L.E. Kokko's Tales from a disturbed mind

horror stories and dark tales from the disturbed mind of LE Kokko.

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An Explicit Mission and Opposition

Posted by LEKokko on February 12, 2017 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Chapter 3 An Explicit Mission and Opposition

Know your character, what he wants and why. Tell him no to what he wants – make it hard to obtain.

Character Goals

As mentioned before, there are two types of conflict; internal and external. A goal is a mission.

• Possession of.

• Relief from.

• Revenge for something.

There should be short and long-term goals. The short-term goals are stepping stones in achieving the long-term goals.

Set Concrete and Explicit goals.

Conflict is opposition to a character’s goal(s). External conflicts are easy to identify. The internal conflicts come from who she is as a person.

After your main characters have been established, create secondary characters and antagonists. What are their flaws and strengths? The antagonist needs motivation just like the protagonist. Your main character is only as strong as the antagonist and oppositions they encounter.

Conflict spawns Motivation for the Character’s next Decision and New Goal.

Conflict requires decisive action. When a character’s goal changes, the middle of the story will stay strong. Conflict needs to become more challenging, forcing the main character to reevaluate his goals. A way to increase opposition is when the protagonist gains new information.

 

Motivation and Realism

Posted by LEKokko on February 12, 2017 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Chapter 2 Motivation and Realism

Character Motivation

The prime motivation factor (prime motivation) is an event or series of past events that shape the character’s personality. As writers, we can create a character and then manipulate their backstory in order to tell the story we want.

Create Characters with Built-in Conflict

Use their past, needs, and fears as fertile ground to conflict. Use their strengths and weaknesses against them.Backstory + Characterizations = Motivation for every situation.

Weak or superficial motivation means weak or superficial conflict and will result in weak or superficial characters. A situation that seems impossible will make strong conflict. Conflict reveals a character’s emotions – emotions the reader can identify. If the conflict isn’t emotional for the character, it will not be emotional for the reader.

Simple and Complex Conflicts

Simple conflicts are usually internal and characterization. Complex conflicts are external and plot.

Conflict must be personalized to the character. A vague/general motivating force will result in a vague/generalized plot. Being more specific will increase the emotional impact of your story.

 

Developing Backstory

When developing a backstory, find the motivating incidents that shaped the character. These will flesh out their:

• Belief System – faith, opinions, philosophies, convictions, worldview, and ideals.

• Values – What is important to them. Wisdom, skill, simplicity, reputation, order, independence, honour, freedom, and discipline.

• Family and Friends – Develop the family and friends that build the character you want.

• Fears and Phobias – Almost everyone has a fear of some kind. Phobias cause use to avoid situations where they would have to be met.

• Prime Motivating Incident – The is what starts the character moving in the first scene.

It is important to keep your character’s backstory in mind as you write the story. Spoon-feed backstory to the reader, don’t dump it in big chunks.

Based on Writing with Emotion, Tension, & Conflict by Cheryl St. John, Writers Digest Books, F+W Media, Inc Blue Ash, Ohio 45242, 2013

 

Conflict

Posted by LEKokko on February 12, 2017 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Chapter 1 Defining Conflict

There are two kinds of conflict: internal and external. I think these are self-explanatory as to what they are.

So, what is Conflict?

Conflict is anything that hinders the hero or protagonist from obtaining his/her goals. No conflict = No story. To have a conflict, there must be a clear goal. We are often shown characters before conflict arises, this makes us care for them. In order for conflict to matter, we have to care.

Conflict is relative.

What is a conflict for one character may not be for another? To have a conflict, the character must have a believable goal. The goal must fit into one of three categories:

• Possession of something

• Relief from something

• Revenge for something

The goal must be specific and simple enough to be stated in a single sentence. We must throw obstacles in our character’s way. It can be difficult to do this, we tend to want to help our characters. But if they do not face problems, they cannot grow. In order for the reader to root for the protagonist, they have to earn their happy ending.

