Source for "rule" about character wanting something -- even a glass of water?

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  • Source for "rule" about character wanting something -- even a glass of water?

    I remember reading somewhere that a scene has to be about someone wanting something -- even if it's just a glass of water -- and something that's preventing them from getting it.

    What's the source for that? I'm thinking maybe McKee or Wm. Goldman?

    A link would be appreciated!
    "People who work in Hollywood are the ones who didn't quit." -- Lawrence Kasdan

    Please visit my website and blog: www.lauridonahue.com.

  • #2
    Re: Source for "rule" about character wanting something -- even a glass of water?

    http://www.writingclasses.com/Inform...php/PageID/538

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    • #3
      Re: Source for "rule" about character wanting something -- even a glass of water?

      Originally posted by LauriD View Post
      I remember reading somewhere that a scene has to be about someone wanting something -- even if it's just a glass of water -- and something that's preventing them from getting it.

      What's the source for that? I'm thinking maybe McKee or Wm. Goldman?
      The "even if it's just a glass of water" bjamin gets for you, below.

      But the principle of dramatic writing that characters should want something is older than cinema. It comes from playwriting.

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      • #4
        Re: Source for "rule" about character wanting something -- even a glass of water?

        Originally posted by LauriD View Post
        I remember reading somewhere that a scene has to be about someone wanting something -- even if it's just a glass of water -- and something that's preventing them from getting it.

        What's the source for that? I'm thinking maybe McKee or Wm. Goldman?

        A link would be appreciated!
        OK, I'm gonna be Mr. Cranky today.

        OP, if you'd Googled someone wanting something -- even if it's just a glass of water - words/phrase from your very own question - the first result Google lists is the very one bjamin found and posted for you.

        Originally posted by LauriD View Post
        A link would be appreciated!
        Jeesh.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Source for "rule" about character wanting something -- even a glass of water?

          Sorry - I was on the way out the door and it didn't show up in my first Google search. In any case, I appreciate the link.
          "People who work in Hollywood are the ones who didn't quit." -- Lawrence Kasdan

          Please visit my website and blog: www.lauridonahue.com.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Source for "rule" about character wanting something -- even a glass of water?

            Originally posted by LauriD View Post
            I remember reading somewhere that a scene has to be about someone wanting something -- even if it's just a glass of water -- and something that's preventing them from getting it.
            With his customary wisdom and wit, Vonnegut put forth 8 basics of what he calls Creative Writing 101: *
            Rule 3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.

            Vonnegut's rule is meant for the story, not for every scene of a screenplay

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            • #7
              Re: Source for "rule" about character wanting something -- even a glass of water?

              Originally posted by jonpiper View Post

              Vonnegut's rule is meant for the story, not for every scene of a screenplay
              But isn't this valid for a screenplay as well? I think in most (all?) good screenplays at least one character has a clear "want" that both carries through the story and is expressed on a scene-by-scene basis.

              And the conflict and drama arise when that want is thwarted.

              The dramatic question is, "will the character achieve the want?"

              And then you have all the interesting stuff when a want conflicts with a need.

              L.
              "People who work in Hollywood are the ones who didn't quit." -- Lawrence Kasdan

              Please visit my website and blog: www.lauridonahue.com.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Source for "rule" about character wanting something -- even a glass of water?

                I heard the say thing said a bit differently:

                In screenplays characters only talk when they want something.
                "I am the story itself; its source, its voice, its music."
                - Clive Barker, Galilee

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                • #9
                  Re: Source for "rule" about character wanting something -- even a glass of water?

                  Lauri, here is an interesting link concerning the elements of a screenplay scene. Conflict is mentioned. http://www.writersstore.com/create-s...lements/<br />

                  Also, don't forget every scene should develope character and advance the story.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Source for &quot;rule&quot; about character wanting something -- even a glass of water?

                    I'm hoping this thread runs 10+ pages. That's what I want.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Source for &quot;rule&quot; about character wanting something -- even a glass of water?

                      Originally posted by Richmond Weems View Post
                      I'm hoping this thread runs 10+ pages. That's what I want.
                      See. You need something, meaning you are making this thread conform to the "rule".

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                      • #12
                        Re: Source for &quot;rule&quot; about character wanting something -- even a glass of water?

                        I need to pee.

                        All this talk of water...

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                        • #13
                          Re: Source for &quot;rule&quot; about character wanting something -- even a glass of water?

                          Originally posted by Manchester View Post
                          OK, I'm gonna be Mr. Cranky today.

                          OP, if you'd Googled someone wanting something -- even if it's just a glass of water - words/phrase from your very own question - the first result Google lists is the very one bjamin found and posted for you.

                          Jeesh.
                          Wow, you're right. lol. If you're lazy, google is your first stop, not starting a new thread on donedeal. too funny.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Source for &quot;rule&quot; about character wanting something -- even a glass of water?

                            No wonder I haven't sold. One of my characters said, "I don't want anything."
                            TimeStorm & Blurred Vision Book info & blog: https://stormingtime.com//

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                            • #15
                              Re: Source for &quot;rule&quot; about character wanting something -- even a glass of water?

                              Originally posted by LauriD View Post
                              But isn't this valid for a screenplay as well? I think in most (all?) good screenplays at least one character has a clear "want" that both carries through the story and is expressed on a scene-by-scene basis.

                              And the conflict and drama arise when that want is thwarted.

                              The dramatic question is, "will the character achieve the want?"

                              And then you have all the interesting stuff when a want conflicts with a need.

                              L.
                              Everyone wants something. Even the Dali Lama. The thing is -- their "want" is not always clear. Not all characters' "wants" are clearly stated. Like real people, characters have internal wants and external wants. Good characters are layered and reveal their wants as the layers are peeled back. If all characters' wants were clear in each and every scene, it would become stilted, fast.

                              The writer should know what her characters want but you don't have to make it "clear" in every scene. As long as you know what they want, you can craft actions and dialogue that work towards the eventual culmination of how those wants drive the story.
                              Last edited by sc111; 07-02-2014, 10:57 AM.
                              Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. "Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.-

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