Spring Intensive :: LARRY BROOKS Sunday session

Highlights from Larry Brooks’ 101 Slightly Unpredictable Tips for Novelists and Screenwriters

·         Listen to music as you write – pick something that matches the mood of the scene you are writing.

·         Reverse engineer an existing story you like. Break it down and see how it works. See what the plot points were, what the context of the four points were. Use this to create a generic workable sequence.

·         Name your characters after real people who represent what you are going for. Then when you are done, do a search and change the name to the character name.

·         If you are stuck, verbalize your story to a friend. You will find yourself working through the story problem as you explain it.

·         Study screenwriting books if you are a novelist, study novel writing books if you are a screenwriter.

·         Play what if with your initial idea and see where it takes you.

·         Imagine your story as a movie. Attach actors and movements, soundtracks and scenes.

·         Write the outline of your story as a movie template. It will make you stick to the arc of your story.

·         Even though you haven’t written it yet, write a book review of your own novel. What you want to be strong about your story will emerge on that page.

·         Get rid of all the adjectives you can

·         Stop reading writing blogs and books. There is contradictory advice. Some writers don’t write, they just read about writing.

·         Listen to song lyrics. You can pluck out great book titles.
Subtext – read between the lines. A lot like theme. It will happen whether you want it to or not, so be in control of the subtext and leverage its power to make your story more potent. It is the story not being spoken of in the moment. The reader knows something one of the characters does not know.

Economy and social environment is subtext for the decisions characters make and connects to the façade they put on. Subtext adds texture and richness to the arena and depth to your characters.

Dialogue – don’t ever use the other characters name in dialogue when they are talking to one another. It leaps off the page and screams amateur. You can do it in greetings, but avoid it elsewhere. Never combine separate pieces of dialogue in one paragraph.
When looking at a scene and trying to layer in the psychology of a character, think of the four Rs Resentment. Resistance. Revenge. Resolution.
Any form of negative emotion has resentment attached to it.
4 quadrants of social style
Analyzer, supporter, organizer, controller
CONTROLLER
(Feels & Acts)
“Fun”
SUPPORTER
(Feels)
“Friendship”
Caregiver
ORGANIZER
(Thinks & Acts)
“Results”
ANALYST
(Thinks)
“Precision”

Spring Intensive :: LARRY BROOKS Sunday session

Highlights from Larry Brooks’ 101 Slightly Unpredictable Tips for Novelists and Screenwriters

·         Listen to music as you write – pick something that matches the mood of the scene you are writing.

·         Reverse engineer an existing story you like. Break it down and see how it works. See what the plot points were, what the context of the four points were. Use this to create a generic workable sequence.

·         Name your characters after real people who represent what you are going for. Then when you are done, do a search and change the name to the character name.

·         If you are stuck, verbalize your story to a friend. You will find yourself working through the story problem as you explain it.

·         Study screenwriting books if you are a novelist, study novel writing books if you are a screenwriter.

·         Play what if with your initial idea and see where it takes you.

·         Imagine your story as a movie. Attach actors and movements, soundtracks and scenes.

·         Write the outline of your story as a movie template. It will make you stick to the arc of your story.

·         Even though you haven’t written it yet, write a book review of your own novel. What you want to be strong about your story will emerge on that page.

·         Get rid of all the adjectives you can

·         Stop reading writing blogs and books. There is contradictory advice. Some writers don’t write, they just read about writing.

·         Listen to song lyrics. You can pluck out great book titles.
Subtext – read between the lines. A lot like theme. It will happen whether you want it to or not, so be in control of the subtext and leverage its power to make your story more potent. It is the story not being spoken of in the moment. The reader knows something one of the characters does not know.

Economy and social environment is subtext for the decisions characters make and connects to the façade they put on. Subtext adds texture and richness to the arena and depth to your characters.

