LEARNING > Writing Live Chat – My Writing Hero

8-Page Challenge Forums Main Forum LEARNING > Writing Live Chat – My Writing Hero

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    • #590
      BuddyScalera
      Keymaster

      Official thread to discuss our educational live chat event. “Story Circle: How to Craft a Plot That Keeps Your Readers HOOKED” hosted by Comic Book School Council Member Cathy Kirch of https://mywritinghero.com/.

      DATE: Friday 4/24/2020
      TIME: 8:00 – 9:30 EST
      COST: Free
      INVITE & DETAILS: https://calendar.google.com/event?action=TEMPLATE&tmeid=NnIyNnFjNzVkcmg2dGJ0NG4ycjduamphZDggN2N0OGRsajBrNWE4ZWFjbGt0cXZuaHVxcjhAZw&tmsrc=7ct8dlj0k5a8eaclktqvnhuqr8%40group.calendar.google.com

      You will be able to ask questions and make comments in this forum, which will be moderated by @mywritinghero.

    • #591
      Kpei137
      Moderator

      When writing a story do you come up with the title first and the create the plot after or do you work on the plot first and then the title last?

    • #596
      mywritinghero
      Participant

      @Kpei137 I’m of the mind that you come up with the title when you come up with the title.

      No two writers’ processes are exactly alike, at least in my observation. For me, I tend to come up with a title after I’ve been working on a piece for a while, as it usually draws on a particular line or concept that only comes up after I’ve been drafting. But I also know other writers who use the title as a springboard into an idea – for them, the title comes before just about anything else.

      It’s useful to keep in mind that you only really need a title when you’re sharing a finished product with other people, so it’s okay if you don’t have one (or if you have a “working title”) right away. Sometimes it’s fun to share a draft with readers and brainstorm ideas for titles with them, too! But if you find it useful to have a title to build momentum on a project, there’s nothing wrong with that, either. The most important thing, to me as a writer, is not letting one detail keep me from writing – I know that I can always come back and change things later.

      Does that help?

    • #597
      mywritinghero
      Participant

      I’m really excited about tonight’s workshop!

      Here is a link to a short guide on the Story Circle: https://bit.ly/story-circle-guide
      Once you enter your info, you’ll get the PDF in an email. (You’ll also be subscribed to the My Writing Hero newsletter, where I share other writing tips/advice/inspiration, but you can of course unsubscribe at any time!). You may find it useful to download the guide before the workshop, but don’t worry if you don’t get a chance to do so. If you have any issues getting the guide, please let me know!

      In the meantime, please feel free to post any questions you have about plotting (can be related to the story circle or not). I’d also love to hear where you’re at in your plot creation so I can tailor the workshop to what folks are working on right now!

      Write on!

    • #599
      Kpei137
      Moderator

      @mywritinghero this does help because I have been stuck on a title for the longest time but I guess I should write the story first and then see if there is a recurring theme and then base the title off of that recurring theme. thanks for the advice

    • #602
      Joel Barker
      Moderator

      Having a bit of trouble joining the Google Meet

      I’m in!

    • #603
      mywritinghero
      Participant

      I’m on the “waiting to be let in” page myself!

    • #605
      Arielle Lupkin
      Moderator

      Here’s that playlist, Trope Talks, that I mentioned in the chat: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDb22nlVXGgcljcdyDk80bBDXGyeZjZ5e

    • #607
      mywritinghero
      Participant

      Thank you so much for joining me for tonight’s workshop!

      Here is a link to the slides: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/16qwuN0OUuRkjuq5OrCa0SKOr1eyqGo-gqAT25mYx5wE/edit?usp=sharing
      The link is view only, so feel free to “make a copy” and save it into your own drive. This probably goes without saying, but please do not distribute this slide deck widely without asking. ๐Ÿ™‚
      If you want this in a more digestible size and format, here’s the link to the pdf guide again: https://bit.ly/story-circle-guide

      I’ll be posting the link/time for our first “office hour” soon, but in the meantime: What did you take away from the workshop? I’d love to hear what you’re working on!

