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The Fool’s Journey, Part Five

These titles are starting to sound like the sections in Monty Python’s Meaning of Life. I did it to keep the posts in order.

This is where the journey ends. These last cards in the Major Arcana can also help with stories, but not usually the kind I write. I call the blog Entertaining Stories for a reason. I’m more about blowing crap up than ascending to a higher plane. This doesn’t mean there aren’t some good stories in this area, and you might be writing one right now.

Just in case someone finds this a year from now and wants to see the others, here are the links:

  1. Let’s go on the Fool’s Journey.
  2. The Fool’s Journey, Part Two.
  3. The Fool’s Journey, Part Three.
  4. The Fool’s Journey, Part Four.
Our fool has become a pretty mature fellow at this point. In my mind, the last three cards are reserved for tales of absolution. I remember reading Siddhartha in high school, at gun point. Those are the kind of tales we’ve moved into.
 
I’m not saying they’re bad, mind you. I just didn’t see any phasers, katana, or dwarves in them.
 
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The next phase of the journey is called the sun. Words to describe the sun are: wonder, contentment, happiness, vitality, and innocence.
 
The sun is usually represented as a child on a white horse riding with the radiant sun at his back, while carrying a red flag. My Celtic deck is close. I wouldn’t exactly call this horse white, and the kid has a red harp. If you get the idea of rejuvenation and a fresh start, that’s the main point.
 
In my mind he isn’t quite there. The fool is still traveling. This is the point where the confusion of the moon clears and the fool moves forward.
 
I suppose it could be that moment in The Natural when Roy Hobbs wakes up in the maternity ward. His best girl is there with him, and he doesn’t know what he’s going to do. The instant he decides to play one last baseball game is The Sun.
 
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The next card is called Judgment. I don’t know why my deck chose to go with Rebirth, but there you have it. The standard card has an angel blowing a trumpet while people rise up from graves. My card has a trumpeter and the child emerging from a crypt.
 
This card symbolizes the St. Peter moment before the pearly gates. It’s the resurrection story. Our fool is something new now. Words to describe this card are: Judgment, rebirth, absolution, redemption, salvation, and renewal.
 
The old fool is gone. This new fool has excellent judgment and is ready for whatever comes next.
 
I don’t read, or watch, a lot of highbrow stuff. The example that works for me is Bruce Wayne giving up the billionaire playboy and Stately Wayne Manor in favor of the bat cave. Bruce Wayne becomes a character played occasionally by Batman. Batman is something new, he works for a greater good. (Okay, maybe that was a lame example.)
 
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The World marks the end of the journey. This card is represented as a young nude, usually an amalgamation of male and female. This symbolizes mastery over those traits that are considered either male or female. The work ethic of the magician and the imagination of the high priestess. The nude is surrounded by four distinct items. Sometimes they represent the elements, sometimes the major zodiac constellations, in this case the four tarot suits. The symbols denote mastery over all these distinct items.
 
The fool is perfect now. Words associated with the world are: fulfillment, success, mastery, and accomplishment.
 
As an example, the best I can come up with is Peter Sellers walking on water in the ending scene of Being There.
 
I know my examples are lame, folks. This end of the deck is a little more high brow than where I prefer to spend my time.
 
***
 
Assessment:
 
As a plot structure, I think The Fool’s Journey works. There are others out there that might be better.
 
The first half dozen or so cards are useful for developing a character and giving him an environment to operate in. There are several wonderful opportunities to knock him on his ass and give him something to overcome.
 
For me, The Fool’s Journey starts too soon and ends too late for a novel. I can see where many novels will fit within a narrower version of these cards though.
 
Many times, I find inspiration in art. There are bits and pieces from this deck in some of my stories.
 
As a writer, I’m just as likely to snitch a piece of my story from fairy tale structure, add a bit of the hero’s journey, knead it into a three act format, and sprinkle with a dash of tarot cards. I bake it all up at an imaginary place I call the writing cabin.
 
You have to do what works for you. It never hurts to have another tool in your kit.

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The Fool’s Journey, Part Four

These are the links to the other posts in this sequence:

  1. Let’s Go on the Fool’s Journey
  2. The Fool’s Journey, Part Two
  3. The Fool’s Journey, Part Three
Our fool has come a long ways. He’s conquered his own phobias, and recognized his shortcomings. The last stop on his journey he learned about Temperance.
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The next stop on the fool’s journey is The Devil. Again, my deck took some liberty at this point. He is most commonly presented on a throne, with a couple chained beneath him. His right hand is usually raised, and his left is lower with a torch in it.I still buy that the couple in my Cernunnos card is under his dominion. I’ll accept the background light as a substitute for his torch.

