• Blog Stats

    • 479,766 Reads
  • Contact Me

    joanyedwards1@gmail.com
  • Pub Sub to Publishers or Agents

  • Joan's Elder Care Guide Third Place, Favorite Non-Fiction Book in 2016, P&E Poll

  • Buy Now: 4RV Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Park Road Books

  • Draft cover

  • Copyright Notice

    Copyright © 2009-2017
    Joan Y. Edwards and her licensors.

    Active since 0ctober 9, 2009. Thank you for reading and leaving comments on my blog.

    Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this
    material without express and written permission
    from Joan Y. Edwards is strictly prohibited.

    Excerpts and links may be used, provided that
    full and clear credit is given to Joan Y. Edwards
    with appropriate links to the original content.

Setups and Payoffs Add Fears and Hopes


setups and payoffs_j

“Setups and Payoffs Add Fear and Hope” by Joan Y. Edwards

I’ve read a number of books and taken courses about novel writing and screenwriting. They all mention the importance of set-ups and payoffs in novels and movies. So just what is a setup and how do you make it pay off? We know what it feels like when someone sets us up for defeat in real life. 

In the dictionary, a setup is when the author uses a symbol, an event, or a prop to signify something that’s about to happen in the main character’s life…a symbol of the past that may change in the future to give hope or cause defeat. Setups are significant to the main character’s current bad situation or responsible for helping them rise above the problem. 

Here’s something I learned from reading Chris Soth’s Million Dollar Screenwriting – The Mini Movie Method.  In your book or movie script, you want your characters to go from fear to hope…from hope to fear…from fear to hope, etc. When your character’s situation goes from fear to hope, the reader sighs with satisfaction. When the plot goes from hope to fear, the readers feel tension and are afraid for your main character. They relate to the emotions of the main character.

So the mention of things or showing them, are they symbols of past defeat? Hope for the future success? Will these situations be overcome? Will the main character defeat fear in the final hour of the story? How? Will these set-ups play a part in it? What will have to change before the main character defeats the enemy? Set it up.

Setups may scare us. Danger for the main character from the past, the present, or the future. Setups create or set up a mood, build up a desired emotion.

Payoffs ease your mind.  Payoffs may be payback time for the bad guy. Payoffs may be when the main character wins at something. A small success.  

Possible things to use as set-ups to add fear or hope to your story.

Prop
Place
Weather
Hopeless situation
Future event
Clothing
Sidekick
Relationship
C
ompetition
Warning

If a doll that Jane had in 5th grade isn’t significant for the story, don’t mention it. Everything and everyone mentioned in a story has to have significance to the story. If a character, prop, or event has no significance to your plot or character formation, cut it out.

In the movie, Better Off Dead, with John Cusack as Lane Meyer a teenage boy who’s devastated because his girlfriend dumps him.  The paperboy comes to collect the $2.00 for the subscription to the paper. However, Lane’s parents aren’t home and he doesn’t have any money. The paperboy creates a lot of havoc because he throws the paper and it breaks a window in the garage door. So if the truth was known, the paperboy might owe them more money than the two dollars. This is a set up for the paperboy to ride on his bike and follow the lead character everywhere saying, “I want my two dollars.” Without that one scene where they show that the main character doesn’t have the money, we wouldn’t understand the humor in “I want my two dollars. 

In Shawshank Redemption at the beginning they set up the Bible as being important to Andy. At the end we find out that one of the reasons, the Bible is so important to him is that it contains a hammer with which he digs his way out of prison. It sets up that the men in the prison are important to Andy and for that reason he goes out on a limb to play music for them over the P.A. system and doesn’t care what repercussions happen to him as a result. He gets them a library so they can learn. It’s so clever when the story tells about how he’s invented a character to doctor up the books for the head of the prison to make a bunch of money illegally. A fictional character…the big payoff at the end is that he uses that made up character for his identity when he escapes. Great setups and payoffs throughout this movie. 

Back to the Future with Michael J. Fox has many setups and payoffs. Marty McFly sees  how pathetic his father is and how Biff Tannen bullies his father. At the end of the movie, payoff is that going back to the past, changed the present condition of his family.  Biff is no longer able to bully, Marty’s father. Lane’s town is restoring the clock tower from the damage of the lightning strike in 1955. Aha, that’s the year the Doc Brown’s time machine gets stuck.  So many details from the present are shown in the past and vice versa. It’s fun and fascinating to watch…very satisfying to see the great payoffs.

