Friday, April 4, 2014

Try/Fail: What I've Learned.

This is a sort of half-post copied from a status update on Facebook. A proper post on the subject is likely to follow soon.

For years, I've been hearing about the "try/fail" cycle in regards to writing fiction. That's where your protagonist tries to solve the main problem of the story, and fails before ultimately succeeding. The common advice is "third time's the charm"--that is, the protagonist must fail twice before success.

The three tries formula has never sat right with me. Too formulaic, I guess (ha), too predictable in regards to the basic plot.

But I've just realized that, deconstructing what I'm working now to its most basic form, the protagonist tries twice unsuccessfully to solve the problem, before succeeding at the end. Maybe, the try/fail cycle rules are like most pacing or character or setting rules--troubleshooting. When something goes wrong in writing, they are something to look at, shorthand to fix it. Not restrictions. 

David Farland's free resource "NaNoWriMo Inspirations", found on his site (once you've registered, also free), helped me to look at the try/fail cycle in a completely different way. I'm only a third through it, and it's already helped me a great deal.

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