This devil isn’t the actual devil. He’s a representation of another internal lesson for the fool. This devil stands for happy indulgence. The couple could get up and leave, but they’re so entranced by the immediacy of their situation they don’t even notice The Devil. Words associated with this card are: Materialism, stagnation, obsession, anger, temptation, and doubt.

Since I’ve stuck to movies for examples, I’ll keep with the theme. I think Fatal Attraction has many elements of this stage of the journey. Selfish indulgence led to some severe problems.

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The Tower represents a sudden and dramatic change in the fool’s life. It is usually represented like the card in my deck. Lightening strikes a powerful fortress, and the occupants are hurtled into the sea. There is occasionally a crown falling that symbolizes the fall of someone important. This card has occasionally been represented as Adam and Eve being expelled from the garden.

Our fool is struck by disaster. His complacency and love of material things has drawn the wrath of God. Words associated with The Tower are: release, revelation, sudden change, chaos, hard times, and impact.

There were a whole series of Irwin Allen disaster movies. These usually involved a catastrophe and a bunch of privileged people. I also think Chevy Chase was trying desperately to preserve his “tower” in all those Vacation movies.

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The Star represents the moment the fool understands he doesn’t need all that stuff. Life is more than a tower full of finery. It is represented by a person stripped bare under a starry sky. The fool understands he has everything he needs within himself. It is an important point that water is being put back, not taken away. The fool starts to give of himself to others.

Words associated with The Star are: generosity, inspiration, calm, good will, flowing love.

I see the end of Casablanca as having traits of The Star. Rick gives up his beloved cafe, and the woman he loves to serve a greater good. In fact Casablanca is a good movie to represent The Devil, The Tower, and The Star.

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The Moon is another cautionary card. The joy and tranquility of The Star lead to imaginative dreaming. He may be ready for another adventure. The Fool knows that his sharing and caring might not be well received everywhere. He’s apprehensive.

The standard involves a dog and a wolf howling at the moon, which is framed with two pillars. There is usually a crayfish coming out of the water. My deck has a crab. There is a new path into the unknown. In my mind, the wolf and dog represent different sides of the fool. The experts say the crayfish represents that unpredictable part of the personality that lives deep down below everything else.

Words associated with The Moon are: fantasy, doubt, tension, illusion, fear, the unknown.

To me, this is an educated fool about to take a new journey into the unknown. He knows enough to be apprehensive, unlike the fool at the beginning, and his doubts might prevent him from taking the journey at all. Maybe he’ll rebuild his former life, maybe he won’t.

There must be a hundred stories based around this event, but only one comes to mind. It was a book, and at least two movies, The Razor’s Edge.

This could also be the point in Yoda’s life where he doesn’t train Jedi any longer. Then again, maybe one last time.

This is our stopping off point tonight. I have a hankering for some good whiskey.

Writers will see that many potential novels could be born and ended in the cards we’ve already presented. Most modern stories have ended by this point. There is still a bit of room for some good stories, and we’ll get to those next time.

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The Fool’s Journey, Part Three

Today, I’m continuing with the fool’s journey. Those of you who want to catch up can do so here:

  1. Let’s go on The Fool’s Journey.
  2. The Fool’s Journey, Part Two.
When we left our fool, he’d become a hermit. He went to a cave, a man cave, or on vacation to sort some things out. He understands that everything he’s done up to this point brought him to this point. He knows there are consequences for his actions as well as rewards. He is successful at his pondering, but he can’t leave until he realizes one more thing.
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The Wheel of Fortune teaches our fool that he cannot control everything. He influences the world he lives in, but sometimes the world influences back. For a writer, this can be an actual occurence, but in the fool’s journey it’s more like a realization.

The Wheel brings famine, volcanoes, acts of God, and other things to bear. The fool has to do the best he can under these circumstances. It can also bring benefits, like promotions, winning the lottery, or choosing the right horse in the Derby.

Words associated with the Wheel are; harvest, inevitability, prosperity, destiny, fate, change, and particularly sudden change.

This card varies more than any other from deck to deck. There aren’t really any standards to point out.

