taleanea: Talea's default user icon. (star)
I think I'm figuring my niche out. Niche, yes: Who I've become, what I love to talk about on a blog, what I am good with.

I find myself wanting to talk about things that can be found in motivational texts.

I am aiming for a constantly positive attitude even in the face of difficulties and hardship. I have those, too, but letting my shoulders drop for days on end has never even once solved my problems.
The problems got solved once I took heart, started breathing again, and found ways to brainstorm possible solutions, to ask for help, to find counsel, and to start hoping again despite all odds and despite whatever came against me.

In German (my native language), and face to face, I actually am great at motivating other people. It seems to be a gift of mine; I just never knew it. Maybe I've also never really calmed down enough before to be able to notice and grow that talent.
Now I do. Now I find the words. Now I learn to listen, and in listening I find ideas, memories, concepts and advice that I can offer, and that after a while even begins to make a difference.

It is amazing to me to really see people go from hopelessness to lightness and joy within the span of an hour or two. I experienced it again just this week. Not every week, but once in a while, sometimes often, sometimes not at all.

But I see that this gift doesn't translate well to blogging and to online life yet, and I think this is because the face-to-face real-time contact is missing, and because social life works a lot differently online.

Here, online, I write a long text, and can't see the reactions, the misunderstandings between us, and might not catch where I misphrase things and explain something badly. (And, when I'm entirely wrong no one stops me in time, either.)
Real Life is more forgiving when that happens. Not if - but when that happens, because we all still are human. I've never claimed to be perfect.

So, I guess I have to learn to translate the gift I am now successfully using in my Real Life; to translate it into the virtual world. It works differently here, and I don't yet know how.

My niche, then, is motivational speaking. I need to learn how to change it into motivational writing to use it on this blog, too, which I had tried to do already without really becoming aware of that.

Sure, I could open other blogs, have a clean start somewhere. But what would I then be writing here? This is who I am now, and it has been who I were since a long time even when I did not understand it.
(Why was I for years going so public in trying to learn and teach how to write well? Because I love to help, and to motivate.)

That recent quarrel at my blog was pretty painful for me, and very unexpected, because I am used to my gift, that talent, working well. I didn't realise yet the differences in the mediums (verbal, interactive, instantly vs. written down).

But I hadn't taken enough time to edit and figure out all the places where I hadn't said things well enough, where my writing hadn't been clear enough. (The headline. I never meant to say that no one actually has depression; I meant to say that what these feelings suggest is a lie: No one is worthless, no one must fail, no one should ever give up.
Rather, absolutely, the opposite: You are worthy, you have so much potential, you can do anything you put your mind towards, you will succeed; please don't ever give up hope!
When put into perspective any current problems will start to look smaller, sometimes much smaller. - What perspective? How little I am actually suffering compared to starving children in Somalia? - No. But in regards to who you really are and how many ways to survive well and to succeed are still open. — Yes, even to you!)

To underline that I'd like to offer a link, too: The Badass Project.
This might not be for the faint of heart, but it definetely is a wake up call, and intended as such by the creators of that site.
You don't have to use such strong examples of prevailing and conquering despite strong obstacles. (Hey, being blind and training yourself to see through echolocation? Wow! I saw that in a movie once. Maybe it was actually based on that guy?)
There are enough other, less hardcore examples and encouraging information out there. But no matter what, there always is a way to fulfill one's dreams and become happy. (Yes, really!)

I think a lot depends on the mood you allow, and on the mood someone else can share with you.
Mood is created by ideas you share, by voice, by facial expressions and by body language, and then you could go metaphysical - buildings seem to have different atmospheres, cities seem to have different feels to them, people feel different to me … but how much of that is just my interpretation of outside facts and how much is actual intuitive/empathic perception I do not know.

So, about my niche? I want to write about anything and everything that fascinates me, but what fascinates me most is what I could call 'my niche', or my gift: Being encouraging, bringing actual help (just sounding hopeful without concrete facts is … not worth much because it lacks the ground, so to speak, something real to stand on), bringing excitement and fun and weirdness — yes, that's me.
And that's what I look for online. That's what I look for when I am reading new blogs, new websites: People that I can learn from to then pass on what I've learned from them to help, encourage, motivate and share with, others. (Who ever would need it.)

So now I finally know a bit better why I continue hanging onto this blog, and why my posts go into that one specific direction.
I just read from Signal vs. Noise an observation that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos had shared with them:
"[…] the smartest people are constantly revising their understanding, reconsidering a problem they thought they’d already solved. They’re open to new points of view, new information, new ideas, contradictions, and challenges to their own way of thinking.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a well formed point of view, but it means you should consider your point of view as temporary."


