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Orange You Glad…

2 May

CWC Group Play

Orange You Glad We Can’t Die Anymore

MC greatest fear…death

Alex is MC

ATG what’s behind their anger at the world…price of oranges too high

ATG is Sarah

MC all consuming goal…to become immortal

New character enters w/ distressing announcement…oranges are in short supply because they’re the key to immortality

NC is Ivy

AGT age & descriptions…tall woman w/ taller hair, 25 yr, disgruntled college student, Present Mic hair

Complication…MC allergic to oranges

ATG name…Citrus Reamer, (a tall pale man with tall pale hair)

ATG occupation…orthodontist

Why MC can’t stand up to ATG…fears Novocain.

CR drowning in student loans…has nothing to lose.

Setting at rise…shopping mall where the dentist’s office is.

MC owes $ to Ivy, but CR overcharged her to pay off student debts.

MC gonna die in a month b/c can’t pay back orange mob.

Orange mob can make “lactose-free” oranges but they’re $$$.

MC behind on payment plan to orange mob.


ALEX: First of all bitch. CR overcharged me for my orthodontic work. I went in to get my braces off, and they insisted I needed bottom braces and I was already being fitted for a retainer and I don’t have insurance and the mob is staked out. I’m running out of immortality juice for the month.

MOTHER (deuter) : Why are you so obsessed with being immortal even though you’re allergic to the oranges. Just age normally. You’re mother’s begging you, Pro Jean Tagonist.

CITRUS: Please, Miss Tagonist, idk what you’re talking about, I provide nothing but the best quality bracial remover. That’s a medical term.

MS TAG: Wow, you’re such a good orthodontist.

Enter mob boss, on a pogo stick.

IVY: I went on an expedition in some jungle, and instead of finding the fountain of youth, I found some oranges. But then my wife died. And then divorced me in the middle of the jungle. I’m gay and mad.

Falls off pogo stick. Falls to knees and screams in pain at the sheer cost of obtaining these oranges.

IVY: *pterodactyl scream*

CITRUS: Pogo no.

MS TAG: You’re so funny.

Pogo stick boing boing is like snapping in Westside Story.

One of the oranges is the infinity orange of space, time, and life…but can’t use it on herself.

  •   *    *

Starting over—Flash round!

ATG goal…trying to design a Nascar car.  That guy at Faniel Hall


MC fear…going fast


ATG age and desc. — 7.5 ft tall (can’t fit in other racecars. No one let her drive one. 40 yrs, all you want to do in ride in a car. Has to walk everywhere.)

Character in mask—ATG wears a small animal mask to make herself look bigger

MC goal…disband Nascar, or make the world stop.

Narrator from Into the Woods, Meg

Behind ATG anger at the world…already explained. Never been in control of driving. Nascar is a family business. She has to be pit crew.

ANT name.. Slola LaCar

MC name…Dashley

Character enters with package…delivery man ( brings limo.

Fantasy scene of Slola as a pigmy owl in a pigmy owl race.

Vroom…indicates the duality of man.

Family…all played by Ivy


SLOLA: I’m not working on a car right now.

NARRATOR: She was.

SHORT DAD: (on phone) You need to bang all the dads. Vroom.

NARRATOR: In this family they don’t say I love you, they say “vroom.” And I think that’s beautiful.

SLOLA’s SISTER: That’s not what bang means dad.

DASHLEY: You’re trying to make the world too fast, bitch. The world is spinning too fast. I feel sick.

NARRATOR: She felt sick.

DELIVERY MAN: I agree. The world is going too fast. I’m not going to deliver things so fast anymore.

SLOLA: I’m gonna pretend I didn’t hear that.

Thinkin’ About Character

1 Mar

During the character unit, we looked at a few different methods and systems for finding and/or thinking about the “seed” of your character–their inner them-ness that drives them through the story.

Most of these feature a positive and negative idea working against one another.


The Misbelief:

from Story Genius by Lisa Cron

Driving Desire: the character’s ultimate, specific, desire.

Misbelief: a belief the character that was true when they learned it, but is false. They see it as a key insight they were lucky to figure out, but it holds them back.

Case study: Zuko

  • Driving Desire: capture the avatar to regain his honor
  • Misbelief: honor comes from his father’s approval; gaining honor does not require acting honorably.

Case study: Toph

  • Driving Desire: prove her strength
  • Misbelief: strength means never needing others


The Ghost

from The Anatomy of Story by John Truby, as explained by JustWrite

Desire: the character’s desire.

Ghost: something from the character’s past that haunts them in the present, an “open wound” that is the source of their weakness and holds them back.

Case study: Aang

  • Desire: have fun
  • Ghost: running away from responsibility ended in disaster for him and the world last time, and he must not let it happen again.


The Grand Passion

from Beginnings: Setting a Story in Motion by Michael Arndt

Grand Passion: what the character loves most, can be a thing, person, role, feeling etc; what defines them.

Flaw: their Grand Passion taken too far. A negative trait that comes out of the positive thing that defines them.

