I’ve been working on a miniature questionnaire to help take the pulse of scenes and tackle my weak points.
My plan is to hold each scene up to this template and answer all the questions. If a scene fails to provide answers, it must be fixed or thrown out.
Plot: How does the scene advance the story? What story beat does it hold?
Theme: How does the scene advance the theme? What meaning does it impart to the audience?
Characters: What is the conflict between characters? Where does the tension come from, and what does it lead to? What does each character want out of it? What are the internal motivations of the characters here? The external motivations?
That’s what I have so far. Have anything else?
I need to work on stories of monkey vs. monkey – conflict between people. So far, my stories are monkey vs. leopard – most of the conflict is people fighting a situation. Some analysts call this the difference between character-driven and plot-driven stories. I’m trying not to compromise. I want to do both at the same time.
In other news, a man who is getting paid to write a children’s book on Canadian heroes wanted to use my John McElroy essay. He declined my more than fair offer to sell it to him.
Bonus Mus musculus update:
(Well, I assume it’s Mus musculus….) The mousetraps I bought claim to attract mice with scent impregnated in cheese-shaped panels of plastic. I used two traps as is and added peanut butter to the other two. We’ll see which trap snags a rodent first.
I found a pile of dried vegetation and a few mouse droppings under Child One’s “bed” – it’s really a sofa, which she prefers to sleep on. I don’t know if the vegetation was a mouse nest or a random concentration of dead leaves and stems from her plants in that corner of the room.