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The Worldview

Lesson 8 from: FAST CLASS: Wired for Story: How to Become a Story Genius

Lisa Cron

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Lesson Info

8. The Worldview

Lesson Info

The Worldview

this is really is a big one. This one will take a while. I totally admit, because this is the world view and to be very clear when I say worldview, I do not mean like the world view of your story. And here's everything that's happening. Nor do I actually mean your protagonist whole entire worldview about everything that they think about everything to be very clear. This is your protagonists story specific world view, and the last thing you ever want to dio is one of those big giant birth to death or birth to Page one bios for your protagonists and you'll see them like online there, those forms you could fill out and they're like, longer than the novel itself. And they ask all these questions. You know, like you know, Where were they born? What signer they? What's their favorite food? What's a favorite? Cartoon was her favorite song. When did they have their first kiss? What religion are they? What do they feel about euthanasia? You know, just question after question. Favorite room. Do ...

it like their middle name. I mean, stuff that has nothing to do with this story that you're writing, knowing too much if it's a random, is worse than knowing nothing at all, because now you've got all this stuff and you're still trying to put it together and make sense of it. And you can't because you're just creating a generic person with a lot of specific stuff. The other problem with doing those birth until Page one bios is that they tend to be 10 miles wide and 1/4 of an inch deep. It's like you could wade in their deepest revelations and not get your ankles wet. Because since we haven't gone into this internal struggle, which is what the story is about, it ends up being the same thing that the plot therefore ends up being a bunch of things that happened. This happens in that and because just think about in your own lives. Your life isn't just a series of external things happening, and you're just reacting to it. You're making those things happen, and you're making sense of them as you go forward, and then you're causing the next thing toe happen so that what what ends up making this external cause and effect trajectory makes sense is the internal cause and effect trajectory because that's what's actually driving it. So when you ask all these general questions, you just get general meaningless answers. And I found when people will do these kind of like bios, you get to about the third thing that happens and it doesn't make sense. Well, somebody who went through that would never actually do this, and then they would never actually do that. And why would that person do this? Because it's devolved into a bunch of things that happened. So that's not what we're talking about. What we're talking about is creating that story specific lens through which your protagonist is going to evaluate the meaning of everything that happens and struggle, because in every senior character is going to struggle and make a change and make a choice. So we're creating that lens, and a mistake that writers will sometimes make is, I think, yeah, I want to see through my protagonist size. That's what I'm doing. And so they tend to think of their protagonists as a camera, and I've seen this. Writers will come in, and now the protagonist is looking at stuff, and they're describing it in great graphic detail. You know, Here's what the room looks like. Why are you telling me that? Well, I just told you, because that's what the room looks like. It doesn't matter what you're looking for. Our story specific reactions to what's happening. Because wherever we are, we are always on the lookout for inside Intel. We're always looking for strategic information to make us feel safe and to help us accomplish whatever our goal is. Yet writers will. Sometimes they'll right. And now what happens is is the protagonist becomes neutral. They've got no skin in the game, so they're observing things that are happening. And even if they're being super insightful about those things, they're just there. There, there, they don't play forward. This is what that looks like. What does that look like on the page? So let's imagine for a minute that I'm the protagonist of a novel and my writer is like, just one chapter like three or four and and you know she's getting to know me. Going to get to know my protagonist is I write forward. So there's a knock at the door, and all I know when I opened the door is that that seems to be my coworkers. So there's a knock at the door and it's the Saturday not get the door. Where's my co worker? And she says, It's a beautiful Saturday. Would you like to go hiking? And I think, Do I like hiking? Have ever been hiking? Do I have the shoes for hiking? Do I like her? What was I doing a minute ago and that point? I am no longer trying to figure that stuff out. I'm trying to figure out why the hell I don't know the answers to any of that. And you know, when you stand up too quick and the room goes all wonky, I'm looking like that. And then I noticed that she's like, gingerly backing down the stairs because, you know, let's face it, I look like I've just had a psychotic break with reality, and the only thing I'm kind of sure of at that point is that when I get to work the next day, which I'm not really sure what that is, no one will be able to look me in the eye because she'll tell them that I had some sort of break with reality. Now is that what would ever happen? Would that ever happen in real life, you know? No, of course not. This is what would happen. I'm not saying you would put all of this under the page if you were writing it. But this is what would happen. There'll be a knock