I have been wondering why in this time of learning and trying to find my place online again - why I was and am constantly adapting and changing my perceptions and opinions.
I'm glad that Jeff Bezos kind of says this is good thing. I was starting to become ashamed of it. But in fact in a world that changes so much no one can afford rigid opinions. One has to stay open for new facts, for dialog, for the chance to learn and understand more.

The cutting edge is constantly shifting and changing. Every day brings new life, new ideas. The conversation continues, we make new discoveries and develop new technologies. No one can afford to stand still, because the world doesn't.

To not get intimidated by these changes but instead be able to start seeing the opportunities and chances and concrete possibiblities that we could take, explore and run with, that is what motivational speaking, writing and filming … often is about:

Seeing the glass half full or half empty (an example that never managed to properly impress me), seeing (and focusing on) the opportunities and the wonderful new beginnings instead of what dies and falls away and is becoming outdated, that difference is created by such a small shift in attitude it seems, but it is increadibly life changing. It also is a learnable habit.

I might have never really learned it before now, but I also never really lost that hopeful outlook on life itself, and on my life, and that really helped me to get through some rough times.

I do not know whether I'll ever be able to translate my offline talents into the complementary online talents. I wish for it, but whatever I am doing here can just be an experiment for now.

Yet this is what I am doing, online and offline, and I can't help myself.

I will not get everything right to my own or to your satisfaction, but I will try to stay open and learn and adapt. I do this because this is me and this is what I've always been about; and I do what I do out of love for people, any people, and out of love for life itself.

This can be a wonderful world. Really! I want to experience what I can already imagine in my mind, I want to see this whole world realise its potential. Wouldn't that be great? But how could that happen?

Well, it all starts with a first step of courage and of hope, every day anew.
taleanea: Talea's default user icon. (Default)
#Row80 Check-In

While Kait (the founder of A Round Of Words in 80 Days) recently said: write much in your check-ins to give others something to read, I would rather like to write little to make this short and painless. Or at least short. (Not that I ever succeed with that!)

So. What have I done? I use Joe's Goals to record how much or little I do on my main tasks, so I can quickly look it up.

— Writing: I've been writing daily, apparently 5k since sunday. But no short stories, and I missed two deadlines - the one for the Quick Fiction Challenge on [livejournal.com profile] writerverse and the Daily Challenge from [livejournal.com profile] artistsguild that endet yesterday. Whoops. I guess I'll need to catch up today.


Yes, Artists' Guild is open and is posting. The Daily Challenges are being posted since beginning of October, the first (members-only) workroom went up this week, but there are no monthly or weekly challenges yet. That will probably start next month.

The Daily Challenges offer several prompts that can be used but don't have to be used (each prompt used earns you additional points if you're into that but you can also just ignore the whole point system), and the challenges are open to any kind of artist. - I'd record me dancing and use that if it were anything to show off, lol. Maybe I'll upload some of the music I make, but not yet. Mainly I want to use these challenges for writing and hopefully for drawing, too.

So. I did one challenge for Artists' Guild, one I missed, and the next deadline is today which is exactly what I wanted from that community:

A deadline for every day, to get me back into daily short story writing.


And by short story I mean really short: miniature, litte over 100 words (though most of the daily challenges themselves have no word limits). That's enough to find a nice idea to expand on later, and that's my reason for wanting to write miniatures: They give me material to create real short stories from - which is a form I'd like to learn to write.


Yes, forget about me keeping it short even in a Check-In. At least I'm having fun with writing about writing.

— Singing: My goal is to record something every workday, and so far I managed to do that. I'm not editing, though yesterday I did cut out the beginning nonsense and a noise at the end so that only the actual music is left. Usually I don't even do that.

— Drawing: Nothing yet this week. (There is still another half to this week, so I'm still good there.)

— Reading: Yes, a bit, and I signed up to some open courses online creating a far too big workload but. You know. The topics were so yummy…


Also, to get started with writing something, anything, Write or Die by Dr Wicked is a very nice free web application that kicks your butt and gets anyone writing within seconds (20 seconds max! and after that 10 seconds max).
Writing nonsense always counts. Ten minutes after writing complete nonsense it starts making sense, that's one of the mysteries of making art.
For Nano, this little program is a live-saver. (There is a desktop/iPad version for 10 bucks that is a bit better, even. But the website is totally enough, and after getting into a writing flow with this tool I can continue writing on my normal writing software. Write or Die just jumpstarts me into writing NOW.)

Also for Nanowrimo: Taking part in the sprint war threads in the forums (subforum Word Wars) is for me the absolute best way to get the stories written. If these threads were active the whole year long I'd be writing 10 books per year. For sure!


