Sunday, November 15, 2015

David Farland: My Story Doctor: Story Puzzle - Part 1

In the first lesson of David Farland's Story Puzzle (an online workshop I am taking with him -- I discuss it here), we discuss the importance of Setting in your story.

Dave has an different point of view when it comes to approaching story than any I've seen before. Since you can find this information practically anywhere online, I don't feel I am spoiling anything for Dave and his workshop by revealing that he suggests you start building your story with the setting.

Where does the story take place? What is the overall setting? Where are the smaller settings? If the story takes place on someone's farm property, will we see the hay loft as a setting, the kitchen, a horse stall? Things like this.

I took Dave's advice when I signed up for the workshop and began Story Puzzle with a fresh story -- something I had never worked before.

The approach of beginning with a setting for a story is foreign to me. I almost always begin with a character or some "wow" idea I can't shake from my brain. However, I think it's important to try new things, to break out of the box and attempt to find alternative ways to approach the same problem, so I'm glad for the challenge.

Without giving too much away, I have started with a Macro Setting (the overall world of my story) as a country called the Krása Confederacy, in which the country's capital, the city-state known also as Krása, is home to the corporatocracy government.

Like I said, this is a strange way for me to build a story. I have created all manner of micro-settings: a prison mining camp, for example, which hosts several settings itself (the prison cell in which the main character is interred, the warden's office, the bargeman's shack, the barge itself, the graveyard in the foothills above the mine, etc.). I don't honestly know if I'll use all of these micro settings, but they were fun to create.

By the end of this first lesson, I didn't feel I had a very strong grasp of the world I had created, or of the story that would come out of it. However, since Dave has written dozens of best-selling books, and helped other big name authors jump start their careers, I'm satisfied with with the knowledge he knows what he's doing, and I can trust his instincts and follow his lead for this story and this workshop.

I'll keep you posted as I follow through with the rest of the workshop over the next several weeks.