Dialogue – don’t ever use the other characters name in dialogue when they are talking to one another. It leaps off the page and screams amateur. You can do it in greetings, but avoid it elsewhere. Never combine separate pieces of dialogue in one paragraph.
When looking at a scene and trying to layer in the psychology of a character, think of the four Rs Resentment. Resistance. Revenge. Resolution.
Any form of negative emotion has resentment attached to it.
4 quadrants of social style
Analyzer, supporter, organizer, controller
CONTROLLER

(Feels & Acts)

“Fun”

SUPPORTER

(Feels)

“Friendship”

Caregiver
ORGANIZER

(Thinks & Acts)

“Results”

ANALYST

(Thinks)

“Precision”

Spring Intensive :: LARRY BROOKS afternoon session

We moved into a bigger room after lunch so people didn’t have to sit on the floor…plus we got popcorn!

6 CORE COMPETENCIES (4 elements, 2 skill sets)

·         CONCEPT The dramatic stage upon which character and the other core competencies unfold. What if statements. The more compelling the question, the more interesting the answer. What is the potential for this stage to evoke emotion? What if

·         CHARACTER every story required a hero, in romance the hero is usually the female character.  Who

·         THEME Your story has to mean something. Love is thematic already, but is it optimized? Goal is to provoke and get the reader to think about the experience. What it means

·         STRUCTURE What happens in what order and why. Every scene is in context to what happens before and after that create pressure on the story. How

·         SCENES contextual mission and microcosm of story structure. Immersive and visceral.

·         VOICE  Your ability to write a great sentence. Smooth narrative. Writing voice is like air, clean and crisp. When you notice air, it is because it has a scent and one man’s perfume is another’s stench. Verbal gymnastics can get tangled.

To break into the business or write a best seller, you have to have all 6 core competencies, and excel in at least one.

3 PHASES OF WRITING

·         DESIGN
·         IMPLEMENTATION
·         PERFECTION / OPTIMIZATION

6 REALMS OF STORY PHYSICS

·         NARRATIVE PREMISE – sometimes it is the seed of the story. Make it as compelling as possible. The evolution from idea to story arc.

·         DRAMATIC TENSION – conflict. In any given moment in any given scene ask what is the dramatic tension that  provides context for the scene. Both within the story and within each scene. What’s at stake? What are the consequences?

·         NARRATIVE PACE – the nature and flow of which new information is entering the story and moving it towards its destination. Stories are always moving forward. They need to accelerate.

·         HEROIC EMPATHY – the reader must relate to the main character.

·         VICARIOUS READER EXPERIENCE – hopefulness of feeling the chemistry of falling in love, experiencing places and events, take a journey they wouldn’t usually take.

·         AESTHETIC – x-factor. What makes your storytelling special.

Concept is plot-related or character-related. Without a concept, a characters story is a resume. The character has to want something.

Premise is the marriage of concept and character and touches on theme.

There is a hierarchy in concept, elevate it to its most compelling.

Make your story special by setting it someplace special.

CHARACTER       

1st dimension – what we put on to show people who we are, façade, clothing
2nd dimension – the truth, what causes you to want to look a certain way, fit in with a specific group
3rd dimension – true character, what is revealed under pressure, when a politician is amoral and denies it under oath, when the steroid scandal in baseball came to light and some admitted it while others denied

In the resolution the hero steps up and conquers inner demons and makes martyr like decisions and becomes the catalyst for the conclusion of the story.

The happily ever after is a foregone conclusion, so how do you make it exciting?

There are things that emotionally change that reflect the plot and the context lines up from that

STORY STRUCTURE

A plot in four boxes – setup (introducing a character and bringing them to a transition point, where everything changes), attack, response, resolution

Milestones, foreshadowing, midpoint, pinch points

 SCENES
Sequencing your scenes around plot points. Mission driven scene writing. You know what every scene is seeking to deliver to the reader. Great scenes create a cut and thrust, pulling the reader to the next scene or chapter.

