your protagonist. What are his/her main actions in the scene. What are they trying to accomplish, obtain or aviod?

Step 2.Write a complete list of reasons why your protagonist is doing what she is doing. Write down as many of her motives as you can. Do not look at the next step until your done!

Step 3. Circle the last reason on your list.

Step 4. Rewrite your opening scene, only this time, send your protagonist into action (or avoidance) foremost and primarily for the reason you circled.

Follow-up: Reverse motives in six other scenes.

Conclusion: You may wind up retaining the original motivations in many scenes in your novel, but it is likely that some of them will become more engaging after a motive reversal!

And this joke, isn't a joke at all. It's real word etymology!

In the 16th and 17th centuries, everything had to be transported by ship and it was also before commercial fertilizer's invention. So large shipments of manure were common.

It was shipped dry, because in dry form it weighed a lot less than when wet, but once water (at sea) hit it, it not only became heavier, but the process of fermentation began again, of which a by product is methane gas.

As the stuff was stored below decks in bundles you can see what could (and did) happen. Methane began to build up below decks and the first time someone came below at night with a lantern, BOOOOM!

Several ships were destroyed in this manner before it was determined just what was happening. After that, the bundles of manure were always stamped with the term "Ship High In Transit" on them, which meant for the sailors to stow it high enough off the lower decks so that any water that came into the hold would not touch this volatile cargo and start the production of methane.

Thus evolved the term "S.H.I.T " (Ship High In Transport) which has come down through the centuries and is in use to this very day.

You probably did not know the true history of this word.

Neither did I.

I had always thought it was a golf term.

LOL...Don't shoot the messenger either...This is real word etymology!

"Don't look at me. You're the one reading. I'm relaxing!"

1 Comment:

  1. Bernita said...
    Um...I think shit has been around since at least the 14th century, Bonnie.

Post a Comment