Posts Tagged ‘core themes’

December 28, 2019;  January 25, 26, 2020

By Teresa Jade LeYung

Every year, I sponsor my Immigrant Experience Writing Contest (short stories, essays, monologues) offered through California Writers Club San Francisco Peninsula Branch and The Literary Stage at the San Mateo County Fair  https://cwc-peninsula.org/the-literary-stage/. You do not have to live in California in order to enter any of the writing contests. Some contestants will enter an excerpt from a long piece of work (novels, memoirs) without investing time to rewrite the pages so that the piece would engage the reader with a beginning, middle and ending.

As a theme consultant and a writing coach, and a fan of a few television series, I have found another inspiration when teaching my clients how to show archetype-driven plotlines.

One of my favorite characters is Rhoda Morgenstern in the situational comedy (sitcom) RHODA  portrayed by Valerie Harper.

One of my favorite episodes is “One Is A Number” (Season 4, Episode 4, written by Charlotte Brown). I love this episode because this is a stand-alone piece. I do not have to  know the backgrounds of the characters.  The script clearly shows what the main character (protagonist) wants and how she goes about getting it.

Act 1 – we see relationships, the protagonist’s personality and what she wants.

Fellow: “Rhoda, it was really nice of you to invite me to breakfast.”

Rhoda: “Gary, I did not invite you.” (with a smile)

Gary:  “Well, then it was nice of you not to kick me out.”

Rhoda’s sister Brenda arrives to tell her why she can’t go out to dinner and the theatre with Rhoda tonight.

 

Act 2 – we see Protagonist pursuing what she wants.

Rhoda calls friends; they cannot go with her.

She asks her boss; he doesn’t like going to theatres.

She even asks Johnny Venture, the  fellow she has been turning down; he cannot because he’s judging a beauty contest tonight.

 

Act 3 -  Protagonist reveals what the real Antagonist is.

In her apartment, Rhoda paces, she picks up the theatre tickets and puts them down again.

She gets on the intercom with Carlton the doorman.  She tells him why she doesn’t want to go out alone at nighttime – she fears what people could be thinking of her, how they would judge her.

Archetype:  Carlton is the unexpected ally and mentor

 

Act 4 – Protagonist has overcome Antagonist.

At a restaurant where tea tastes like coffee (Rhoda is escaping from pouring rain), she meets:

- a taxi driver who is eating his spaghetti dinner

- an old woman named Marie who says she is a stewardess on a rocket on the Martian Space Patrol

- the waitress named Bea who says: “What are you doing out on a terrible night like this?”

Rhoda:  “Tonight was a big night for me. I was trying to do something alone.”

Bea: “You married?”

Rhoda: “Divorced.”

Bea: “Sounds like you’re already doing something alone.”

 

Act 5 -Protagonist has been transformed.

In her apartment are her allies – her sister Brenda, Brenda’s boyfriend Benny, Gary, Johnny.

Rhoda comes home.  She says: “I had a great time. It was wonderful.  It’s great to go out alone, I found out. I mean, you meet terrific people…. You would have loved it….”

Her boss Jack arrives.  “You’re not dead.”

Brilliant line.  Rhoda is the opposite of dead.

She has realized a new life. She can go out alone and enjoy herself. She has learned to look at people. She wants to share her discovery with her sister and friends.

They want to leave.

Rhoda says: “You had to be there.  I love you all, even if you didn’t get it.”

“Brenda, look at me. Have you ever seen your sister in better shape?”

After Rhoda closes the door, she reaches into her bag and pulls out Bea’s hat (souvenir from mentor archetype) and puts it on her head.

I love how sitcom character Rhoda Morgenstern shows beginning, middle, and ending  through an archetype-driven plotline! Thank you, Ms. Charlotte Brown!

Cheering for all Writers and Readers!

Story Theme Consultant Teresa Jade LeYung - photo by Mary E. Knippel, creator of Your Writing Mentor

 

 

As a story theme consultant, award-winning writer, and platform-building coach for pre-published and published authors, Writing Coach Teresa Jade LeYung helps her clients identify their core themes and transform their manuscripts into novels, biographies and memoirs. http://lovemadeofheart.com/blog

 

 

January 3, 2020

To Everyone,

Happy New Year !

I wish you excellent health, wonderment, and 20/20 vision to peace!

