Tiny

“A teeny, tiny little house.”

“Just a Tiny House – that’s what they’re called. Tiny Houses. It’s a lifestyle choice.”

“What?”

“I can live here, be debt free, wander when I feel like it – and  my snail shell will be here when I come back – or I can be like you, do what everyone else does, and spend the rest of my life trying to ‘manage my money’ and not sink.” He frowned at the look of shock on Cassida’s face as she stuck her head inside. “Maybe you should look beyond your platinum credit card and see life for what it really is.” He shook his head as he walked down the track to check if the sign was still standing.

Was it a mistake to ask his group to come here? Did he think they’d approve of his choices? Was that why?

No. He didn’t need to get approval.

Matt was here because it freed him. He owned the tiny house, he owned the land, his bio-diesel vehicle was enough to get him around when necessary. He was free.

The house was tiny. Adobe-mud walls, rounded over so from a distance it looked like a giant snail – or a desert-style hobbit house – with a semi-circular door, two main windows – and the eye-spikes at the end of the snail-walkway were helical wind turbines. The water tank was hidden below the walkway. He had water, power, peace. He had a small income from his military pension.

It was enough. Almost.

The inner sanctum had an open space on the main level. What wasn’t immediately visible was the bathroom, hidden behind the door that looked like a half-pantry. The kitchen was a sink, plank shelving that followed the curve, and his two-burner electric stove top. The  crazy-pattern step-stair that followed the line of the helical shell went up to his private zone, the sleeping space. There was a barbecue outside, on the north side, near the vege garden.

It was enough. Except for one thing.

The small mound was the first thing he saw each morning on his daily walk. From the front door the rising sun sparkled on the granite. The rocks were laid in patterns of colour to reflect the spiral of the snail home shell home they’d built together. No marker.

The sign was still up, tall and clearly visible, despite the best efforts of the wind. Matt raised his hand over his eyes to check. Not many came this way, and the low roll of the hummocks of stony hills didn’t hide anything bigger than a rabbit. He’d see if a vehicle was within ‘cooee’ – nothing.

Maybe he’d have to tell Cassida it would be just the two of them. She wouldn’t like that, would she? If he didn’t tell her, and they sat down to start the work while they waited – to get ahead, he’d say – would she stay and not realise until too late?

No. She’d go. He walked back. She wasn’t outside waiting for him, so maybe she didn’t find it as claustrophobic as he’d thought she would.

He opened the door. Cassida sat at the slide-out table reading his work.

“This is so good,” she said. “And so sad.” She looked up at him with glints of tears in her eyes. “I didn’t realise Tiny wasn’t here. I didn’t realise he’d …”

“He died last month,” Matt said.

“Are you … do you … It’s just … there’s this person who went into a nursing home, and his dog … it’s going to be put down … do you …?”


Rose Brimson 2017 copyright

Going on a Journey

There’s the itinerary, the maps laid out over the table, the schedules for planes and trains and other forms of transport. Don’t forget the costs associated with getting over this border, through this country, visa’s for here and there and every little scratchy line on that map.

When you go travelling, you prepare. You get the maps to see where it is you want to go, you get your tickets and pay for them, the passport and visas for each place, lodgings and food considerations. You are an apprentice to the path.

You prepare. But the map is not the journey. If you saw the same places you wanted to travel to on television, would it be enough? Could you say you’d been there through that lens?

No. Because that is not the journey. Planning where and how and what and who and why is not the objective. The objective is to be there, to smell it, feel it, be in the middle of it.

That’s why a story needs that mud map. And it’s just as flexible as the plan you make for any journey. You could get to one point and find out that the border’s closed – what to do? Just stop and wait until it opens? I wouldn’t. You wouldn’t.

The plan is not the journey. Things can change – the mind and body must be flexible enough, must be capable of seeing the opportunities as they arise, must see them as potential, or better, or stronger, or different.

Story is the same. Why start the journey if there’s no idea what to foreshadow? If you don’t know who’s going to be there at the end? If there’s no known flaw to fix or message to see/learn? Why carve a path to nowhere to only end up leaping off the edge into the abyss of unknowing?

When you do the story mud-map, it’s not the journey. It’s not the first step on the journey. It’s not even a full plan, is it? Because as soon as the door is open, the train has left the station, the plane is in the air – where’s the level of control over ‘stuff’ that happens? When you have a mud-map and can see the general direction, and that’s how you start the first steps on the path, it can help when the path slides out from under your feet, when the power of a moment is easily recognised as ‘the way it should be’ rather than the ‘same old, same old’ response to the situation.

