Masterclass.com course: Dramatic Writing Continued with David Mamet
Day 4 Dramatic Rules Continued:
Lesson 5 might end up being a painful lesson because it may a lot of cutting of unnecessary scenes from my novel. David’s first line, “Tell the story.” is all he needs to say about this lesson. In order to write a good story, we need to start at the beginning and go where we say we’re going to go to the audience/reader.
I’m thinking about my opening scene in my novel and it begins with a road trip to the small town. To be honest I’ve thought about the opening and whether or not it’s taking too long to for the characters to get there. My first draft opened in the town with the main character bumping into her romantic interest. A series of edits may take place.
The question – is this the right move? When I think of all the stories I’ve read, they all have one main location even in stories where the characters travel or move. Do other novels I’ve read that use more than one location work? Yes, but readers (that includes me) still need a location to picture. To create a story that doesn’t leave my readers impatient, I might shorten the introduction because it’s the hook to the next chapter.
Writers get distracted by the shiny objects and what he calls location sickness. We might find a try to add in a distraction that we find interesting but it doesn’t have anything to do with the plot. His point is to throw out anything that isn’t the plot.
He calls this location sickness. This happens when we add in a store or a place that doesn’t have to do with the story. You need to throw it away. Make the cuts now, don’t hold onto it for later.
His last piece of advice for this lesson is giving your best lines to the hero of the story. How many times have we gone to a movie, where the secondary character or the comic relief steals the show from the main character? Writers need to force themselves to save the best for the hero. Secondary characters support and add color to the hero, not the other way around.
We shouldn’t be secondary characters in our own stories, why would do that to our heroes?
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