For the better part of this month we been talking about scenes, and mostly bringing the action of a scene to the page. But the action is only one layer of a story. There are in fact two more layers; they are the inner journey and theme. We will deal with inner journey today and theme tomorrow. Now that you have almost completed your first draft, it will be through writing your revisions that you can now begin to layer into your scenes your ancestor’s inner journey along with the theme of your story.
The dramatic action of a story is the outer journey of your ancestor. The outer journey begins from the complication in the beginning through the obstacles to obtaining the goal.
The inner journey shows the emotional transformation of your ancestor through the action. The emotional transformation demonstrates how your ancestor changed or transformed through the course of the story as they moved through the outer journey. The inner journey shows an emotional growth of your ancestor. Like your outer journey which we can plot out, we can also plot the emotional journey so that reader can witness, from scene to scene, your ancestor’s emotional change as they move closer to their goal.
With each scene should display a range of emotional reactions to the action. These emotions may change from scene to scene but eventually shifting and changing as your ancestor approaches the goal.
The start of your story presents not only your ancestor’s story dilemma but also their character traits and their personal struggle with the dilemma.
For example, is your ancestor stubborn, refusing to accept change or a control freak? Does he sit in judgment of others, or lack self-confidence? Anyone of a number of character flaws may play into their ability to solve their story problem.
By the end of the beginning scene your ancestor defining traits, both positive and negative have been introduced to the reader. The turning point scene reveals the most defining character trait of all and the emotion that your ancestor struggles with as he enters the middle of the story. Is he resistant to the new world? Courageous? Timid and Afraid?
Each obstacle and antagonist, your ancestor meets in the middle of your story is an opportunity to face and overcome their character flaw.
The emotions at the beginning of the story come under strain in the midst of the story as your ancestor faces chaos and uncertainty. Overwhelmed, worried, tested and wounded, your ancestor is vulnerable. The middle scenes deepen the audience’s admiration of your ancestor’s emotional development, or lack thereof, by his emotional reactions as the obstacles become more difficult within the middle of the story. All the outer events, ordeals, successes and failures of the character constitute the dramatic action of a story and provide the catalyst for this emotional change.
As your ancestor enters deeper into the middle of the story and the more obstacles he must overcome, the more his emotional defenses begin to break down.
As the ancestor reaches the climax and ending of their outer journey, they start to face their feelings and reach an emotional development.
As your ancestor obtains his goal, he is transformed. This transformation revealed through the change in his choices, actions, reactions, and emotional response to the events of the story. All different from the beginning and the middle of the story. In the end, this transformation brings a new and different understanding of himself and his existence in the world.