I hope my explanation helps you understand how to use setups and payoffs to create and release tension in your stories. If not, I believe reading the resources listed below will help you get the idea embedded in your mind so that you can use it to make your story better by keeping your readers on the edge of their seats. I listed the resources beginning with the ones I found most useful. All of them were useful.

Look at your favorite book or movie, one you’ve read or watched many times. What are the significant setups and payoffs you remember from it? Things that scared you and things that eased your mind. Please share. 

COMMENT

Never Give Up
Live with Enthusiasm
Celebrate Each Step You Take

Please check out my books:
Flip Flap Floodle, Will this little duck’s song save him from Mr. Fox?
Joan’s Elder Care Guide published by 4RV Publishing

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards

***************************************************

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join over 417 Valued Subscribers and receive entertaining, encouraging posts PLUS 3 free gifts:

  1. Never Give Up image
  2. 20 Affirmations for Writers
  3. Ten Time Savers for Writers and Illustrators

 

Resources in the order I found them useful. The most useful is at the beginning.

  1. Copyblogger. “Open Loops:” https://www.copyblogger.com/open-loops-2/ Use the Movie Up
  2. Save the Cat. “Examples of Great Set-ups and How They Pay Off:” http://www.savethecat.com/tools/examples-of-great-set-ups-and-how-they-pay-off
  3. Writer with Tools. “Setups and Payoffs: What are they?” http://writeswithtools.com/2015/04/13/setups-and-payoffs-what-are-they/
  4. Copyblogger.The Blockbuster Secret to Seducing Your Audience:” https://www.copyblogger.com/open-loops/
  5. The 15 Minute Movie Method. “Setups and Payoffs:” http://15minutemoviemethod.com/setups-and-payoffs
  6. Elizabeth Amy Hajek. Elenatintil Blog. “Fast Writing: Tracking Set-ups and Pay-offs:” http://elenatintil.blogspot.com/2017/06/writing-set-ups-and-pay-offs.html
  7. Actionromanceintrigue. “Screenwriting setups and payoffs are best as cause and effect:” https://actionromanceintrigue.com/screenwriting-setups-payoffs-cause-and-effect/
  8. Back to the Future wiki. “Setup and Payoff:” http://backtothefuture.wikia.com/wiki/Setup_and_payoff
  9. LinkedIn Learning. video. Writing: The Craft of Story. “Story check (Setups, payoffs, and the clues in between):” https://www.linkedin.com/learning/writing-the-craft-of-story/story-check-setups-payoffs-and-the-clues-in-between
  10. Reddit. “What are some of your favorite setups and payoffs?” https://www.reddit.com/r/Screenwriting/comments/2nrz71/what_are_some_of_your_favorite_setups_and_payoffs/
Advertisements

15 Ways to Get Out of the Dark Side of Emotions


Copyright © 2015 Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2015 Joan Y. Edwards

“15 Ways to Get Out of the Dark Side of Emotions” by Joan Y. Edwards

I’m sure you’ve found yourself experiencing the dark side of emotions. It’s like you’re completely surrounded by dark thoughts that you may keep secret from others: abandonment, addiction, anger, arrogance, blame, criticism, defensiveness, emotional pain, fear, frustration, gluttony, gossip, guilt, gluttony, helpless, holding grudges, impatience, judgment, lack, lust, repulsiveness to body, prejudice, regret, resentment, road rage, self-righteousness which to me means stress for the body, mind, and spirit.

How can you lift yourself out of the doldrums into the land of positive thoughts: feeling of belonging, freedom, acceptance, humility, love, abundance, living with purpose, feeling worthy of care, good health, wealth, healing, and joy?

The first thing to do is accept that you’re in the pits. The second thing is to believe it’s okay to be there. The third thing is to take action in your mind and with your body to get yourself out.

Here are a few ideas to help change your focus. When you change your focus. You’ll change your mood.

