Welcome to January’s writing game!
After explaining the importance of failure within a story line, I thought it would be a good idea to practice what we learned. The goal of today’s game will be to have a character find a solution to a difficult scenario, while failing their first attempt.
Lesson 10: Overcoming Obstacles
Previously, I explained how Conflict is the interaction between two opposing forces. In a storyline, we see this phenomenon when the protagonist is confronted by a conflicting force or an antagonist, which hinders the progress between them and their goal.
Obstacles suggests the protagonists may not succeed in achieving these actions, thus adding uncertainty and tension to the storyline. The risk of failure can also be beneficial to the protagonist and the antagonist, by adding to their personal growth or credibility.
The goal of this writing exercise will be to take the four offered scenarios and find ways for the characters to overcome the respective obstacles. However, before succeeding at their task, you must have them fail their first attempt, before successfully achieving their objective.
So here are today's guidelines!
- Below are three scenarios to work with.
- Following each scenario, you will find five criteria;
- Confrontation: Moment of interaction with the conflict.
- Failure: Failed attempt at reaching the goal.
- Recovery: Retreat/distance from the conflict.
- Contemplation: Understand why they failed.
- Planning: Change of strategy but at a higher cost.
- Write a short description of how the character will go through each step of the failure process.
“It’s nighttime, and Lindsay is running down a dark alley at a frantic pace. Lindsay is desperately trying to stay ahead of whoever is pursuing her. In her haste, she fails to notice a street vendor who is putting away his merchandise, running right past him. The old vendor looks at the woman questioningly, before being knocked down by a tall dark stranger. The brute kept running without even slowing, too intent on catching up to his next victim.”
The situation here is Lindsay is being pursued by mysterious assailant. Her goal would be to escape safely. How would Lindsay deal with the situation:
“John is sitting at a table in a coffee shop, working on a school assignment on his laptop. He actually hates the food in this establishment, his only reason for eating here is to flirt with the waitress he has had an eye on for several weeks. Just as John is working up the courage to ask the beautiful blond for her number, Evan arrives. This handsome young man is John’s lab assistant at school, and proceeds to take a seat at the table next to him. Evan immediately gets the waitress's attention and starts flirting her.”
The situation here is John is attempting to approach the cute waitress. His goal would be to ask her out on a date before Evan does. How would John deal with the situation:
“At a local retirement home, Larry is enjoying a cup of green tea in the communal area before returning to his room. While doing his crossword puzzle, Larry overhears one of the orderlies mention budget cuts and how it will affect the recreational activities for the residents, one in particular being bingo night. A huge fan of bingo, Larry refuses to accept this situation, and plans on dealing with it in anyway possible.”
The situation here is Larry is protesting the decisions taken by the retirement home administration staff. His goal would be to stop the cancellation of bingo night. How would Larry deal with the situation:
For those who aren’t afraid to share their entries, feel free to submit your entries as a reply to this post. Remember, this is a game, so no posting bad comments about other people's entries. If some simply want to share in private, send me a message via twitter @OzmosisCoH.
Now go! Create! And most importantly, have fun!
Until Next time!