In this installment on my experiences with David Farland's online workshop "Story Puzzle," I will discuss our last assignment on Treatments. (You can find Dave's workshops here.)
For Dave, it seems a treatment in this sense is different than what most people think of for a story treatment. Wikipedia (the greatest source of information in the world **please note my sarcasm**) defines a treatment as:
A film treatment (or simply treatment) is a piece of prose, typically the step between scene cards (index cards) and the first draft of a screenplay for a motion picture, television program, or radio play.
Perhaps because we're talking about a novel ... though the differences are so great I would have to ask.
For Dave, a treatment discusses the emotional beats of a story. Not so much the step-by-step beats of here she feels happy, here she feels sad, here she feels angry, but the overall emotions for the various plot lines ... and, more specifically, how we, as authors, are going to utilize those beats to create emotional pull for our potential audiences.
Here's what I mean:
In the particular story I am workshopping, the greatest emotional beat is Romance. This is because I intend on writing a romance. However, the next greatest emotional beat is Wonder because I am also writing a fantasy novel. Romance (if done correctly) should appeal to women and girls, Wonder should appeal to boys. No, I have a third emotional beat: Adventure. This emotional beat works with my male protagonist, and should appeal to men and boys alike.
The goal with this type of treatment is to create a focal point for the story to keep your target audience in mind each time you're writing a scene. Now, when I sit down to outline my scenes, I should remember these three emotional beats from my treatment and try to keep my scenes within one of the three. This isn't to say I can't have an element of mystery or suspense in the scenes, but the emotional beats I set out (romance, wonder, and adventure) should rule.
In my opinion, this was the easiest of all the assignments. I received positive feedback from Dave (which leads me to believe I did the assignment right and did a good job at that).
Now that I've gone through the workshop, the next step is to sit down and actually outline and write the story.
In my next post I'll discuss my overall reactions to the workshop.