Case study: Katara

  • Grand Passion: waterbending. Katara’s actions are driven by her love of waterbending and her desire to master the skill.
  • Flaw: Katara’s passion to learn drives her jealousy of Aang, pushes her to steal the waterbending scroll, and later to briefly explore bloodbending.


The Basics

elements repeated from ATLA – the Delicacy of Character

Want: the desire pushing them forward

Fear: the fear holding them back

Case study: Sokka

  • Want: to be a good leader, live up to the responsibility placed on him.
  • Fear: that his is not worthy.



Links in the Description

21 Feb

I’ve found these all incredibly helpful. Check them out!


Screen Shot 2018-02-21 at 8.07.38 PM.png

Pixar Beginnings with Michael Arndt (Grand passion and flaw)


A:TLA and Compelling Backstory by JustWrite (Ghost and Desire) (ft. Truby’s Anatomy of Storytelling)


A:TLA and the Delicacy of Character by Weight of Cinema (motivation, personality, development)


The Best Explanation of Three Act Story Structure by Lindsay Ellis (not what we were talking about, but one of my favorites)




Story Genius by Lisa Cron


Anatomy of Story by John Truby

Also the ones about magic systems:


Hard Magic  •  Soft Magic  •  Deep Dive on ATLA by Hello Future Me



Holy shit guys I found it

2 Mar

A very long time ago (in a galaxy far, far away) I was looking for a video by a Pixar writer that my high school show choir coach/screenwriting had showed once at a workshop.

I wanted to show it to the club and I searched and searched and couldn’t find it.

I have no idea why, because ten minutes ago I found it with an embarrassingly obvious two-word Google search.

It’s about the beginning of a story, but it also (obviously) has a lot to do with the makeup of a main character.


1 Nov

Happy NaNo/MoWriMo everybody!


You Need This Book

7 Oct

I’m only half way through, but I’m making the call. You need this book:


As I try to get my novel on track, I’ve been exploring quite few how-to-write books to help me along. Most of my favorites are already in the Bookshelf under Recommending Reading, and everything else has been just so-so. Not incorrect necessarily, but not especially revelatory.

This one is different.

One thing I’ve noticed about how-to-write books is that I click better with authors who share my writing process. I’m a proud Plotter. I make outlines, I have too many index cards, I want to know my whole plot before I write a word. You might be a Pantser. You might start writing immediately and let your idea and story structure work itself out as you go.

Lisa Cron doesn’t believe in either. Well, actually,  in the first chapter she’ll tell you that whichever you are, you’ve been doing it wrong. A bit hard to take at first, especially if you’ve been working on a project for any length of time, but a grain of salt on that proves well worth it.

This book isn’t about inspiration, and it isn’t about plot structure, it’s about something every story has and needs: an emotional core. Every writing book I’ve ever seen has mentioned character motivation, but this is the first time I’ve ever seen it explained in depth, a whole book’s worth of depth: why you need it and why it works, right down to the neuroscience behind it. (Don’t worry, the science is broken down in small bits that this English major had no trouble chewing on).

Part of the hook of this book is that you follow a novel through its development process, with the author moving through the chapters as you do. Most how-to books break down finished commercial works that we all recognize, which is helpful but can be a little daunting when your own project is a jumbled work-in-progress mess. Of course every published pieced started that way, but that can be hard to imagine once you’ve met them in their finished, polished form. In this book, you get to watch as someone embarks on the development process from the ground up, just like you’re doing.

The one thing I can’t say about this is book is I don’t know how this would play to someone who’s just beginning to develop an idea. While that’s ostensibly how Cron’s process is presented, I would likely feel overwhelmed with the depth of character exploration she’s asking for without at least some time-derived understanding of my protagonist.

So basically, someone please read this book, because I want to know what you think of it, if it really is as universally ground-breaking as it’s coming off to me, and also, of course, because I think it’ll help you with a topic we’ve never covered up until now in CWC: character motivation and vicarious reader experience as the make-or-break emotional “third rail.”

However, like I said up top, I’m only half-way through reading it. I was trying to wait until I finished, but I just had to gush.

(Check back here in a few day to find out if it stayed amazing or if the second half flamed out and I incinerated it in my emotional fireplace, much like I am continually doing to Age of Ultron, but that sucker won’t burn, if just keeps melting into a reeking, gooey mess.  (Newbies don’t ask).)

P.S. This is a, not really a sequel because it stands on its own, but a follow-up to Cron’s first book, Wired for Story, which, I assume, is more of her neuroscience-based argument for the universality and biological necessity of storytelling. Anyone read it?

Welcome to the Blog!

12 Sep

Hello and welcome, Nerdy-Wordies new and old!

You’ve found your way to the blog of the BU Creative Writing Club!

Here you’ll find prompts, info on events, resources, and more!

This is also a great place to post finished pieces, snippets, works in progress, questions, updates or any other part of your projects that you’d like to share. If you’re new, ask your friendly neighborhood e-board for an invite so you can post too!

And don’t be afraid to comment either! Knowing someone read their post will make the poster’s day!

Check out the Bookshelf in the far right menu tab for movies, TV shows, books, comics, games, and more recommended by your fellow CWC’ers.

Wishing you the best CWC year yet,

Your Nerdy Wordy Overlord, (Retired)