  1. Be thankful. Name aloud or in your mind, a long list of things for which you are thankful.
  2. Make a list of 5 things that need doing around the house or at work that can be done in a short amount of time (5 to 10 minutes). Doing one or more of these items will give you a sense of accomplishment which will improve your mood.
  3. Listen to your favorite music. If you’re in an area where you can’t disturb others, use earplugs. Make a CD of your favorite songs.
  4. Love yourself.
  5. Go dig in the dirt. Dirt is grounding. Make a new flower bed. Get the weeds out of the flower bed you have now.
  6. Drink a glass of water. Being hydrated helps you think clearly.
  7. Take a bath or a shower.
  8. Write out new goals and ways to reach them.
  9. Watch your favorite movies.
  10. Give yourself a certain time limit to be sad and enjoy a pity party.
  11. Call a friend who is upbeat and accepting of you.
  12. Work a puzzle.
  13. Create something in your favorite colors.
  14. Fix your favorite foods.
  15. Walk or do other exercise for 15 minutes.

Monitor your thoughts and your words.Look for some subconscious belief you have that may have been responsible for part of your situation. If you can change your thoughts, words, and beliefs, you will change the way things are happening in your life.

Let me explain. My husband, Carl, was sick at Christmas time for four or five years in a row. Maybe more. In 2010 I heard him say, “I always get sick at Christmas.”

Think about how powerful his words were. That was his belief.  Not consciously until he became aware of it. Once I asked him if that’s what he wanted, he changed his words both outside and within himself and he hasn’t been sick at Christmas since then.

If you’re like me, you catch yourself saying, “I can’t do that.” Our brains are like computers and they want us to be right, so they search the world for experiences that reflect our inner beliefs.  So when you try to do things,  you can’t do them simply because you say that you can’t do them.

When I taught Kindergarten at Hemby Bridge School in Indian Trail, North Carolina, there was a set of monkey bars. Students loved to climb across it hanging by their hands and arms on each rung as they glided across. However, I’d noticed several students falling and getting hurt. I monitored the monkey bars. I told the students: To cross the monkey bars, you have to be able to tell me that you can do it. They would line up and say, “I want to cross the monkey bars.”

I asked them, “Can you do it?”

If they answered, “Yes, I can do it,” I allowed them to climb across it.

If they answered, “I can’t do it,” I told them I couldn’t let them cross and perhaps break an arm or something. Their parents would be ticked off with me. I told them to watch and study how the others crossed the monkey bars. When you have figured it out and think you can cross, let me know.

One of my kindergarteners wanted to cross but she told me she couldn’t do it. After she studied the others for about 15 minutes, she said, “I can do it.”

I told her, “Okay. Go ahead and do it.”

And she did. Everyone clapped for her. She was ecstatic and so were we.

What had she done? She had changed her belief system.

That’s what you might need or want to do, too.  Change your belief system.

Say, “I can do it.” Educate yourself. Practice the skills. Do it in your mind first. Visualize yourself being successful. Take a leap of faith.  Do it.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. Please share how you get out of the doldrums. Remember you are a gift from God to our world. I am glad you are here.

Of course, you can use these same ideas to get your main character out of the doldrums, too.

If you liked this blog post, you might also enjoy my blog post:

“Twelve Ways to Get Over Disappointment:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2012/06/25/twelve-ways-to-get-over-disappointment/

Celebrate you.
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2015 Joan Y. Edwards

******************************

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


273 Subscribers. When you subscribe you’ll receive new blog posts filled with inspiration and information in your inbox as soon as Joan uploads them PLUS 2 free gifts: 12 Affirmations for Writers and a Never Give Up image. Thank you.

How to Get Out of Fear’s Trap


Fear Image Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards

Fear Image Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards

“How to Get Out of Fear’s Trap” by Joan Y. Edwards

Fear is an emotional response to danger. It doesn’t matter if it’s real or imagined fear. The fear response can be the same.

Fear is like a big strong powerful balloon. The more you feed it, the stronger it gets. It gets bigger and bigger. Your imagination envisions things now or in the future as having more power than they deserve. It pulls you inside this balloon.  It traps you. You have to go where it leads you. Fear is not reason-based. It is a mixture of rumor, hype, a small amount of truth, and a huge amount of emotion. Knowledge deflates fear.

