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Tuesday, February 21, 2012


I call it the Oh Well factor. When a problem arises and no solution is all wrong or all right. Or in other words, the outcome sucks both ways. Later I’ll give you an example to illustrate this.

Your characters should face the occasional no-win scenario, their Kobayoshi Maru*. That no choice is perfect. No light shining from above saying, ‘Well done’. Or that a Pit of Despair complete with ROUS* awaits them.

Do your characters face challenges that cannot be resolved?

It can demonstrate your MCs turning point, that exact moment when life will never be the same.

Submit a 500-word excerpt and we’ll roll up our sleeves and look it over.

Now for my real-life example of Oh Well in action:

I have inside cats. They get hairballs. But over time, I’ve trained all but one to leave their little presents in one room.

One isn’t grasping the concept. He continues, er, blowing his cookies somewhere other than this particular room.

My Oh Well came the day I heard that sound (never mind) that indicated Vesuvius was about to blow.

I was happy to see him doing it in the correct room.

Not so much when I realized he was doing it in my jogging shoe.

So what do I do? Yell at him and ruin weeks of training? Or praise him and clean the shoe.

I cleaned the shoe. I might throw it away.

Send a scene of conflict that has no right or wrong outcome.

*Star Trek
*Rodents Of Unusual Size—The Princess Bride


Angela Brown said...

I'm beginning the process of revising my current WiP and will have to see what choices I've placed before my characters. The main thing I remember is that things didn't end with sunshine and rainbows.

Oh, and, I have to admit that you were so good to just clean/throw awayt he jogging show :-)

Alicia Willette-Cook said...

GAH! How bad is it if I'm over by ...oh..say...50 words! *snarkedy* New to the website! Loving it!

mshatch said...

I can't believe you've got your cats trained to oopeumgoop (that's what my family calls the peculiar sound of a cat vomiting up a hairball - not sure about the spelling!) in a particular room! You should've given that cat fish for dinner!

mshatch said...

I don't see a problem with an extra 50...

Carol Riggs said...

Wow, I'm impressed you can train a cat to do that. I always just heard the terrible noise, snatched them up, and deposited them on the kitchen floor where it was easier to clean up. I did have a small apt at the time, however, which made it easier. ;o) They didn't appreciate being moved in the middle of their hurl! And hehe, long-live ROUSses! Love the Princess Bride.

Alicia Willette-Cook said...

Oh good! Now I just have to kill an extra 75! hmmmm...

Alicia Willette-Cook said...

Awesome word! Sounds like a Dr. Seuss creature!

Huntress said...

oh, don't worry about it. I LOVE to crit so 500 words, 600 words, eh.

Send it!

Huntress said...

I'm gonna need a verbal on the pronunciation.

um. On second thought, never mind.

Huntress said...

It was like I woke up one day and had three 'inside' cats. And here I sit not wanting even one.
Go figure.

One is 14 and vomit trained.
Another, the I'll-do-what-I-want-when-I-want-it is 11.
And then we have The Girl who never, ever hurls but loves the feel of wallpaper under her claws. grrrrr

Alicia Willette-Cook said...

Sent! I managed to get it down. But it needs help...HELP! (I always hear Bob Dylan's voice signing that...) Tear it up..

Brenna said...

Hey there! I'm finally making the rounds and getting to other campaigners' blogs.

Ha ha. That was an amusing post. And also, a bit inspiring.