at the door. I'd open the door and she'd say, It's a beautiful Saturday. Do you want to go hiking? And I think No, I absolutely don't. Because when I was nine, we moved to a new town and I joined the bluebirds, and I really wanted to impress them. We went on a hike and so I bounded up the hill because I wanted to be the 1st 1 to show them what a great hiker I was. Who knew I had agora phobia acrophobia. I fell down on my tush. I threw up on the counselor shoes. I had to scooch down the trail on my tush the whole way. It took 45 minutes. It started to rain. We were covered in mud. The bus was gone. I think I had pneumonia up until the end of the school year. I still haven't lived that down. I haven't been on much as a step stool since then, and my co worker, I really like her very much. In fact, the past three times she's asked me to do something I've said no, but I think she's in really good with the boss. And if I say no again, he's gonna think I'm not a team player in what I was actually doing today is I'm putting together the proposal toe open up the new branch in Paris because that's where Jack is and and our boss said that whoever does the best proposal, I think she's doing 12 is going to get to go to Paris and run that branch that I mentioned. Jack was there and that would what she's up to. At that point, I would turn to her and I would go, Yeah, I do think I have a pair of kids because that's what we dio. When something happens in this part of our brain that makes those 70 decisions that are cognitive, unconscious can't when it wakes up. We look to the past to try to figure out the meaning of what's happening. Now we decide what to dio. We play that against our future agenda, which, of course, is Jack in Paris. And then we turn and say, Yes, I would love to go hiking. I think I have a pair of kids in the closet. I'll be right back because what the hell is she up to? That's where story lives and breathes. Did you see the back story that was in there? Now writers are often told. Don't tell us what your character's think. Just show us and you know the reader will get it. The reader will never get story lives and breathes in what your protagonist is thinking and how they are making sense of what's happening. Because here's what that scene would look like. If we kept that off, the page would be a knock of the door wide open the door, she'd say. It's a beautiful Saturday. Do you want to go hiking? Do this and just just one small thing. This is something that writers often have. People dio when they're thinking in books. They rub their chin in real life, nobody ever does this. Have you ever done this when you're thinking and I don't think so backward in books, they dio and then I go. Yes, I'd love to go hiking. How boring is that? This story isn't in the what the stories in the why and how we're making sense of it. And you can't make sense of it without doing this work that were talking about because the problem is, is that writers often think, well, we all see the same reality. Why do we need to dig into the specifics like that? You know, I mean, we kind of all grew up basically in the same world. We all understand what it means to be human, and we all know how to treat each other, you know, except for people who are really, really screwed up. And we hope to get a lot of therapy and join us over here on the page of real reality real soon. But that is not the way that it works. There's a great book, I just say, a new book, but now it's been a while. It's called louder Than words, the new science on how the Mind makes meaning by Benjamin K. Bergen, and he often talks about the fact What it's about is, is where does meaning come from? Isn't something. We have a priori that is just kind of wired into us in. The answer is no. Meaning comes from one place and one place on Lee, and that is what our past experience has told us. Those things mean that is the lens through which we look at and evaluate and judge, and we judge everything every minute of every day. And that doesn't make us bad. It's what makes us alive. That is where meaning comes from, and the goal now is to create what I call your novels origin. See your protagonist or agency. And often this is actually in the novel, sometimes for more than one character. The origin scene is the moment that your protagonist's miss belief came into being. It hasn't ahamad a big every scene that you write will have in a Hama. But that's what it is. The moment that that that that miss belief came into being an origin seen, it always takes place during childhood or early teen years, long before your story starts. I mean, if you're writing like a middle grade book, you know, then it might happen. I happen super long ago because here in middle grade. Don't have a super long time before it's always written in the first person. Even if you're writing the novel in the third person, write it in the first person because it is much more immediate. I've had worked with writers where they're writing in the third person and you think I've got you don't stand a chance and then they rewrite it in the first person and you think, Who did you get to do this? You don't say that out loud, but it really can make a difference. So write it in the first person it contains again in ah ha moment because they're gonna go in believing one thing. You're gonna get that expectation on the page. Something's gonna happen. Another gonna come out believing something else and is gonna end with that explicit realization. Meaning this is what that miss belief is specific realization about how people treat each other

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Marianthi Tzanakakis
 

I was introduced to writing tools and techniques, I didn't know existed. Now I feel I have a much better grasp in what it takes to write a truly great novel.

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