Bjorn Secher a great motivator and business man wrote Your Appointment with Success: The Way to Get Rich, In it he said, “Fear and worry stem from ignorance,” 

Something you believe about a situation may not be true. It’s possible that the end result isn’t going to be as bad as you believe. It’s possible that you could die any day of your life. God calls us at inopportune times. Why is this particular situation scaring you? Instead of dying, you may survive. Plan to survive.

ACCEPT YOUR SITUATION AS IT IS.

Accept that both things are possible. Then decide what you want to happen and take steps to make it happen. Believe that you are going to be safe.

Focus on your being able to live.

Focus on living.

How do you get out of this trap of fear and worry? The very best way to get out of a trap of fear and worry is to obtain as much information about what you fear as possible. Check it out. Investigate.

What are you afraid of? Name it.

What have others done?

What do the experts say?

What are your choices?

Look for ways to live.

Look for ways to live.

Choose the best steps for you.

Focus on living.

Keep calm. When you are calm, your brain receives all the blood supply it needs. When your emotions are out of whack, your brain gets blood, but works on figuring out how to fight or how to make a flight from the situation. Your brain might not  receive the oxygen it needs for thinking clearly. FRIGHT puts your body in fight or flight mode which means that all the blood supply to the part of the brain that handles your muscles. It’s not used in the cells of the brain that thinks through things in a calm manner.

You say to me, WHAT?THAT CAN’T BE TRUE.

I witness it in myself. When I panic, I don’t think straight. Think about you. When you get angry with someone, are you able to think calmly and rationally? I don’t think so.

Anger is one form of fear. You are afraid someone might do something they did again. You want to control the situation. You might be afraid someone’s actions means they don’t love you. The trouble is your emotions are in charge when you are angry or afraid. No rational thinking in a calm manner.

That’s why in case of a fire, you train yourself to stay calm. Business leaders, airline stewardesses, and teachers train you to stay calm and follow the plan that you’ve practiced…the fire drill, or the safety things the stewardess tells you at the beginning of your flight. Teachers ask children to make a safety plan for home to decide what path they will take out of their homes in case of fire. Prepare for safety.

One of the saddest stories I heard was about a fire in the Iroquois Theater in Chicago in 1903. The builder boasted that it was a fireproof building. However, hundreds of people died because the doors had iron gates and people couldn’t get out. The curtains burned. Safety stuff promised had not been installed at the time of the opening. Even when there were flames, the actors didn’t tell people to go. It was a disaster:  http://www.weirdchicago.com/iroquois.html

Or the Titanic where the builder said the ship couldn’t be sunk and they didn’t even have life boats for all the passengers:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RMS_Titanic

Or consider that your mind can play tricks on you. A man locked inside a refrigerator car thinks he is going to freeze to death and dies even when the refrigerator car is actually at least 60 degrees, the refrigeration system was not turned on:  http://findersdigest.com/content/nick-froze-himself-death

Compare this to the calmness of the crew and passengers on the airplane which is dubbed The Miracle on the Hudson: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1384358/

Or the woman who talks down a gunman and talks him into giving himself up to police: Was she afraid? Yes. However, she stayed calm: http://www.npr.org/2013/08/22/214576953/911-call-captures-school-employee-talking-down-gunman

Finding ways to calm your fears is healthy and will help you live a long life.

  1. Steve Pavilanis (You Tube Video) How can I Calm Myself Down When You Panic from fear in 10 seconds? A Life Less Anxious http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xI3sVuH7rms
  2. Steve Pavilanis: (first 55 pages free of A Life Less Anxious: http://www.alifelessanxious.com/allasqz1
  3. Three Effective Anxiety Breathing Exercises: http://www.calmclinic.com/anxiety/treatment/breathing-exercises
  4. Exercise can calm anxiety from fear: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/03/how-exercise-can-calm-anxiety/?_r=0

Find out what happens to your body when you are afraid:

  1. Kid’s Health.org. “Being Afraid:” http://kidshealth.org/kid/feeling/emotion/afraid.html
  2. Anxiety Coach.com. “Panic Disorder:” http://www.anxietycoach.com/panicdisorder.html
  3. Julia Layton. How Stuff Works.com. “How Fear Works:” http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/fear.htm

Enjoy living! Good luck in getting yourself out of the grips of fear. Please let me know what has worked to help you get out of fear’s trap?