To go back to an earlier example, Sheriff Brody was living as a hermit. He never asked for a killer shark to invade his new life and threaten his solitude.

I suppose there is a story somewhere that could end with the realization that the Wheel brings. I’m pretty sure several started right here though. For some reason, I’m stuck on movies during this post. The ones that come to mind are Dante’s Peak and Twister. The main characters were involved in their own versions of hermitage, and life changed the course of events for them.

Our fool leaves his hermitage, and wanders once more. He is pondering this newfound knowledge and realizes one more thing.

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The fool ponders his new knowledge until he realizes that he must take responsibility for his own actions. The Justice card reminds him that he is where is based upon his actions. Justice tells him to make amends for those actions where it is appropriate. Justice also reminds him that when he makes decisions from now on, he needs to remember the affect his decisions have on others.

Words associated with the Justice card are realism, reality, fairness, objectivity, analysis, criticism, and responsibility. Justice is usually depicted with a sword and a scale. I like the fact that my card also includes an owl.

For writers, will your main character learn from Justice and improve, or will he return to the older and easier way of the Chariot. I never watched the show, but I loved the idea behind it. In Breaking Bad, a chemistry teacher becomes a meth cooker. I see the failure of the Justice card at work.

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The fool comes across The Hanged Man, and is shocked by what he sees. He’s saddened even. He discovers that the hanged man isn’t dead. His legs form a cross, and he’s upside down. The fool thinks about his own life being turned upside down. The hanged man is bound and gagged, much like the fool has been.

This is the fool facing his deepest fear, his failure to obtain the one thing he wants most in life. The fool realizes that he is the hanged man. He’s no longer sad, he is simply suspended. The fool understands that he must let go of some things to obtain others.

Words associated with The Hanged Man are; sacrifice, letting go, surrender, and acceptance.

The only constant symbol among decks is the image of a cross somewhere. I like the fact that mine has apples in it. They represent knowledge to me, and that says a lot about this part of the fool’s journey.

This point represents what I like to think of as “a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do”. It’s that moment of realization. In many stories the main character symbolically burns his house, or blows up his mine before leaving to do what has to be done.

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You knew it was coming, right? All good main characters must face death. Most of the time, it’s a spiritual thing, but there have been some pretty good stories where actual death was on the line.

Death represents a change. Our fool is going to cast aside childish things to grow as a man. (Or woman. It’s your story to plug your characters into.) Maybe he sells his drag racer, the one that brought him fame and street credit as a young man. He uses the money to make a downpayment on a house for his wife and children. The old fool dies, and a newer and better fool emerges.

Death is usually a skeletal figure on horseback with a sickle. He is trampling a king under his horse’s hooves. My deck is different, but the sickle is still there. Terms associated with the Death card are; Precursor to change, making way for the new, regeneration, out with the old and in with the new.

Think of The Hanged Man and Death like a butterfly’s cocoon. It feels like the end, but it’s really the beginning of something better.

Billionaire playboy Tony Stark is captured by terrorists and shoved in a cave. Life as he knows it is over. Iron Man emerges from the cave, and Tony’s life is better as a result. This isn’t just Tony’s escape, it’s a complete transformation.

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The next stop on the fool’s journey is Temperance. Once again, my deck took some artistic license, but I like the Fferyllt anyway. I used the hagstones in her rafters in one of my stories.

This lesson is all about balance, temperance, equilibrium, even bringing together opposites to create balance. This would be a good point in a story to create the team. People with different skills come together to make something better than the sum of its parts.

This is a good point to remind writers that everything in tarot has a double meaning. If you’re writing about the bad guy, this could be about imbalance, and tearing things apart. Anakin/Darth Vader comes to mind.

I hope everyone’s enjoying this look at the fool’s journey. I see this lasting about 3 more posts, and there’s more interesting stuff ahead.

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The Fool’s Journey, Part 2

When we left the fool, he’d learned a bit about imagination and planning. He learned about his personal work ethic. We met his parents, and he’s been loved and nurtured. The world is fertile, but he hasn’t experienced it yet. You can read part one here: Let’s go on the Fool’s Journey.

We have a main character, but he’s a bit boring right now. Breaking this into sections has been tough. We’re still developing our fool, but the next card stands for a bit more.

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The next character on the hero’s journey is an important one. In most decks he’s called the hierophant. In many, he’s the Pope. In a few decks, like mine, he’s the high priest. I’m not thrilled with my card. The hierophant usually has his first two fingers toward heaven, and the next two toward earth. In my deck he still has two fingers each direction, but he seems to want to be in a metal band, or to attend the University of Texas.

