Today we workshopped two more stories.
We also did an exercise inspired by Blake Snyder's screenwriting book Save the Cat, in scene shaping. Snyder talks about how every scene must have emotional change (represented by the symbol +/-) and conflict (represented by the symbol ><).
Snyder likes to put each scene on an index card. Each card summarizes the scene in a sentence (e.g. "Bob confronts Helen about her secret") and has a note about the +/- ("Bob starts out hopeful, ends up disappointed") and the >< ("Bob wants to know the secret; Helen can't tell him").
This can be helpful for prose writers, too. I asked the class to think of a scene that they needed to write, or rewrite, and make those three notes: One-sentence summary; +/-; and ><.
Then I set a timer for ten minutes and had them quickly draft the scene.
We talked about how if you have a scene that seems not to be working, or that feels loose or unfocused, it can really help to apply this exercise to it.
Homework: Read two more workshop stories for next week. Continue to work on your rough draft if it isn't finished, or begin to revise it, if it is.