Author: Robert Ray

Rewriting 101: Week Three – Subplots

© 2011 Robert Ray.  Course Description: Rewriting 101.  All Rights Reserved.  Subplot is the secondary story running under the plot. The smart rewrite starts with Subplot One, the path of your antagonist. If you were F. Scott Fitzgerald rewriting The Great Gatsby, you would rewrite Daisy’s subplot first. When you work with subplots, you need tools and techniques: a character arc to chart the subplot from entry to exit; a core story to separate the subplot from the plot and the other subplots; tools like scene profile and scene template to keep you moving. For example, Daisy’s core story is King Replacement. Her arc stretches from the Crimson Room in Act One to Escape at the end of Act Three. (There are three meaty chapters on subplots in The Weekend Novelist Rewrites the Novel.) Scene Performance. Homework that links to Week Four.  Day Three – Office Hour at Café Argento Our Teen Sleuth mystery writer reports on her meeting with a literary agent, who advised the writer to age her protagonist, from 13 to 15. My advice: Mystery is a Revenge Quest; therefore, make sure the teen sleuth kills one of the bad guys at the climax. Dialogue line: “You stole my little sister.” Advice to Shapeshifter: chart the crossings of your protagonist into Otherworld – time, place, password, gates, etc. The Workshop After warming up, we write for...

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Rewriting 101: Week Two – Structure

© 2011 Robert Ray.  Course Description: Rewriting 101.  All Rights Reserved. Structure is an arrangement of parts. Acts are made up of scenes. A scene is made up of setting, character, dialogue, action, intruder, ending. Two of the most helpful structures for rewriting are the Sexual Triad and the Closed Circle and Intruder. You can read more about the Sexual Triad in The Weekend Novelist Rewrites the Novel. To grasp the importance of the Intruder penetrating the Closed Circle, we’ll do some writing. Scene performance. Homework that links to Week Three. Office Hour at Café Argento: Day Two starts at Café Argento with the Urns playwright, the Korean War suspense writer, and the writer of Walkers in Water-World. Advice to the playwright: lock down the house as your resource base. Advice to the suspense novelist: check out the ping-pong structure used by most suspense novelists. Check the analysis of the ping-pong structure from Eye of the Needle in section 4 of The Weekend Novelist Rewrites the Novel. Advice to the Water-Worlder: create a portal between your two worlds (Walker World vs. Water World.) The Workshop The writing on Day Two introduces two powerful rewrite tools: Scene Profile and Scene Template. The scene profile (there’s an example below from Leaving Las Vegas) loads your unconscious with scene-parts: setting, description, dialogue, action, intruder and closed circle, and climax. The example below...

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Rewriting 101: Week One – Introduction – Story

© 2011 Robert Ray.  Course Description: Rewriting 101.  All Rights Reserved.  Following the writer introductions – who’s writing what, how it’s going – we’ll work on story. Definition: story is a competition for a resource base. Cinderella wants the castle. Jane wants Thornfield Hall. We’ll toss around the parts of a story: Place, Characters and Roles (Protag, Antag, Helper), Resource Base as the object of desire, core stories (there are seven), Ritual and Archetype, Objects (possession, need, greed, thievery, envy, etc.), biology in the subtext, back story trauma as Motivation. A warmup writing that probes your novel or filmscript. Scene Performance: We’ll view our first scene performance, with the cast drawn from fellow writers. Homework that links to Week Two.  What the writers brought in the first day: One filmscript about a Ponzi scheme converted into a novel. Two mysteries – 1) Teen Sleuth; 2) Gothic-Cozy. Three tales of suspense – 1) a snake story;  2) a story of wounds from the Korean War; 3) a mainline contemporary thriller. Three Otherworld-Fantasies – 1) three kingdoms and a budding princess; 2) Walkers vs. Water-Worlders; 3) Shapeshifters with secrets.   Three theatrical stage plays – 1) Urns filled with ashes; 2) deep south hardscrabble; 3) conversion – turning a Bildungsroman stage play into a filmscript. During office hours at Café Argento, writers bring problems and I offer solutions. On this first...

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©2010-2017 Jack Remick, Robert J. Ray. All rights Reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including text and images, without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Short excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jack Remick and Robert J. Ray and "Bob and Jacks Writing Blog" with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.