Saturday, May 27, 2006

Understanding Better the Connections Between Internal and External Goals

As I take an extra week to plan my next novel, HARRY VS. THE TRUCK, focusing on internal and external goals, complications and resolutions (which, coincidentally, I'm also documenting for my last novel, THE REFLECTING STONE), I am seeing progress in increasing my understanding of the importance of both types of goals, and how they are related to each other.

I was very excited earlier this week when I was watching the season finale of "LOST" on TV, not just because it was an interesting episode, but because I saw a direct correlation between the internal and external goals of one of the characters in one of the scenes. The connection just jumped out at me, even though I wasn't thinking critically about the plot structure of the episode -- I was just watching it to enjoy it. This happens to you when you focus on the art and craft of story-telling. You end up seeing the structure in someone else's story, even if you weren't looking for it. I won't go into detail about the "LOST" scene, but it was an exciting moment for me, when I suddenly realized a deeper sense of the connectivity between external and internal goals. It's great when you can bring the two together very closely, as they did in that scene. It's interesting that there really was no new information for me in that realization -- I didn't actually learn anything I didn't already know -- I just saw what I knew about goals being played out and connected with it more deeply. My understanding of what I already know was deepening. That happens. I was able to think of my own stories, and see some examples there as well.

I am very happy that I decided to take this extra week to reflect further on external and internal goals. As I am documenting this information in THE REFLECTING STONE I am seeing the importance of planning for it up front. I am happy that I will start HARRY VS. THE STONE with a well-defined set of goals for each chapter, both external and internal, to help me keep the chapters on track. This planning work will save time later in the editing. I had a great deal of this in place in the planning of THE REFLECTING STONE, but there were a few holes, which I'm discovering now (see posting immediately prior to this one).



Devon Ellington said...

Have you ever read Terry Brooks's book on writing, SOMETIMES THE MAGIC WORKS? I highly recommend it -- it sounds like it will compliment the work you're doing.

Debra Young said...

I had a moment like that recently while watching Willem Dafoe in TO LIVE AND DIE IN LA, I think, and it gave me an exciting insight into my character Mira. I like those moments! d:)

Adrian Swift said...

Thanks for the tip on the Terry Brooks book, Devon! I will try to find a copy of that. I have been reading a few books on writing and re-reading a number of articles from published novelists that I found through their web sites (I have links to them in the sidebar of the main page). Going over these concepts again and again is helping me to take them in on a deeper level, and having done all the work of the complete draft also means I have a much more detailed or intimate connection to these concepts at this point. The more we do, the more we learn, the more we understand, the more we see, the more we can do!