Spoiler alert!!! You will be required to be a serious writer who's serious about improving your craft as a storyteller. This particular page is for the discussion and learning about basic and advanced story structure. Story structure is the basic skeletal construction every good novel, movie and TV show NEED to have in order to be successful. in this page I hope to broaden everyone's perspective (My own included) :P about how to built a great story from the ground up. if you have a basic structure that has worked well for you, please Continue this thread and reply to this post. I'll begin by posting a simple, seven step structure that has helped ME very VERY much.
1. Weakness and need: a hero with a weakness, such as a physical malady or addiction, and a need to become a hero or a need to do something heroic. has something happened to the hero's family? to his health? to his sanity? what causes the hero to rise?
2. Desire: the backbone of the story that drives the hero…notice that the desire, the want, isn't the same as the "need" What drives the Hero? what does he WANT? revenge? justice? money? a need for redemption?
3. Opponent: this character, often the antagonist or "villain" must go against the protagonist by wanting the same thing, but for different purposes.
4. Plan: heroes who want something need a plan of action. what is the hero prepared to do in order to save the day? guns blazing? Stealth and tact? deception? here is where a hero's true character is partially revealed.
5. Battle: when the story boils to a crisis. usually this is a point of conflict such as a fight, an argument or a death defying encounter with the villain.
6. Self-revelation: here the hero realizes what he wanted wasn't what he needed…..I want to say this again, The hero wants something, but he realizes that what he wanted wasn't what he needs. if the hero sought revenge but got redemption instead, he may come to an important moment of self discovery.
7. New equilibrium: with the new knowledge the world changes for the character. The hero becomes a different person, they undergo character development and growth. wether that growth is positive or negative is up to you!
So there we have it, Seven basic steps to outlining your story and building a world that your readers will be totally engrossed in. let the discussion begin!8/31/2012 #1
I am of the opinion that personality/psychological flaws are better than physical weaknesses. The only issue is keeping balance. How do you make sure that the hero is flawed but not too obnoxious for the average reader to identify with?9/02/2012 #2
"Keeping Balance" really is the only thing you ever need to keep in mind about character creation. It's very easy to fall into the trap of thinking that certain personality traits are "good" and that others are "bad', but, the truth is that what differentiates a quirk from a flaw is the strength or intensity of that trait. Characters that have too much (or, too little) of quality x usually become the characters for whom x is a flaw. Basically, my rule is that a personality trait is a flaw when it is present in a large/small enough of an amount to cause the character to get into trouble. Even though we like to think of villains as being inherently evil, real villains are those characters that act reprehensibly as a result of an unlucky synergy between their flaws and circumstances at large. Likewise, a hero isn't "born" to be a hero; rather, the way that their traits interact with other individuals and with the surrounding environment pushes them toward a "heroic" course of action. My advice to keeping the balance is: don't "make" characters that are pre-set to be heroes or villains, rather, create characters that can become heroes or villains. Also, it helps to think of character creation for stories as being like character creation for RPGs: you need to give your character stats that work well off of one another; for each strength, give them a weakness, and vice-a-versa—and, remember, that things only become problematic for a character when he/she/it tends to excesses. The way you tell the villain from the hero is by looking at how their internal qualities fight with one another, and then, observe the quality that wins out within any given character.
Also: physical weaknesses are almost ALWAYS symbolic for flaws in character, personality, or psychology.
I hope this helps!9/03/2012 #3
@Complex Variable: I agree about what motivates the hero to "Rise" as it were. a hero doesn't simply become a hero overnight.
Rather there are a series of events that lead up to his heroic actions. @Mountain King I wasn't saying that one type of weakness is better than the other, I was just citing an example. several characters of literature lore have personality flaws and psychological nuances that endear them to an audience (Think Tony Shaloub in MONK)9/03/2012 #4
Yeah. BUT, at the same time, if Monk's OCD gets out of control, his "quirk" suddenly becomes a "flaw"; that's what I mean when I say that situations can make characters change for the better/worse.9/03/2012 #5
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