Having a mud-map helps the storyteller avoid the things that’ve already been done, the cliche, the boring and repetitious. The mud map may have some of those things in the beginning, but writing them out can sometimes make them much more visible, and therefore, give the writer the opportunity to ask “How can this be MORE?”

Do you have an itinerary for your story? A map? A clear direction with possible side-shoots?

Or are you stuck in the mind-set of ‘It will come’ because that’s the way ‘art’ is supposed to be? Or are you going to be the one who finishes a story and realises it’s not just good, it’s really good. It’s something to be proud of. It has movement and passion and connection.

I want to be that person, the one who knows I’ve written the story to the best of its potential. I want to complete my apprenticeship with a solid understanding of my craft.


 

Liebster

liebster

A very heartfelt thanks to Sara E Ackerman for nominating this blog for the award. To say it was a shock is less than the reality. We are stunned.

The rules of this award:
1. Acknowledge the blog who nominated you and display the award. Sara E Ackerman
2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger gives you.
3. Give 11 random facts about yourself.
4. Nominate 11 blogs.
5. Notify those blogs of the nomination.
6. Give them 11 questions to answer.

As there are five souls attached to this blog, the questions may reflect one, two, or multiple opinions spliced into the answer of one or more questions. That’s what life as a multiplicity is all about!

(2) The 11 Questions.

  1. Out of all the countries you have visited, which one did you like the most?
    The ones that don’t exist on this plane. We travel to many worlds, meet many creatures and beasts, and the occasional human. These worlds are as real as the one we open our eyes to each day, and sometimes more real than reality. That’s probably why we’re storytellers.
  2. What is the most extreme thing you have ever done?
    Jumped out of perfectly good plane.
    Kite surfed in the snow. Broke a leg.
    Cave diving underwater. Black.
    Quilty 100. Sore bum for weeks – poor horse.
    Fostered teenagers. They survived.
    Written stories for other people to read and live (it’s like giving up a child to someone else’s care).
  3. If you could take someone with you in your travels, who would it be?
    Either Attenborough brother – both have a good way to make story.
    Neil DeGrasse Tyson (for this quote “We are part of this universe; we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts, is that the universe is in us.”).
    Ghandi. Teach us the way of peace and enlightenment.
    There are others, but the arguments got a bit hot.
    If you could give someone $1 million dollars who would you give it to?
    An organisation that helps the world by housing the people who live on the streets, that takes food that doesn’t meet supermarket criteria and uses it to feed those people, that is part of the community and actively inclusive.
  4. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
    A common goal; life; friends; the ability to share and help; neighbours, friends and family.
  5. Given the choice of anyone living or dead, who would you choose to have dinner with and why?
    King Arthur – then we’d know for sure if he was real or not!
  6. Give some advice to other bloggers or other blog starters.
    Find the things that give you pleasure, that intrigue you, that offer inspiration and hope; use those worlds to help you create your own place in this community. Do it to a schedule, even if only once a month (we do like to read them).
  7. What is the most scandalous thing you have ever done?
    Run naked down Hay Street Mall in Perth.
    Kissed a stranger on NYE – but what city was it?
    Got caught up in a protest and taken to jail – where my uncle was in charge! Whoops!
    Drove without a licence, in an unregistered and uninsured vehicle through five states – did own the car! Didn’t get picked up.
  8. What is your greatest accomplishment?
    The fosters.
    The stories out in the world.
    The ritual of writing every day.
    The creation of this group of writers.
    Learning the Storytelling 101 and sharing it with anyone who will listen (whether they want to or not).
    Saving the life of a child who nearly drowned, who went on to become a doctor.
  9. If you could do any career in the world, what would you do?
    Write. Tell stories. Novels, anthologies, shorts – any shape or form, as long as it’s a story-telling role.
  10. If you could live one day over again, what would it be and why?
    The day of the fire, because now I know.
    The day I left home at 12yo … because now I know it wasn’t the answer.
    The day of the caravan … because I should’ve been more than I was and done more than I did.
    The day of my father’s funeral, because I should’ve stayed.

