Conflict: the bread and butter of a story

internal-and-external-conflict-2-638

Image Source

As July approaches, my sister and I are hard at work planning out her story. By this point, I should say our story but that still feels weird. I don’t believe I will ever consider this story as mine because I had no say in the idea development. Saying that, if collaborating helps my sister finally write her story then I’m more than happy to do that.

Recently, we discussed the source of conflict of the novel. While we don’t have the most of the middle and the ending planned, we still wanted to plan out what would drive the story forward and what kind of obstacles the main character, Nina, would face. I like to term this discussion as: “how do I make the life of a character more difficult?”

First, we started with the external conflict. This conflict derives from external forces. Meaning, the conflict comes from outside forces like a flat tire on a way to a job interview. Or a jealous co-worker secretly sabotaging the main character’s report. It can also be two people arguing.

Now, Internal conflict comes from within the main character. I like to think of these as feelings or simple terms: the inner struggle. e.g. stopping to help someone who fell or hurry to an important appointment. Or pay your bills early or buy that book you have no room on yourself for. It’s also choosing right from wrong. Depending on the character and/or situation, right and wrong can be different.

Not only did my sister and myself identify where the conflict was coming from, we were also able to expand on those ideas. Furthermore, Nina, the MC, will be overwhelm with her new position and current one and she believes there’s been a mistake and waits for the moment where someone else replaces her. This leads to her work being sloppy and incompetent and it further leads to confrontation with the boss and others in the managerial positions.

I’m happy to say that Nina’s life will be very, very difficult.

On a different side note: two of my reviews are up. One of them is called Tubocity. The game is an endless runner as you try to see how far can you get as you jump and swipe your way past obstacles.

The other game is called Picture Perfect Crossword. It is exactly what is sounds like. Players are given a picture to name. They select letters at the bottom of the screen to fill out the crossword puzzle.

Advertisements

Negative Nancy

There’s around two weeks before Camp NaNoWriMo and things aren’t really progrrssing as I hoped. Doing a collaboration with my sister will be good, don’t get me wrong but I’m not sure how this is going to work out. 
The story we’re planning on writing is her idea. Sure, I’ve helped developed it but there’s no connection between me and the story. It’s not like I’m not interested in the story, it’s just so distant. It was my sister who thought of the story so its her baby. Mostly, it feels like I’m intruding. Plus, I don’t really know how to contribute to the plot or how we’re going to split up the work.

We’ve talked just not in depth. I’m not too worried. Not really. We have time to figure it out. Maybe I should still write my own and at the same time help her out with her story. That . . . could work. Maybe. 

On a more optimistic side, I have made a lot of progress working on my “TV show idea”. I’ve done four character sheets, and started working on the beat sheet. It’s basically a summary of what’s going to happen and major plot points. 

It has helped me figure out where I want to put certain information pertaining to the characters and story. Despite me awful drawing skills, I have also done a sketch of my characters. They’re very rough sketches. At least I can say that I’m making progress. 

Of Surprises and Collaboration

over-9000-the-productivity-level-is-over-9000

It has been a very productive week. A few unexpected surprises came knocking but they were all taken with a stride.

First, I would like to announce that my plans for Camp NaNoWriMo have changed. As of right now, I will no longer be writing my fantasy novel I titled “Blue Moon”. The reason for this has nothing to do with having no idea what to write about or even the desire to write. No, this has to deal with my sister.

Long story short, she was the person responsible for uncovering my innate desire to write stories. She’s the one who got me into writing. While she hasn’t been as active in writing as I have, I still envy all her ideas because I think they’re amazing and why couldn’t think of that. She is after all my twin and the youngest (well middle child because we have a young brother). So, now and again, she sends me updates on her stories and I give her feedback.

One story in particular she wants to really write has been given her trouble and she just needs the motivation to write. What did I do? I volunteered to help. My Camp NaNoWriMo this year will be a collaboration with my sister.

While I have collaborated with other people (strangers) it hasn’t been really successful. It was definitely communication and the plot was almost nowhere to be found. I’m not exactly sure how this time will turn out. It should be better. It’s not like she’s a stranger to me. However, I’m if-y about my role in all of this. Yes, I’ll be writing the story too but I don’t want to be the ‘leader’. I think it would be best if she came up with the plot and I helped guide her.

My goal is to be the guiding hand. I’ll take a step back and have her dictate where she wants the story to go and if she gets stuck, I’ll make something up. I’ll build bridges so she can get to the next scene.

The other bit of news is that my review for Chronology  has been posted. It’s a mobile game where you play as The Inventor to try to unravel the mystery of the present state of the future. The game allows you go travel to the past and present to overcome the obstacles.

The third piece of news is that I have successfully been creating character sheets for a long standing story I have titled ‘Shadow Beasts’. I’ve planned and written the story in script format for T.V. Actually, I decided to create a television show for my brother because I didn’t like any of the cartoons/shows he was watching.

The idea has evolved and changed over the years and with each revision, I’m starting to get closer and closer to the final product I envisioned. There’s even hope that it might be developed into an actual show by a friend who has started up his own animation studio of sorts. Nothing is in the works or set in stone. It’s just talks for now but it is something I’m thinking about and I’m certainly hopeful.