The different characters should face different conflicts. But in every case, they must be put into a position where they cannot retreat back to their normal life. Each obstacle should build more empathy for the character. Each problem should make sense, and still keep the protagonist moving toward his goal.

Conflict is intolerable.

Conflicts should be such that the character cannot just ignore them, he must be forced to act.

Conflict is not delayed.

We may use incidences that frustrate our character to make a situation more real. But these are not conflicts. Examples of incidences are:

• The protagonist cannot find an object or person

• Falls into mud

• Can’t find their keys

• Misses a needed ride

• Arrive after an event

Conflict is not anger, bickering, or foot stomping.

The key here is the argument and bickering must stem from believable motivation. If not the character will be shallow (okay for the antagonist but the protagonist).

Conflict is not the characters fighting with each other. It’s them fighting with themselves.

Disagreements stem from misunderstandings. Adults can usually resolve these by discussion. Conflict must be deeper than that. Now a misunderstanding can flower into something more. When a character is angry, it is usually with themselves or an unresolved issue – dig deeper.

When a character is forced to change some response foreign to his nature, there in internal conflict. If he knows he must act one way, but his instincts tell him differently, you create a three-dimensional character.

The more the conflict is built into your character, the easier the story will be to write. Conflict should be based on the character’s goals, backstory, and internal conflicts. Feelings must be part of conflict because the story is feelings.

Not all conflict is earth-shattering. Sometimes the character IS the conflict (internal). Do not create perfect characters with no flaws. What the character is doing is not as important as why they are doing it. What’s happening is not as important as how he reacts to what’s happening.

Starting your story.

Start at the point of change. There are two schools of thought:

• Start where we see the main character in his normal world first.

• Another says to start in mid-scene at a point of change, using dialogue. This is a faster pace

I prefer the first.

 

Exercise: Watch a movie, and look for differences between conflict and delay. Determine the main character’s goal. What are the obstacles that keep her from reaching that goal?

An example is given in the book:

Don’t Breathe

Three characters, attempting to rob a house of a blind man, try to escape with their lives.

Obstacles were locked doors, being shot, and chased by a mean dog. (page 20).

Cheryl St. John, Writing with Emotion, Tension, and Conflict, Writers Digest Books, Blue Ash Ohio.

 

New website

Posted by LEKokko on February 24, 2016 at 3:00 PM Comments comments (0)

As you can tell, I have revamped my site. I am in the process of pursuing a more professional attitude to my writing. This is my job, and as such I need ot treat it that way in every aspect.

Trimming the fat part 1

Posted by LEKokko on March 25, 2014 at 1:00 PM Comments comments (10)

Trimming the fat

We live in a culture obsessed with living healthy. More people frequent health spas and gyms than ever before. Gym memberships are a nineteen BILLION dollar industry with over 45 million members as of 2008 and growing.

Spin classes are wildly popular for all ages.

Just like the need to trim our body fat, us writers need to trim the fat in our stories. We are all guilty of being wordy at times, especially when the muse is shouting ideas at us so fast we can hardly keep up.

I envy my fellow authors that seem to spit out prose at an impressive rate and all of it with not so much as 1% of body fat. How, I ask myself, can they do this super heroic feat?

I know the answer, as I suspect do you; practice and experience. An athlete gets good at her sport by practicing. Arnold Schwarzenegger didn’t win Mister Universe except by exercising the right muscles and learning as much as he could about the human muscular system. Likewise, we cannot learn to trim the fat from our writing except through practice, experience, exercising our minds, and learning, as much as we can about our craft.

The first problem area we need to address is wordiness. Like practicing good eating habits, learning to say in few words where we tend to get long winded.

Here are just a few examples from each grammatical grouping starting with nouns and verbs.

Nouns-

The field of mathematics can be changed to just mathematics

The level of intelligence rose can be intelligence rose

You can get rid of these:

The amount of

The area of

The (just about anything) of

Verbs-

Do an analysis of the results can be changed to analyze the results

Usually verbs that start with do, have, is, make, provide, and serve can usually have these words removed.

Phrase containing the clauses; that is, who are, that are can likewise have these clauses omitted.

