....and manages to insult Canadians, the French, the physically challenged, M. Night Shamalyn, homosexuals, modern playwrites, women, feminists, most of his audience, the Germans BUT oddly enough not romance writers.
We're, as he remembers from speaking at an RWA conference years ago are tough broads. I think I'm complimented.
Drunk Writers just spent the last three days 12 hours a day listening to the storytelling guru Robert McKee. And I'm still at loose ends. The guy is a dinosaur, he's rude, crude, burps constantly into his mic but...he is GOOD. My craft and process will be different after this weekend.
He created a way for me to help myself through the worst part of my process - writing the beginning of the book. Two concepts - that the inciting incident of your novel creates in the mind of a reader the scene that reader needs to read to be satisfied by the book - however, my job as writer is to give the reader that scene in a way they could not possibly expect. For instance in the book I have coming out in July 2007 (now titled UNDERCOVER PROTECTOR) when she decides to go undercover in the heroes house - the reader expects to see that scene when the hero finds out - I just have to give it to them when and how they don't expect.
The other concept that your protagonist as a three dimensional character has to show the contradictory sides of three different traits. If your hero is courageous at some point they have to be cowardly, if they are kind at some point they have to be cruel and if they are indifferent at some point you have to show them engaged. As a romance writer I admit -- I settle at two. I need three.
I understand as I type this that these are really simple concepts but thinking about them up front - man that changes the nightmare of the first three chapters for me.
But McKee himself is actually pretty unlikeable. He believes he invented the concept of "the inciting incident" and clearly has not read The Hero's Journey. He attempted to save European film, but sadly, not even he could accomplish such a feat. He contradicts himself 30 times a day. The stringent parameters he uses to determine a film as good can be applied to films he has decided are bad for no other reason but that he doesn't like them. IE -- The Others -- good movie. The 6th Sense -- mind fuck.
But his parameters are wide - he is deeply in love with film of all types. Borat for crying out loud! Those parameters are just inconsistent. I think like most people how have created a system and applied it to an art he sees in black and white and taste constantly falls into the mix.
What I am really amazed by is how RWA has gifted me (and most of us) with huge possibilities to learn and study craft. I think many people in that room were learning theories we know well - show don't tell, dramatize exposition, etc - for the first time.
All in all a great weekend. Is the guy a hero? Not really. He's good - but he needs an editor.