Who Am I?

No, the title isn’t referencing the 1998 Jackie Chan Movie–even though it is good martial arts fun (as all of Jackie Chan’s movies tend to be):

No, this particular entry comes from 2012 Amazing Spider-Man movie.  At the end (don’t worry, I won’t spoil it), there is a scene where Peter Parker is going into an English Class.  During the class, the teacher is talking, and the teacher says that a professor of her once told her that there were 10 types of plots.  She says, “No, there is only one plot.  Who am I?

Unfortunately, the scene moves away from the English lesson at this point.  I think I know what she was referring to, however.  The idea that CHARACTER is the most important part of fiction and that ALL of the plot revolves around the character’s needs, wants, problems, and solutions.

If the character is interesting enough and if what they want is strong enough to satisfy the character’s needs, then the plot will come together far more easily than trying to shoehorn the story into a plot “type.”

I wonder if this is true, so I’m going to try it out over the Thanksgiving Holiday.  I’ve had a character in mind for ages.  His name is Roland.  And he has a compelling problem (in my mind, at least).  So, tonight, after I finish writing this blog post, I’m going to write a 1 page, “Who Am I?” for Roland.  Over the Thanksgiving Holiday, I’m going to try to write the rough draft for the short-story “Project Roland” and see if finding the character is truly the SECRET to creating a story that pops and resonates.

Since “Faerie Knight,” I’ve been disappointed by the stories that I’ve written in the interim (except I, Magi).  All the other stories seem flat and lifeless.  I’ve written rough drafts for them, but except for Magi, I haven’t really done character sketches for the main characters of the other stories.  I’ve begun to even lose Skye’s character as well.  I started with a clear idea of who she was and what she wanted, but I didn’t write it down and now I find myself starting to be fuzzy on her motivations as I’m beginning to transition her to another part of the story at the end of chap. 3.

If this experiment works, then I’ll know that I’m only really ready to write a story once I have a character locked in so well that I can do a “Who Am I?” sketch on them. If this is the case, then my goal should be go back through all my stories (new and old) and work on the characters to try to improve my stories so that I can begin to sell stories consistently.

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