An Author’s Inspiration Development Journal Entry 15

Story.Arcs

The maintenance of this file is for Master level users, and it is not normally distributed because An Author’s Inspiration will run with predefined story arcs.  I wasn’t sure why any Master user would want to write their own story arc, but I anticipated that this could be an useful feature.  Turns out I need it too.  Thus we focus on this part of the design at a moment of using it and testing it.

I arrived here out of necessity during the development of my own novel The Striker, X-Division Assignments.  Before going there, it will be instructive to know what a story arc is first.

For the distribution, there are 6 story arcs and they are called:

  • amazing (aka Cinderella)
  • manic (aka Oedipus)
  • adventure (aka man in the hole)
  • tragic (aka Icarus)
  • happy (aka rags to riches)
  • sad (aka riches to rags)

The first word following each bullet is a choice available to all users of An Author’s Inspiration.  What follows that word is a description for it found in writing literature (terms brought to prominence in this usage by Kurt Vonnegut).  These terms embrace a list of stress values that fill the narrative.  Using the happy (aka rags to riches) arc brings a distress to the beginning of the story and finds eustress at the end.

So, with fundamentals put aside, what does having access to my own arc design bring me?  Well, I have a (literally) short-lived character who would qualify for tragic, if he lasted for the entire length of the novel.  But, sadly, he dies several beats into the story, and a tragic arc would be conferring very positive values of stress (eustress) at this early stage instead of my intended very negative values of stress (distress) his hitting an early bottom within 3 or 4 beats.

When I was laying out story.plots, the outline generated displayed positive feelings for him, and yet he was about to be killed due to his highly negative stressed behavior.  How could I accelerate his tragic numbers?

Instead of assigning him a story arc of tragic, I needed a story arc with that accelerated plunge.  I gave it his name, and assigned it to his Personal Story characteristic in his character file.

That epiphany does not come without a cost.  In the first pass of reviewing the outline, it turns out that it has not achieved the level of design to use it (or rather to have exhibited at this stage of development).

This is not so much an issue of coding it in—which the design would readily accept—but, rather, making sure it occurs within a larger logic of the outline.  However, having been through this exercise, and epiphany, this brings some clarity to my earlier problems.

Other testing reveals a failure.  Common garden variety type of work.

More later.

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