How does it all come together?  Optimal Execution

4 part structure and it IS proportional in order to optimize pace

Part
Structure
Character Arc
Plot Points
What is Point?
1
Setup – world view of hero is established, GMC and stakes
Orphan
1st around 20%
Where she  makes a choice to leave
2
Response
Wanderer
3
Attack
Warrior – proactive
2nd around 75%
4
Resolution
Martyr – willing to do whatever needs to be done to get to goal
3rd after 80%

Spring Intensive :: LARRY BROOKS afternoon session

We moved into a bigger room after lunch so people didn’t have to sit on the floor…plus we got popcorn!

6 CORE COMPETENCIES (4 elements, 2 skill sets)

·         CONCEPT The dramatic stage upon which character and the other core competencies unfold. What if statements. The more compelling the question, the more interesting the answer. What is the potential for this stage to evoke emotion? What if

·         CHARACTER every story required a hero, in romance the hero is usually the female character.  Who

·         THEME Your story has to mean something. Love is thematic already, but is it optimized? Goal is to provoke and get the reader to think about the experience. What it means

·         STRUCTURE What happens in what order and why. Every scene is in context to what happens before and after that create pressure on the story. How

·         SCENES contextual mission and microcosm of story structure. Immersive and visceral.

·         VOICE  Your ability to write a great sentence. Smooth narrative. Writing voice is like air, clean and crisp. When you notice air, it is because it has a scent and one man’s perfume is another’s stench. Verbal gymnastics can get tangled.

To break into the business or write a best seller, you have to have all 6 core competencies, and excel in at least one.

3 PHASES OF WRITING

·         DESIGN
·         IMPLEMENTATION
·         PERFECTION / OPTIMIZATION

6 REALMS OF STORY PHYSICS

·         NARRATIVE PREMISE – sometimes it is the seed of the story. Make it as compelling as possible. The evolution from idea to story arc.

·         DRAMATIC TENSION – conflict. In any given moment in any given scene ask what is the dramatic tension that  provides context for the scene. Both within the story and within each scene. What’s at stake? What are the consequences?

·         NARRATIVE PACE – the nature and flow of which new information is entering the story and moving it towards its destination. Stories are always moving forward. They need to accelerate.

·         HEROIC EMPATHY – the reader must relate to the main character.

·         VICARIOUS READER EXPERIENCE – hopefulness of feeling the chemistry of falling in love, experiencing places and events, take a journey they wouldn’t usually take.

·         AESTHETIC – x-factor. What makes your storytelling special.

Concept is plot-related or character-related. Without a concept, a characters story is a resume. The character has to want something.

Premise is the marriage of concept and character and touches on theme.

There is a hierarchy in concept, elevate it to its most compelling.

Make your story special by setting it someplace special.

CHARACTER       

1st dimension – what we put on to show people who we are, façade, clothing
2nd dimension – the truth, what causes you to want to look a certain way, fit in with a specific group
3rd dimension – true character, what is revealed under pressure, when a politician is amoral and denies it under oath, when the steroid scandal in baseball came to light and some admitted it while others denied

In the resolution the hero steps up and conquers inner demons and makes martyr like decisions and becomes the catalyst for the conclusion of the story.

The happily ever after is a foregone conclusion, so how do you make it exciting?

There are things that emotionally change that reflect the plot and the context lines up from that

STORY STRUCTURE

A plot in four boxes – setup (introducing a character and bringing them to a transition point, where everything changes), attack, response, resolution

Milestones, foreshadowing, midpoint, pinch points

 SCENES
Sequencing your scenes around plot points. Mission driven scene writing. You know what every scene is seeking to deliver to the reader. Great scenes create a cut and thrust, pulling the reader to the next scene or chapter.

How does it all come together?  Optimal Execution

4 part structure and it IS proportional in order to optimize pace

Part

Structure

Character Arc

Plot Points

What is Point?

