So anyways, yesterday was the first full day of Conference for me- and what a day it was.
I attended sessions looking at scene diagnosis, story diagnosis and sex scenes- which are, as an aside, more than just “docking procedures.” Thanks to Anne Gracie for that image.
My biggest takeaway from the day was the importance of conflict- and how to create it. We looked at the difference between goals and needs- both those of our character, and those of the other players in the story.
We learnt about how the gap between your character’s expectations and the outcome of a situation creates conflict and tension. It’s that conflict that in turn creates those little insights that we’re looking for in our characters. It’s how they move forward, how we move the story forward, and how they deal with the obstacles being put in their way stopping them from achieving their goals and needs….which, of course, also keeps the story interesting.
I contemplated this at 11pm last night when the busker 12 floors below me in Swanston St was in a New York State of Mind and I was in a mind to get some sleep. Fortunately, my earplugs and half a sleeping tablet were sufficient for both our goals to be satisfied- ie me getting some much needed sleep and him doing a bad version of George Michael’s Careless Whispers.
I contemplated it again at 1am when the cover band on a rooftop bar across the road managed to break through said earplugs and land in my room. I sighed and picked up the book I’d been reading. Besides, they did a great version of Wonderwall, and Hallelujah. I also could have sung along to Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s Under the Bridge– although drew the line at Tracy Chapman… Fast Car is close to the top of my top 10 most hated songs.
I contemplated the conflict again at 2am. By now my goal of getting some sleep had turned into a real need that the other half of the sleeping tablet couldn’t satisfy. Then the band changed to one that played many more of my top 10 most hated list- stuff by Creedence, Jackson Browne and Elvis…all sung in an Elvis voice.
There were definitely gaps between my expectations and the outcomes I was experiencing. Tension was being created and insights were being gained. I felt like causing some conflict.
Before you feel too sorry for me (as if…) I’ve stayed at this hotel before- many times before…just not for a few years. In fact, the last time I stayed here, I declared at stupid o’clock that I was never going to stay here again- that the quality of my sleep outweighed the advantages of the location (on the corner of Swanston and Little Bourke Streets in the centre of the city). It was a declaration I’d forgotten about until around 2.45am this morning.
Just before 3am I finished my book, clapped my hands over my ears and squeezed my eyes shut.
Soon after, Elvis left the building.