157 Subscribers

Sign up for an email subscription from the left-hand column for a free Never Give Up logo image. When I reach 200 subscribers, I’ll give a free MP3 recording of positive affirmation statements to all who subscribe to my blog.

Thank you for being here. I am glad you are alive and here with me.

Look for ways to live.

Never Give Up
Focus on Living

Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards

Make Your Character’s Actions Show Emotions


“Make Your Character’s Actions Show Emotions” by Joan Y. Edwards

Action Shows EmotionPublic Domain by Tjoepoe FreeStockPhotos.biz.png

Action Shows Emotion
Public Domain by Tjoepoe FreeStockPhotos.biz

When you were in grade school, your teachers probably told you to tell the emotions of the character. You probably wrote simple emotion words. She was mad, frightened, happy, excited, etc. This pleased your teachers. Now, as a professional writer, that’s no longer an acceptable option in the final version to submit to a publisher. What do you do now?

In Wikipedia Richard Lazarus’ theory states that emotion is a disturbance that happens like this:

  1. What’s Happening? What does it mean to you? This cues the mind to choose an emotion.
  2. Your Body Changes according to the emotion chosen to suit the situation: increased heart rate, and adrenalin to handle the situation – fight or flight.
  3. Action – The person feels the emotion and chooses how to react.

Sometimes our mind makes mistakes with its reasoning. Motivational speakers tell stories about people who worry themselves to death. They also tell how if you’re afraid of something, your fear will attract it to you. On Snopes I found the legend Bob Proctor told about a man who got locked inside a refrigerated train car. He thought he was freezing. He wrote a note telling his family and friends  how he was freezing and  his fingers and toes were numb. What he didn’t realize was that yes, he was in a refrigerated car, but it wasn’t activated. It was 65 degrees in there. Be careful what you believe. Anchor your beliefs in truth.

Even though you and the man down the street have the same experiences, it doesn’t compute in your minds the same way. Your gut reaction is not the same. It’s also true about husbands and wives, best friends, and co-workers. What you believe about your experiences, determines your emotions. That is powerful. The same thing is true for each of your characters. In your story, if you put 42 people on a bus and it wrecks, not all of them will react in the same way. They are all sitting in a different seat on the bus. They would also have 42 different opinions. As a result, they could have 42 different emotions triggered by the wreck. They could act 42 different ways.

Below are five examples of what I call “Plain Jane” telling sentences, followed by five “Dazzling Dan” sentences showing the effects of the emotion – the actions.

1. Amanda was angry.
Amanda screamed. She picked up the tall trash can with the foot-long rat in it and threw it down the steps and slammed the door. No rat was going to stay in her apartment without paying rent.

2. Steven was tired.
Toothpicks propped Steven’s eyes open and his shoulders drooped to the floor, but he stayed up to watch the voting results on the midnight news.

3. Bruce was happy.
Bruce danced around the coach. He smiled and gave high-fives to his teammates.

4. Olivia was sad.
Olivia sat in a chair covered with a week-old newspaper with the obituary page over her face. She pitched a fourth empty box of tissues on the floor. She pushed the button on her stereo to play the same song she listened to all night: “When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder.”

5. Tom was scared.
Tom closed the blinds. He checked the locks three times. He hid under his bed and prayed what he hoped was not his last prayer.

Check your manuscripts using Search and Find for the regular emotion words: joy, sorrow, fear, hate, angry, sad, joyful, afraid, fearful, hate, etc. While writing, pretend that you and your characters are playing “Charades.” You can’t say the “emotion” word. You can only act it out. Make your character’s actions show their emotions.

Thank you for reading this blog post. If you leave a comment or even better, share one of your “Plain Jane” sentences and its revised “Dazzling Dan” version before midnight April 26, 2013, I’ll put your name in a hat to win a free pitch and 1000 word critique or a free copy of my world-famous picture book, Flip Flap Floodle. I’ll use Random.org to choose the winner.

Join the 119 subscribers to my blog. To receive an email when I post my next article, click “Sign Me Up” in the left hand column. In the WordPress confirmation letter, I put a link and password for you to receive a free logo that says: Never Give Up Build It One Block at a Time. It’s my gift to you for subscribing to my blog. Thank you.

Good luck with all your writing endeavors and every phase of your life.