1
Setup – world view of hero is established, GMC and stakes
Orphan
1st around 20%
Where she  makes a choice to leave
2
Response
Wanderer
3
Attack
Warrior – proactive
2nd around 75%
4
Resolution
Martyr – willing to do whatever needs to be done to get to goal
3rd after 80%

Spring Intensive :: LARRY BROOKS morning session

LARRY BROOKS – Story Engineering & The Search For Story www.storyfix.com 

A romance is a little bit like a thriller because you are taking a ride, you know how it is going to end, but you want to live vicariously through the journey.

To write a book you have to know a massive amount of information. If you let it stay massive and chaotic, it is hard to keep it all straight. How you organize it may not be serving you. Habits may have become limiting belief systems. Many of us just sit down and write without acknowledging how we do things, so we cannot assess whether we are doing it efficiently.
At the end of the day when a writer has written a successful story, the book will line up with the principles.  6 categories help keep it organized.
Context setting questions ::
1.       What is the most important word in the realm of writing stories? Conflict (character, idea)
2.       What was the inspiring idea of your story? Trope – MOC, rekindled
3.       How will you process from that moment to the next step? Brainstorming, characterization
4.       Why were you interested enough to spend your time on this story? Characters
5.       What is your story about? Acknowledging love and compromise. Forgiveness and compromise.
6.       What is the concept of your story? Marriage of convenience. Rekindled love. What if the love of your life is marrying someone else? What if you have to ask a favor of the man who broke your heart?
7.       What is the most important moment in a story? Inciting incident.
8.       What is it about your book that will make the cut? Emotion
What makes romance different? Happily-ever-after, emotional resonance, two complete story arcs (romance & external)
Plot is the stage upon which characters are allowed to unfold.
Romance is a train that runs on the tracks of story.
are you a plotter or a panster?

Most writers begin their journey as readers, bringing that context to what they write. Readers experience as a passenger, the writer experiences the book as a pilot (writing the mss) who also has to build the plane (plotting the mss).

Are you writing in context to your experience as a reader or as a story architect? Are you searching for your story, building your story, or polishing your story? Do you think you can do more than one at a time? There is real value in understanding that your story isn’t optimized yet.

Spring Intensive :: LARRY BROOKS morning session

LARRY BROOKS – Story Engineering & The Search For Story www.storyfix.com 

A romance is a little bit like a thriller because you are taking a ride, you know how it is going to end, but you want to live vicariously through the journey.

To write a book you have to know a massive amount of information. If you let it stay massive and chaotic, it is hard to keep it all straight. How you organize it may not be serving you. Habits may have become limiting belief systems. Many of us just sit down and write without acknowledging how we do things, so we cannot assess whether we are doing it efficiently.
At the end of the day when a writer has written a successful story, the book will line up with the principles.  6 categories help keep it organized.
Context setting questions ::
1.       What is the most important word in the realm of writing stories? Conflict (character, idea)
2.       What was the inspiring idea of your story? Trope – MOC, rekindled
3.       How will you process from that moment to the next step? Brainstorming, characterization
4.       Why were you interested enough to spend your time on this story? Characters
5.       What is your story about? Acknowledging love and compromise. Forgiveness and compromise.
6.       What is the concept of your story? Marriage of convenience. Rekindled love. What if the love of your life is marrying someone else? What if you have to ask a favor of the man who broke your heart?
7.       What is the most important moment in a story? Inciting incident.
8.       What is it about your book that will make the cut? Emotion
What makes romance different? Happily-ever-after, emotional resonance, two complete story arcs (romance & external)
Plot is the stage upon which characters are allowed to unfold.
Romance is a train that runs on the tracks of story.
are you a plotter or a panster?

Most writers begin their journey as readers, bringing that context to what they write. Readers experience as a passenger, the writer experiences the book as a pilot (writing the mss) who also has to build the plane (plotting the mss).

Are you writing in context to your experience as a reader or as a story architect? Are you searching for your story, building your story, or polishing your story? Do you think you can do more than one at a time? There is real value in understanding that your story isn’t optimized yet.