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Johne

Friedman's Framework for identifying Internal Genre

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I'm learning a new tool, Friedman’s Framework for identifying Internal Genre
https://storygrid.com/internal-genres-part-1/
 

1. Identify the protagonist. (The person who undergoes the major change in the story, the
one whose welfare is our chief focus and interest, the one whom all else in the plot revolves.)
2. Identify the protagonist’s situation at the opening of the story.
    a. What is their character (willpower and motives), and do we find them sympathetic? (Morality)
    b. What is their level of thought? Are they able to adapt their mindset to new information? Do they sufficiently understand their situation and the consequences of their actions, to be held accountable? (Worldview)
    c. What is their social standing (external situation), and do we fear it will get worse or hope it will better? (Status)

3. Identify the protagonist’s situation at the end the of story and how the three internal elements have changed.
    a. What is their character and how has it changed?
    b. What is their level of thought and how has it changed?
    c. What is their social standing and how has it changed?
4. What does the audience experience in light of this change? (This experience relates to the genre’s core emotion that the life value change evokes during the core event. This is vital delivering a satisfying story.)
5. Express this change as a cause and effect statement. (When a protagonist with _____ level of character and motive and _____ state of mind, experiences ______ external forces and changes _________, their outcome will be ______.)
6. Determine which Internal Genre-Subgenre best fits this cause and effect statement.
7. Determine if this subgenre has been executed well and is the best fit for the story has a whole. (Obligatory scenes and  conventions to come in Internal Genres: Part 2) https://storygrid.com/internal-genres-part-2-life-values/

 

 

So, for grins, I worked these out for my WIP, THE BLUE GOLEM, and this is how that looks:

Quote

1. Clay Golem
2.     A. Morality: Clay has mixed character - he’s a good guy in a peculiar location and can be forgiven for being a little selfish at first.
        B. Worldview: Clay struggles to adapt his mindset to the fact that he’s in a strange body on a strange world.
        C. Status: Clay is a stranger in a strange land. His social status will get MUCH worse before it gets any better.
3.     A. Clay is now more seasoned and more empathetic and has become the champion the city needs.
        B. He’s embraced who he is.
        C. Clay is now accepted by the city’s residents.
4. The audience is pleased.
5. When a protagonist with mixed character and motive and a somewhat fragile and confused state of mind experiences evil external forces and changes to meet the challenge, their outcome will be self improvement and growth and civic relief.
6. Worldview - Maturation
7. The Worldview - Maturation is a fit because Worldview stories focus on the way cognitive dissonance upsets the balance of a character’s life, requiring a shift in their view of reality. It’s Clay to a T. The Life Values at Stake for Maturation progress from Naivete Masked as Worldliness > Naivete > Cognitive Dissonance > Sophistication / Worldliness.

 

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This really helpful. I have used a similar framework which uses the letter W to plot the protagonist emotional and action journeys. Each ideally should mirror the other with one creating the cause or impact on the other. The idea being that the protagonist has changed as a result by the end of their journey.

You can do this with other characters and intwin their joureny into the main character. 

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1 hour ago, suspensewriter said:

This seems am awfully complicated approach to storytelling- but whatever works!

 

Heh. And this is just for the Internal Genre - my External Genre is even more complicated (which just means that I have even more data to lean on when writing my scenes, which ironically makes it much easier).

I've said before that the Marketing genre for my book is Fantasy / Noir, but the foundation is straight Thriller. This makes my life easier because I can look at the Conventions and Obligatory Scenes and make sure everything is there which should be there. (I was missed a crime in the first scene, I added a murder, and voila!, instant narrative drive!) I knew this was right when I realized I had a MacGuffin (both the hero and the villain are looking for the Great Wand), a Speech in Praise of the Villain, and a False Ending. 
https://storygrid.com/secrets-of-the-thriller-genre-part-one/

 

Quote

 

The obligatory scenes of the Thriller are:

There is an Inciting Crime indicative of a master Villain. There must be a victim and a perpetrator (even if they are the same person, as in Fight Club). The victims can be hostages, dead bodies, missing persons, or the assaulted. Editor Tip: Need help writing your villains? Check out Bullies, Bastards, and Bitches. Chuck Wendig has some interesting advice. Fellow Story Grid Editor Leslie Watts does as well. There is a clear “point of no return,” the moment when the protagonist knows they can never go back to the way things used to be. There must be a precise moment when the protagonist’s world is knocked out of alignment. The protagonist’s initial strategy to outmaneuver the antagonist fails. The protagonist discovers and understands the antagonist’s external object of desire, what the antagonist wants. The Protagonist becomes the victim. A scene reveals that the antagonist makes their crimes personal to the protagonist and the protagonist becomes the primary victim. The core event of the Thriller, the All-is-Lost-Moment, is when the Hero is at the Mercy of the Villain in which the protagonist sees the antagonist as unbeatable and the protagonist unleashes their gift. Editor Tip: This is a difficult scene to innovate. Compare as many Thrillers as you can to find new ways of putting the protagonist at the mercy of the antagonist. There is a False Ending. After a scene that seems to mark the resolution, the antagonist rebounds to challenge the protagonist again.

 

 

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Trying different approaches can work but I find that once a working approach is decided upon, it can stay in place. Of course a writer can polish his dialogue, and better define other aspects of his characters, but a basic starting framework should be simple with additional details being layered on.

 

Good storytelling requires layering. There is the main story followed by side stories, or sub-plots, woven in. These side stories add detail to characters, good and bad, and include insights that show/reveal to the reader that this is why the main character is who they are and where they are today.

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2 hours ago, robg213 said:

Good storytelling requires layering. There is the main story followed by side stories, or sub-plots, woven in. These side stories add detail to characters, good and bad, and include insights that show/reveal to the reader that this is why the main character is who they are and where they are today.

 

Interesting that you mention this - I JUST returned from a Plotting Madness Boot Camp in Lake Tahoe where we worked through the LAYERING YOUR NOVEL book by our own C.S. (Susanne) Lakin. (Susanne, like K.M. (Katie) Weiland, got her start right here in these forums before breaking out and making it big.) 

On day one I identified ten plot points for my second novel. On day two I identified ten more using the action / reaction motif and layered them in around the first ten. On day three I identified then more subplot points, etc. (It was a busy three days.) 

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This really helpful. I have used a similar framework which uses the letter W to plot the protagonist emotional and action journeys. Each ideally should mirror the other with one creating the cause or impact on the other. The idea being that the protagonist has changed as a result by the end of their journey.

You can do this with other characters and intwin their joureny into the main character. 

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About the UK: https://jerichowriters.com/festival-of-writing/

 

Again, making the analysis should occur after all of the ideas are on paper or typed in. Creativity is not manufacturing the same thing the same way every time. I mean, where do those ideas come from? But that's not my point. My point is, when inspired, get that basic idea down. And as more inspiration hits, keep writing those additional ideas down. Keep going. The direction of the story will come out of those ideas. Create characters, make them different enough. There is a good guy, bad guy in every story, and/or a good person struggling to deal with or overcome something bad or a series of bad/challenging things. As these things are overcome, the character does grow and has gained experience. But don't overanalyze. Create a framework that works for you.

 

Unless you're planning a 12 book series with the same characters, odds are you'll switch locations, tackle other situations and invent other characters.

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On 10/11/2019 at 9:46 AM, Johne said:

Heh. And this is just for the Internal Genre - my External Genre is even more complicated (which just means that I have even more data to lean on when writing my scenes, which ironically makes it much easier).

I'm with @suspensewriter that this is too complicated for me, but I'm really glad you found one that works for you!! I have to ask, do you work with a lot of data outside of writing? 

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42 minutes ago, Alley said:

I have to ask, do you work with a lot of data outside of writing? 

 

No. I tend to be more of a Pantser but I'm finding the structure suggested or provided by others can be helpful as I'm learning about how stories work under-the-hood.

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Do we ever stop learning? 😄 That's awesome, Johne! I'm glad it's helping so much! 

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27 minutes ago, suspensewriter said:

Keep us informed- maybe we can learn something, too!

What he said! 😋

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