Always write the punch line first and then work backwards to write the story. So if you want to write something about someone falling on their head, you’ve got to write the story of how they got there. ~~Brian Byers~~
Logic. I tell my students find something you are interested in and step away from the entire scene. Find what’s missing, find a gap and fill it. Find a group of people and create something that group of people would be willing to buy. Marketing is selling yourself or selling your product. Getting the word out there is important.
I know, how dare I add a marketing tip to Writing Tip Tuesday. The thing is, marketing and writing go hand in hand. You can write the best book or screen play in history, but if you don't get the word out about it, then it's going to sit and collect dust. Everything in the world today hinges on marketing. Think about it.
Madonna, we all know who she is. We remember her shocking antics and we are still talking about it. The new Madonna is Lady Gaga. She wore a dress made of meat to the awards ceremony. I can't remember which one, but I remember the dress. She has made a name for herself not only through her music but also well, we want to see what she's going to do next.
Marketing and writing go hand in hand because it takes creativity to come up with the stuff for the commercials that interrupt our shows everyday. They are all created by writers. They get the word out. They do what Brian says, they find a void and fill it in.
For example, people don't care which car insurance they have. However they remember the cave men from the Gieco commercial. Brilliant marketing. Let's take a phrase about something that is no longer in existence and make fun of it. "Gieco.com so simple even a cave man can do it." I remembered that because it was funny and quirky.
Writing a novel is much like writing a marketing campaigns. How, you ask. Simple. There is a plot. ie the Gieco commercial. The plot in this case is the one liner, "So simple even a cave man can do it." There were characters. Does everyone remember Dave the cave man who always shook his head and cursed Gieco for their ads? There is a protagonist. The Gieco ads themselves were the protagonists. There was a beginning, middle and end. They ran with it for months. It was funny and I remembered them. That is what it takes to make a good marketing campaign. In Brian's words, find something and fill in the void. In this case, the void was the lack of comic relief when it came to making an insurance company memorable.
Writing a novel is the same as that. Find a void, fill in the gaps. You love reading Fantasy. You have your whole life. Lately you've noticed one of the main things you find missing are stories about dragons. Well, write one. What is the plot? What are the characters? Who is the protagonist? What sets your story apart from everyone else aside from it being about dragons? This is where the marketing comes in. What is the catch phrase that describes your novel?
I AM WOLF has one. It's simple. Angel. Devil. Monster. Hero. We are all the same in our fates. We become what we really are.
That's it. That's the theme of my novel. The theme of a novel is catch phrase. What makes it stand out from all the others?
So many of you are scratching your heads right now saying, she isn't published yet, how would she know? It's simple. I just marketed my unpublished novel to all of you who read this post. That single phrase will be familiar when you see it again. That, ladies and gentlemen in a nut shell, is marketing.
The writing tip. Wow, here it is. This is the part we want. This is the part we have been waiting for. Brian said, "Start with the punch line and work backwards." I have to agree with this. In a story I wrote, I knew I wanted a bucket of water to fall on his head and I wanted it to be of his own doing. So I created a scene where he literally had to hold the bucket of water in a prank and when he was told to let it go, he did. The water fell on him and it was funny. I showed two things about my characters in this. One of them was a prankster and the other was a good sport. Through this single act, I helped define who they were as "people" and let them run with it.
What is something that defines your characters? Do they have a sense of humor? Are they brass and abrasive? Does he or she have a temper? Things like this answer those questions. If you don't have them clearly defined in your own head then no one else will either. Comedy scenes help show who our characters are. They are the epitome of writing and shape a person's personality just as much if not more than the dramatic scenes. They are things that make our characters relatable. That is the most important thing we do as writers.
If our characters aren't relatable then we haven't done our jobs. That is my single philosophy in writing. Always add something that makes the character feel like they could be your best friend or bully. Make them have faults and issues. The heroes of a good story aren't the golden boys who are loved by everyone. They are the ones with the flaws. They are the ones who make us say, I can see myself saying that. I can see myself being upset about that.
So, start backwards and write it. Find the flaws and run with it. Have them grow and change. Without that, then they are nothing more than 2 dimensional beings made of words as opposed to living breathing souls we grow to love and cheer for.