 

(3) Eleven random facts about me (us):

  1. Jumped out of a perfectly good plane in an attempt to overcome a fear of heights. Didn’t work!
  2. Worked in a job that had everyone turning up their nose (sewerage truck – ha! got ya!).
  3. Slightly overbearing to get kids to go to school; comes from a background of feeling ‘dumb’ rather than uneducated – now changed. We never stop learning, and education is only the beginning.
  4. Like watching pimple-poppers (don’t tell anyone!).
  5. Still eat chocolate, regardless of the allergic rashes it causes.
  6. Prefer cats to dogs, but love dogs too.
  7. Can’t write poetry, but still try.
  8. Miss my daughter, even though she’s been gone for 24 years.
  9. My mother is one of the people who should never have had children.
  10. Writing about battles brings on nightmares about war (but still do it).
  11. Dogs are better than cats.

Responses by more than one person of the five, as you can tell by 6 and 11 (Cisi and Karel – dobbed).

(4) I would like to nominate the following bloggers. No particular order of favouritism, and so many others that could be here!

  1. Cage Dunn
  2. Life of a ChickPea
  3. Martha Kennedy
  4. SpecFicChic
  5. Amy L Sauder
  6. Valerie Parv
  7. Oscar Relentos
  8. Sascha Darlington
  9. Lost Property
  10. Jackie Kellum
  11. Nicole Knudsen

(5) Notify them!!!!

(6) The 11 questions for the nominees:

  1. What types of books do you like to read in Winter? Is it different to Summer?
  2. What is your favourite location in the real world and why?
  3. If you had one question you want answered, what would it be?
  4. What four people would you invite to your next big-ticket party and why?
  5. What are some of the things you’d ask them?
  6. In what way would you like to change your life? Why? (or how?)
  7. If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
  8. What was the most important thing in your life (up ’til now)?
  9. What advice would you offer to new(ish) bloggers? What would’ve helped you when you were starting out?
  10. Have you ever done anything your mother wouldn’t be proud of? (you have to tell at least a little).
  11. What is the funniest thing to ever happen to you (or in front of you)?

thank you for participating – we know it takes some effort to do this, but we love you for it! And the spelling – we are Australian.

Cage, Karel, Shannon, Cisi, and Rose – of Five Books a Year By One For You (5bayby14u).

 

 

Gram’s Wisdom

“It’s a pumpkin, kid.”
“What’s a punkin, Gram.”
“It’s a big fruit that grows on a vine all summer until it gets so big that the vine dies off.”
“Why does the punkin kill the vine, Gram?”
“Because it spent all that time to make seeds on the inside, and when next Spring comes, it can make more vines with the seeds, can’t it?”
“But don’t we eat it? Are we eating the punkin babies, Gram?”
“We eat the flesh, not the seeds. We keep them for next year.”
“What would happen if we didn’t eat it?”
“The pumpkin grows until the vine is knackered. If we didn’t pick it, the thing would sit there and the flesh would rot over the winter, until it got warmer. Then the mushy, mouldy flesh would melt into the Earth, and the seeds would sprout, and new vines would grow.”
“So, shouldn’t we leave it to grow like it wants?”
“If we left it on the ground and all the seeds tried to sprout at once, then most would die. Of the two or three that survived, there wouldn’t be enough nutrients to grow a good sized pumpkin without a lot of care and attention. If even one pumpkin doesn’t get to a good enough size, there are no seeds. If there are no seeds, there won’t be a chance to sprout the following year. The end of pumpkins.”
“So, we eat them because it’s good for us, and it’s good for the punkin, and we take care of the babies and make sure there are more for next year, and that’s our job?”
“Close enough, kid.”
“Is that why I’m here?”
“Yep. So the baby can pop out of that big belly and grow into a proper person – like you!”
“Do we grow from seeds, Gram?”
“I suppose we do, kid. I suppose we do.”
“Do you think I should plant my brother or sister when they come out?”
“Do you think it’s wise to plant something that’s not grown to full size and doesn’t have time to make seeds?”
“No, I suppose not.”
“Don’t you want a brother or sister?”
“What would I do with one? It’s not like I don’t have enough toys. I don’t need more friends. And babies are so noisy. My friend Jack says his baby sister screams all night …”
“That’s like when the leaves wilt on the pumpkin, kid – it needs a water and a feed, that’s all. And she’ll grow up and -”
“I don’t want a new brother or sister, Gram. I don’t want to share. I want to be the only seed in the garden.”
“And that’s why brothers and sisters are necessary, kid.”
“You don’t make sense, Gram.”
“Nope. I don’t have to, because I’m almost at the stage of knackered, an20160722_130353d my vine is getting a bit wilted – and you are …?”
“A seed.”
“Of a seed.”


