Friday, July 16, 2010

Lessons Learned***

Yesterday, I finished the story analysis for Maybe This Time. I based my analysis (as with all other analyses) on the five-step story structure that Elizabeth Lyon described in her book A Writer’s Guide to Fiction.

1. Character with a problem – i.e. the protagonist
2. Complications
3. Crises that reach a climax
4. Resolution of the problem
5. Character learns something about self or life

While working on my story analysis, I had a bit of difficulty listing the lessons that my protagonist learns. So I went back to the book. Without giving a clear definition or description, Ms Lyon gave Little Red Riding Hood (Brothers Grimm’s version, I think) as an example; she said that Little Red Riding Hood learned to listen to her mother (who told her not to stray into the woods at the beginning of the story) and to be careful when talking to strangers. Since her mother warned her about straying into the woods at the beginning, I think it would be safe to assume that her mother had warned her about the dangers of talking to strangers. The problem with Little Red Riding Hood was that she didn’t listen to her mother and didn’t take those warnings to heart (she and all other kids, as well as adults, really). In the end, it’s assumed that she learned from her mistakes. That, I guess, is what Ms Lyon meant in her book.

For my story, I listed two things that my protagonist has always known (i.e. before the story even began) and that she applied to solve the story problem. But should that be the case? The reader may not consider those lessons learned, because my heroine used the knowledge of the lessons to solve her problem. She didn’t learn the lessons per se, just applied them.

Although, I realize now, if I rephrase the lessons, they would work. If I did that, I wouldn’t have to make major changes in the problem resolution section, which I was afraid I might need to do. Phew!

I still need to do a major edit and to find a better title. Although, thanks to Kelly Rowland, I might have one.

Ciao for now.

***Originally posted on Adrienne's Notebook on July 14, 2010, at 13:08.***

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