international stakes

prompt 770

Here’s a little holiday gift for you. It’s a writing tool from an article on Writer Unboxed by Jon Vorhaus called Two New Tools. Just answer these questions about the story you’re contemplating and you’ll have a framework you can use.

Whose story is this?

What’s the external need?

What’s the internal need?

What’s at stake?

What’s the mistake?

What’s the learn?

Here is Jon’s example of this tool in action:

Whose story is this? Joe’s.

What’s the external need? To be famous.

What’s the internal need? To be happy.

What’s at stake? Joe’s emotional well-being.

What’s the mistake? Trying to gain happiness through others’ approval.

What’s the learn? That happiness comes from within.

For more information, check out the full article on the Writer Unboxed site.

Good luck!   Daily-prompts

Plot: The Importance of Subplots

Anonymous asked:

Is it bad to have only a main plot and no subplots in a novel?

To be honest, yeah–it’s bad to have no subplots.

Subplots are important for a variety of reasons, but mainly because they keep you story from being one dimensional. Subplots allow you to explore additional facets of your story and world, including things like:

  • your character’s personality and back story
  • your character’s relationships with other characters
  • important elements of your setting and world
  • other characters
  • the motivation, stakes, and internal goals of your characters

It’s important to remember, too, that subplots do not have to be “side quests” like you might find in a video game. Subplots can be things like the budding romance between your character and another character, another character’s failing eyesight, a promise your character made to an old friend–really, anything that brings extra dimension to your story and characters. 

Take a good long look at your story–there’s a good chance there are subplots lurking there that you just didn’t recognize. If not, they’re easy to build in. Just make sure they don’t steal the focus of the main plot, and if you can, you should try to tie your subplots back into the main story. :)

Have a writing question? I’d love to hear from you, but please be sure to read my ask rules and master list  first or your question may go unanswered. :)

More news from the Bokenkamp podcast

I finally completed my second listen of the Bokenkamp interview with The Blacklist Exposed.  Thank you to @whiteairwolf for posting the link!  Some additional news/observations I forgot to post on the first listen:

- There is a free pre-screening every week during the season of the latest episode of The Blacklist at the World Theatre in Kearney, Nebraska (Bokenkamp’s home town).  Sony sends a drive with the episode and Bokenkamp does his best to FaceTime in and chat with the fans about what worked and what didn’t work.

- The mythology and ultimate end game of the series are still where they were when he created it but they have had “detours” and picked up new characters along the way that were unexpected.  Glen is an example.  They wrote the role to fit the actor.  But in general they try very hard to stay true to the mythology.  He admits, though, that the story could change dramatically by the time they get to the end.   

- From his perspective, nobody really remembers the case of the week.  They remember a good character (i.e., the Stewmaker, Milton Bobbitt, Gina Zanetakos, etc.)  They are constantly trying to strike a balance between too much Red or not enough, too much emotion or not enough, too much serialization or not enough.  It’s very difficult.  He definitely reads comments concerning each episode.  He agrees that some episodes are going to be better than others.  They are constantly gauging how fast to move through a story line vs. burning it down (and uses the example of Red killing Sam).  

- He admits that some stuff is premeditated, while other stuff they are trying to reverse engineer from 15-20 episodes ago.  He says they did that “today” (meaning 12/5)  There’s a “fun” character they are bringing back from the first season, but they have to make sure all the “looks” and “glances” will make sense.  

- He has never seen the Sopranos but heard it was a great show (!!)

- He agrees Zal Bin Hasaan could maybe have been a 2 parter.  But they have breaks where the cliffhangers are in 22 episodes.  After episode 8, after episode 18.  Maybe it means her story is not done and they can go back to it at some point?

- “I’m sure we will find some way to weave Samar back in.”  (responding to a question about her being fired by Ressler). He finds “shipping” fascinating and never heard about it before this show.   The moment with Red and Liz on the ship was NOT a nod to the “shippers” but they do pay attention to it.  Every day an assistant is tasked with finding the “strangest” thing about The Blacklist on the internet.  He specifically pointed to the fact that “Mr. Cattington” has a blog.  @askmrcatington

- He noted that people are so attached to Hudson and admitted he was surprised too when the breed changed.  Same color but totally different dog!  He said we should keep our eyes open for Hudson 3.0 .  Like Kenny from Southpark who keeps appearing but is different  every time.  Maybe a giant poodle?  

