Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Blog Chain: Dramarama!

Okay, so this blog chain is actually a wee bit FUBAR because of me this time around. Heh. Oops! I apologize that this chain is a little loopified.

This time around, Christine chose the topic:

How do you create a wonderfully dramatic story? Are there any questions you ask yourself, or specific things you keep in mind to ensure that you have the level of tension necessary to propell the story forward?

Fantastic topic!

One question that never fails me is "What is the worst thing that could possibly happen?" Usually we ask this to reassure ourselves that we're okay, but when I ask it, my characters cringe inside my head. They know I'm gunning for them.

The question is really "What's the worst thing that could possibly happen to my characters right now?" followed by "and will it work?"

Sometimes you can't do the worst thing. You can't kill everyone off in the first chapter, for example, because then your story would be very short. And boring. And sort of pointless. However, you can put the characters into an impossible situation where they might be killed at any moment! The conflict in your story rises automatically.

Show no mercy. Life isn't merciful after all. But I also can't forget that I'm trying to tell a good story which means it has to be satisfying. "Satisfying" can mean different things to different people, but nothing can be senseless or without purpose in your story. Every bad or crazy thing must happen for a reason. Even unpleasant or cliffhanger endings were purposefully crafted.

So, in summary I suppose I ask myself three things while writing:

1) What's the worst thing that could happen?
2) Does it work?
3) Is it satisfying or purposeful?

Also, if you're in a jam, I've heard people swear that all you need to do when you're stuck is shoot a character. It doesn't work for me, but it might for you! :) Let the bodies hit the floor, and have fun.

So, what say you? How do you create drama in your stories?

Please check out Amanda before me, and Sandra tomorrow!

13 comments:

christine said...

I love those questions....SWEET!!!

B.J. Anderson said...

Lol, let the bodies hit the floor. Good philosophy. :D

Lisa and Laura said...

Great post! We just did this very same thing as we revised the WIP and you know what? I think it worked!

Sandra said...

I think it's very hard to kill off a main character. The readers are emotionally invested in him/her, and it does interfere with plans for a sequel. But if you threaten people the heroes care about, or if you can come up with fates worse than death...then you're talking drama. Evil drama. Heh heh heh....

Mandy said...

I feel like I'm taking a crash course in drama this round! Great post Rebecca, I think asking what's the worst that can happen? and working from there is a great way to build tension and drama.

Tere Kirkland said...

Greta tips! I'll have to write those down on my inspiration board at home! Thanks, Becca!

Abby Annis said...

Great post! I'll keep those questions in mind for the next time I'm stuck. :)

Cole Gibsen said...

Show no mercy! I love it! :)

Eric said...

When you said "Let the bodies hit the floor", the song by the same name leapt into my head. Don't know if that's what you were thinking of, but great idea. And very nice answer to this question.

Eric said...

When you said "Let the bodies hit the floor", the song by the same name leapt into my head. Don't know if that's what you were thinking of, but great idea. And very nice answer to this question.

Kat Harris said...

I love the three questions. Very nice post!

Sarah Bromley said...

After reading your post, I'm quite convinced we're all a bunch of sadists--bringing on the pain, showing no mercy, and making the worst things possible happen to our characters. Great post!

Shaun Hutchinson said...

Yes! Absolutely. I'm totally just going to start shooting people next time I'm in a jam. Oh, you meant shoot my characters? Got it :)