Writing class 101: 4 dramatic elements

Writing Class Lesson 1.1

So the prof—Él Professorino, if you’re not into the whole brevity thing— kicks off the old online writing class with four dramatic elements necessary to storytelling: Passion. Theme. Character. Premise.

  • Passion: a strong belief. From the context of the course material, I understand this to be my belief, not my character’s. Hmm…
  • Theme: the message to share with readers. Again, presumably my message, not my character’s.
  • Character: the protagonist, whose personality serves as a vehicle to carry the theme.
  • Premise: which begins with the phrase, “What if?”

All of a sudden, I feel I have no stories to tell. Because the stories I dream about telling aren’t about what I get passionate about. Like, I’m passionate about my kids, but I don’t think they’d make particularly arresting protagonists. I’m super passionate about telling the truth, but who wants to read a story about a prissy pants truth seeker?

How does this strike you guys? Does Él P. think writers want to write a good story, or just propagandize?

I feel like my homework is to shoehorn a passion and a theme into the story ideas I have. When what I really wanted to do was write.

Stay tuned…

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3 thoughts on “Writing class 101: 4 dramatic elements”

  1. I just posted my assignment at lunch today. Since I had several WIP, I chose one that you have read about a scientist. This would be hard if you had nothing and had to dream something up on the spot. Maybe if you widen your focus regarding your passions. For example, with your children, what drives your passion? Is it all children or only your own? If only your own, then it is probably something maternal, protective or nurturing. Or maybe a lack of something in your childhood that you want to be sure your children receive. One of my other story options was about a new mother who felt unwanted and vowed to love her own child, even though it was believed that the father was a monster. My passion was the interaction of relationships, secrets and science, which applies to both stories. Your classmate, Kaelyn

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    1. Your passion! Science and secrets. Love it.
      I was just feeling pissy because I was sick, all my story ideas turned out to be plots, and none of my characters’ flaws were on the list. Themes and character flaws usually emerge for me out of the action.
      I shoehorned a premise for the book I want to write. It sounds lame! But that’s because the exciting bits aren’t there— they’re plot points. Hopefully I’m not on the wrong path! The course has been great so far.

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  2. Yeah I had too much plot. Did you see how he streamlined mine? It could be about anything. He’ s not really encouraging us to read each others. That aspect was more fun last time. And more free writes in beginner class. I signed up for stunt writing on canvas.net. I was curious but really don’t have the time.

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