Bob Mayer. Character and Point of View, Part Two.

Last time, I shared my notes and lots of fun things that came up when I listened to Best-Selling Author Bob Mayer speak in April of 2017. You can find that here. Now I’m going to jump right back in where I left off.

Watch the background in a film or tv show. Why is it there? In the movie Nobody’s Fool ( Paul Newman as Sully ends up in the same circumstances as when the movie started, but he’s changed in important ways. All those changes are shown in increments as the story moves along. The house where he lives, the jobs he does, his friends, are the background. Another Paul Newman movie (because the man is amazing, subtle, you are never aware that he’s acting), The Verdict ( concerns a malpractice suit that could salvage the career of a lawyer, sabotaged by a corrupt senior partner years before. The scene to watch for is when Paul’s character stops into the hospital room and sees the patient. Show, Don’t Tell, is way easier in a movie but still an important skill to work on.

061117 the verdict

Character Description: keep it brief and distinctive. You are not writing a personal ad. (Do the advertisers spend more time on what they want or what they look like?) Eye color and hair color can be brought up later. Or just noted in passing. Use Character Templates. 99% of what we do is habit. Brains have not changed since the Illiad.

People have come to believe they are right or left brained. “It’s sometimes difficult to override the power of a simple and seemingly logical narrative that offered answers in the age-old quest for understanding ourselves and others — and also practical applications for everyday life. The advent of the Internet with its power to reach and inform – and misinform – essentially canonized the left/right story. As an aside, we would note that because of its complexity, the brain, in general, is susceptible to myths. Other popular examples include the claim that we use just 10 percent of our brains (actually, every region of a healthy brain is used, as brain scanning demonstrates) and that even moderate amounts of alcohol kill neurons (excessive drinking can, however, damage another important brain structure, dendrites).”

061117 be the light

Your Protagonist should have a Moment of Enlightenment. That’s when he or she experiences something never before experienced or experience something she experienced before but it affects her differently than ever before.

Bob suggests that we hang around with people smarter than us. Learn all you can from these people.

Back to the Moment of Enlightenment, your character will have to make a decision based on what he or she has learned. Soon they will find out if it was a good decision or not. Now, is the character stuck with the decision? (An externally imposed change) Or chooses to stick with it? (An internally imposed change.) By itself, a decision is not change, just the fleeting commitment to it. Like deciding to eat less and exercise more.

Sustained action: Because of the decision, the behavior is changed. Changed behavior is sustained long enough to become a habit. In the military, this is called training. Sustained action leads to Change.

061117 sliding soldier

Aren’t there always five stages of things? The Five Stages of Change are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. You’re just wasting time on first four.

You know the good guy is going to win. That’s kind of why we are reading the book. In Romance, we know the two people are going to end up happy and together.

Point of View (Camera view for Opening Scene) Be sure to think like the reader. Get out of your head and look at the scene. What does the reader see? If you change POV, you have cut the camera. Too many cuts are hard to follow.

061117 no mistakes

Take the time to read Dune by Frank Herbert. The tale is epic in proportion, but the information is given in small doses. We don’t know anything until we need to know it.

Thus ends my notes, but take heart! Like I said, all of the information and much more is available on Slide Shares in the Cool Gus library. The links to these two subjects are below.

Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Thursday.


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