Rose Brimson copyright 2017

One

Writers’ sit alone at their work space (wherever and whatever that is for them) and do what needs to be done. They get an idea, play with it until it becomes an exciting concept, add a main character to Do things. The exciting bit comes when that MC is put into the spiraling world of a story. The writing of that story is hard and flexible and hard and changeable and hard and exhilarating. But let’s say it gets finished.

What then? All the polishing and proofreading the writer’s (individual) done doesn’t mean the work is the best it can be, even if they followed all the ‘rules’ (of their own making, using the history of other writers’ works and advice). What it means is that it’s now time to find a ‘reader’ – preferably someone who can do a critique.

Now, this is a grey area. Very grey. What is the difference between proofread and critique? What do all the different editors do? We can only say how we do it, what works for us (‘we’ being one person of five who occasionally get together over the e-links to do this stuff).

It would be good if the end of the product (story) followed something like this:

Critique, using all the elements of creating the story (you know, the planning stuff) to untangle bits and pieces, to strengthen bits, to make the story the best it can be in terms of how it relates to and is understood by a reader. Things to look at include the five most important things:

  • Exposition (we don’t want a lot of this <10% first pages because this is the set up stage, then <5%). Exposition is the ‘tell’ that doesn’t show.
  • Action – remember, character in action is what moves the story forward.
  • Description – through the senses of the POV character. If there’s no POV character in whatever it is that’s being described, why is it necessary?
  • Dialogue – internal and external (yes, those italicized thought words are dialogue); does it move the story forward without ‘tell’? Is it clear who is speaking even without a name tagged to the dialogue? Subtext coming through? Too many, or not enough, body language elements?
  • Internalisation – is not internal chit-chat. It is being clear about who the POV character is and living the story through that character only. See, feel (use all the senses) what’s happening through the internal of the POV character.

Each sentence should be one of the above (remember the Simple things?).

Move onto the ‘flow’ of the story. Are the ‘bits’ in the right places for the best progression of action and pace? Does each of the sentences, para’s, and chapters contribute to the story? To each arc? To the overall intrigue of the unfolding story? When you read it out loud, does it ‘catch’ anywhere, slow you down, not feel right? Take note of these and look carefully at those places.

All the Elements: little picture elements (words, sentences, paragraphs; remove repetition, passivity, etc.), middle picture elements, (scene, chapter, movement/segue, etc.), big picture elements (arcs: story, plot, sub-plot, character, etc.). Look at your beat sheet, story board, Chain of Events outline to see if the story always moves forward, if it is truly a ‘character in action’ we see when we read the words.

Truly, there’s a lot more to critique than the above few pieces, but it’s a start. And it takes time. And a tough skin. Try to find people who critique the work, not the person who wrote it. Speak about your characters as real people, and maybe they will too. And the most important thing? Do for them what you want to get back for your own work.


Next, because the work is as good as you can make it, in terms of structure and flow, comes the proofread. What this means is a line-by-line effort to see mistakes in spealling, grammar (see!), word choice, length of sentences, etc. Line-by-line – don’t read it like a story. What makes this easier is to start at the back and read ‘up’ to the beginning. And using something (A bookmark?) that is long enough to cover all the words under the line you’re reading – it helps avoid the distraction of the words above and below the one you’re reading now.

From a nutshell perspective, that’s all it is. It takes time, coffee (and bikkies) and is not the final step. And some people call this the copy editing stage, where they look at similar things – but check out how different these things are to different editors!

And you will do this every time a change is made anywhere within the mss. Yes, you will. A professional writer will do this after any changes at all.


Editing. There’s lots of different sub-titles for editors. Structural, developmental, stylistic, substantive – look here for a more detailed rub on the low-down – but that’s enough. For the purposes of what a writer can do on their own is what I’ll call editing  for the purpose of this post.

The best and safest and easiest way to do that is to put the ‘finished’ article/story/book away for a while and let it slip out of your mind. Do another project that’s big enough to move it out.

Some people have a work process that’s a bit like a wheel of fortune. Each zone within the wheel is a different project; some are small, some are not. This is where you pull the next one out and leave the number one, completed, and ready to roll piece in its zone to have a nap. A long enough nap for the writer to forget it (sort of).

When it comes back to the work table, it’s much easier to see the things that need work. The Development of arcs – story, character, plot, etc. – should be much more clear this time. Structure will show the weaknesses in pace and segue – and if you have a beat sheet or chain of events outline, this is when you go back to them for a look-see.

Write up the blurb and tagline, then work on the synopsis.