I think I'm done here. Back to work!



- Linky Links to the other ROWers.
taleanea: Talea's default user icon. (butterfly on finger)
A Round Of Words In 80 Days
Check-In #2 - Sunday:

- I recorded every day music for at least 5 minutes, even on saturday. In the goals post I had said I wanted to record 'every day' but I had actually only meant every workday. Yet yesterday's unplanned additional recording session was the most fun and fulfilling yet.

I sang some latin songs I had learned a long time ago, some of them even in my early childhood.
Finally, after 10 minutes of singing all these (short) lovely latin songs that I have always loved I started improvising; I think that song ran for nearly five minutes.

Very beautiful. I love making music. <3


- So far I wrote for only one challenge, a very short piece.

It doesn't seem to work very well, so now I think I could expand it by maybe showing how the person paces their room while talking on the phone, absentmindedly tidying up, probably putting back things that would tell us more about what world we're in, whether the genre is actually Science Fiction or Fantasy, how close their world is to most of our realities ...

I am curious about getting these questions answered; I don't know it yet either. I just took the prompt and 'flew' with it.

So, just one. Today another deadline approaches, so I have to write another miniature to fill that challenge, too.

- I have figured out how to continue my novel and will start writing for it again very soon (tomorrow?).
I have also rediscovered half a dozen or so other novel ideas that I had developed years ago and that I still want to write because I still love them a lot.
I will see, I will see. :)

- I actually have started a course for learning to draw, and also reading one of these scientific books I had mentioned. Haven't done much for them, just something - which is enough for now.

Oh, that's it for the goals. Very good. I'm happy with the results.
Singing is indeed the easiest for me but that's hardly a surprise.
Writing on the other hand is as hard as ever. Then again, in some aspects it is very easy, too, and always fun.

All in all, I am really happy right now because I have these many new things to learn -- learning how to record multiple tracks for a cappella music, learning these basic lessons about technical drawing, and another course teaching some more indepth stuff about writing mostly on the word/style level, I believe.

I am so glad about that, because for some reason I get discouraged and bored when I have nothing new to learn.

The best teaching tool though is YouTube: sped up videos on drawing and painting.
I've always learned the most by watching others do it, so this is so utterly great and ideal for me, together with all the theoretical things I'm learning.



- Everyone's Check-In
- My goals for #row80
taleanea: Talea's default user icon. (music 3)
I want to do something like this: Game of Thrones cover by Lindsey Stirling & Peter Hollens — One Voice, One Violin, 140 tracks, 9 of them Lindseys stamping (percussions), if I remember correctly.

Oh, and like this one that has nearly 12 million hits by now: Skyrim by Peter Hollens & Lindsey Stirling.

OMG, I had forgotten, this is even more amazing than the first one. Totally my kind of music. (Not, what I usually do, but what I LOVE to hear.) This one has only 120 tracks, 114 of them of his voice. Isn't this increadible? What an enormous amount of time and effort has gone into this!

Well, I can not play violin and have no piano right now which I could play a bit.
I have voice, though, and I want to learn to make such increadible music.

It's a pity I don't have proper equipment yet, but I don't need that to learn. (I mean, a bad recording is still enough of a recording to learn with.)

Basically, the violin is like a female voice, a male voice is like bass or drums or the lower string instruments and flutes. They say, the human voice* is the most amazing instrument there is because it can change so much.
I wonder if I could find a male voice to help me to make recordings like the examples above. I really wonder. Wouldn't this be utterly awsome?

Or, without male voice, I'd definetely need a lot of stamping and such for percussions, to have something to balance my soprano. I've never been very good at singing low. Is this something I could learn, too? I do hit the notes, of course, but I'd have to become much louder in the low voices. Somehow. Hm. I guess for that I would at least need a better microphone than I have.

I'm not thinking about video recording anything, by the way. Lack of equipment, for one, and I only remember having done one professional video recording so far. Can't film myself, anyway.


And for anyone who can't feel yet that winter is coming, I'm telling you: It totally is. (But then again, you all knew that. 29 million hits since last winter! O_o *shakes head*)



* When I hear singers like those two, and husband and wife at that (!), I start thinking: 'Can I sing like that? I want to sing like that!' This song is really amazing and so beautifully sung by them. Amazing, amazing!
taleanea: Talea's default user icon. (sunrise in the mountains)
Ok. It has started again.

A Round of Words in 80 Days is beginning its 4th season today. I'll participate again, but this time I'll try to keep going for longer than just a month.

