Tuesday, 15 May 2007

On plot: screenwriting and fiction

Although screenwriting had not yet been invented in the late 1840s, all three Brontë sisters had a highly developed sense of dramatisation, and some of their most powerful moments on the page have been those that could be adapted almost directly for the screen, with minimal alteration.

They therefore, along with PC, recommend this post at The View From Elsewhere very highly indeed.

What PC particularly loves about this post is the matter-of-fact way it foregrounds the importance of narrative structure and its proven models.

They are models that can, as with (say) sonnets, be easily reduced to a non-verbal diagram of a kind that über-mystical types find repellently mechanistic, an affront to the capital-R Romantic notion that an artist sits down, is struck with inspiration, and suddenly it all just comes pouring out (not unlike vomit, as PC has always thought when confronted, usually belligerently, with this view of the creative process). The truth, as so often, lies somewhere between.

Perhaps needless to say, people who hold this view of the creative process have without exception never experienced it. Ten per cent inspiration, ninety per cent perspiration is about right, as Elsewhere's terrific post makes clear.


ThirdCat said...

I suspect this is a 'how long is a piece of string' question, but anyway...how do you know when you've given a particular story and particular characters a good enough go? Or, to put it another way: will I know when I'm flogging a dead horse?

And the lolcats say:
Does these ticklings be novvell insides ov we, or do thay are furballs?

elsewhere said...

Thanks for the positive rap (or is that a wrap?), PC.

TC, this is a half-suggestion in response to your piece of string thing, but putting things to bed for a while can help in gaining perspective when you come back to them later and also in being more merciless in the revision process.

I've heard others say that you should look at your MS at the 30,000 wd mark and see if you think there's truly something in it before forging on. I don't know if that's any help -- I'm sure PC will more mature pearls to offer.

Pavlov's Cat said...

One does not offer pearls, mature or otherwise. One clutches pearls.