Phrases which start with It is, It was, or It will be can have them removed.

 

Welcome back

Posted by LEKokko on March 24, 2014 at 6:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Welcome back to my new/old website and blog. For some reason my other blog went bye-bye. My site was getting to expesive to maintain, so here I am, back to where I started.

Just to catch everyone up, I am still unemployed (going on 5 months now). My social security disability is still pending, my VA disablity rating is still pending, I am getting unemployment.

I am working with my puiblisher, scriptor publishing, to get my novel Blood Alley out the door and onto Kindle, Nook, and Ipad.

That's about it

Field Trip

Posted by LEKokko on August 11, 2010 at 11:58 AM Comments comments (0)

I just got back from a trip to Natchez, Mississippi. My wife wanted to visit a classmate she hadn't seen in a number of years (I'm not about to say how many).  I expected a small town with nothing much to do. Boy, I was I wrong.

 

Natchez is a pre-civil war historical site. We took a carriage ride around town,. The driver did an excelelnt job of relating the rich hetritage the town enjoys. Many of the antebellum style homes are still lived in, and are in immaculate shape - from the outside anyway.

 

The part I liked came later during the ghost tour. Eric, the guide, has spent countless hours over many years gathering and validating the darker side of Natchez. The first stop was at a bank that is being renuvated. As in any remodeling project, the spiritual residences take issue to the activity. We walked around the darkened building snapping photos in small dark rooms. On our way out, we passed the step leading to the cellar. The lights were on down there, a sight that had me a bit nervous.

 

One of the visitors asked Eric why the light was on.  His words sent chills down my spine. "I don't know, I didn't turn them on." If he didn't, who did? He then related a story about the Mississippi chapter of TAPS. They had come to investiage twice and will come a third time, this time to film. During one visit, ateam went inro the basement. There is a 20 foot (I think he said) hole in the floor. I can't remember how deep. One member went into the hole and became sick. When his teammates tried to pull him out, something grabbed his legs and tried to pull him back down.

 

Once they had him out, his blood pressure was very high, his pulse was very high, and his skin felt like he had been sitting in a freezer.  The tean told our guide not to let anyone down there, it was too dangerous.  I believe him.

 

We then passed a number of houses, listening to the stories behind each one. Toward the end of the tour, we went to the place I was looking forward to - the cemetary. We got out and wndered about taking pictures.  In several of the digitral photos I took, there are round orbs. The cemetary was completely dark, so these lights have to be spirits.

 

In all, it was a fantastic time.

 

Next on the agenda, I want ot head to West Virginia - The West Virginia Penitentiary. Here they hold classes on ghost hunting (Ghost Hunting 101). Two hours of classroom, two hours of investgating.

New group

Posted by LEKokko on August 3, 2010 at 12:46 PM Comments comments (0)

On August 17th, I will begin teaching creative writing at the Life Enrichment Center in Tampa.  The meetings will be held every Tuesday from 10 A.M. to Noon.  This is, in part, to fulfill my 50 hours of internship requirements for my MFA.  But I plan on staying on afterward, if they let me.

 

If you want ot join in, they are located at 9704 N. Boulevard, Tampa.  813 932-0241

Proud Grandpa

Posted by LEKokko on July 27, 2010 at 10:51 AM Comments comments (0)

I am the very proud grandpa of my first grandson. His name is Kayden Michael Garcia. He made his grand entrance on July 21st at 10:55 A.M. He was 33 days early, but is healthy and hungry. Check out his pictures in the Gallery.

Great news

Posted by LEKokko on July 14, 2010 at 8:24 AM Comments comments (0)

I have a job, two actually, dealing with writing.

 

The first is a "teaching" job at the Life Enrichment Center. It is really a critique group I will be heading. The center a Senior Center.  I will be there every Tuesday for a couple of hours, strating mid-August.

 

The second deals with an online literary magazine.  I am now a regular contributor to the Aegis Literary Review. You find my stories at http://aegisliteraryreview.com/ under horror.

 

I know these are not much, but I'm still excited about them.


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