What’s Your Character’s Status

I first heard about Status when reading Story Trumps Structure by Steven James. Pretty cool stuff.

World of Writing

Like many bookworms, I’m in the middle of two books at the moment. One Fifth Avenue by Candace Bushnell revolves around an apartment block in modern-day Manhattan. The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory is set in the court of King Henry the Eighth. On the surface, these are two very different books. Yet in both books, the characters are preoccupied with raising their status at all costs.

 A character’s status has a huge impact on how they interact with others and it plays a vital role in shaping a story. Status refers to how confident and powerful a character feels inside themselves. Background, life circumstances and personality influences their status. Their status has nothing to do with their external circumstances. A king may constantly apologise for himself, while a roadsweeper sweeps the streets with his head held high.  

The idea of status was developed by Keith Johnstone in…

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Editors: the good, the bad, and the ugly

Mad Genius Club

Doubtless you’ve seen this bit of news over the past week. When I read it, I was shaking my head — in that knowing way. Because a disproportionate number of fiction editors not only live and work in New York City, they also come out of various university literary programs. And if you know anything about university lit departments, or New York City, you know that these cauldrons of Western Civilization (at its finest!) tend to be ear-marked by, ummm, a certain point of view let’s say. It’s not the point of view commonly held in, oh, Montana, or Texas, or small-town South Dakota. And it’s certainly not wholly homogeneous — for those specific places. No. But there is a predictability to Nick Cole’s adventure with traditional publishing. A predictability that only makes sense if you consider the overarching cultural context of the thing. Who Nick is. Who his editor…

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