    • #609
      Jarrod Elvin
      Participant

      Thank you Cathy for your presentation. I found it quite informative!
      I went back and matched up my plot with your story circle, and I was pleased to discover that it matches up perfectly! -Right down to each page fitting in to each point of the circle exactly!
      I will now go on to do that exercise you supplied.
      Best regards,
      Jarrod.

    • #610
      Jarrod Elvin
      Participant

      Here is my story circle form filled out with my plot (In an acceptable file size!)

    • #613
      mywritinghero
      Participant

      @Jarrod Elvin Awesome!! I’m guessing you were somewhat “inspired” by current events? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Although space virus sounds a lot cooler than what we’ve got.

      Excited to see what you find with the exercise – I bet there could be some rad visual parallels with this story.

    • #618
      Joel Barker
      Moderator

      Thank you again, Cathy a.k.a. @mywritinghero!

      What did you take away from the workshop?

      The importance of “Keeping It Simple”:
      I always found myself trapped in the proverbial, ENDLESS sandbox.
      You helped me remember that through structure comes freedom.

      Again, appreciate the resources and look forward to seeing ya ’round the schoolyard!

    • #620
      A. A. Rubin
      Moderator

      Thank you Cathy @mywritinghero

      One issue that came up during the session was non-linear stories like Pulp Fiction. Here is a video that explains how Pulp Fiction fits the Campbell archetype. The terminology is a bit different since it uses Campbell, not Harmon, but both archetypes use the circle, and the Harmon circle is based off Campbell.

      http://www.kalbashir.com/screenwriting/Film-Pulp-Fiction-(1994).html

    • #621
      A. A. Rubin
      Moderator

      Also, apropos to the discussion of tragedy and tragic endings, here is the worksheet on Classical Tragedy that I use with my classes. It is based on Aristotle’s poetics. You will notice that the there are clear reflections in the various stages, for example the fall is directly caused by the Hamartia, and the anagnorisis (or recognition) is where the growth occurs, but it happens too late to change the outcome.

    • #623
      A. A. Rubin
      Moderator

      @mywritinghero, to answer your question, my biggest takeaway was the idea of actually folding the paper in half to see the parallels between the various stages. I like that idea a lot, and definitely am going to use it both in my own practice and in the writing classes that I teach.

    • #624
      maryamsmarkers
      Moderator

      Thank you both, Cathy and AA Rubin for all these great resources. Much appreciating your giving us such amazing direction. I’ll use both to edit my writings for today’s deadline. We have until 11:59 pm, right?

    • #628
      Kris Burgos
      Participant

      @mywritinghero
      I missed the live workshop, but I got a hold of all the materials and wanted to thank you for the knowledge! Sorry, I missed it, but your slideshow and info packets are great descriptors and very nicely put together. Thanks again!

    • #629
      Kris Burgos
      Participant

      @thesurrealari
      A set of props to you too sir, for adding on that page Tragedy.

    • #630
      Kris Burgos
      Participant

      A question for everyone…
      As it pertains to this Circle Story method of analysis/writing/plotting, is the reader more inclined to be invested in the STORY or the (main) character(s)? Personally, I’m more invested in seeing how a story plays out and I know that I’ll ENJOY it more if the characters are solid. I also think that if the story sucks in the first place, it doesn’t matter how amazing characters are, I’m probably not going to like it (which I believe explains my dislike of sit-coms). However, I feel that most people nowadays are the opposite and my reason for this is due to the fact that most (American) audiences can’t handle the sad/tragic ending anymore.

      If the character goes through their arc following the method stated (circle), but the overall story doesn’t have a “pleasing” ending (hero wins/saves the day) I’ve found that many people are not fans of the story overall.

      What are everyone’s thoughts?
      (If you can’t tell from my own plot, I have zero problem with the unhappy ending)

    • #641
      A. A. Rubin
      Moderator

      @KrisBurgos I think that it depends on the audience you’re looking for. Some of the most enduring, most popular stories in the world are tragedies–Oedipus, Hamlet (and Lear, Othello, Macbeth, R&J), The Great Gatsby, etc. These stories work because the payoff in the tragic structure is earned through the hamatria-peripeteia–anagnoris framework, and the fear/pity catharsis.