In most decks he’s bestowing a blessing, or initiation on a couple of newbies. For some reason this didn’t happen here.

This is an important card for a writer. It stands for education, structure, rules, initiation, and belonging, routine, and counsel. The fool has been walking around on a blank page until now.

This part of the story could involve the priesthood, a knighthood, a position in the starting lineup, or a street gang. The fool’s journey paints with a broad brush. It’s the writer’s job to fill in the details. Your fool could be a loner, but there are still rules in his society. Maybe he’s fleeing from a posse, who has rules and structure.

I think the movie Animal House was all about this card.

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The next step on the fool’s journey is that he wants something. All main characters should want something. The lovers has definite sexual and relationship overtones, but that’s not all it’s about. Love, fulfillment, choice, and surrender are the idea here. This card represents growth in the fool. He’s been kind of self centered and selfish up to this point.

If you’re writing a romance, this might be the end of your tale. On the other hand, your romance might want to go through some trials and troubles. Maybe your fool got on the starting lineup, but now he’s becoming part of the team. Maybe he loves his new job.

As an example, the movie American Pie ended once the characters got what they wanted.

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The chariot represents accomplishment. Our fool has used everything he’s learned up to this point and moved up in the world. He learned from all the previous stops along his journey; school, imagination, work ethic, friends, and lovers. This is also an egotistical card. This card stands for travel, triumph, success, ego, and fame.

I think the chariot and the lovers can be reversed if the story calls for it. Sleepless in Seattle anyone?

I like the idea that there’s a white horse and a black horse. It reminds me of Plato’s representation of a chariot and driver as the whole man. Here’s a link to a two part breakdown.

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The main character gets beaten down in our stories. There’s an old line about, “what do you get when you don’t get what you wanted? Character.” The fool gains strength. This character is all about courage, strength, compassion, self control, kindness, and gentleness.

Strength is depicted as a woman with a lion, and she’s dominant over the lion. In my deck she’s with a boar. Her sword is cast aside, because it’s not needed. She is the master and the boar knows it.

A main character at this point may have overcome an enemy, but is gracious and mature in victory. The fool is capable of building up after having torn down. For some reason, I see the last three cards at play in An Officer and a Gentleman.

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It’s time for our fool to look within; to reflect and ponder the meaning of life. The hermit demonstrates this time in the fool’s life. He stands for solitude, reclusion, introspection, and thought.

Our fool has seen good people fail, and evil triumph in his life. He wonders what it’s all about. I don’t think this needs to be a big section of your novel, but it can be a useful one when you need it. Examples where the hermit plays a major roll include the book/movie Jaws. Sheriff Brody fled the city with his family. He just wanted a safe place with a little solitude. Clint Eastwood played the hermit in Gran Torino. Niether of these characters lasted long as hermits, life came calling. These stories started at this point.

We’ll stop here tonight. We managed to flesh out the fool as a character, educate him, give him a desire, and a bit of personality. He even has some bad traits, like an ego. He’s a more interesting fellow than we left him.

These cards can represent other characters in your stories, or situations only. Some novels will start somewhere in this section, others may end in this section.

What do you think of the fool’s journey as a kind of story structure? We’ve gone through ten of twenty two stops so far. I promise to cover the rest as the month plays out.

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Let’s go on the Fool’s Journey

I may not be the best person to write this sequence, but I’m sure going to try. My purpose is to look at the tarot as a type of story structure, from a writer’s point of view. If you’re looking for help with readings, and interpretations, you’ve come to the wrong place. Tarot is much more than I’m going to address, but I’m limiting this to writing.

Tarot is extremely old, and is one of the oldest story structures out there. It goes from a lump of clay all the way to an almost godlike being. This is too far for most contemporary novels. In many cases it starts too soon, and ends too late. There is still good information here, so bear with me.

I’ll try to get through all 22 of the major arcana cards in the month of April. This will require some grouping. Keep in mind also that thousands of tarot decks exist. Creators take some liberties, and the one I’m photographing changed some of the names. I’ll try to caption with the most popular names, even though the deck names appear in the photos.

