Creative Writing--Fiction Day 1 (structure)

Write about an idea for a story that you
might want to tell.
Minimum 5 sentences
 By the end of this lesson you should be able to identify
the following ideas about fiction:
 Shifts of power
Falling action
 Draw a face that is missing a vital feature.
 A “story” is a “form” of literature.
 Like a face, it has necessary features in a necessary
What a story must include:
 Conflict
 Crisis
 Resolution
 Only trouble is interesting
 Example: the picnic
Conflict: discuss
 3-D: Drama = desire + danger
 Desire = want
 Want leads to danger
 Think about three possible desires that could drive a
 Great dangers are not always the most spectacular
 Therefore, the greatest wants don’t have to be
spectacular, they just need to spectacularly felt.
 Not shock dangers
 Write about the possible dangers, no matter how
unspectacular, each desire could produce.
What is the conflict of each story?
 Now that you’ve got the desire, describe the conflict of
that this story could have.
 What is the want?
Conflict Categories
 Wo/man against wo/man
 Wo/man against nature
 Wo/man against society
 Wo/man against machine
 Wo/man against God
 Wo/man against her/himself
Where does your story fit?
 Into which category does your desire fit?
 Why?
Crisis and Resolution
 Once conflict is established and developed in a story,
the conflict must come to a crisis—the final turning
point—and a resolution
 Why does a story need order?
 Order implies that the subject has been brought to
 Reader leaves with a sense of completion
The Arc of the Story
 The decision points that lead to a final choice
 Change, change, change!
Story as a War
 1. Get your fighters fighting
 Start the conflict right away in order to get your reader’s
Story as a War
 2. Have something—the stake—worth fighting over
 The stake over which wars are fought is usually a
territory. It is vital to your story that the territory
around which the conflict is centered is as important as
your own home.
Story as a War
 3. Have the fight drive into a series of battles with the
last battle in the series being the biggest and most
dangerous of all.
 Each battle in the story is a complication that adds to
the tension of the conflict
 Each battle should have more at stake and should be
bigger than the last
 Each complication is a change in the story
Story as a War
 4. Have a walking away from the fight
 Permanent change
 Resolution
 Look at the outline and the desire/want surrounding
 Describe how one of your potential stories fits into
each of the four points of “The Story as a War”
Patterns of Power
 Protagonist: central character
 Antagonist: opponent
 Give me three example of each from the last three
movies you have seen
 Each antagonist is given equal power so the reader is
left in doubt about the outcome
 The antagonist must represent a real and potent
 The pattern of the story’s complications will be
achieved by shifting the power back and forth from
protagonist to antagonist, until the power shift
irretrievably in one direction
How to think about power
 Identify a source of power for each antagonist
surrounding the character’s conflict
 If power is one sided, suspense will be lost
 Power is anything that prevents the protagonist from
reaching what he/she desires
Freitag’s pyramid of five actions
Check Mark
 In a compact story form, the falling action and the
expository are going to be almost nonexistent, so we
need another form…
 Think of the story form not as a pyramid with sides of
equal length but as an inverted check mark.
Conflict in Cinderella
 Cinderella’s mother dies and her father marries a
brutal woman with two horrific daughters.
 Cinderella must do all the dirty jobs.
Power Pattern
 Stepmother (starts out with more power)
 Ugliness
 Evil
 Numbers (daughters)
 Parental Authority
 Cinderella
 Beauty
 Goodness
First Complication/Event
 The first event/battle of the story is that an invitation
arrives from the Prince, which explicitly states that all
ladies of the land are invited to the ball.
 Where does the power shift because of this event?
Second Complication
 Stepmother takes back power by blunt force
Third Complication
 The Fairy Godmother appears.
 Very powerful to have magic on your side!
Fourth Complication
 Magic only last until Midnight.
 Be home by twelve or risk exposure and defeat.
Fifth Complication
 Prince falls in love with Cinderella.
 Love is even more powerful in Literature than magic
Sixth Complication
 Clock strikes 12
 Loses her slipper
Seventh Complication
 Prince sends out a royal decree that everyone must try
on the slipper.
 A dramatic repetition of the original invitation
 Cinderella given her rights again
Eight Complication
 The stepmother also repeats her assumption of brute
authority by hiding Cinderella away
 Delay by grotesque comedy: one sister cuts off her toe,
the other cuts off a heel
 The slipper fits!
 Magic, love, and royalty join to recognize the heroine’s
true self; evil, numbers, and authority are powerless
against them.
 The power struggle has been decided.
 When the slipper fits, no further action can occur that
will deprive Cinderella of her desire.
 The change that occurs is significant and permanent.
Brief Falling Action
 Wedding
 Walking away from the fight
 And they live happily ever after.
Read: “The Use of Force”
 By William Carlos Williams
 Answer questions 1-3 at the end of your reading.
 Write your answers on the back of your starter.
Question 2
 Using question 2 as your guide, plot the story by points
with an upside-down-checkmark story-form chart.
 Be sure you highlight:
 Protagonist
 Antagonist
 Conflict
 Complications
 Shifts of power and points
 Crisis
 Falling action
 Resolution

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