Accept yourself as you are. Celebrate you every day.
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards

Put Universal Conflict, Theme, and Emotions in Your Story


“Put Universal Conflict, Theme, and Emotions in Your Story” by Joan Y. Edwards

Editors ask: What is the universal theme of your story? information book? article? poem?

What do you answer? Are you clueless? Perhaps I can help.

I went to the Oregon Coast Children’s Book Writers Workshop in Oceanside, Oregon from July 12-16, 2010. I was sharing a poem I wrote. The editor wanted to know what was my poem’s universal theme. What I had thought was a universal theme was really not universal. It was regional or subjective. Therefore, I did research to find out more about the subject of universal theme.

But first you have to know what your conflict is. To gain more readership, make your conflict one of the universal conflicts listed below.
What does the main character want that he cannot get or have?
Conflicts:
Conflict adds excitement and suspense to the story.
What disturbed him beyond belief? What is the cause of distress for the main character?
What disrupts the business as usual of the main character?
What happens that the main character may try to ignore but cannot? He has to deal with this problem, internally and externally.

The internal conflict comes when the main character has to choose between two solutions to the problem: one moral, one immoral; one against his family rules; one against club’s rules; one that might hurt his friend, one that might hurt himself; one that might win the trust of his friends, one that would make him untrustworthy, one that makes him a liar, one that makes him tell the truth; mixed emotions add the tension to the story and make people want to read it to find out what the main character decided to do and what the consequences were for his actions….did it bring him closer to the goal, or bring him to his last breath.

Universal Conflicts
In a story you have one of the following universal conflicts played out:
Archetypes
Man against Man
Man against Self
Man against Nature
Man against Society
Man against Family
Man against the Universe
Man against Machines
Man against Institutions
Man against God
Man against Time
Man against Destiny

Never fear: Your story will probably fit into one of the universal conflicts listed above.

Goals Main Characters Struggle for, Search for, Need, Want
Acceptance, Admiration, Ambition, Approval, Attention, Authority, Awareness, Beauty. Belief, Belonging, Choices, Commitment, Community, Compassion, Cooperation, Courage, Dedication, Dream, Education, Equality, Experience, Faith, Family, Friendship, Godly love, Good, Gratitude, Heroes /Heroic Figures and Actions, Honesty, Honor, Hope, Human Relationships, Humor, Identity, Independence, Individuality, Innocence, Justice, Laughter, Law and Order, Live forever, Love, Loyalty, Marriage, Money, Morality,
Nature, Nonviolence, Passion, Peace, Perseverance, Possibilities, Power, Principles, Rebirth, Redemption, Religion, Respect, Responsibility, Romance, Sex, Spiritual enlightenment, Success, Taxes, Time, Trust, Truth, Understanding.

Forces Opposing Main Character, Keep Him from Reaching His Goal, Struggle Against, Has to Triumph Over, Doesn’t Want, Opposite of Goal, Perils of, What the Main Character Doesn’t want:
Accusation, Alienation, Ambition, Authority, Beliefs, Betrayal, Blame, Challenge, church, Coming of Age, Competition, Corruption, Country, County, Court, Crime, Death, Deception, Despair, Destruction, Disallusionment of adulthood, Disapproval, Distrust, Envy, Etiquette, Evil, Faith, Family, Fate, Fear, Forbidden, Freedom, Future, Government, Greed, Grief, Guilt, Handicap, Hatred, Hospital, Initiation, Injustice, Institutions, Jail, Jealousy, Justice, Lack of compassion, Lies, Loss, Materialism, Nation, Nature, Nature as dangerous, Oppression, Past, Power, Persecution, Poverty, Prejudice, Pride, Prison, Problems, Punishment, Rebelling, Rejection, Religion, Responsibility, Revenge, Rules, Sacrifice, Schools, Self-Doubt, Shame, Society, Taxes, Time, Town, Tragedy, Vengeance, Village, Vulnerability, War.

After you finish writing your story or when you’ve finished your outline, what has your main character learned from his conflict? What did the main character learn in his battle against one of the conflicts listed above? This is the theme. Make it a universal theme shared by all mankind, so that all of mankind will want to read your book.