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This is the first card in the fool’s journey. He’s our main character, and I’ll try to call him the fool throughout, but he won’t remain a fool for long. He’s almost always depicted going on the first steps of a journey. He’s typically shown about to step off a cliff. Our characters make mistakes. He usually has a small dog that represents courage, and is barking a warning. Most decks have him holding a white rose to depict purity. Mine uses a bunch of mistletoe.

I see him as someone leaving home for the first time. He could be a graduate, or moving somewhere for his first job. He can also be a girl. He’s fresh, new, brave, and unafraid. At this stage he’s all about potential.

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The fool soon meets and is influenced by the magician and the high priestess. These are opposites, but they both influence the fool.

The magician is all about willpower, design and planning, and a can do attitude. He usually has one hand toward heaven and one toward earth. Think of him like a work ethic.

The high priestess is a little more spiritual. She’s all about dreams, intuition, and imagination. She’s usually depicted with the moon, which was a spiritual symbol, and between two pillars as a framework for focus.

Together these two will inspire our fool to think imaginatively, and teach him to work to obtain his goal.

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The next two influences are the emperor and empress. This is one of the places my deck differs. These are usually thought of as the fool’s parents. They have different influences upon their child.

The empress is about beauty and happiness. She depicts a world that is fertile and abundant. She is usually depicted with crops of some kind. She’s also pregnant to demonstrate her fertility. She’s kind of an encourager and enabler to the fool.

The emperor is all about fatherhood, stability, authority, boundaries, and discipline. He’s going to instill a desire to control certain things in our fool. These are still fairly simplistic, like controlling his own destiny for whatever reason, there is usually an eagle on this card somewhere. To me this means leadership. Our fool is a main character after all.

Together the emperor and empress usually depict nature in some form. I like to think of this as the basic needs in life. I also note the pregnancy as a warning that they’re here for our fool, but he isn’t their only responsibility.

I’m going to stop here today, but I want to summarize a bit. Some stories will start at the fool stage. Luke Skywalker is a reasonable example.

In any event, your main character should have some qualities reflecting each of these characters. They don’t have to be good qualities. Your fool may have learned willpower from the magician, and rejected the work ethic. Maybe he gets along better with his mother and is always in trouble with his father.

These early cards are worth considering when designing a character. Even when you aren’t ready to start your story here.  Consider whether your fool has a work ethic or not, how much imagination does your character exhibit, is he more loving and nurturing, or more formal and rigid.

These cards can appear as characters themselves, or merely be influences upon your character. I like to start my stories a little bit further along, but these traits should be in there somewhere.

Feel free to tweet, reblog, and comment away. I’m not going to stick to a rigid schedule for this, but I’ll save it under the “writing” category for your convenience.

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Whiny Baby and First Chapters

Oh my God. Critique group was brutal tonight. This was the first time anyone has seen part of Will ‘O the Wisp. I learned some things, and most of it is easily corrected. My first chapters are always like that, and I should be used to it by now.

I may have made a research error, and that bothers me. I do a ton of research, and never mess up like that. I’ll be on it later with my favorite researcher, George Dickel.

The crowd was split pretty evenly. The two who write stuff similar to mine, liked it. The other two didn’t. In fact one of them really didn’t like it and had nothing nice to say about it.

I can live with that, I just wished there were more suggestions to improve it. The best writer we have was on the didn’t like it side, and I know it needs improvement.

The two who liked it weren’t overly jazzed about it. This creates a consensus of sorts. I’ll talk about that down the page a bit.

Like I said, first chapters are a bitch. Here are the goals I always try to meet in the first chapter:

  • There is a person.
  • The person is in a place.
  • The person has a problem. (Or two, or three.)
Let’s start with the person. This has to be much more than a name and physical description. It has to involve what kind of friends she has. Patty is part of the outcast group. What is her career? Patty is going to high school. What hopes and dreams does she have? Patty is infatuated with the space program. The person has to have a personality. Patty is dealing with a lot of problems, but she’s got some spunk even if she mopes a bit.

There has to be a place. Patty lives in Virginia, but this isn’t enough. It’s 1974, and this tone has to be set early. (Readers will be confused if this doesn’t come in fast.) She’s just outside a small town, and is a farmer’s step daughter. It’s early Fall, her home is surrounded by fields, and backs up to the forest. This is a first chapter, and place gets fleshed out much more as the story goes on. To do this, Patty has to move around. This can’t all come at once.
 