My goals? I don't know yet. Maybe those, for now:

— read a book or two on sciences (and actually understand it)
— try to write for as many challenges by [livejournal.com profile] artistsguild as possible
— write for every Quick Fiction Challenge by [livejournal.com profile] writerverse (<3)
— (figure out how to) continue that novel
— start learning to draw again
aaaaand, let me think,
— record a song every day (or at least do something for it)

Actually, this is the challenge that knows you have a life, meaning, I'm allowed to set very small goals, and, should I fail them, to just get back up and return to the challenge the next day. Originally it is a writing challenge, which it still is for me; I just added a bit outside of writing.

There will be two Check-In's per week where every participant then can report if they managed to reach or surpass their goals or even failed the whole time due to whatever LIFE has brought.

But, still. Doing the little daily challenges shouldn't take more than 10 minutes, recording something can be done in 10 minutes, too, and learning to draw … I can do that once a week or so for half an hour. After all, the goal is just for learning, not for becoming perfect during these 80 days.
Reading a book or two on the other hand, well. These are fat books I'm trying to read. Like ten books inside each of the books. So I'll just read a bit ever other day and I'll see how much I get done.

Yeah.
And since I'm allowed to adjust goals, that'll most likely happen, too. As I understand it, this #Row80 challenge is about getting things done that are important to me, not about becoming Supergirl (though, if someone were to teach that I'd totally sign up for it - I always wanted to learn to fly).


Wish me luck.
taleanea: Talea's default user icon. (Default)
I am so exhausted! The last two days I was so exhausted I couldn't even do the two challenges for [livejournal.com profile] writerverse (5 comments to other's stories, and QuickFic#1: two stories of drabble-length or more inspired by 5 prompts; for bonus points one stories needed to be in my favourite genre (SF)).

I should have written the stories and comments at the beginning of the week when I still had strength left! But I also still had so much time…

I need daily challenges. I might not do them daily due to life events and health, but only deadlines really get me writing. (And I mean daily challenges that are fun, not just these one word prompts! I always need more than one word to prompt me anyway.)
I want to write daily - and I do stuff for my writing daily, but having a deadline helps me to get serious and to get going. So this week I tried to design how a challenge community should look like that supports my needs and wishes best.




To my native English speaking friends: Do these community names sound good to you or somehow wrong?
- [livejournal.com profile] textward
- [livejournal.com profile] artistsguild

Textward is a word creation so I'm the most unsure about this name. It is supposed to mean something like - 'towards (the) text' or 'forward to the text' - and it is translated from my German community [livejournal.com profile] textwaerts which also is a word creation and means 'into the direction of text (words)'.
(At Textwärts we offered all kinds of activities: weekly check-ins, tutorials, some few challenges, linklists to the best writing resources we could find at that time, etc, and we revived that community two or three times but it has now lain vacant since a while again.)

Artists' Guild is a translation from my German community [livejournal.com profile] kuenstlergilde meaning "Guild of/for/by Artists". I guess that name is ok, but maybe I'm overlooking something, if so please tell me.

I have no problem to delete these comms again and create better sounding ones, so don't hesitate to critic them bluntly!



My wishes for these communities is to offer a weekly tutorial for writing & drawing skills because I want to do both - write a lot, and also start drawing and painting again.
Especially for the latter I myself need to be taught — so the tutorials will serve me in the first place. :) The hope is that they could serve others as well.
I would then use the topic of that week's tutorial as basis for the challenges so that anyone wanting to learn these skills taught in the tutorial could then practice them in different ways.

I want to offer daily challenges with a 7 day deadline during weekdays (minimum word count for the daily challenges will be 100 words, except for Haikus/Peotry, so don't panik), and bi-weekly/monthly challenges on weekends with deadlines of 14 or 30 days. - That means while the challenges do run for at least a week there will be a deadline coming up every day.

So there is time to do everything in the beginning, or to cram at the end; to do all open challenges all at once (that sounds like me), or to do a bit every day, or to only participate once in a blue moon. - I don't intend to kick anyone out; it's not a land community after all.

I wonder if I could put the challenges and tutorials and whatever activities I (or you?) might come up with into ONE community.
I mean: What if I don't split drawing/painting stuff and writing stuff into two communities in two different places, but put the daily challenges together into one post for writing and drawing (as done here), and post the weekly tutorals either on sunday (writing) AND wednesday (drawing) or bi-weekly (1st sunday writing, 2nd sunday drawing/painting).

I personally think it would be easier for me to combine them, and on my search over LJ I would have loved to find a community that allows for original works that offers challenges for both arts (writing, drawing) — but I don't know if other people would like that, too.