      Some of the best literature in the world, especially as we get into the second half of the 20th century features ambiguous endings–Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison comes to mind. Catch 22 is another example. These books have passionate audiences and they have stood the test of time.

      In terms of mainstream comics you don’t see it as much. It’s really hard to kill off an iconic character like Batman, and even when they do, we all know that character is coming back eventually. I think you see it more in indie and creator owned comics, where you can do a limited run with a real ending–especially a different.

      Now, as for what you’re doing, I think the tragic ending works very well since your story is Norse-based. Norse mythology has the concept of Doom hanging over everything. No matter what victories the forces of good win, they are still doomed to be destroyed in Ragnarok in the end. Virtue is acting good in the face of inevitable evil. Tolkien, to take one very example, wrote an academic paper during his professor days where he argued that doom was the most powerful element in literature–or should be. He admitted that in most of Western literature Hamartia is the key element, but he preferred doom. Either way, they are both tragic outcomes. (Tolkien also translated Beowulf, which is a story that synthesizes the Norse concept of Doom with the Christian concept of sacrifice. Beowulf goes into the final battle with the dragon knowing he will lose, but his death saves the people (like Jesus, but more Viking Machismo.)

      Since your story is Norse-based, having a doomed hero who stays true to his principles regardless of his tragic situation fits very nicely. They key (returning to Aristotle) is to affect a characterization where the reader identifies with the main character enough to evoke that catharsis.

      Personally, I hope you go through with the tragic story. I would love to see some diversity in the types of stories in this anthology.

    • #642
      A. A. Rubin
      Moderator

      @mywritinghero I would love to hear your thoughts on the stories of Donald Barthelme, which seem to eschew traditional story structure for something else. He seems to be very well respected as a writer, although he’s not necessarily my cup of tea (except for one or two stories). I would love to hear your analysis.

    • #643
      A. A. Rubin
      Moderator

      @mywritinghero I would love to hear your thoughts on the stories of Donald Barthelme, which seem to eschew traditional story structure for something else. He seems to be very well respected as a writer, although he’s not necessarily my cup of tea (except for one or two stories). I would love to hear your analysis.

    • #647
      Redheadeded
      Moderator

      You guys are a library of resources and the discussion was great! Thanks @Cathy for the chat, and thanks everyone for all the great references.

      Erin (AKA the Redheadeded)

    • #650
      mywritinghero
      Participant

      Wow, there’s so much great stuff happening here since I last logged on!

      I appreciate the addition of the tragedy resources, @thesurrealari, as well as the Pulp Fiction breakdown! Dissecting the stories we love is, I think, one of the most useful things we can do as writers. If we can figure out the moves that made those stories “work,” we can adapt those moves for our own writing.

      It’s like taking apart a complex piece of machinery to see what makes it “tick” – and lucky for us folks have been doing this for a long time, and we can look at an abundance of models (story circle, hero’s journey, hamatria-peripeteiaโ€“anagnoris, chiasmus, incremental perturbation, etc.) to give these moves names. Giving something a name, as it turns out, is one of the first steps of figuring out how to do it.

      If I can hop on the question @KrisBurgos raised, I personally LOVE a tragic ending. The stories that sit with me the longest are often the ones that really mess me up in some way, lol. I think it’s important to note that the story circle is not just for happy endings – a change doesn’t have to be positive, it just has to be earned.

      I think a lot of this comes down to reader experience. How do we want the reader to experience the story? What do we want the reader to feel?

      To address the Barthelme question, @thesurrealari, I would add that a lot of “literary fiction” short stories tend to be less plot-driven while still being entirely complete stories. In that way, it’s hard to compare this genre to the genre of most comic books; that said, I think there’s something to learn from them. What makes a story like Barthelme’s “The School” feel complete and impactful is not necessarily the events that happen, but the journey the reader goes through while reading. It’s the same reason I think Lydia Davis still writes what I would call “stories” even though so many of them are only a paragraph (or a sentence) long.

