Adventures in the 3rd Person — Jerry Springer Method

Serendipity and the Spider

For my 3rd person project I’ve decided to do some outlining. Obviously not a practice confined to the 3rd person but something I’ve never really done before except maybe at a super high level, or maybe after the third draft when shit isn’t making any sense.

But it’s new to me, so we’ll bundle it into the 3rd person project, which might be morphing into the “do stuff I’ve never done before” project. I suppose that’s good. Throw all that uncomfortable nonsense into one bucket and deal with it all at once. Or it could be a disaster too. But I think disasters can be interesting in their own right.

So in the 3rd person project, the memory project, I have more significant characters than I typically do. Not a ton, like maybe 6 but compared to two, that’s a lot. And they all have their own thing. So I’m trying to outline the timeline/situation for each character.

I’m doing OK with the potential history of each but once I start having  the characters cross paths and interact in particular scenarios, I’m not really sure what’s supposed to happen. I usually just have one character  who needs to grow and be affected by the situation. Now I have dueling needs (or perhaps multiple character needs) to contend with. The chemistry is different.

What I think I want to do is know the basic out come of a scene, of all the scenes, before I start because that’s a new approach. But I don’t think I can do it. I stare into that unknown and it just stares back. There’s no catalyst.

The Jerry Springer method. I think that’s what ‘ll have to use. Throw three characters unexpectedly into a room together and see what they do. And then every time they get comfortable, throw a new person into the room. And oh ho, here’s your long lost father. And the dog you thought had died. And your favorite toy your brother stole form you when you were five, and the brother who stole it who is now a prosperous toy manufacturer.

Sorry, got distracted there. I guess the point is that I can throw all the ingredient I do have into a pot and see what happens. I mean, that’s a good kind of unknown. And not like I have to eat the concoction if it’s bad. Maybe discover what’s missing. Needs more salt. Needs more cream (everything needs more cream).

Throw it all together and let it simmer or ferment and see what serendipity bubbles to the top. Have faith in serendipity is the lesson here. We shall see.

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