Also, I really strongly dislike that all the land comms are flocked so that you can only find out what's in it once you've been accepted. Usually there are no descriptions and explanations anywhere, even on the profile or FAQ pages - which is why I now feel stupid after having been admitted into [livejournal.com profile] landofart only to find out that it's not about creating art at all, it's just about googling and manipulating some photos to gain points! — How do I leave that place now without hurting anyone?

So, my communities will be mostly public. Creative works can be posted on people's own LJs or in a specific members-locked side-community (has anyone ideas for a name?).

For my German friends: I do intend to mirror these communities, their challenges, tutorials and other activities in German, too, in the respective German communities. (If it's not way too much work. But well, the good intentions are there.)





What do you think? Let's have a vote! And please tell me additional thoughts, complaints, worries and ideas in the comments!


[Poll #1865161]


Thank you so much for your input!

Talea <3
taleanea: Talea's default user icon. ((b&w&c) auge1:feuer)
.1[livejournal.com profile] writerverse is going well for me by now. I'm writing drabbles. I don't much care for drabbles but they are EASY. And I then have the choice of using the idea of these drabbles to write longer fiction.
A drabble is like a quick drawing, a nice sketch to figure out what story I want to tell with it, and afterwards I redo it but this time properly: as a huge painting. Or a small but nice & coloured painting. Whatever.
So that consideration makes it easier for me to write the drabbles that I usually really don't need to have in my life — and writing drabbles enables me to fill the challenges and earn points for my team (that seems to be loosing with or without me anyway, hmpf).

.2 — I'm learning what [livejournal.com profile] therealljidol is about.
I will try to take part in it next season — which should start soon, probably next month?
I definitely don't expect to last very long at all with me being a non-native english writer, not knowing grammer and punctuation well enough, not having a beta … but still. It will be fun.

.3 — I love summer. Never want it to leave! (Maybe some of the days were very hot over here. But still. Summer!)

.4ROW80: No idea. The goal was to write/do a lot for Defence, my current novel. But now I seem to have to rework the outline again to fit the setting into our world. Or might not. — My process is just plain crazy, I tell you. Hopefully the end result will be worth all that stress.

.5 — I LOVE sushi. Now I only need to find out where to buy the ingredients, learn to make sushi on my own, and then figure out how to make it whole grain rice instead of normal sticky white rice.
Then there will be sushi everyday in the house of Nea!
taleanea: Talea's default user icon. (Default)
Ok, I'm feeling better. I just had the most awfullest two days and I don't know yet how good I'll be today - but I'm feeling better. That's a start, I guess.

I didn't get any fiction writing done, so my goal for these holidays is quite impossible and therefore moot. That's ok, I'll then just do as much as I can, as soon as I can.

But I also got accepted yesterday to [livejournal.com profile] writerverse into [livejournal.com profile] team_prose, which does sounds kinda fun. Since it's very members-locked I couldn't really check it out before I applied. Now that I could look around for a day I have to say it looks nice. Smallish, but quite nice.

It's a writing-land community (for both fiction and fanfiction), with two competing teams - apparently they had a third team but not enough people, I guess. There are about 40 people per team right now and …
I just wish there were more polls.

Did you notice that now ALL USERS can post POLLS? (I tried it with a sock puppet that has a basic account.) This is sooo great, yet nearly nobody uses it. Maybe no one's got the memo yet. (Like the FAQs; they haven't heard from it either.) How can you not use polls as soon as you get them?

Then again I have no idea what to use them for, either. I just like to click them. :) Click! )


Yesterday I also had to fill out a HI, HERE I AM meme for Team Prose but I doubt anybody will read it since it is hidden in the comments of some lost thread that apparently nobody tracks.

But now I'd love to fill out some memes, I just don't know any anymore. Where do I find them? I'm too stupid to write them myself! (Writing POLLs on the other hand is easy! *g*)
taleanea: Talea's default user icon. ((b&w&c) butterfly)
I must say, this bi-weekly check-in rhythm is a bit too frequent for me. I mean, if I only were to comment on the row80 main blog: "got 2000 words of fiction and half a painting done, yay me", and that's it, I could do that daily or so.
But since I have to write a blog entry this check-in task sounds much bigger, and I'd need to have something proper to check-in with, not just: "I thought a bit more about how I can't and how I can write stories, and how to put this into a blueprint/step-by-step instruction so that I won't forget the process that works for me (and can do it faster next time)." Rather, I feel I should have something substantial to show for three big days of work?

So yesterday, instead of preparing my current novel for the writing frenzy in august, I wondered again about why I'm right now so fascinated with these prompt tables of all these prompt challenge communities ala [livejournal.com profile] fanfic100 or [livejournal.com profile] 30kisses.
I seriously love the concept, and so apparently did a lot of other people. But these many communities that sprung up during the time fanfic100 went viral (2006-2008) now are mostly orphaned, only the tables are left over, but nobody write for them anymore.

