Sunday, November 2, 2014

Valuable Thesaurus Tools for Use with The Moral Premise

Here are three books (hardcopy or Kindle) that perfectly dovetail with The Moral Premise. I have just listed them on my Recommended Book List under the WRITING section with links to all three to Amazon, and my Amazon reviews (which are also below).

THE POSITIVE TRAIT THESAURUS: A Writer's Guide to Character Attributes
THE NEGATIVE TRAIT THESAURUS: A Writer's Guide to Character Flaws
both by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

The dynamics of the Moral Premise mechanism require polar opposite values. Positive and Negative Traits are close cousins to values. In fact, Angela and Becca explain that the traits they index and detail in their thesaurus can be used four ways: (a) interactive, or action, (b) identity, essence, (c) achievement-based, or goal, and (d) moral attribute, or motivation. It is this last use that perfectly dovetails with The Moral Premise statement. Use their Positive Trait Thesaurus with their Negative Trait Thesaurus to write your Moral Premise statement. The Kindle version's index e-links to exhaustive describe page for each trait. These are great resources for writing, too, after the MP is figured out, because of the myriad examples the authors provide for the trait's cause, how they suggest character behavior, character thoughts, and at the end of each descriptive page a list of opposing traits that cause conflict...potential polar opposite values. These two books are the perfect working companion to The Moral Premise astute writer.

THE EMOTION THESAURUS: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression 
by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

This guidebook may appear to be designed principally for novelists, but it is a great resource for screenwriter's as well. All stories are about emotions, which can be described as the moral motivation behind action. Without emotion no action takes place. Think of that. Even a cold-blooded killer is driven by emotion. Emotions are the direct consequence of a character's positive and negative traits and motivational values. As the authors state: "Without emotion, a character's personal journey is pointless. Stakes cease to exist, the plot...dry..." and the journey for the reader or viewer meaningless." I've written about how log lines and many stories fail because there are no stakes involved. Values and emotions are prerequisites for successful storytelling. Angela and Becca also have designed this book for the critical purpose of SHOWING, not TELLING emotions. Novelists and Screenwriters alike have this goal. It's the SHOWING that connects the audience or reader, and sutures them into the story by identifying with the characters. It's the key ingredient of well-told stories, and the ingredient missing in the didactic flops that preach. This is the "hot blood" the "right-brain" the "grease" that makes the Positive and Negative Trait books productive.

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