If any part of this stage is hard, something is wrong. It should be easy because it’s a piece that’s almost complete, so if there’s anything that holds you back, it’s time to do another critique using all the elements used to create a story.


And that’s what we do. Again and again and again, because a writer is only a writer when they write, and they keep saying to themselves: ‘You’re only as good as your next book.’


 

 

 

 

 

 

A Move to the Country

A Short Story by Rose Brimson

The way they wrote about it, Anna thought it’d be easy. Well, at least easier. It always went the same way – they waltzed into a country town, bought a run-down place, got it all fixed up real schmicko – and all while they completed novel after novel. Because of the peace. Because it was country. Because that’s how it’s done when you’re a writer.

It hadn’t worked for Anna.

She’d bought the house – a run-down old place that would once have been a queen, and could become one again. The list of tradies in the window of the one and only shop that sold any type of food product was so old the paper wasn’t just yellow – it had gone crackly and grey at the edges, softening off to baby poo yellow-orange in towards the centre, but the actual centre was unreadable – a dark urine brown-yellow that hid the letters as effectively as solid matter.

When she spoke to the proprietor, he’d laughed. Not a bit of a giggle laugh, a big and hearty from the bottom of his soles laugh.

“What? You wanna tradie? ‘Round here? That’s a good one, that is.”

The stamps of dust she’d created on the march home sat in the still air. When she turned around she could clearly see her path laid out. No breadcrumbs required in this town. A small group of locals stood outside the shop, all roaring with laughter and pointing her way. She sucked in a breath.

She’d sell it and move … somewhere else.

The real estate agent tried hard not to laugh; Anna tried not to snap at him. A question niggled at her until it popped out.

“How long was it on the market before I bought it?”

“Eight years.”

The thump of her body as it hit the floorboards and caused a rolling creak in the old timbers was the only thing that told her she’d fallen. She felt no pain. The words rang in her head like a bell plummeting from a belfry. Hit her on the head. Gong. Again. Gong. Again. Eight years. Eight.

If she had to live in this place for eight years – no, the place wouldn’t last that long, it’d fall to pieces; she used her fingernail to scrape away a layer of soft timber from the floor. If she just left it and walked away? Could she start again?

How many times would that make it? The first time she’d ended up living on the streets and barely survived. The second time she’d lived in a shed with only three sides until … The third time was after the bushfire and the house she’d built and all the things – everything – she owned gone to ash. When she’d been allowed back to check on things, there was nothing. Nothing. She didn’t recognise it. And no insurance, no heart to do it all again. Walked away. The fourth time she’d left with nothing and changed her name and the way she looked (and carried a hidden weapon for a long time) until she got used to the new person. The fifth time was another fire, not a deliberate fire, an accident, bad wiring. All gone. Everything. That time there was insurance, but that was worse than walking out with nothing. They didn’t give her the choices she would have made for herself, and because she didn’t like what they offered, no payout. No recompense for the loss of everything. Again.

Now. She was here to begin again. To do something with her life. To follow her dream. And it had all turned to shit. Again.

Why? Why did she keep going? What had she ever done – in this life or any other – to deserve this again? What?

Her feet stamped up and down on the old floor as she lay on her back. The disembodied voice of the agent gurgled for a while and then stopped. The screen went dark. The room went dark. Anna lay there, her torso still, but hands and feet smacking against the wood in a rhythm that matched her thoughts and the pound of her racing heart.

Again and again. Over and over. Everything gone. Everything. Everything.

A small amount of cash, but not enough to buy another house – not even in this town! No wonder the place had been so cheap! Another lesson learned the hard way!

A single hot tear slid down the side of her face. It plopped onto the floor and raised a blob of dust as heavy as oil. Something hit her cheek, scratched.

“Ow!” Anna sat up and felt her face. Wiped. Looked. Just dust. No. Something sparkled. She shook her head. That little spike of hope was something she’d have to learn to ignore. Nothing good every happened to her. Ignore it.

“Hello in there!” The deep voice rolled like thunder through the hall of the tomb of a house. She chose to ignore it. They’d go away. Eventually.

Thump, thump, thump.

Anna leapt up.

“Hey!” she yelled. “I didn’t say you -” she stopped when she saw him. Huge. So tall he had to duck to get under the door frames. Deep blue eyes that looked almost black with a silver twinkle as he looked down at her. A half-smile hid in the cracks of a face that laughed a lot, if those lines were any indication. Glimmers of grey in the whiskers on his chin. He leaned his long arm towards her, hand open, palm up.