Why not?

I thought about that, wondered how I could to make these concepts work for me. In the end it came down to plotting, again, and from there I jumped back into my novel again and through thinking about other writing challenge communities I found out what to do next and why, and got myself a step-by-step instruction on how to continue planning the novel.

It's funny how my brain works. If I'd just control it, I wouldn't allow these other thoughts. I would tell myself: "I've got to focus on my novel, brain, don't you realise that?!" Instead I follow like a butterfly every fun thought that comes along which then in retrospective helped me solve all the current problems I should have actually thought about.
I find that very funny. :)


So, my midweek check-in for ROW80:
- I thought about why I love challenges, and challenge communities, when they do and don't work for me and why.
- I've started on detail plotting: sorting the chapters and scenes, and finding out what I still need to design/create before writing starts on August 1st.
- I'm a bit nervous - only six more days!



Some links:
- Today's Check-In list of ROW 80 participants (by tomorrow there'll be more than 60 links to check out)
- Questionaire in 72 parts for character development/interviews #more #than #you'd #ever #need
taleanea: Talea's default user icon. (Default)
It feels as if I haven't done anything writing related this last week, but I actually did slowly plot my way forward: I created all 7 plot arcs and then today realised that I might be missing one. I'm going to do that one next.

Then I will finally interlink of all 7 or 8 subplots and create the chapter outline for the story.
I expect that I will have a Sentence for every single chapter, but the details will be filled in during the writing process. Maybe.
The important thing for me is to always know what exactly is going on plotwise and what is going to happen next - but without giving me so much information that there is nothing left to discover because then I get too bored to actually write the story.

It seems that I slowly but steadily find my way through the mess that is plot creation, and by now there is not that much of a mess left; in fact it's quite orderly already. Yay for that.


For now my idea and understanding of designing plots looks like this:


Writing/designing a story

The first obvious steps: Have the initial idea, some things I want to see happening, and some characters.

Decide which subplots are needed and plot the line-up for each subplot:
- An exciting Hook (start with a bang inside characters normal life)
- Plot Turn 1/Call to Adventure
- Pinch 1/Disaster (put pressure on chara to find&apply solution)
- Midpoint/Call to Action (change from reaction to action, bring the fight to the enemy)
- Pinch 2/Second Disaster, much worse than before
- Plot Turn 2/Finding the solution and answers
- Climax/Final Confrontation with the solution taken from earlier lessons (pulling everything together)
- Conclusion/Explanations (solutions for all main charas and plot arcs)

Have enough Try/Fail Cycles to get reader invested into story:
- they show the risks
- they can look like victories while in fact delaying the real victory
- if chara tries and tries and doesn't give up, we cheer him on; we feel his victory is well-earned

Plot arcs: most stories have more than one. Design them with the above formula, then weave them all together.

Be aware of
- protagonist,
- their goal,
- the antagonist and
- why they activly try to stop the protagonist from reaching their goal,
- the story theme as stated by the 'relationship' character, and
- the specific twist of the story in the solution that makes the theme visible as theme of the whole story.

Create a chaptered outline for the whole story that contains the interlinked subplots.

And, finally, write.


The alternative, of course, is to ignore plotting and just start writing with that nice idea in mind and the two or three characters that are there in the beginning, but I can only do this with short stories, not with novels. My goal here is to design and write a novel.



- Wednesday Check-In (#3)
- Linky - Participants Check-Ins
- Other entries on plotting

- Oh, and also: I kind of liked this article: The 11 “Secrets” of Prolific Content Creators - #11 was a new idea for me that I immediately started to use. Works well!


taleanea: Talea's default user icon. ((b&w&c) Kaffee - hmmmm!)
You know what, I totally mistook one formula for the other. Some days ago I mentioned this cool formula, linked to that cool podcast, and even though I listened to the podcast again, I didn't realise that I hadn't shown the Hollywood Formula they talked about but instead something else: the 7 point plot structure from this lecture by Dan Wells.
And no one calls me out on it. Le sigh.

But since I use both formulas together it doesn't really make a difference to me. Plotting so far has always been my great writing weakness, except in these very short short stories that I sometimes write. I learned these two plotting formulas so close together and they make so much sense that they are practically one (to me at least).

So the actual Hollywood Formula has also much to do with the main characters, not just with structure of a story. Also, it is more complex than but still quite similar to Holly Lisle's Sentence or Swain's plot line up.

Lisle Story Model (the Sentence):
- Character with a need
- against
- Antagonist with a need
- with a twist.

