Writing

Building Character: Who’s Driving This Thing?

This is the second in a periodic series about characterization in writing. Please check out my first post in the series, which looks at a character’s role in the Story Mind as expressed in the Dramatica Theory of storytelling.

A story begins when something changes the status quo.

Luke Skywalker doesn’t start becoming a hero until two droids crash on his planet. John McClane doesn’t become a terrorist-fighting cowboy cop until Hans Gruber takes hostages in an office building. Hamlet doesn’t start on his murder investigation/rampage of revenge until he gets a mysterious visit from a restless ghost. Even a feel-good romantic comedy like Sleepless in Seattle needs a trigger to set things in motion — in this case, Sam Baldwin’s son Jonah calling a late-night radio talk show.

People don’t spontaneously change their lives for no reason; an external trigger of some kind has to change the balance and push the protagonist into becoming a protagonist. Joseph Campbell called this “The Call to Adventure,” and it’s always something outside the protagonist’s control.

What really sets characters apart from one another is what they do next.

Continue reading →

Posted by chriswlester in Writing

Landscape Journals: What’s in YOUR Noggin?

For the last few months I’ve been participating with my partner Melanie in the Montana Artrepreneur Program (MAP), a business course for artists who want to make money doing what they love. I’m attending the workshops both as Mel’s business partner in her photography career and in the hope of learning things that I can apply to my own business as a writer. There are a number of business tools that must be completed in order to finish the course, and one of these that I think is particularly valuable for writers is the Landscape Journal.

Continue reading →

Posted by chriswlester in Writing

The Lost and the Least: The Genesis of a Story

I’ve mentioned before that the next Metamor City novel will be called The Lost and the Least. I haven’t spoken very much in public, though, about where this story came from, or why it needs to be written. This blog post is the start of a new series, which I plan to add to roughly once a month, in which I’ll explore the real-life roots of the story and why they matter.

Continue reading →

Posted by chriswlester in Culture, The Lost and the Least, Writing
Exquisite Corpse

Exquisite Corpse

On January 17th I had the pleasure of attending a special exhibition by the Benevolent Order of Mountain Artists (BOOMA), hosted at The Danforth Gallery. The show was called “Exquisite Corpse”, which sounds rather morbid, but the concept behind it is actually quite fun and the end result is extremely cool. More details after the jump…

Continue reading →

Posted by chriswlester in Podcasting/New Media, Writing