The Universal Theme
The universal theme is the story’s (author’s) view about life and how people behave. It is the statement the story makes about society, human nature, or the human condition that the author wants to convey to readers. It’s an observation about life that can apply to any and everyone representing the conflicts, dreams, hopes, and fears across cultures and continents, and from generation to generation. It could be the moral to the story, a teaching, or an observation. It transcends race, gender, sexual preference, and creed. Some examples are love, peace, friendship, and other concepts about life.

Universal themes exist because people worldwide go through the common human experiences of being born, experiencing anguish and joy, and dying come from emotions and that touch and can apply to any and all cultures, genders, ages, sexual preference, creeds, geography, historical periods, and genres.

The universal theme is the story’s (author’s) view about life and how people behave in a particular situation. It is a statement the story makes about society, human nature, or the human condition through the author’s words and characters. The theme is universal when it transcends race, gender, sexual preference, creed. cultures, continents, and generations representing the conflicts, dreams, hopes, and fears such as: love, peace, friendship, and other concepts about life that can apply to any and everyone.

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Conflict of Nature against death
You do not have to worry about dying and death. It’s a natural thing.

Law and Order Television Series by Dick Wolf
Conflict of Good over Evil – Dick Wolf presents both sides of the issues
Even with the latest technology and evidence, police and district attorneys do not always win their cases against evil.

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Love against society, family, death
Love can be so passionate that one would prefer death to living without the loved one.

Here are links I went to find information about universal themes:
http://www.orangeusd.k12.ca.us/yorba/literary_elements.htm
http://www.life123.com/parenting/education/children-reading/12-most-common-themes-in-literature.shtml
http://www.dcmp.org/guides/9467.pdf

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081022125536AAzRGHD
http://www.episcopalacademy.org/FileBank/Eax_FileBank_FileName_9697_K051J82.pdf
http://www.authorstream.com/Presentation/tccampa-65525-literary-themes-literature-education-ppt-powerpoint/
www.joyet.biz/downloads/Genres_vs_Themes.ppt

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_do_you_conclude_the_sentence_that_begins_’Universal_themes_in_literature_exist_because_people_worldwide’&alreadyAsked=1&rtitle=Universal_themes_in_literature_exist_because_people_worldwide

Universal Emotions

Emotions Are Universal.

Put emotions in your story. It makes your characters come alive. One way to make your story have universal appeal is to add the tension of opposing emotions. We all feel mixed emotions every day. Should we do this? We shouldn’t do that. It’s smart to do this. How could I be so stupid? How could he be so naive? What’s the wisest choice? What are my choices? Do I get a choice? When a character has two or three choices and none of them are very good, it’s tension time for reading and living, and it makes the reader want to turn the page.

All people experience emotions. Putting believable emotions into your story will help it reach more readers.

Here are Paul Ekman’s Big Six Emotions
Anger
Disgust
Fear
Happiness
Sadness
Surprise

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_emotions
Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions Robert Plutchik used the above six emotions and added two others below:
Acceptance
Anticipation

Ekman’s Eleven Other Basic Emotions
Amusement
Contempt
Contentment
Embarrassment
Excitement
Guilt
Pride in achievement
Relief
Satisfaction
Sensory pleasure
Shame

The Sedona Method by Hale Dwoskin gives nine emotions
Nine Emotions
Acceptance
Anger
Apathy
Courageousness
Fear
Grief
Lust
Peace
Pride

Nine States of Emotional Empowerment by Swati Chopra
http://www.lifepositive.com/Mind/Emotions/Nine_states_of_Emotional_empowerment92004.asp

Swati Chopra from New Delhi, India says the nine rasas are:
Distress (hunger, discomfort)
Happiness
Satisfaction

Love
Compassion
Awe
Peace
Laughter
Valour
Fear
Disgust
Anger

Here are websites with information about emotions:

http://library.thinkquest.org/25500/index2.htm Great gives text descriptions of body when feeling 6 basic emotions
http://www.clipartguide.com/_search_terms/feelings.html Great! Pictures matched with emotions
http://www.feelingfacescards.com/
http://www.face-and-emotion.com/dataface/emotion/expression.jsp
http://www.eqi.org/fw.htm
http://www.eqi.org/cnfs.htm
http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_emotions

I hope you enjoyed my blog post. I hope I enlightened you, rather than confused you. Please let me know if I helped you make your writing appeal to more people, to make it more universally appealing. Capture this universal appeal and you’ll capture an editor’s heart!