-> Protagonist with a need versus antagonist with a need in a setting... with a twist.

(Hero: Ugly feared Oger
with a need: who wants to be accepted loved to get his swamp back
against: from ruler
Antag with need: is sent by the ruler with an inferiority complex to rescue a beautiful Princess so ruler can marry her and become King,
Twist: but when he does, falls in love with her, pisses her off and fails to realize that she herself is an Oger.)


Swain's Plot Generator:
- Situation
- Character
- Objective

- Opponent
- Disaster

-> Character in Situation with an Objective against an Opponent leads into a Disaster.

(-> When ugly Oger tries to get his swamp back from ruler with inferiority complex, he has to free the princess the ruler wants to marry, falls in love with her and due to a misunderstanding gives her up to the ruler anyway.)


Hollywood Formula (as heard on the Writing Excuses podcast)

Characters:
- Protagonist with a concrete goal.
- Antagonist with a goal that is directly opposed to the protagonist's goal; he tries to activly stop the protagonist/hero. Antagonist must have consciousness.
- Relationship Character (that's new!) basically explains to the protagonist (and the reader) how he needs to change to solve the problem, and with that spells out the theme of the movie/story.

3 Act Structure:
ACT 1: introduces charas and their goals, ends with the fateful decision that starts the adventure. (In the 7 Point Structure it is the Hook up until Plot Turn 1.)

(Ugly Oger who pretends that he needs no friends finds himself burdened with a donkey and a formerly private swamp full of other fairy tale creatures and decides to get rid of them.)

ACT 2: longest, all characters try to achieve their goals, but at the end of ACT 2 the antagonist seems to win and the protagonist reaches an utter low point. (In the 7 Point Structure that would be Pinch 2, I think.)

(He totally falls in love with the princess that he had to rescue for the ruler to get his swamp back. And then he misunderstands something he overheard, rejects her and practically forces her to marry that ruler. Very mature, Shrek.)

ACT 3: (If the story is not a tragedy —) Hero fights their way back up, pulling everything together they learned during the whole plot, overcomes the Antagonist, and wins the whole battle, creating an emotionally satisfying ending.

(But his self-proclaimed friend, the donkey, forces him to admit that he does like to have friends, if only to find out what the princess actually said: that she does love him back! So he takes the dragon and the donkey, goes to the girl, has the ruler (who still wants to marry her, if not for love, but at least to become King in an effort to get rid of his smallness issues, and who now also tries to kill the ugly Oger) eaten by the dragon to be able to marry the princess — and as a weird reward for surviving this crazy story she becomes as ugly as he is, which both don't mind bc of TRUE LOVE. The End.)


Can you see why Hollywood Formula and this 7-point plot system were to me practically the same? They just build on each other.
Of course, the best part about the YouTube videos on the 7-point system was the explanation and visualisation on how to structure the subplots and story arcs in such a way that you still have an overview about what's going on and that they actually make the story stronger by knitting the different plot arcs together.
THAT actually was the best lesson on plotting I've ever learned.



Dan Wells: Story Structure [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
taleanea: Talea's default user icon. (malen [01])
Recently I decided that I needed more practice in plotting before trying it with my current novel, so I took a movie of which I had disliked several main plot points and developed a new story that would correct everthing I had hated about the original one.

I went scene by scene to have a good length for it, and changed each one of them into scenes that I would enjoy, that went how the story should IMTHO have gone:

I built about 8 plot archs (one of them the main plot) with the Hollywood Formula and the 7 Point System, and put all the key plot points of the entire story into these formula points, and interlinked them to make them emotionally stronger.

Then I applied all of these ~8x7 important plot points to the 60+ scenes the original movie has, overlaid my new plot points with the original scenes and merged them nicely.
(If you could look closely you'd still recognise which movie I chose to rewrite replot, so if I were to write and publish my version I'd probably still have to change a few things like, you know, instead of it taking place in a desert I could instead let it play out underwater, instead of having computer obsessed geek friends my hero'd have horse obsessed, secretly dragon riding friends — unimportant stuff like that might make all the difference in copying other people's stuff.)

Once that was done and I had learned plotting I completely lost interest in that movie, or my newly created up-graded story. I wasn't a fan of that movie and so I'm not impressed with my own story outlines for it either.
Why would I? I cared about learning to plot and about finding out where the movie had failed for me: how it actually should have gone. - Mission accomplished, and now I have a completed novel outline laying around, doing absolutely nothing. (Maybe one day…)

Anyway. That was quite a while ago. By now I've forgotten how it worked, how I plotted that story, how I interlinked all the different story arcs, how I implemented the different plot points into the story — so of course now I'm doing it again with the story that I had actually wanted to write. Waste of time, much? … No. It did teach me stuff, and relearning is faster than learning something for the first time. Also, it had been fun.