- They often write in response to the locations found in NY for the scenes and make adjustments.  It’s a very fluid process, even as episodes are being shot.  

- Music selection can be very expensive.  They have a budget for each episode.  Episode 9 was supposed to have 5 songs but is down to 2.  Episode 10 had 2 songs (by Johnny Cash and James Brown) but both are super expensive and hard to clear.  We may get one or neither.  Will have to see.  

- They thought about having no blacklister of the week while Red/Liz were on the run.  In terms of Red not always knowing who the Blacklister of the week is (i.e., Arioch Cain), in his view if Red gives a story and they are able to take down and remove a criminal who otherwise would be existing and operating had he not c0me forward, that fits the format regardless of whether Red knows exactly who the person is.  

- the Troll Farmer was inspired by a real life group of young people in Russia (article in the NY Times) who send out disinformation campaigns

- Bokenkamp’s favorite blacklisters are “the weird stuff” - “the weirdos in the woods.”  Spader likes the big international high stakes characters.  Eisendrath leans towards deep complex characters.

- the comic is a little bit of an “alt-universe” of the show.  Goes to the time period they have to be sensitive/judicious about touching.     

- they are talking about exploring Mr. Kaplan’s past with Red more on the show

-   he is very excited for episodes 3x09 and 3x10 and we can expect some “great turns” in 3x11.  They just finished the script for 3x13.  There are some “really big turns” towards the back half of the season.  They are going to get a little back to “case of the week” and “great stories about blacklisters Red knows about.”  There is a “doppelgänger” story coming.  A fairy tale story.  We need to see where Liz goes, how she handles what she’s been dealt.  The back half is “explosive” in a different kind of way.  

- Regarding Charlene and the neighbor - “don’t expect that to be wrapped up any time soon.”  There might be more on that. 

- Amir Arison will be the guest  on the podcast next week!

anonymous asked:

This casifer thing is so heartbreaking for Dean for so many reasons, but i wonder if it's also the first time he's actually been afraid that Cas might die. I mean they've all been faced with their own and each others mortality plenty of times, but i wonder if it's ever hit Dean quite like this with Cas. Cas has always managed to return, but this is a bit different and i wonder if Dean is now letting himself fully confront the fact that Cas might not come back.

I think he was afraid of that to an extent when Chuck told him Cas exploded in 5.01. But then he showed back up. Same thing in 5.22. I think for a while Dean kind of thought of Cas as invincible. I mean he EXPLODED. TWICE. In less than a year! And came back better than ever each time.

But then he gulped down all of Purgatory and walked into a lake and exploded. And he didn’t come right back. And Dean thought something finally took Cas down, and s7 turned into “Dean Drinking His Feelings, with a side of Dick.”

But lo and behold! Cas somehow came back! But then he decided to stay behind in Purgatory, and Dean was barely living with that decision. But then in a mysterious turn of fate, Cas comes back to him again!

I think Dean was pretty concerned about what happened to Cas when all the angels fell at the end of 8.23, but he was slightly preoccupied with keeping Sam alive, and Cas wasn’t answering his prayers. When he finally calls in 9.01, Dean’s incredibly relieved that Cas survived the fall, but then learns that Cas is HUMAN. Oh my.

I’ve written so much on s9 and Dean and Cas’s interactions during that time, so I’ll just leave this here.

Then Dean was bogged down with the Mark of Cain, then being a demon, and then stuck with the Mark of Cain even after being de-demon-ized again. It screwed with his emotions, almost like he was wearing a mask the whole time he had the mark (parallels neatly illustrated in s11 in episodes like 11.05 and 11.07). It was easier for him not to have to feel anything at all (which he’d kinda wished for once upon a time shortly after returning from hell, waaaay back in s4).

