What I've Learned


Hello my lovelies!

I listened to a Writing Excuses podcast yesterday where they talked about Orson Scott Card's M.I.C.E. Quotient, and I learned something about myself and my writing. So, either take fifteen minutes to go listen to the podcast (which you should do anyway later if you don't now) or read on and I'll tell you about it...

MICE is an acronym.

Milieu (fancy word for setting)
Idea
Character
Event

Basically, Scott Card says that every story focuses on one or more of these principles. A short story, for example, might focus on only one. A novelette, perhaps two. A novella, three, and a novel all four countering and reacting against each other. That's just a random example, but it makes sense to me. Therefore, the *type* of story you're telling will be defined by what you choose to focus on most.

Using an example from the podcast, while THE HOBBIT uses all of these things, it is *mostly* a Milieu story. Story starts when Bilbo leaves the Shire, and ends when he returns.

Okay, so the thing I've learned about myself is that I write CHARACTER stories.

With two exceptions, every single story I've written, outlined, brainstormed, or started drafting has begun with a character. A friend, family member, or celebrity is inevitable the inspiration, and everything grows from there. The first thing I generally do is decide who it is, and what their journey is. Where do they start? What do they go through? How do they end? I always start there. I've never meant to, it's just happened that way. I'm only now noticing.

The two exceptions were interesting though, because they started with a concept. Is that like an idea? I'm not sure...

Anyway. With one of them, I've been thinking about it for three years, trying to decide who the heck the character is and how to write him. I haven't reached a conclusion yet. With the other, I had my husband shooting ideas at me from the beginning, so the characters were pretty solid from the start and I was okay.

I love the other parts of storytelling, and it's nice to see it laid out like that. Knowing that each of those thing can play a serious role in a novel, and that each one is necessary, helps during revisions.

Which I am currently IN.

Nearly done! Then it'll be off to submission again!
WHEEEEEEEEE!!! *also completely terrified*

What kind of stories to YOU write? When you begin, where do you start?

Let me know. Thanks for stopping by!

-DC

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