Tag Archives: Drama

are you a plotter or a pantser?

I have been working on a short story. I am not sure, yet, if I want it to be part of a linked series, or to stand on its own.


When I start writing I need to have an idea in place. I don’t write out a plotline, I just scribble down an idea, a character or a place where the character lives. Then adding what he or she looks like later.  In that first scribbled-off-draft  I am focusing on what they want.

Hmm, I can’t say I am a pantser. A pantser is a person who lets her character runs ahead and then writes whatever they tell her too write.

But, I can’t say I am a plotter either. A plotter is a writer who knows their story and has set up the action and path ahead of time.

Me…I’m a thinker, and imaginer, a daydreamer with an idea that wants to be written; But with no idea where it will take me until I think about it a lot, every waking and sleeping moment. If my characters start talking to me I tell them to ‘shut up I’m thinking.’


If you have been following my Blog this month, you would have seen me writing about David Mamet’s Masterclass.com course. He said that a plot is as simple as getting from point A to point B.

Example: I need to go to the store. I need bacon and eggs. To get to the store I need to do a few things before I leave the house, getting dressed, finding the keys, locking the doors…etc. I could just drive there with no trouble, but…what kind of story is that.

The story needs conflict/drama. Just driving into town and grabbing bread and eggs and coming home is boring.

The drama/conflict will happen once I turn on my car. Something will happen to stop my character from making this an easy trip. The story will be about her trying to get to the store. She can’t change direction or it will be a different confusing story. She needs to keep on track no matter what is thrown in front of her. This character needs to get to the store

To make sure my character doesn’t walk back in the house and have a bowl of cereal. I need to get her in the car and drive away from the house and have car trouble at the halfway point.  She will make a  decision to keep heading to the store. She can stop at the local auto shop and they can come get her car.

My character’s internal goal is hunger. Her external goal is that she needs food in the house.

I may change up the story by having her get something to eat at a local restaurant, while she waits for her car. But… She will not give up that goal of getting eggs and bread. She still needs to eat tomorrow.

Photo #14354
Taken by Krzysztof Puszczyński Tookapic.comdrama

This is the bones of the story. So much can happen, I can’t  change what my character wants; food, in her belly and in her fridge.

I tend to rehash ideas over and over; turning them upside down and inside out, until they click.

Time to go back to my story. I left my character sitting in a hot car.


Drama Happens When your characters try to Achieve Something

David Mamet: #3 Purpose of Drama (Cont”d)

Drama is also, just a form of myth. Myth is a poetic statement of an unverifiable reality. Like, myth is not false it’s just unverifiable. Like, for example, Jesus Christ died for our sins. It’s not false if you are a Christian, that’s the essence of your life. You just can’t point to it on a sheet piece of paper and say, see here. But its none the less true for that. so myth, again, is a statement of a truth that is unverifiable and so is drama, drama evolves us in the quest of a human being to achieve something.” ~David Mamet, Masterclass

“ Yes, I understand how at every step this human being was trying to achieve something and they underwent traumas I can’t even begin to imagine and they doubted themselves and they all wanted to quit every hero and heroine wants to quit…” ~David Mamet, Masterclass

I would love to write out every word David Mamet said in this lesson. I can’t.

The shortened version: “Drama is the stepchild of religion” and “humans are basically insane” and “all drama is the same as a joke the joke frees us from reason.”

What I took away is that I have been looking at ‘drama’ from the wrong end. I was looking at it as a teachable moment when all it really is…. the cause from the effect.

Think of when Lucy got a job in a candy factory and the conveyer belt started to run faster and faster.


Think of a time you over embellished at that family dinner or the time you caught a fish or how many steps you climbed when the elevator wasn’t working. That is drama, you’re telling a story. You are not trying to make a point, and just embellishing those three steps into a hundred or how big that fish really was, gives us the drama we so love to express.

I do wish I could tell you everything David Mamet talks about in this lesson # 03 Purpose of Drama (Cont’d)

If you are interested in checking out this course by Clicking HERE or click on ‘David Mamet’ in the upper left sidebar just above James Patterson.

Other posts different lesson for David Mamet’s Masterclass series

Teach Me, David Mamet You Are My Only Hope 

David Mamet’s 2nd video Purpose of Drama

David Mamet’s 2nd Video Purpose Of Drama Masterclass

David Mamet’s Second Video ‘Purpose Of Drama’ Masterclass

David Mamet is sitting in front of the camera in a rustic room; its walls are paneled in wood, a lamp is on the table set behind and off to his right it’s casting a relaxing orange glow. Over his left shoulder are papers and sticky notes connected to the far wall, while directly next to his left arm, sits an old typewriter and a stack of closed books or journals. A vintage 1900’s metal desk lamp reaches up on a double-jointed arm, which is locked in a straight up positioned, and tilted ever so slightly back so its parabolic unfinished aluminum shade can illuminate the desktop when he chooses to turn it on.

David Mamet starts talking:

“The Purpose of drama that is a really, really good question. That’s a really good question. There is an old, – I am Jewish, my people have only been Jewish five-six thousand years, so we’re kinda getting used to it.

So, There’s an old joke about this international flight and this terrorist breaks in with a submachine gun. And he says, “Okay, who’s a Jew?”

And a little old guy in the back says, “That a really interesting question.”

So, that’s how I kind of feel about drama; I think the purpose of drama is to define the clan.” ~ Video #2 David Mamet

He goes on to describe drama what it is, and what it is not.

It is not: meant to teach you.

It is: meant to entertain you.

And everyone uses drama to over embellish his or her daily lives.

When my husband asks the time. I round the hour up so he thinks it later than it is. Subtle drama? Or…

“What time is it?


“No, it seems earlier.”

“You wish.”

If it was earlier I would have taken out the garbage.”

“What’s stopping you now?’

“I promised my friend I would be on Xbox.”

“Well, lucky for you I saw it wrong, you have an extra thirty minutes.”

“Sorry, no can do. I already logged on, can you take it out for me?”

“You were already logged in!”

“Yeah! But I thought it was later than it was”

My example: Taking a vacation and having to sit through a sales pitch when all I wanted was to relax and be entertained won’t be a fun time. So stick to what you are selling. If it is a dramatic story you advertised, then don’t push a condo down your reader’s throats.

My thoughts: If your story has a harsh sales pitch, tone it way down. The idea will still be there, but it will be felt and talked about after the book is read or when the movie is over.

The drama is everything. Give it its space. Allow people to enjoy the story.

I will not tell you everything from his Masterclass videos. If I did you would miss out on a hearing him talk. If you would like to check out David Mamet’s Masterclass,  click on the link in the top left sidebar. It’s sitting just above James Patterson’s Masterclass.

Have fun!

1st video: Teach me, David Mamet, You Are My Only Hope