The Other day, I did read a post about saving a stuck story and the author had pointed out 25 different ways. Quite a huge article and the article was about saving your stuck novel, which led me to think in terms of saving the stuck Films. There are 5 different ways, that popped out of this exercise and I am sharing it with you.
Draw Your Fullstop
A story without an ending is like venturing into an abyss with a matchstick. You’re going to be lost, so lost if you haven’t figured out your ending because that’s what your story is all about. Will your hero survive? If he does, why does he get to survive? This reflects in turn on the philosophy of your story. Sit down and figure out what it is that you’re going to convey and you’ll be amazed at how much clarity you gain. Take Game of Thrones for instance, it is fair to assume that the writer’s haven’t yet figured out the ending to the series, but note that every episode in itself has a sub-plot. So we’re losing one of our dragons to the whitewalkers today. Let’s weave the rest of the episode around this ending.
That’s a start don’t you think?
Diversify Your Characters
If your protagonist is your ship, your supporting characters are literally your anchor. From keeping the lead grounded and the story realistic to adding zest to the plot, the extras are more important than they are given credit for. If you’re shooting a short and are finding it hard to cast lady leads and other supporting characters, this might be exactly why. Rewrite that doting mother and subservient wife into a raging alcoholic by night! Trade that comical friend and his slapstick humour(sound familiar?) for a bad-ass girl who could easily belong on a Mean Girls movie. Define your characters, they’re not meant to be left shallow. Write them like they live next door, and for that you’d have to know them inside out. Give them motivations, let those motivations clash and voila! You have a hundred stories in the place of one.
No Trouble, No Story
Let your confusion make you cruel. Turn your dead end into a new round of trauma for your protagonist. Make her hurt. Or make him cry. Have a mix of threat levels in your story- physcal- Let your protagonist be beaten up in a mix up or make him drive a car with failed breaks. Emotional- Let the love of his life happen to be the enemy he’s got to kill on his super secret mission. Philosophical- Wage a war inside your protagonist’s head and let it exlpode over his quest for retribution and the and his belief
in the inherent goodness of people. Movies like interstellar, although slow are captiviating for this very reason- they have a steady mix of the threat levels.
Anywhooo, steal your protagonists shoes and make them walk on glass. Because, no matter how much you love your characters, there’s no story to tell if you’re going to hand them a happy happy life on a silver platter.
Plot twists. They can make this entire post look like a joke. Because plot twists can propel ANY story forward. There is literally no saturation
point for plot twists because anything can happen. Make use of your block to sneak in an ill-advised romantic pairing, or a blood spluttering stab in the back. Let the open doors they’re
not supposed to open, and steal things they’re not supposed to steal. This works because we, the audience, know to fear certain acts as we (wisely) suspect the outcome will be bad. Identify the worst fears of the audience and engineer the same thing to happen 10 times worse than they could possibly imagine.
Throw your story off your cliff and rest assured it’ll have the safest landings.
Kill the last 10,000 Words
If nothing works, hit delete. The first step to writing a story is to be emotionally detached from your writing. Let’s say there’s this beautiful scene that you’ve spent days writing about and it somehow clashes with your story, you know deep down that there’s that scene that’s holding you back. What do you do? Writing is a maze. You’rebound to hit dead-ends. The only way you can make it out of the maze now is by retracing your path,
which isn’t going to happen if you’re going on keep banging on the dead-end calling it a door. Get rid of anything you know that’s holding you down. It will be hard, yes. But once you do, you’ll be free to craft your story.