“Fiction can only be about trouble.”–John Dufresne
At the end of week 4, Uncle John had me writing about trouble. First list a bunch of random activities– eating at a restaurant, walking the dog, buying shoes. Then list characters– an artist, a travel agent, a bartender– doing each activity. Now add trouble.
The goal was to generate potential scenes of conflict for my novel.
The best I came up with was a hotdog vendor smoking a cigar, who after a rush of customers found a wiener stuck between his teeth and the cigar long gone.
There is no hot dog vendor in my novel.
After mulling this over for a couple of days, I think I see the problem. My novel is about relationships. None of this man vs. environment stuff can work, because the whole story is based on interpersonal conflict.
Man vs. man.
Girl on girl.
Most of the exercises in Is Life Like This? have been amazingly helpful and fun. This one, though probably good for future stories, disappointed. Maybe it’s for people who don’t already have a novel idea?
I’m anxious to get past the introductory lessons and get down to business. I do have an idea, and I want to start.
Should I stick with the program? Or should I skip ahead?
Maybe the answer is instead of making lists of random characters and activities, to list the actual people in my novel, and actions they will definitely take. Maybe then some relevant trouble will find me.
Marnie…drives to the mall…gets run over by a Mack truck.
Yeah. I feel better already.