Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Gotham Writers' Workshop

Almost at once I got things of use from the Gotham Writers.
Bearing in mind that they are focussed on screenwriting, there's a lot that is useful to fiction writers. Every story, they say, needs:
  • interesting characters

  • intense conflict
  • visual opportunity (using imagination instead of eyes)
  • emotional power
I've often wondered what High concept meant. I could guess, but was I correct? Well, now I can report that high concept is something big, exciting, flashy or weird and deals with huge ideas like mass destruction. Low concept deals with stories that are more like real life. Not what I imagined at all. Good thing I never tried to bandy the terms around!

Every story has a Major Dramatic Question, (MDQ) which becomes the single driving force of the plot. Example - Will Scarlett win Ashley? That is the MDQ for Gone With the Wind. She fails to win him, but it is still the MDQ.


N. Gemini Sasson said...

Interesting, Jen. I just attended the Historical Novel Society conference in Chicago and heard much the same about what makes a good story.

Jen Black said...

There's so much out there to help aspiring authors, isn't there? I see from the back blurb that the Gotham Writers have done a book on fiction, so I'll see if I can get hold of it.