So, I've been plotting.
2 plot arcs down, and - so far - 5 more to go. But I do know the whole story already; this is for zooming in, finding details, and for creating a stable, working structure for the story.

Next up: Plotting the scenes in such a way that I don't fall asleep when I think of them.

I get bored too easily because writing is so slooooow-motiony.
That's why my stories often read like roller-coster rides, because when I wrote them in slow motion I needed them to be as exciting as talealy possible to not get bored myself. Boredom makes me furios with the souce of it and then I refuse to touch that boring stuff ever again.

Except, of course, when the Muse kisses me, hmmmm, then I can write as boring as I want to and love the process & the resulting stories anyway.

Weird, I know. But, you know — kisses!




PS: Others' Check-Ins: Linky Links
PPS: On plotting: [1] [2]
taleanea: Talea's default user icon. (Try to stop me.)
Apparently there is something called ROW. Has some meaning, but nobody actually cares. I think it's about elephants. So this is a challenge that you participate in and report back on some blog, and you get to cut out & paint yourself an elephant shaped medal afterwards.

90 days of ... I think writing, but probably just any goal that you want to accomplish. Afterwards the elephants is eaten, that's why there aren't any photos of it.

Therefore I --

Whoops. Just looked it up and they want to reach their goals in 80 days, à la Verne.
I don't like Verne, so 3 months it is.

So. Therefore for the next 3 months I'm going to work extremely hard on my current novel! Cool, eh?
So today I'll be plotting and cutting down a tree to have enough paper to write on. ... No wait. I like trees. Plant a tree was what someone had been saying. Plant a tree, write a book, have some kids, enjoy the world. 'kay.

I have about 30 minutes until I'll fall asleep so I promise to work reeeeally hard until then. Watch me run.
taleanea: Talea's default user icon. (malen [03])
Hook (Strong Beginning) - sad and boring life of chara -> opposite at end from climax to have room for development/to shift

Call To Adventure (Plot Turn 1) - call to adventure/into journey (sometimes 3 calls as in Matrix) - he might have already searched for a long time for thos answers and the entry point into that other world/adventures, introduction of conflict, moves story from beginning to midpoint, the characters world changes (meet new people, discover secrets, follow the white rabbit)

Disaster 1 (Pinch 1) - apply pressure on chara, force chara into action, often introduces villain

Call To Action (Midpoint) - change (from reaction to action; learn who the enemy is, what they want, and then decide to do something about it) (i.e. council of elrond: from running away -> taking the fight to sauron)

Disaster 2 (Pinch 2) - makes situation seem hopeless, even worse than pinch 1: plan fails, mentors die, everything goes irrevocably wrong so that the chara can rethink and find the actual solution

Plot turn 2 - carries from midpoint to end, chara obtains the final thing he needs to make their decision from midpoint happen, here they grab the solution from the 'jaws of defeat' from Pinch 2

Resolution (Climax) (Life of hero is opposite to hook.) Goal of the story: Everything in the story leads to that moment. Here is the victory through [means] or the failure to shield from [(formerly not available/unknown) weapon].


as seen on the presentation by Dan Wells on Story Structure podcast


This should work for short stories and novels, as well as screenplays.



EDIT: Stuff is missing. I might add it. (Not today, though.)

EDIT 2: Oh, whoops, I got it all wrong. Hah. That formula up there is actually from Dan Well's presentation On Story Structure.
The actual Hollywood Formula and the story structure system that I learned from these five YouTube videos go hand in hand and are a really cool help for plotting, so no harm done. Now to the real Hollywood Formula ... I'll explain it someday. Till then just listen to the podcast.

EDIT 3: The actual Hollywood Formula now can be found here.
taleanea: Talea's default user icon. (Ringgemeinschaft)
After this many year long absence from my LiveJournal I'm finally back.

I wanted to start taking photos this spring. I might post some. I still need one for my journal header; it looks naked without.

Once I read a lots of FFs, but I haven't been doing that much anymore maybe due to time constraints. Metafandom regrettably seems to have died off. But LJ has always been great fun, therefore interesting stuff must still be happening somewhere. I'll try to find out where.

Hello new old world, here I am. *waves* :)

I definitely need new icons ASAP.

Quotes

Feb. 7th, 2010 20:10
taleanea: Talea's default user icon. (Default)
"And why do we fall, sir? - So that we can learn to pick ourselves up!"
~ Alfred in Batman Begins

and

"What do stars do? ... Shine!"
~ Yvaine in Stardust

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