What I Learned From Michael Hauge – PART 1
Posted by Autumn Jordon Mar 27 2017, 12:01 am in Autumn Jordon, craft, Writer's Education, Writer's Toolbox
If you’ve read my blog on February 27, you know I believe in a writer’s continued education. Last weekend, The Greater Lehigh Valley Writer’s Group of the ABE area in Pennsylvania hosted the renowned Michael Hauge. Mr. Hauge is known for his Story Mastery concept of screen-writing. Over the years, while attending RWA conferences, I tried to get into his sessions, but they were always filled to capacity and now I know why. The man breaks down story telling in a way that makes complete sense. So when this opportunity came up, I jumped to learn from him. I jumped on the opportunity to learn from him.
Because of the volume of notes I took during the class, I’m going to break this blog topic up into two sessions. Today, I’ll convey Mr. Hauge’s opening comments and then I’ll concentrate on his information for a character’s inner journey. On April 3, next Monday, I’ll share what I learned about his Six-Stage Plot Structure. Again, I want credit Mr. Hauge and state again these are my notes.
Mr. Hauge started the day with this statement: “A writer’s job is to create emotion in the reader. Character, desire and conflict are your story’s core.”
How great is that statement? In two lines, he conveyed the essence of story-telling.
Hauge made us work, filling in templates based on our stories. The three words that he repeated throughout the day and especially as he listened to participates who read from their templates was “KEEP IT SIMPLE”. Don’t over think or make it more complicated than it needs to be was his message. Describe the elements in as few words as possible.
He then went on to describe the outer journey as the story of accomplishment and he listed five outer motivations which create conflict.
- To win something. In romance, it’s to win the love of another character.
2. To stop something bad from happening.
3. To escape; to get out of a bad situation.
4. To deliver something of value from point A to point B.
5. To retrieve a value object.
The inner journey he said is the transformation of character from living in fear to living courageously.
Structure he described as where the story takes place. He also stated to move the scenes to where they have the most impact. When he said this, I recalled how my editor for His Witness To Evil had me move a scene to later in the book because of this reason. Often we’re too close to our own work that we don’t see how we can improve it and that is why editors are important.
The Hero’s Inner Journey: The transformation. The Character’s Arc.
Mr. Hauge stated you need to answer these questions for each of your characters.
What does the character want? A longing is something he will express (outer desire). A need is something he will not (internal hidden desire).
What is their wound? A wound is the unhealed source from the past. No one gets out of adolescence unscarred. The character feels that they’ve moved on, but it still affects their actions.
What is their belief? We form a belief of why an event happened. Beliefs grow out of the wound. They’re always logical but never true!
What is their fear? This should be a move or change that goes against character’s belief.
He then gave us two terms; Identity and Essence.
“A character’s identity is a false-self she presents to the world to protect her fear that grew from the belief that grew out of the wound long ago.” It’s her emotional armor. It is who they believe themselves to be and all they can be. They feel safe in their identity.
While in the identity they can have what they want but to get what they need their identity must die and they must move into their essence.
The essence is the character’s true self. It’s who they really are. It’s who they can be, if they find the courage.
The Character’s Arc is the journey from the false-self to the true self without losing their admirable traits. In other words, the character will let go of the past wounds, fearlessly grow in their strengths and become someone they never imagine they could be.
Your character can NEVER achieve outer goal while in his identity. To achieve the goal he must be in his essence. Either they can feel safe and be unfilled, or you can be scarred and gain what you need.
Okay, I think I’ve given you enough to think about today. Work on your characters and next week I’ll share my notes on the Six Stage Plot Structure and how your character’s arc fits in.
His Witness To Evil
Autumn Jordon is the award-winning author of romantic suspense-mystery-thrillers such as her Golden Heart Finalist and Golden Leaf winner His Witness To Evil. After her family business was comprised by The Russian Mafia and the FBI investigated, she grabbed her note pad and pen and went on to interview the agents. Join her newsletter at www.autumnjordon.com and be privy to upcoming releases, sales, and events. Also, you’ll receive free reads and be entered into her monthly contest for great prizes