How To Save Your Story With One Single Thing

 

(Summarized from a blog by Jen Manuel called Margin Notes)

Your character has to want something. There should be something at stake or the reader won’t care. What if you do that and story still falls flat? There’s something missing. A tension? But how do you fix this, and easily?

An overlooked approach is to add a request moment. The request builds inherent tension in the character that has been asked for a decision, because a request assumes the character has a choice. And choice is in the heart of drama.

Shakespeare uses the request in most all of his works. Also, the Bible, as a narrative, is a series of requests from God that people failed to fulfill, starting with the request to not eat the forbidden fruit.

A request moment reveals social obligations between characters. That’s what makes it so incredibly powerful as a dramatic tool. There are three kinds of exchanges that might require a decision.

  1. Advice is the weakest kind of exchange. There is no obligation and the receiving character can take it or leave it. There is no sense of urgency.
  2. Commands are at the other end of the spectrum, but also hold little dramatic weight because they carry the notion that person doesn’t have much choice. There is pressure on the person, but a pull is created when the person has to agonize over the choice.
  3. A request implies that there is some obligation between characters. A request will automatically insert an ethical question: is he ethically obligated to fulfill the request? Will the character fulfill the request? Can he fulfill the request?

November Meeting

The next Granbury Writers’ Bloc meeting will take place at:

  • The Point at Waterview – 2nd Floor
  • 5:00 p.m. Monday November 20
  • Double Critique

 

  • 101 Watermark Blvd.
  • South Side of Pearl Street
  • Near the Hilton Garden Inn

You can find our meeting place here:

See You There!

October Meeting!

The next Granbury Writers’ Bloc meeting will take place at:

  • The Point at Waterview – 2nd Floor
  • 5:00 p.m. Monday October 23
  • Critique + Speaker

Our Speaker is our own Jeffery McClanahan. Her topic is:

Sins, Sorrows, and Successes in Self Publishing!

 

  • 101 Watermark Blvd.
  • South Side of Pearl Street
  • Near the Hilton Garden Inn

You can find our meeting place here:

Don’t Miss Jeffery McClanahan’s presentation!

See You There!