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Welcome to DreamCasters, a DreamForge discussion group devoted to helping our members improve their writing and storytelling through discussion and sharing expertise.
DreamForge Anvil Issue 7 is Online and eBooks are Available. Our theme is “The Meaning of Life,” and we have stories by Grant Carrington, C.J. Peterson, Tammy Komoff, Michael Zahniser, David Hankins, Marisca Pichette, Elena Pavlova, and DreamCaster Crystal Crawford.
DreamCaster Angelique Fawns has done a great interview with JANET HUTCHINGS FROM ELLERY QUEEN MYSTERY MAGAZINE.
One of my favorite lines:
“People tend to think they need to provide backstory, as if we need to know the background of the character or the background to the situation. That’s rarely the case. You’d be surprised how little information you need to give a reader, because they’re going to fill a lot of it in themselves.”
Hmmm… Also “what’s more important than the subject of a story is how well it’s developed. Skilled writers can take virtually any subject and make it new.”
Good job, Angelique!
DreamCasters, get us your sales announcements for the month and we’ll congratulate anyone with a new sale or upcoming publication.
Made a sale to Ty Drago at ALLEGORY – a free-to-read online magazine of SF, Fantasy and Horror. Her fantasy short is: “The Guanche, The Iguana, and The Kidnapping of Anita Brown.” (which is a pretty cool title)
Angelique also interviewed JANET HUTCHINGS FROM ELLERY QUEEN MYSTERY MAGAZINE. https://www.fawns.ca/2022/04/01/janet-hutchings-from-ellery-queen-mystery-magazine/
Dave announced that “Keith over at Savage Planets has picked up a story of mine and helped with some great edits.” Dave, send us that link when it is online and we’ll help promote it.
If you’re not familiar with Daily Science Fiction, check it out at https://dailysciencefiction.com/submit/story/guidelines. Daily Science Fiction (DSF) is a market accepting speculative fiction stories from 100 to 1,500 words in length. By this we mean science fiction, fantasy, slipstream, etc.
After our current round of writing out Orientations and Character introductions, the next step in the Great DreamCaster Bakeoff competition involves starting on your conflicts, and since we’re using a Conflict Template, let’s talk about Conflicts and devise some on the spot examples. One key thing, which I’ve always assumed was clear, but may indeed not have been. When we say “Conflict One, Two, and Three,” they are not really 3 completely distinct conflicts. When you’re dealing with inter-character conflicts, there’s really only one core conflict (the one between two characters). There are events that escalate it through 3 levels. Think of it this way. In our Robus template we dealt with a character weakness. The weakness was a core element throughout, and the escalating problems or obstacles were designed to stress that character weakness. In our conflict template, you have two characters you put at odds with one another. That core conflict remains the same throughout your tale. Run with that, and make three levels, in which various incidents escalate that interpersonal conflict to the breaking point. So, let’s call them “Conflict Level One…” etc.
This is conflict between two characters. It need not be good against bad. If the protagonist was in charge of the lion cage, and the lion got out, the protagonist can be in conflict with their boss. The boss wants the lion put down and the protagonist fired. The protagonist would like to not lose their job and save the lion. That’s a conflict.
In Conflict One, the protagonist TAKES ACTION to solve the problem in what seems an easy way. For a second, it looks like the problem and the conflict have been solved. But really, all they have done is lay the foundation for a worse conflict – Conflict Two.
i.e. – the protagonist lures the lion into the office trailer and slams the door. Problem solved. Unfortunately, the boss’s baby is in the trailer.
Continuing the example, no matter what is happening with the lion, that is not the conflict. The conflict is between the characters. The action with the lion only serves to heighten or bring sharp contrast to the Conflict.
The protagonist thought they were solving the problem by luring the lion into the boss’s office trailer. But the boss’s baby is in there. Conflict between the protagonist and the boss has been heightened. Boss fires the protagonist.
Again, the protagonist must find a way to solve the problem, or rather, think they have solved the problem.
Even though they have been fired, they get one of the tranquilizer guns, sneak up to the trailer window and shoot the lion. (problem solved?)
The protagonist used the wrong dart; it has a low tranquilizer dose. Worse, it has colorful fletching that, as it bobs, attracts the laughing baby toward the lion. By now the police are on scene and the boss has the protagonist arrested. (situation mounting toward climax)
Protagonist must escape the police, release many other zoo animals to cause confusion, and personally enter the trailer to rescue the baby. Imagine your own dramatic rescue, but the protagonist exits the trailer successfully and returns the baby to the boss. The lion finally falls asleep and is recaptured. The boss is still livid with rage, but the protagonist is now a national hero on TV. In the conflict between boss and protagonist, the protagonist has won.
If it helps, think of the whole action with the lion as a chemical catalyst helping the reaction (the conflict) move forward at a dramatic pace.
By random dice roll, we will give away two prizes. First is the March issue of Galaxy’s Edge magazine, in which DreamCaster Z.T. Bright is credited as a slush reader. And a copy of Annapolis to Andromeda, a short story collection from Grant Carrington, whose story THE SWEET APOCALYPSE TRAVELLING MEDICINE SHOW & GYPSY CARAVAN is a new tale in DreamForge Anvil #7.
We’ll give out a couple story prompts that might be interesting to explore.
Meeting Ends. Thank You All!
For May, we’re working on bringing in a new Guest Speaker