If you haven’t subscribed to my blog, I would be honored if you would. The sixth person to subscribe to my blog after May 12, 2010 from the left hand column where it says, “Sign Me Up Here,” will receive a free paperback copy of my book, Flip Flap Floodle, a little duck who never gives up on his song. Don’t give up on your writing. Never Give Up on winning and resolving conflicts that come your way.

You are a published author in your mind, before you get that way on paper.  You can do it. Yes, you can.

Please write a comment below. Click on comment and scroll down to the bottom of the page.

COMMENT

Never Give Up
Live with Enthusiasm
Celebrate Each Step You Take

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2010-2016 Joan Y. Edwards

Posted on

***************************************************

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join over 360 Valued Subscribers and receive entertaining, encouraging posts PLUS 3 free gifts:

  1. Never Give Up image
  2. 20 Affirmations for Writers
  3. Ten Time Savers for Writers and Illustrators

Does Your Anger Leave You Sizzling?


Does your anger leave your sizzling or help you toward your goal? Chances are if you are sizzling with anger, you need to do stress relievers so you can think. If you’re sizzling, this means you are in emotional overdrive. All your oxygen and blood is going to your muscles for fight or flight…the brain is not in control.

Change what you are doing. Go to a different place. Write out all your feelings on a piece of paper or in a journal. Run in place for 10 minutes. Take a nap.

Write down all the beliefs that got you where you are now. Write down all the beliefs you would need to get you out of the place where you are now.

List 5 reasons to be happy the situation is not worse than it already is.

Do something productive and positive to help your outlook on the situation. The situation may actually be the same. What will have changed is the way you’re perceiving the situation.

When you are sizzling, you are viewing the situation as the end of the world. When you are calm and clear-thinking, you may see that it definitely isn’t the end of the world, and that you can do something to change it. You cannot change other people.  However, the only person you have even the smallest amount of control is yourself.  You can ask people to do certain things or not to do certain things, but ultimately it’s their choice, not yours to make. You don’t want control of other people. Having control of them means you are totally responsible for their actions. I can’t handle myself sometimes. I definitely don’t need to be responsible for others, too.

My mother, Ethel D. Meyer, told me some words that were very wise: Don’t ask a person a YES or NO question unless you are ready to accept either answer.

The times that I’ve asked people a question that was a yes or no answer and I thought I was ready to accept either answer and I wasn’t,  brought me the most tears in my life. Now that is humanity. Humanity steps in and we are not able to do what we would like to do. We don’t have what we want.  We start to sizzle.  Sizzle, steam, and sizzle.

Accept yourself and your situation as it is. Chances are there’s nothing you can do to change the past. Plan a way to change your attitude. Get rest. Get exercise. Read resources with different choices. Talk to and listen to others and find out what they have done that works in a similar situation. The Voice of Experience can save a lot of heartaches.

Pray. Play. Pray.

Say the “Our Father.”

Play. Read a funny book. Watch a funny movie. Play a game of solitaire. Draw a picture. Dream of how you want things to be. Look for ways to achieve your goal.

Say the “Our Father” again. He knows your wants and needs. Jesus said, “Ask and you shall receive.” He gives you what you need.  What you want may not be what you really need.

Now that your brain is in control and not your emotions, you can make plans to change your actions and aim them towards meeting your goal of what you want.

TAKE ACTION to change the situation for the better.  ACTION is what calms the inner boiler and puts the sizzle into positive energy and a good feeling. You have taken a lemon and made lemonade, you’ve formed an item of beauty to replace one of ugliness and bitterness.

If you look at yourself in the mirror while you are sizzling and after you have taken your clear thought out action, you will sense an undefeatible sense of accomplisment and pride.  You will notice that bit of God in you blossomed and shined in your face. You are healthier because you are not carrying around all that anger. You dissolved it and created a plan for a sense of accomplishment,  acceptance, and self-respect.  Be thankful to God. Be thankful for yourself and your  de-Sizzling anger actions.

 Pray – Dream – Read -Write – Draw – Talk – Listen – Pray

Don’t Give Up – Read my bloghttp://www.joanyedwards.com.wordpress.com 

website: http://www.joanyedwards.com/

Take a

%d bloggers like this: