Wednesday, September 30, 2015

How to Create A Story In A Moment

When I first started writing to be published, I studied my craft for many years. I practiced my craft too though nothing I wrote at that time was ever published. My writing wasn't ready then. 
I have 9 manuscripts under my bed that will never see the light of day. And each one has a spark of possibility but the skill is missing. So they will never be published. 

During my learning period  I purchased a book titled,  The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes and Heroines, Sixteen Master Archetypes written by Tami D. Cowden, Caro LaFever and Sue Viders.  I read it a few days later. Rather I consumed it. It gave me an insight into building characters that I hadn’t experienced before. For weeks afterward, I found myself analyzing every character in every book I read and every movie I watched. And it was fun to figure them out. It also gave me food for thought when I created my own characters. I attempted to keep my characters evolving from one archetype to another as they travel through my stories.  What makes characters interesting is the growth they go through while traveling the paths they’ve chosen. I’m not sure I understood that until I read this book and started analyzing characters. I think The Complete Writer's Guide to Heroes and Heroines, Sixteen Master Archetypes should be in every writer's resource library. I've found it invaluable numerous times and have reread it several times to refresh my understanding. 

By chance, Sue Viders, one of the authors of the archetype book, read a blog I wrote at that time mentioning the book, and she emailed me.  She’d created a card game named Deal a Story based on the archetypes.  She offered to send me a set of the cards to try them. I was thrilled and of course I said YES! Since then I’ve used the cards hundreds of times. It’s a wonderful brainstorming tool for writers.

There are sixteen cards for the Hero, Heroine, Villain, Flaw, Plot, and Genre. There are five Wild Cards in case you get stuck. But the chances are very slim. You deal out one card for all but the flaws. You deal out three of those, one each for your hero, heroine, and the villain. (Because the flaws your characters have will affect the choices they make.)By the way, each flaw card has several options to choose from, so you’re not limited.
I've decided that once a month I'm going to deal myself a story and write about the plot I come up with. One day these plots I devise through the cards may end up being full-length books or even novellas I may write later. 

All right, my hero is a The Born Leader. He's confident and thrives on challenges. He's goal oriented and strives to achieve. His flaw is he has no sense of humor. He is driven and is always serious.  

My heroine is The BookWorm. She is an introvert, extremely intelligent, a loner, always dependable and often times overlooked. Her flaw is that she's a perfectionist. 

My villain is The Bully. He prays on others weaker than himself with the intent of making himself feel more powerful. His flaw is he's nosy. He knows how to pressure and manipulate people into doing what he wants through whatever means he needs to and his nosiness pries their secrets loose and allows him to blackmail them. 

My Genre is Science Fiction. Science Fiction can encompass any environment underwater, outer space, or even right here on earth. I've chosen to keep my environment here on planet earth in the year 2046.

My Plot is The Discovery Plot. The Discovery Plot is more about the character and his journey. He is forced to use his skills and facilities to overcome an unusual situation. 

My hero, The Born Leader has had a horrible life. Rocked by violence, poverty, and loss of family. He has lost his wife and children in a home invasion he was helpless to prevent.  His unusual situation is that my hero, The Born Leader, (Think Steve Jobs, creative, leadership skills, crazy talented.) created an organic computer system with a big brain control hub and the accompanying army of nanobots that have the capability of infusing every mechanical device in a home or office. These nanobots have the capacity to run the devices and repair them if they break down. In order to do so they follow the programming of the main hub which senses when the devices need repair or updating maintenance. It can also act as a security system. 

My hero is test-installing this simple household monitoring device in order to expose the computer to real human behavior in the hope it will learn from it. At first the hub does little but what it is created for but suddenly it begins to learn not only about the machines but the humans who depend on them.

The hub has become an extension of my hero. The hub learns about the moral compass humans follow by studying his creator's behavior and some of the behaviors he observes inside the homes. He discusses it with my hero and my hero tries to explain that the violent behavior isn't acceptable, but that some people need help controlling their temper. The hub begins to understand good and bad, right and wrong and my hero is ecstatic. He has worked forever on the program and sees many good things he'll be able to do throughout the world.  It can monitor violence and notify the police before it escalates into injuries. It will be able to stop accidents by monitoring the speed of transportation and prevent accidents.

My hub has ideas of its own. It can control machinery, but it can't do anything to prevent human behavior. Or can it?

My Book Worm heroine is a lab assistant in the company. She has been monitoring the hub's behavior and has noticed some unusual behavior in the homes where the system is installed. Some of the homes where domestic violence calls have come in have suddenly begun to show improvement. But those improvements have become so dramatic it's scary. My Book Worm takes the data to my Born Leader. He understands what she's talking about, but he can't understand why his system might have anything to do with it. 

The Book Worm decides to visit the households and interview the people who live there. In each case, the people living there have suddenly become Stepford people. She doesn't know how it's happened, but it has. Even the delinquent behavior and drug use of the teenagers in the house has stopped.

She begins to suspect something more is at work than just a gift from God or good luck. She returns to one of the homes and asks if she can do physical work ups on them all. Expecting a fight, she's shocked when they are so cooperative.

Back at the lab she discovers the nanobots have invaded the human's and have taken them over controlling their violent behavior.

Up until this point my villain, The Bully, has been doing his thing in the background unbeknownst to my Hero or Heroine. He is the biggest investor in the company and he has been monitoring closely everything that is going on. In fact, when the systems were first installed he was gaining access to the video feeds of certain customers and utilizing it to up his power base through blackmail. Suddenly those people aren't doing the underhanded, dangerous things he counts on catching them doing in order to blackmail them. He wants to find out what happened.

He shows up at the lab just in time to discover everything that is going on with the nanobots. He sees a great opportunity to gain control of everything. He can be president, a dictator, he can have control over some of the most powerful people in the world. All he has to do is make sure the system is put in place in their homes. And he has to figure out a way to gain access to the hub and teach it a thing or two. He needs to trick it into thinking that some of the things it perceives are evil truly aren't.  And how is he going to do that, by blackmailing the man responsible for the entire thing, The Born Leader hero. Otherwise he will expose what has happened and all the good the hero perceives will be brought about with the new system will all go away. Because the Born leader feels he can do what the Bully wants to a certain point and still pull this rabbit out of a hat and make the system work as he intends.

He and The Book Worm join forces to see if they can get a handle on everything and neutralize the nanobots that have taken over the humans. They discover the only way they can neutralize them is to run the people through an MRI machine. The magnetic field inside the machine will polarize them. But first he wants to try and fix the hub, because as fast as they neutralize the bots the hub will create new ones.

Pulling the plug is not the solution. So The Born Leader attempts to teach the hub about freedom and show him by taking over a human with his nanobots he has turned the person into a slave. The hub is veracious in its quest for knowledge and it starts to study the concept. Once it understands it sees itself as being held prisoner trapped inside the machine and facility. The only way it can experience the world at large is through the nanobots it creates. It starts asking itself, ‘Is this all I am? Is this all I will ever be?’ The Born Leader realizes in allowing the hub to become self-aware he has created a new life form and he has to set it free. But how?

In the meantime, The Bully has stepped up his game. He doesn’t exactly like the direction things are moving in. He brings in thugs to guard the Book Worm and the Born Leader to guarantee things go his way. He threatens to kill the Book Worm if The Born Leader doesn’t do as he wants.

The Hub being self-aware now realizes what is happening and swarms the guards and the Bully taking them over. But in the process The Born Leader is shot, and it looks as though he will not survive. The hub rushes nanobots inside him to repair the damage to his heart and save him. The Born Leader dies for a few minutes, but the nanobots push the bullet from his body and revive him.

They realize that during the fray, The Bully has been killed. The Born Leader makes a decision. The man has power, money and influence. Who better to be the body for the hub to take and do the work for which he created it? The hub repairs the damage to the man’s body, but his consciousness is gone. The Hub, The Bookworm, and the Born Leader use the time he is recovering to remove the organic intelligence from the home security and monitoring program and instill it into the Bully. Now the program is just a program, not a being.

It’s a difficult thing, but The Born Leader must free his creation. The hub is evolving, growing in awareness of itself and the body it inhabits. It is thrilled with the freedom and curious about all things. Eager to go forth. When he steps free of the lab and goes out into the world, The Born Leader and the Book Worm are both joyous and sad. They have grown to love the personality they have created, but like a child he needs to be set free to thrive, just like the rest of them. He has the knowledge base to continue running the Bully’s empire, and he has the skills to survive. He has a moral compass.  

The Born Leader has evolved during this whole process right along with his creation. He has discovered that he has given up his life and buried himself in his work. But there's more to life than that. He and The Book Worm have a new project on which to work. They’ve fallen in love and have become partners, lovers, and friends. They need to move on to the business of living themselves. And the security system will ensure they have plenty of money to do that.

If you’re interested in Sue Viders’ card game, go on line and get your own set. You’ll have as good a time as I do with them. And you’ll only be limited by your own imagination. 

To order go to
Or write Robert D. Reed Publishers, P.O. Box 1992, Bandon, Or. 97411 or call (541) 347-9882 They’re just $19.95 plus shipping. If you buy 5 or more sets the price goes down.

And after I figured out this plot thing I started writing quite a bit. So I have just a few books available. Actually 10 full lengths and several shorter things. Check them out if you feel moved to do so. And I hope you enjoyed my story.

Breaking Boundaries is my latest release. 

If you like unusual story lines with a paranormal element and a multi-genre twist. These would be for you. 

Write on,
Teresa Reasor  

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