One: Foundations

1. Introduction – Warmup.

  • Warmup: The story my mother wants me to write is….
  • Writing theTwo-Person scene; Characters A and B; Dialogue and Monologue. Exercises focus writers on the  emotional subtext that informs creative writing.

2. Dialogue Rewrite deepens A&B; Dialogue Analysis.

  • Dialogue as the shortcut to conflict; conflict as the core of the scene.
  • Dialogue means two characters talking with rhythm; rhythm pulls writers close to the heartbeat.

3. Plot—Hidden structures—Cage, Escape, Quest, Dragon, Home.

  • Locked in a symbolic cage and driven by a deep inner need, the protagonist devises an escape that launches a quest.
  • Antagonists abound, threatening to send the protagonist back to the cage. To get home, the protagonist must confront the dragon.
  • Hidden structures link writers to the mythic power of the spiritual descent story.

4. Plot—Visible Structure: Aristotle’s 3 Acts + Climax.

  • The curtain falls on Act 1 as protagonist and antagonist lock horns for the first time.
  • The curtain rises on Act 2 as the protagonist builds for the confrontation with the antagonist.
  • In Act 3, the protagonist confronts the antagonist in the agon.
  • The audience sees the rising and falling of the curtain and feels the intense build to climax and revelation.
  • A visible structure in three acts—standard for movies and TV—cinches up the dramatic form.

5. Writing the Three-Person scene; Character C + King Replacement.

  • What happens to the stranger that intrudes?
  • If incorporated, the Intruder-Stranger becomes a member of the tribe; if repelled, the Intruder-Stranger is turned away at the gates to wander and quest; if ejected, the Intruder-Stranger is sent away into exile, incarceration, or death by ritual sacrifice.

6. Scene Rewrite – Going Deeper.

  • The essence of the craft is rewriting.
  • Rewriting in parts—action, dialogue, setting—gives writers a feel for the components of fiction.

7. Rewriting + Scene Lab. A

  • Focus on Dialogue.
  • Writer scenes performed in lab conditions – time limits, casting, reading aloud, instructor feedback.

8. Rewriting + Scene Lab.

  • Focus on Action.
  • Scenes performed under the clock – five minutes, casting, reading aloud, instructor feedback.

9. Extended Essay.

  • The topic: Why I must write this particular story at this particular time….
  • In a “Gut Check” essay of 10-12 pages, the writer probes the connection to the work, the deep emotional place in the far-away kingdom of Need that drives the writer to commit one, two, or three years to a single work.           

10. Performance of scenes.

  • The writer’s reward.
  • Product transferred to the mouths of actors. Possible video taping for keepsake power.


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