      A definition I have found useful is Barth’s incremental perturbation (I’ll attach some files for anyone down for this uber-nerdy rabbit hole). He defines plot as โ€œthe incremental perturbation of an unstable homeostatic system and its catastrophic restoration to a complexified equilibrium.โ€ Which basically means, you start with something that is somewhat normal but unstable, then little by little turn up the temperature until you hit boiling, and, upon boiling over, reach a new status quo that results from the consequences of the boil. (Barth is much more eloquent – I’ve attached the original essay and a summary for anyone interested).

      This definition allows us to view things like Barthelme, like Lydia Davis, like the famous “For Sale: Baby Shoes. Never Worn” (attributed to Hemingway), as stories, even though they, as you pointed out, eschew traditional story structure.

      This is all to say that I think you can do whatever the f*** you want, as long as you do it with intention, and as long as there is some kind of impact on the reader. Because if a reader reads something and feels nothing, what was the point?

      It’s figuring out how to affect the reader the way we intend to that’s the real puzzle of writing.

    • #662
      mywritinghero
      Participant

      Hey, everyone!

      Our first “office hours” will take place on Wednesday 4/29 at 1pm EDT. Here is where to find us on Zoom: https://bit.ly/8-page-office-hours.

      If you’re interested in attending office hours, either this week or in the future, please answer this quick poll: https://forms.gle/55qjGEsv2aoxz3Nn8. As I said on Friday, I want to be able to accommodate as many schedules as possible, so I’ll be switching up times week to week. Hopefully, if you can’t come one week, you’ll be able to attend during other weeks. This short poll asks what times you’re generally available during the week and what time zone you’re in.

      Thanks!

    • #682
      mywritinghero
      Participant

      We’re live! Join us for office hours: https://bit.ly/8-page-office-hours

      I’ll be hanging out from 1-2:30pm EDT.

      Reminder: We have a quick poll for general availability. I’ll be using this to select future office hours times ๐Ÿ™‚ https://forms.gle/55qjGEsv2aoxz3Nn8

    • #728
      mywritinghero
      Participant

      Hey all!

      This week’s office hours will be on TUESDAY 5/5 at 10:30am. Zoom link: https://bit.ly/8-page-office-hours

      (Remember to fill out the availability poll if you haven’t yet! https://forms.gle/55qjGEsv2aoxz3Nn8 )

      • This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by mywritinghero.
    • #912
      mywritinghero
      Participant

      Hey everyone!

      If you haven’t already seen, we’re now including office hours on the challenge calendar – there will be a google meet link in each calendar event for you to join the group coaching session that week.

      To join our video meeting (happening now!), click this link: https://meet.google.com/sjh-ozgu-rqc
      (We’ll be hanging out until 6pm!)

    • #1278
      mywritinghero
      Participant

      Hey all!

      I’m taking this week off from office hours for my partner’s birthday ๐Ÿ™‚ But I’ll be back next week! Keep an eye on the google calendar for the date/time and Hangouts link.

      Write on,
      CK

    • #1299
      maryamsmarkers
      Moderator

      Watch on Facebook live

      We're LIVE with Gina DeDomenico Flanagan! ๐Ÿคฉ๐Ÿ‘‡

      Posted by Wacom on Thursday, July 23, 2020

      Hey everyone: I know itโ€™s really late notice but Wacom has Gina, the concept artist and costumes designer for The Boys discussing her creative development process. Itโ€™s happening NOW – started at 3pm est – for an hour or so. Watch on Facebook live. Link above. Have a great Thursday
      Maryam!

    • #1385
      mywritinghero
      Participant

      Evening, all ๐Ÿ™‚

      Quick check-in/update re: office hours! We had great attendance while we were still in the writing phases of the challenge – now that the project has progressed past writing, most folks are focused on those other aspects (which is totally cool and expected for this type of challenge).

      I am suspending my office hours for the time being, but I am still around! If anyone still wants office hours to continue, please feel free to reach out and we can chat about what makes the most sense for this challenge. Email or DM on Instagram (@mywritinghero) is probably the best way to get ahold of me. Otherwise, I’ll catch you all on the forums, on the calls, and around the web.

      Write on, my dudes!
      CK

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