I recently pulled that draft out of the figurative drawer and had a look at it. I like the tone. I like the main character and love his backstory. I love the world in which the story takes place. I love the idea behind the story, but that’s where things start to fall apart.
When I wrote that draft, I had no clear sense of the concept I was building the story on. I was clueless regarding theme and blind to any sort of character arc. My plot was disjointed and the plot points were all contrived to make bad things happen to my MC based solely on the trappings of the world I had created around him. Really awful. I love it.
I love that I can look at this draft and see what the big problems are. Reworking these elements has me excited to be be back in the life of Jackson Spence, telling his story instead of recounting a series of vignettes.
Sure the draft/redraft process revealed these flaws, but I see them with unexpected clarity because I read Larry Brooks’ Story Engineering and Story Physics. I’ve also read most everything on his Storyfix site and have had him do a conceptual analysis of another story (best money I have spent on my writing so far).
I took Larry’s concept questionnaire and completed it for this old draft. Wow! I learned a lot about Jackson’s story just by completing the questionnaire. His journey, the opposing forces and thematic elements all fell into place after a quick two-page questionnaire.
Before I ramble on too far, Larry will soon be raising the prices on his Concept Analysis and Story Coaching services. If you are having trouble nailing down what your story is actually about, head over to his site. He has story deconstructions, sample feedback from his analyses and some solid advice that has helped me better understand the elements of story. I would be jumping to get in before the price increases, but I have signed up for a couple of LitReactor courses this month and need to watch my budget.
Larry is also Instructor of the Month for Writer’s Digest and they have a bundle of books and webinars available at a huge discount.