Ah-hah Moment: “Something’s not working, so let me stand back and play it up against a few known methodologies. Let me shake out my brain, get fresh, consider options.”
“Plump up your scenes from the smorgasbord of key characteristics of openings.”
I also listened to one of Michael Hauge’s lectures about story structure where he used Shrek as the example and found it really helpful.
Example D has Scene, Sexual Tension, and Character’s Thoughts and an implicit Question (why is he the one and what is he the one for? I hope to escape this repressive system).
One of my favorite openings is Sophie Kinsella’s The Undomestic Goddess. It has voice and humor and action and shows how her character is in denial. I think it correlates mostly to Character’s Thoughts (but she is filling out a questionnaire for a massage (last year’s birthday present from her best friend) so there’s Action and a question is raised because you know the character is in denial and needs to get a life):
Would you consider yourself stressed?
No. I’m not stressed.
I’m . . .busy. Plenty of people are busy. I have a high-powered job, my career is important to me, and I enjoy it.
Ok. So sometimes I do feel a bit tense. But I’m a lawyer in the City, for God’s sake. What do you expect?
My handwriting is pressing so hard into the page, I’ve torn the paper. Dammit. Never mind. Let’s move on to the question.
On average, how many hours do you spend in the in the office every day?
14 12 8
Do you exercise regularly?
I regularly go swimming. I occasionally go swim
I am intending to begin a regular regime of swimming. When I have time. Work’s been busy lately. It’s a blip.