Magna Carta

The first time I participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), I did one of the exercises called Magna Carta. I don’t remember exactly how they worded it, but it basically came down to making two lists. One list was supposed to be everything you find appealing when reading a story. The second is everything you find unappealing in a story. The idea was that if you can identify strong traits in a story you can work to include those in your own work and avoid the bad traits. Here are my two lists:

Magna Carta I (the good)

strong, but flawed female protagonist(s)

difficult romances

moral dilemmas

journeys

irreverent characters

understandable villains who are present in the story

sexual tension

happy endings (or at least bittersweet)

betrayal by a loved one

pithy, authentic dialogue

beautiful language use that serves the story

clear, clean storytelling

cliffhanger chapter endings

protagonists getting their hands dirty

 

Magna Cart II (the bad)

whiny and/or stupid main characters

purple prose

stiff, clunky dialogue

“perfectly beautiful” main characters

saintly characters

sad endings

lovers not ending up together

elves, fairies

bad or no description

over description

philosophizing

ham-fisted moralizing/religiosity

overuse of expletives

lovers falling instantly in love/bed

stream of consciousness

confusing/unexplained jumps in time

information dumps

villains who make their first appearance at the climax

deus ex machine rescues

 

What would be on YOUR Magna Carta lists?

 

Discuss Amongst Yourselves

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s