“I’m On a Mission Now”

I was looking over some OLD blogs I’d saved. In fact, some of them were SO old that they came up empty . . . this message had been “deleted” or whatever. That’s what I get for shoving them into a “to be read” file instead of reading them AT THE TIME of PUBLICATION. Still, some of them still had the information.

One that caught my eyes was by Larry Brooks. Some of you may have read one (or more) of his books: Story Physics, Story Engineering, or one of his fiction books. Also, he spoke at one or more writer’s workshops in Utah a few years ago. I found him very interesting at the time. And, yes, I ended up buying one of his “how to” books, and following his Storyfix blog (STILL get it, though he has “guest bloggers” more often now than he did at first. The man is a Master at the mechanics of putting a story together.

The part of the blog I was looking at today that really got my attention was that EVERY scene must have a mission. If it is “only” for “characterization,” or some such purpose, it may fall flat. Here were his four steps in considering the mission of each scene:

  1. Is the mission clear and easily comprehended?
  2. Is it valid and necessary to the forward motion of the story?
  3. Is there only one mission, one point, happening in this scene, other than the assort minutes of characterization?
  4. Is the mission of the scene itself overtly, proactively characterization, or is t just showing more of the same character stuff you’ve already established?

That step 4 was the real killer for me. I do have a tendency to “overwrite” and say things in slightly different ways, but essentially making the same point more than once.

So I’m adding this to my writerly “New Year’s Resolutions”: examine each scene carefully to take out redundancies and over‑writing. In doing so, make sure that what’s left is the HEART of the particular scene; that it is a mission with a carry‑the‑story‑on purpose.

What new resolve do you have to improve your writing this year?