But now he’s got his feelings back and he’s had plenty of time to come to terms with what’s really important to him. He also, like he said at the beginning of 11.19, knows what Amara does and what she’s capable of, and that she won’t hesitate to hurt or kill Cas if she thinks she can hurt Lucifer that way. So yeah, for the first time, possibly ever, Dean not only has a sincere fear for Cas’s life and safety, he’s also got all his emotional energy focused on that fact (and not distracted by worry over Sam’s safety or his own internal problems). The stakes are so much higher right now from Dean’s perspective, than they ever have been before.

The nice thing is that with all this buildup, there has to be a payoff. Anything else is the narrative equivalent of slowly constructing a giant domino run and some jerk absentmindedly toppling the entire thing right before you set the last domino in place.


The TSR2 was a technological triumph for Britain; a world beating tactical, strike and reconnaissance aircraft years ahead of its time. It carried four on-board digital computers to process radar information. It could deliver its weapons load to a target 1000 nautical miles away from a runway just 600 yards long. Flying at ultra low level at the speed of sound it would have been able to pass under Soviet radar/air defence screen undetected. It would have been the most powerful weapon in the NATO arsenal. And yet it was destined never to see service. Why?

The fascinating story behind the cancellation of the TSR2 project is one of international intrigue and high stake politics. It ended in 1965 when a 200,000,000 pound aircraft project was reduced to just 50,000 pound worth of scrap metal and the future of Britain as a world leader in aviation was put in jeopardy.

When the order came for the TSR2’s cancellation, the prototype, construction jigs, design papers and film records were all ordered to be destroyed. Despite this, unique film material did escape destruction and has remained hidden in vaults - until now

Adventure stank.

The Refusal of the Call is a near-sacrosanct element of the Hero’s Journey. Luke Skywalker has to draw back fearfully from the adventure embedded in Leia’s message before finding his aunt and uncle dead. It heightens the stakes, establishes internal conflict, and prevents our protagonist from looking like a jerkass eager to abandon the stern-but-loving couple who raised him. Plus, of course, it neatly sets up the rest of the narrative: “There’s nothing for me here now.” But there was something there for Quentyn Martell.

I want to go back to Yronwood and kiss both of your sisters, marry Gwyneth Yronwood, watch her flower into beauty, have a child by her. I want to ride in tourneys, hawk and hunt, visit with my mother in Norvos, read some of those
books my father sends me. I want Cletus and Will and Maester Kedry
to be alive again.

Maybe it wasn’t the epic, exciting, revolutionary life his father had planned for him, but it was his, and he wanted it, and he died before he could get back to it, died knowing his best friend had given his own life for nothing, died pretending to be somebody (the Dragontamer, referring to Dany as well as her children) he never wanted to be.

So when I say Quent was the wrong man for his mission, I’m not talking about his plain face or his awkward attempts at gallantry. Quent shouldn’t have had to go on his quest because he did not want to, and that is a genuinely radical thing to suggest in fantasy and sci-fi. Some adventures are bloody and brutal and ultimately pointless; some adventures bring you not courage and self-actualization but grief and humiliation; some adventures grind down your soul before they kill you. Some adventures fail, and Quent’s never stood a chance: his ace in the hole was a marriage contract that, as Barristan notes, mentioned neither Quent’s name nor that of his ostensible betrothed. When Barristan can easily unravel your Secret Plan…

At some deep level of cognition, Quent knows all this, but does not allow himself to truly understand until the very end. My favorite character in the series, full stop.

YANGON, MYANMAR - The Shangri-La hotel in downtown Yangon is ostentatiously luxurious. From a buffet with every world dish imaginable to the well-stockedperiod bar, the 5-star hotel is an oasis of affluence amidst the povertyoutside its shiny exterior.

But it is actually part of bringing the people sleeping rough with their children on the streets of Yangon out of poverty, according to the World Bank. With an $80m investment (through a loan and equity stake) the International Finance Corporation (IFC), one of the five arms of the World Bank, is a key player in the Shangri-La.

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