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Nothing New Under The Sun

Posted by Flood on May 19, 2006

Before Jaye left her readers to fend for themselves last week (thanks for nothin') she posted links to amuse us in her absence. The Writer's Cheat Sheet lists Polti's 36 Dramatic situations, and the 5 basic conflicts from same. We all know them:

1. Man against Nature
2. Man against Man
3. Man against Society
4. Man against Himself
5. Man against Fate

Or any combo of the 5, right? Pick one and the plot should write itself. Plug in the representative of mankind, pick a conflict and write. If only it were that easy. The ideas come slow for me, start as a mustard seed and grow in pain. Linear thinking is the enemy, as is the need to know the end before I begin.

Stephen King said that the book he most wished he had written was "Lord of the Flies" Having never met Mr. King, I can only surmise why that might be. A bunch of crazy kids fending for themselves, a message about the animal nature of man, and all the author has to do keep typing.

There isn't any one particular book I wish I had written but there are plenty of plots that I would love to tackle that have been done to death.

The Locked Room Mystery
Brooding Protagonist Gently Rides The Waves of Fate
Everything I Type On the Computer Comes True
Hostages In Closed Quarters Learn About Themselves and Are Rescued (Except the one that died)
The Anti-Hero Saves The World

It's not a matter of having a successful book as much as it is having fun while writing. At least, in the first draft. To me, the best work comes as you giggle to yourself or occasionally applaud your genius as you write. When it flows and you can see the entire work in it's glory and you are only on chapter 6. You wake up everyday excited to get to it or have to convince yourself to stop for sleep. Like they say, if it was that easy, everyone would do it, right?

What do you wish you had written? Not for the success, but for the fun in writing it.


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