Sunday, March 28, 2010

Boot Camp Prep

At this point, I seriously am trying to have as many posts for March as there are days. ;-)

After my last Thurs post, I firmed up the idea that I wanted to do another boot camp - a daily writing exercise. Because I try to use them to focus on areas in which I may have weaknesses, things that are new to me, or other aspects where I just want to stretch my muscles ... this time, I want the daily exercise to be a log line, a single paragraph plot summary (short story - not novel), and then either the first 200 or 300 words of the story. (What do y'all think is reasonable? I want to get a flavor of it, but I want to leave time for my other writing.)

To generate prompt elements, this is my plan:

A CHARACTER: Moving through 45 Master Characters (Victoria Lynn Schmidt), alternating between the male and female archetypes. I actually almost used this book to frame Scylla and Charybdis, but at the time, it wasn't as deep as I wanted it to be, and the archetype appropriate for Anaea felt forced. Time to give it another try.

A PLOT EVENT: Drawn randomly from Plots Unlimited (Tom Sawyer and Arthur David Weingarten). This is a book that, in theory, allows you to create a plot by defining its basic nature, starting with one of a list of beginnings, and then following the numbered options generated from each choice. I'm going to either reroll or "de-mordenize" any overtly modern selections (because I vastly prefer secondary world fantasy). And change the genders if appropriate, of course.

TWO RANDOM ELEMENTS: Drawn randomly from Once Upon A Time cards. This is an obscure card game that I picked up because Elizabeth on FWO used to use it to spark the "five elements" challenges over there. Most of the elements are pretty basic: a king, a ring, something is stolen, etc.

EXAMPLE: The Seductive Muse. (A), in trouble as a youth, returns incognito to her home town. A chase. A contest.

Does anyone think this sounds too complex and I should drop an element, or is it about right? I keep dithering. But for instance, I can see a lot of possibilities there. A few pieces naturally fall together into the shape of a throughline.

If I posted the best of the week - that is, the most entertaining combination, not necessarily the prompt I thought I worked best with - would anyone else play along with some? Could I post more frequently, or would that just exhaust people? ;-) I'd love to see (at least) the kind of loglines other minds came up with.

Intending on starting April 16th. This is a) the day after Tax Day, and even though I'm already ninety percent finished and will be filed and no longer thinking about it well before then; b) it's also the day before MZB S&S submissions open, so I'm going to be focused on editing up 'til then, but I'd better be done by the 16th. Ten archetypes for both male and female, each archetype having a hero and villain aspect, makes forty days. (Yes, the book says 45 - I believe that refers to supporting archetypes.)

Excited about this. I think there's something wrong with me. ;-)


Aubrie said...

That's too commplicated for me. Usually I just use a picture (usually fantasy art) and write about the story behind it. Good luck!

Lindsey Duncan said...

Well, I'm also open to doing pictures if you've got a decent random generation site. ;-) I haven't done a picture prompt since ... wow. That would be The Dreamweaver's Dispute (my first story that actually appeared in print).

In general, I find that a single source of inspiration rarely gets me a story. Pictures can sometimes provide multiple aspects ... but a picture + something else is even better. I just tend to go for a crossbreeding.

Anyhow, the idea here for ME isn't so much to get stories as to practice summaries ... though I certainly will go back and write some of them fully.

Anyone else is welcome to take prompts and run with them, of course.

Sophia said...

I found your blog through the Flutey Words Fantasy/SF award and have loved reading your Boot Camp posts. It came at the best time as I'm planning on doing a logline a day through the month of July and your method is a lot better than what I've been/will be doing; my 'method' is to just make it up on the fly... Thank you for sharing this inventine writing exercise!
- Sophia.

Lindsey Duncan said...

Ahhh, thanks! Good to meet you, Sophia. Best of luck with yours. :-)