Monday, October 20, 2014

Play Project: Day 6; Mousetrap Analysis

During period 1: Please continue writing your play projects. Devote your time and energy to your task, as opposed to off-topic conversation and avoidance tactics.
What happens in the middle?

Writers often have a strong start to an idea, but then the middle happens. Luckily you have your scenario. The whole point of a scenario is to help guide your construction of your play. However, sometimes even a plan doesn't work to get you through. In this case, take a moment to read this advice:

1. Most of the time we get stuck when we don't know what our characters want. Give your character a motive (a desire, or goal, etc.) to keep him/her moving forward.
2. Forward march: Move the plot forward by adding conflict and action. Involve your characters in a specific action or direct conflict with another character. This is particularly helpful if you are bored.
3. Put yourself in your protagonist's shoes: go inside a character's head. This is a common error that young writers constantly forget to do. Get your character's perspective. What would you think in a similar situation? What would you see if you were in this scene? What would you notice? What would you say? What would you do?
4. The trick is to trap your characters on stage. Don't let them leave stage when the sh*t starts happening. They want to leave, but keep them trapped in the scene and have them verbally fight it out!
5. Press forward: If you need more time to research details and don't want to stop to look up a fact or information, indicate what you need to look up by BOLDING or CAPITALIZING a note to yourself. You can also insert NOTES using your word processor feature under the insert menu.
6. Skip to the next major plot point or scene. If you know where the story is going, but don't know yet how to get there, write the next scene. Use your scenario as a guide.
7. Go back to brainstorming. Use your journal to try out some new things. If you don't know (or are stuck on):
  • Your characters: write a character sketch, draw a picture of your character, or develop your character's background history
  • Your setting: draw your setting, find a picture of an appropriate setting on the internet, describe your setting using imagery--what sounds, smells, tastes, textures, and sights would one experience in the setting
  • Your plot: list possible challenges or problems that a character might face in a similar situation or setting. Decisions characters make (or don't make) often create conflict. Create a mind map or use a graphic organizer to focus on plot elements.
  • Your theme: create a premise for your story. What do you want to communicate about the human condition? What lesson or experience are you trying to relate?
Period 2: If you're writing fluently this morning, keep going. If you're struggling, change your tactics by examining the following in The Mousetrap:
  • The inciting incident
  • The major decision (define which protagonist you are identifying and what decision he/she made)
  • The major dramatic question (MDQ)
  • The conflict (find an example of each): person vs. person, person vs. nature, person vs. self, person vs. society.
  • Complications (name at least 2 complications in this play)
  • Crises (name at least 1 major problem that sets the characters back)
  • Dark moment (choose a protagonist and explain when he/she comes to a desperate low end)
  • Enlightenment (choose a protagonist and explain when he/she understands how to solve a problem)
  • Climax (when does the climax of the play occur?)
This play uses the stage technique of a TIME LOCK and a TRAP. A time lock is when characters have a time limit or need to accomplish something in a specific limited time.

A trap is when characters are forced to stay on stage or cannot leave the "setting".

Identify how Christie uses the TIME LOCK and TRAP in this play.

HOMEWORK: Complete the analysis above for The Mousetrap. Complete your reading of it, if you have not already done so. Keep writing.

Didn't read the play? Watch it now at this link.

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