Plans for Camp NaNoWriMo & Planning

tumblr_inline_mj7qb7lyjy1qz4rgp1

As June starts, I’ve come to realize that Camp NaNoWriMo (for July 2017) is only 25 days away. While this might seem far off, it usually gets here in a flash. This is why I have started thinking about which of the many stories in my idea notebook I’m going to flush out and write.

Instead of writing a paranormal story like I’ve done in the past, I’m going to try my hand at writing in the fantasy genre. Luckily for me, I have plenty of those ideas but I have asked myself “are any of these ideas ready to be a story?” The answer is yes. There are actually two ideas that I can develop further for a plot that makes sense (to me).

However, when I tried to develop one of those stories, it wasn’t a walk in the park. I had the idea of the world and how it worked in relation to the story. I wrote the history behind the founding of a guild that was going to be in the forerunner of the story. My characters were listed and the theme of the story was clear. Yet, when I thought about the details and how the story was going to unravel, my mind drew a blank.

Well, it wasn’t exactly a blank per say. I had the beginning chapter or so but afterwards, I don’t have any idea where the story would go from there. I know the end destination; I just don’t know how to get there.

The other story however, is more flushed out. I even wrote the story as a film once. All I’m keeping from that is the core story and theme. I did have to move some characters around and add new ones but for the most part I know what’s going to happen. I have scenes planned out and I know how to get to the end. So, there’s no competition between the stories, right?

Well, there is 25 days left until July. I do have time to plan and think about the first idea. Plus, it’s not like I can’t plan out both stories and decide which story I want to write more. Even so, the only thing I want to avoid is starting a story and having no idea what’s going to happen next. If I really think about it, I guess that’s what NaNoWriMo is all about (in a way). How well can you make up a story in a month?

Okay, no. That’s not what NaNoWriMo is all about but it is my take on it. At least for the moment it is.

For now, I’ll just welcome the time I have left until July. There’s no rush and there is only so much planning I can do before I need to write.

D&D: Writing you own Campaign

1488234_356104684571347_7786573292986058012_n

What’s Dungeons and Dragons have to do with writing a story? Everything.

To those who aren’t familiar with D&D, I’ll give you a quick overview. Dungeons and Dragons is a table-top, fantasy, role-playing game set in the Forgotten Realms. Those familiar with R.A. Salvatore‘s Drizzt Do’Urden might know a little something about the world. For those who don’t know Drizzt then take a look at the popular show Stranger Things. Mike, Dustin, Lucas, and Will played D&D in the pilot of the show and even in the last episode.

The major component about the game is storytelling and that’s where this post comes in. For starters, there is ‘a lot’ to know about playing D&D but I won’t go into too much detail. Instead, I’ll focus on how to build your own campaign for what’s called a ‘home-brew game.’ This term just means that you made a game set in the Forgotten Realms. It can also mean that you created your own world and are simply using the game mechanics of D&D like the dice rolling, the encounters, etc.

I should also mention that I went to Compicpalooza 2017 and was able to take down notes on many of the panels. The topic for this post was selected from my many notes so, in essence, it’ll be an overview of the advice and tips that I received.

  1. There’s no order in building your campaign and that holds true with writing.

You can start with your characters (in this case it can be your NPCs – the many roles you’ll take on as a DM (Dungeon Master – the one who runs the campaign)). If possible, it’s best to add as many NPCs beforehand. If needed, ‘someone’ will exist for your ‘adventures’ to come talk to and you won’t have to manifest them on the spot and remember them later.

Or your world. Or an object players (the ‘heroes’) have to find or destroy. That’s for you to decide.

Perhaps even your antagonist. This can be from anything you really want – a blood mage or a dragon.

However, for those building your own world, the terrain/ the environment is something to keep in mind. Is it mountainous? Plains? Forest? The Sea? The adventure will depend on what kind of area the players have to traverse. Plus, it would also make the encounters (the ‘enemy/beasts) plays will have to fight.

For the world building, you don’t have to know how to draw a map. There are pre-made maps and map generators available. Like donjon; RPG Tools. There are a lot of resources online to make it easier.

2. Basic Fundamentals of the World

The more details you know about your world the better. Just like writing anything, it is best to know almost everything you need to know about your world. That way, you won’t have to make things up on the spot and possibly forget about it later. I’m not saying it’s bad to make things up but I find that it disrupts the flow of the story. Plus, if you do have everything planned then it makes the world seem more real. Not only that but if you know the relationships between towns or tribes then you can use that as a source of conflict (if needed).

3. Managing your players

It’s not really a rule of thumb but your players are what makes the story. As the DM, you create the story and basically, the players help you write it. The story may go on a different path that you intended but it’s okay. Plans are subjected to change. It’s not like the story went out the window or anything. The DM is there to help guide the players through the story. There has to be some level of control but don’t force them to stay on that path only. Let them explore.

Whatever you don’t use then recycle it for another adventure. I do that in writing all the time. I can’t use something in one story but if I can use it in another story, then I will.

Like any story, there are going to character backstories. As a DM, you can use these to create a different arc or build it into the story. Just give your players something to care about. That’s what the core is for any story. Keep them invested.

Final thoughts:

Have fun. If you’re not having fun then why would your players be?Don’t get caught up in the details. They’re more like guidelines.