Hello and welcome to Unpublishable Author Podcast, I’m your host Tommy Balassa.
Thanks so much for stoppin’ by today and downloading this podcast. Over the past two weeks since my last podcast I’ve accomplished something I’m pretty enthused about. I don’t yet know if it’s going to work out because I haven’t fully implemented it, but I’m hopeful. I’ve created a system for myself based on what I’ve learned about writing. Now when I mention a system, I’m saying anything other than “pantsing”.
As a writer I’ve always been a “pantser”, and while it’s fine to “pants” if that works for you, for me “pantsing” ultimately led to too many roadblocks. When I’ve “pantsed”, I’ve always come up against a wall, a lack of creativity. A harsh stopping place within everything I’ve ever written. I’ve read and heard a lot of writers talk about writing blocks as being caused by a lack of understanding of your own story. I think that’s true.
In my own writing experience, anytime I’ve gone back to reread a manuscript I started by “pantsing” that means all of them, I realized I didn’t understand the story I was writing. That’s always made it impossible for me to jump back into a story and pick up where I left off. I’ve tried my hand at outlining and I don’t have the organizational skills yet to really make outlining an effective tool at my current knowledge level.
For well over six months now, maybe even close to a year, I haven’t really spent a lot of time writing on any manuscript. Most of my writing is been non-fiction type stuff, anything from blogging to writing this podcast. Sure I’ve started some fiction ideas, but they all end up bogged down in my lack of organization and inability to jump back into an idea. That fact is echoed in something I read by Larry Brooks in which he talks about having a concept rather than just an idea. I think not understanding the story is because I’ve always started “pantsing” with an idea and never really taken it beyond the idea stage.
Since my last podcast I started reading a book called, “The Fantasy Fiction Formula”, by Deborah Chester. Something I read in her book triggered an epiphany and I was inspired to create my own writing formula. I recognize myself in her book and I’m not going to quote it because of copyright, but in Chapter One in the section; “Planning the Plot”, is a passage that inspired me. Look it up and see if it inspires you too. It’s something I feel I should have always known, simple, but we’re all on our own journey. Most of my limitations are self-imposed because of emotional baggage. That passage cut through the emotional baggage and struck paydirt. Taking into account so many books I’ve read, videos I’ve watched and podcasts I’ve listened too, it’s not hard for me to believe that something finally came to concord. I’ve created a writing formula that I haven’t tested yet, but I’m going to this week. It might not we worth anything to anyone else, but I’m going to tell you about it anyway and try it myself this week. I’ll post the Formula on this weeks podcast page. I’ll provide the url at the end of the podcast.
I took my idea of story and I broke it down into 9 Sections and 32 Elements. What I did is I took what I know or believe about story elements, they may not be perfect for everyone but for me these seem to ring true, and I created a path from start to finish based on the elements of a story that I enjoy. I’m not creating new ideas or concepts of story. I’m simply distilling what I’ve learned into a process that makes sense to me. If it doesn’t make sense to you, by all means don’t use it. But I’d like to share it with you just in case. If you do try it out, please share your experiences of it with me and let me know how it works out for you, good or bad.
Here it is Tommy’s Writing Formula.
The First Section:
Show the protagonists life as it is, if only briefly.
Show a dramatic moment that causes the protagonist to display their false belief system.
Show a negative result of the protagonist implementing their false belief system.
The Second Section:
Show the protagonist reeling and experiencing fear and doubt due to the negative result of their failed belief system.
Show the protagonist is a wary, fearful and doubtful person as the antagonistic force once again presents itself and again the protagonist is unprepared due to their false belief system.
Show the protagonist trying to implement their false belief system to overcome the antagonistic force.
Show the Protagonist failing to defeat the Antagonistic Force but show them at that moment try a second or third time to overcome the Antagonistic Force and failing.
The Third Section:
Show the protagonist in defeat and while they saw something or experienced something of the antagonistic force that could be a weakness that they might exploit, the protagonist has no idea how to avoid or overcome that weakness, and show them considering giving up, running and hiding.
Introduce a mentor figure, and have that mentor provide some sound advice.
Show the protagonist doubting the mentor, willing to ignore the mentor’s advice.
Show the protagonist failing against the antagonistic force because they didn’t take the mentor’s advice or training to heart and are maintaining their invalid belief system.
The Fourth Section:
Show the protagonist wanting to give up and walk away from the situation while still showing that they feel a need to fight or to overcome the antagonistic force.
Show the mentor exhibiting the correct belief system in the presence of the protagonist.
Show the protagonist recognizing the difference between the mentor’s correct belief system in their own flawed belief system.
Show the antagonistic force attacking and the protagonist fending off the antagonistic force, though not defeating them.
Show the protagonist recognizing they had used the mentors advice, and that the mentors belief system had proved successful, when their own had failed them.
The Fifth Section:
Show the protagonist coming to terms with and accept their new belief system.
Show the antagonistic force attack either directly or indirectly against the protagonist and/or their mentor sidekicks or others they care about to a depth not seen before.
Show the protagonist defeated and perhaps near-death but truly down and out, but show a spark, a dim flame of hope in their attitude.
The Sixth Section:
Show the antagonistic force in victory.
Show the antagonistic forces ideals in action.
The Seventh Section:
Show the protagonists resilience and have them either truly or metaphorically get back on their feet.
Show the protagonist reach a moment of resoluteness and a willingness to give it all to stop the antagonistic force.
The Eighth Section:
Show the protagonist in a moment of planning to go on the offensive resolve to win.
Show the protagonist and their allies if any, attack or defend against the final battle with the antagonistic force.
Show the protagonist and their allies if any, facing defeat.
Show the protagonist implement their new belief system.
Show the protagonist new belief system overcome the belief system of the antagonistic force.
Show the protagonist in any of their allies if any, prevailing in defeating the antagonistic force.
The Ninth Section:
Show the ending of the protagonists dramatic story and connect it to a new dramatic story or close it off.
Show the protagonist returning to their old lives but with the new belief system.
Show how the new belief system has impacted the daily life of the protagonist and any of their allies if any.
And that’s the end.
This is what I think stories are about and I’m hopeful that this formula I’ve worked out will be a tool that helps me finish my first manuscript. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject and if you decide to try it for yourself, please let me know if it’s helpful or not, the good and the bad. We can’t grow if we don’t hear the bad.
I’m going to post the Formula on unpublishableauthor.com and I’ll put a link on this podcast’s transcript to the page. I want to thank you for listening today. It’s great to know that people from the US, Japan, Germany, Netherlands, France and India are downloading this Podcast. Thank you.
I want to thank those who fought in the Revolutionary War for the Independence of the United States who started a global revolution for Democracy and freedom 241 years ago with the Declaration of Independence.
I’m Tommy Balassa
I wish you all peace and contentment.
Now go out there and make something you love!