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Note that we've played, um, loose with the categories so the first 3 especially, are practically meaningless.


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Act, Structure - Bitch Break

So Miss Dara tells met that a traditional screenplay has 3 acts. The first act sets up the conflict; the second, intensifies the conflict and the third, resolves (gulp!) the conflict.

We begin with an “inciting incident”. In our case that would be the absolute boredom our heroine feels for life: she fucking hates it. She’s putting one beautiful foot in front of the other. She’s Cinderella. She hasn’t my bunions. She hasn’t my skinny, long toed feet. She has beautiful, unbony feet. The kind of feet you might want to suck if you were that kind of person. She sighs.

The man. Hm.

Hi. Yah, it’s been a few days – I wasn’t scattered however, just busy. I’ve got to bring home my bacon and that will probably come from things other than this story, as much as I enjoy writing it.

"A Great Story Tells Us"...

Ok, working from the screenwriter’s workshop I was at a few weeks ago, I’m examining my story.

1. “A great story tells us:
a. How a person succeeds or fails (character)
b. To grow and change (arc)
c. Within the context of the conflict that is unfolding (plot)
d. From the writer’s point of view (theme)”(1)

How a person succeeds or fails:

My writer is going to fail to write a novel. She is going to sketch everything out, but at the end, fail to bring it all together. Bam! Blast – like Chernobyl. She is going to fail because she lacks confidence. Because her depression, loneliness, feelings of loss and confusion overtake her. She is scattered. She cannot finish things.

The man is going to fail as well. The alien – she will fail because she “is” the writer.

The Missing Plot

Plot – that is something I have to work on. It’s essential to a story yet I don’t have one. What will be the plot?

I guess there is the plot of the author writing the story. She could complete the story or not. Or something could happen to her – like Chernobyl – that prevents her from completing the story. Of course, she could literally get drawn into the story, or the story’s characters could get drawn into her life. Or something else entirely. Fiction – yah, it’s pretty great that way.

What about the man, the toad and the alien? Should I nuke em? Do I want to write about the man with all the sores on his body? Or the lonely alien? Or the toad? What about the mushrooms I said I wanted to write about?

Do I have to choose my plot now or can I just start writing and see where I go, later, once I’m done my research?

I guess some sort of plot outline would be good.

I definitely like the author part. It’s easy to write and doesn’t require much imagination. This is important to me: I’m pretty ordinary and thinking up imaginative things is work.

Quotes from People Who Lived Around Chernobyl at Time of Disaster

Ok, back to the evacuation.

From thread (

“I grew up about 100 mi from there. I remember when the evening news announced there was a "minor" incident and showed a very brief image of smoke rising in the distance. It didn't seem like anything least my father wasn't worried. Fuckers covered it up. And only started admitting what really happened when radiation was reaching Western Europe.

Then they offered free apartments and other perks for those who wanted to go and clear up the mess. Many who took the offer didn't need apartments when they got back -- they headed straight to the hospital and then to the cemetery. I heard stories of people being cooked alive, their meat was falling off they bones, yuk!

I also remember my mom's plants on the balcony died that summer. I don't know how much dosage we all absorbed.

Getting to Know Theme, cont.

I guess my purpose is to shine a compassionate light on depression, loneliness, feelings of loss and confusion. My purpose is to state that these states of being will always be with us. In the case of Chernobyl, is there any doubt that lost men and confusion caused the accident? I don’t know if they were depressed and lonely, but surely the accident caused depression and alienation among many, many people who’s lives were destroyed by the whims of a government and officials they had little control over. Does anyone deny them the right to be sad, and alienated? Lost? Confused, if they had been trusting in the basic goodness of other people, as many people around me seem to be?

Why should I not be allowed to be depressed and/or alienated? Why should I be expected to bring lightness and frivolity to meetings and socials? Because I’m fair skinned, blue-eyed and blond? Because I’m tall and thin? Because you think that because I meet the beauty ideal for women, I must have it all? Because I meet that beauty ideal, I must be (imprisoned by) it?

Getting to Know Theme

I should probably write two entries this morning: one for last night and one for tonight. Tonight, I’ll be at a sleep over with the performing arts troupe I joined. I’d tell you more about the troupe, but this novel is about me.

Theme – Er, I added about ½ page to yesterday’s work that I’ll include in today’s word count.

I’m feeling a bit sick, by the way. Sure hope I don’t have H1N1.

Hello to you, Theme!

I need to do an entry and three-quarters this eve, it seems.

Yesterday, I went to a writing workshop. It was for screenplay writing but since I’m about to start a documentary, and have been working on another video project, it seemed a good idea. Also, I need to practice my social skills cause my work is extremely non-social, making it hard to interact with clients and potential clients.

Dara, the woman leading the workshop, told us that we need to know what our theme is. We have to know what our theme, plot and characters are; ie. we need to describe them with intention.

She gave us tools; ie. questions to answer and story arcs and timelines to follow, to help us describe our characters and tell our story with intention.

She said that the raw draft is always kind of a mess – that its purpose is to just get the basic elements down and that after that, we analyze what we are trying to say and recreate the characters, plot and story arcs to best say it.

So let me pull up my weird little outline again (I’ll use the updated one):

The Evacuation

People were not evacuated from Pripyat, Chernobyl and the surrounding areas until 36 hours after the explosion. Other areas took weeks, months and even years before they were evacuated.

The explosion occurred on Apr. 26, 1986, at 1:23 am. 400 times more fallout was released than at Hiroshima. 336,000 people were resettled.

The accident was largely the result of testing an emergency cooling system.

To be continued..

Chernobyl, Pripyat and Slavutych Compared

Tonight’s task: Chernobyl, Pripyat, Slavutych and area before the accident, during and afterwards.

Chernobyl is a town, about 800 years old, about 14.5 km from the Chernobyl Disaster plant. The city of Pripyat was built along with the power plant, starting in 1970, to house the plant workers. Slavutych was built post disaster to house the evacuated people of Pripyat.

Pripyat, on the bank of a river of the same name, Pripyat, is closer to the Chernobyl plant than Chernobyl, while Slavutych, on the Dnieper River, is 45 km east of Chernobyl.

Chernobyl, at the time of the blast had 14,000 inhabitants; Pripyat, 50,000. Slavutych, as of 2005, had 25,000 inhabitants.

Chernobyl is in the Zone of Exclusion. Of the 400 people who refused to leave/went back to their homes, about ½ of them are from and/or in Chernobyl now. They mark their houses with signs stating “Owner of this house lives here.”

Outline Review and More Research

Hayao MiyazakiToday, I’ve updated “Too Broad Outline to Specific Outline and Work Plan”, Nov. 6 09’s entry. I added “Pripyat, Slavutych and area” to the “Describe Chernobyl, item c”. It now reads: “Chernobyl, Pripyat, Slavutych and area before the accident, during and afterwards.”

Also, I will try to write a page a day, but will be lenient with myself when research takes more time than I planned. Research is a good thing; something many people view as time wasting, but facts, ideas and knowledge are healthy food for imagination. A lot of people view vegetables as basically, a waste of time also. Stupid people.

I also think I will add a plot outline. I’ve got the theme of me, the author, being a lost, lonely, confused and depressed woman, but how is this author going to become part of the story? How is she going to interact with the man, the alien and the toad? I’ll finish my research first, though.