There are problems. Patty has to wear corrective leg braces. High school is a cruel place without this problem, her problems are bigger. Her father’s dead, but her mother remarried. She fights with her mom. She has a huge assignment to do, and there’s a ton of pressure here. Then she’s a witness to an event that seriously hurts someone. In later chapters it will get much more personal.
 
All of this gets on the page pretty quickly. Here’s where it doesn’t work:
  • She’s too whiny for my critique group.
  • My descriptions may tell more than show.
  • The first paragraph doesn’t grab the reader.
Patty has to be a little bit whiny. She’s a teenage girl, for crying out loud. This will also be part of her character growth. The question is how much is too much. From a marketing standpoint, readers have to care enough about her to turn the page. She’s also a pretty good manipulator. I think the first chapter needs work here.
 
I will always struggle with showing vs. telling. I’m on record in an old blog for saying it’s a pretty bad name for a pretty important topic. I don’t know how to introduce a sign, other than to have a character read it. I can’t figure out how to detect a smell, other than having a character smell it. I need to work on this, but I’m open to suggestions. Seriously, I’m open to suggestions. I’ve cut out all the instances of “he saw”, “she heard”, and such. Now it just happens in character view. When the kids get on the bus, it’s nothing new for them. Readers are seeing the small town for the first time. I feel the need to show them a bit of it.
 
The first paragraph doesn’t grab the reader. I agree. In fact the important part drops in paragraph 3. They’re short paragraphs, but it needs some work. I need to get Patty, in a place pretty quick or it’s just a white page. I did this, but it still doesn’t grab a reader. I have a few ideas here. I’m pretty sure I can do better. One of her problems has to come sooner.
 
Critique groups seem to work this way. There is a concensus on some of the problems. These must be taken seriously. There’s a split on some problems. These also must be taken seriously, it usually indicates I’m on the right track, but could present the issue better. Then there are issues that only one person brings up. Pay attention to these, but many times they don’t have to be addressed. Consider who pointed the issue out, and what others thought here.
 
I also like to get my genre out there fast. This is a paranormal piece, and that element comes in at the end of chapter one. I want readers to meet Patty, her friends, and her situation before this can happen. Other genres, it can go on the first page. Dwarves can get the genre established in the first few words. Robots are the same way. Paranormal comes more at a simmer.
 
I’m going to make this work. I’m too invested already not to. It’s part of being a writer.
 
What problems do the other writers have with first chapters? I’d also like your hints on showing vs. telling. Maybe I need to find that blogger who does First Page Friday.

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What can Writers Learn from Television?

No, really, I want someone to tell me. Here are a couple of observations I’ve made over the years.

For TV, the main character has to have the right job. In order to get involved in amazing things, the MC has to have credible opportunities. This is why we see so many shows about cops, doctors, and lawyers.

People branched out and we see firemen, coroners, and police psychics. It may have been popular, but in real life, Angela Lansbury would never stumble across hundreds of murders. There aren’t too many shows about water department workers for a reason.

This applies to novels too. There has to be a reason for things to happen. In a novel, an average guy can stumble across something bad, spectacular or amazing. He isn’t going to have access to the big guns or the cool science though.

Character is important. I watch Once Upon a Time, but for the wrong reasons. I’m watching it for a bad example. Some of the main characters are flat and boring.

Regina/Evil Queen is horrible. She is always going to say the most vile thing. She is the first person to bully or make a threat. She’s the one who says, “You’re lying.” Lana Parilla is being wasted here. She’s smoking hot and looks great in fairy tale clothing and her mayoral suits. The minor background they gave her is too little too late.

Mr. Gold/crocodile/Dark One/Rumplestiltskin/Beast is great. He’s evil too, but he’s a complete character. He has a touch of humanity, and I feel for him when he loses his son or Belle.

Snow White and Prince Charming are boring. They’re always goody goody, and are as predictable as sunrise.

Story is important. I’ve never seen it, but how can Hostages go any further than one season? Bad guys take a family hostage and force one of the parents to do something horrible. I just don’t see this lasting ten years.

Dr. Who is at the other end of the spectrum. It’s been going for fifty years and shows no sign of slowing down. The possibilities are limitless.

I have a lot of words down, so I’ll start summing up. Our stories need believable circumstances, even in science fiction and fantasy. We need sympathetic and believable characters. We need a fully fleshed out world too. One that allows for twists and turns in the plot, and might even allow for a sequel if fans support the first one.

So, back to my question. What can TV teach us? I’d like to get the comments going. Let’s hear some opinions or issues I didn’t address.

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