“I’m Bud – Rod down the shop said you’d be needing a hand.” White teeth peeped out from the full lips when he flicked his tongue out to lick his lips. “I’m the local fixer-upper – can do anything you want.” He leaned down. “Just don’t tell the Council that.”

Anna realised she’d slid to the floor again. She saw her hand lift into the air and grab his, felt her body as it rose like a zephyr into the space of the real world. His skin was hot, his hand was firm but not ragged, not hard. Not what she expected.

“Don’t dig up the floorboards,” Bud said. “Ol’ grump used to own this place is ‘sposed to have buried all his gold dust under there!” He laughed, the sound a warm rollick of gentle waves.

Anna dusted herself off.

“Hi, I’m Anna,” she said. “And I think I could definitely do with some help.”


copyright Rose Brimson 2017

Three Dimensions of Thee

Characters need 3 dimensions. How do you get to understand what the differences in dimensions are?

Some is simple: The first dimension is what you see. Clothes, affectations, all the guff people use to mask the real person in the safe, inner world behind the facade. The second dimension is the stuff that is either used as an excuse for the 1D, or a reason for them. But these backstory elements of 2D may or may not create the responses seen in the outer persona, the 1D side. There’s an element of choice. People choose which way to present themselves, and the lessons learned from the history/backstory can explain some of it, but not all. Now, the third dimension – that’s their real world. The core of the person. 3D elements pop out when there’s no time to consider which mask to use, which persona to present. This is the actions and decisions that are spontaneous and unscripted. It’s what happens when there’s nothing to block the ‘real’ from reacting to the (usually sudden) incident.

It really does sound simple, doesn’t it? Now you try it.

Paint the picture of your character. Height, weight, hair colour (how often do they change it? – shows a psychological issue), teeth, the way they smile at the opposite sex (or same sex, or couples, etc.; depends, doesn’t it?), taste in shoes, styling of clothes and hair, the way they ‘dress to impress’ – or not, the choices they make in food they eat in front of others as opposed to what they eat when alone, the choices they make for transport or fitness, the ‘face’ they make up to go to work. There’s also friends and acquaintances, hobbies and tasks, things they volunteer for (or sneer at others for). First dimension also includes things like the way they want the world to see them, so the hat that’s twisted at a jaunty angle? 1D. What does the character want that to be seen as? Is it seen that way, or is the dandruff-covered cardy something that shows us something completely different, maybe opposite of the intention. Is the character trying too hard to be something; can everyone else see this, but they can’t?

That was all 1D (the short version). What we see.

The why we see it? That’s 2D. The bad childhood where the char was beaten up by father, mother, brother; by bullies at school. A general childhood of being a victim, which they now swear in the adult life – it won’t happen again because they present themselves as tough with a swagger and leather and chains and a cocky attitude. You know these things, don’t you? The underlying story of why a character does things this way and not that way come from somewhere. Use any pop psychology book and you can see some of the why’s and wherefores.  It’s not all though. There’s other stuff in here: the things they learned from bad relationships; how to get affection/attention regardless of the pain it causes others; how to sneer without the face moving; how to get their own back for the little things they do that annoy your char (revenge issues/response to resentment issues). These are inner elements that come from the things they use as excuses for their outer representation. Just remember, being beaten up as a kid does not always end up with the victim becoming a perpetrator of the same tactics as an adult. The same circumstances can create completely different, and yet realistic, characters.

So now you see the 2D. The excuses or reasons for why people present themselves in the 1D.

The inner person? Somewhat more difficult, and that’s why most character portrayals in story are not fully developed. The third dimension, usually missing, is the inner person, the core. 3D is the world view they’ve developed over the span of their life, so a younger person will be less rigid (usually, depends on 2D) and less cynical than an older, world-weary person. The person who steps in front of moving traffic in an effort to save the life of a child/dog/elder isn’t going to have time to think about it. The mother who lifts a car to get her children out from under the wreck. The ex-soldier who drops to the ground at the first sound of something like gun-fire. The man who cheats on his wife and tells all his dalliances how horrible she is to elicit sympathy – he’s the inner core shit, and he won’t stop because that attention is his drug and he has to have it.

The 3D. It’s the actions, behaviours, and decisions made that are often only visible when made on the spur of the moment in a hot situation.

Now you know what may be missing from your 3D character, so go right ahead and find these elements. Learn these inner core things about your character.

And then use them to show change and growth through the four stages of the structure of story.

Luck has nothing to do with it – just hard work and an understanding of …


Copyright Karel Jaeger/Cage Dunn 2017