Sincerely,

Teresa Jade LeYung

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Luxor Obelisk and The Iron Lady of Paris, France - photo by Teresa Jade LeYung

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 The Water Garden at Giverny – Claude Monet’s Water Lily Pond – photo by Teresa Jade LeYung

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Lady Liberty at Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France – photo by Teresa Jade LeYung

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The Water Garden at Giverny - Claude Monet's Water Lily Pond - photo by Teresa Jade LeYung

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Oh my! An Eiffel Tower Christmas tree (Thank you to the folks who displayed this) in Berkeley, California - photo by Linda A. Harris

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Teresa Jade LeYung 2019 Paris, photo by Mary E. Knippel

 

As a story theme consultant, award-winning writer, and platform-building coach for pre-published and published authors, Writing Coach Teresa Jade LeYung helps her clients identify their core themes and transform their manuscripts into novels, biographies and memoirs. http://lovemadeofheart.com/blog

 

 

published December  14, 2019

Reading Victoria Sweet, M.D.’s new book SLOW MEDICINE The Way to Healing https://www.victoriasweet.com/ and watching/listening to Carole King (“A Conversation with Carole King” – Veteran journalist Mike Barnicle talks to Ms. King about her memoir A NATURAL  WOMAN at John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum on April 12, 2012) https://www.jfklibrary.org/events-and-awards/forums/2012-04-12-a-conversation-with-carole-king motivated my completing Part 2 of Author Teresa Jade LeYung’s New Monologue “What The Man In 17-B Wanted”

In my blog post http://lovemadeofheart.com/blog/blog-post-3-of-3-papa-makes-decision-while-in-nursing-home-again-by-teresa-jade-leyung/  my father was coping with his circumstances – as a reluctant resident at a nursing home.

This is what happened in November and December 2018.

Remember that piece of paper that I needed to fill out for the nursing home staff? The one about naming a mortuary.  Every resident must fill out that form http://lovemadeofheart.com/blog/author-teresa-jade-leyungs-new-monologue-what-the-man-in-17-b-wanted-part-1/

Well, there is another form to deal with – “Notice to Terminate Lease” -  the agreement between my father and the apartment building property management – that a tenant must give up his lease after six months of absence and vacate his apartment.

I waited for a “good” day to show this second document to my father.  Only his signature would be accepted by the property manager.  That day, Papa appeared to be cheerful, the sun was shining. I said to him: “Papa, remember you went to the hospital in July? You’re safe here with nurses and CNAs who care about you. Your Social Security money is paying for you to be here. There is no money to pay for your apartment too. Also, the lease says that you have to give up the apartment by end of December. I will help you. Don’t worry. I’ll take care of everything. You just have to sign this paper.  Okay?”

He signed.  I don’t know what happened after I said “Goodnight” to him. He probably cried when no one was watching.

What I didn’t have the heart to tell him was that every object which represented his life had to go away – to a storage unit , to a recycling center, or to the dump. If not for my brother’s first wife and four other precious friends, I wouldn’t have been strong enough to take on this job.

What irony for a writer – I (narrator) wanted to give my father (protagonist) what he wanted (to be able to return to the place he called “home”) but he was a fall risk and could no longer live alone.  Because he was relying on me to be his advocate, and,  because he didn’t get what he wanted most, he probably viewed me as an obstacle as well.

Like the son in the movie Garbo Speaks (written by Larry Grusin), I was the daughter who was worn out chasing after something that seemed impossible to obtain.

Back to that first piece of paper that I needed to fill out for the nursing home staff.

I need to do the right thing when Papa dies. Mrs. Chu, the oldest resident at the nursing home, is 107! My father is only 85. He has a long way to go.

Does my father want to be buried or cremated? He won’t talk about illness, certainly not about funeral.  I cannot read his mind.

Thanks to Amy Grace Lam who said to me “Teresa, you will get your answer not by asking your father but by finding the right person to ask your father.”

The right person would be someone who speaks fluent Cantonese and is the archetype to ask such a question.

On the day when all three Cantonese-speaking team members (nurse, social worker, chaplain) showed up at the nursing home to meet my father and me, Amy Grace Lam’s words replayed in my head.

I showed Chaplain Yuen the piece of paper  and told him: “I want to honor my father’s body and need to know what he wants.”

I did not need to explain any further; the chaplain nodded, and took the paper from my hand.

While he was chatting with my father, I stepped aside to talk to the nurse and social worker.

Fifteen minutes later, I hear Chaplain Yuen telling my father that he would visit again.  As though a director was in the room and we were all rehearsing a scene, a CNA comes into the room to distract my father. The chaplain says to me: “Your father wants burial, not cremation.”  The social worker tells me that she’ll get me a list of mortuaries which will include those catering to families of Chinese heritage.

I got what I wanted – the answer to my question. What more can a daughter ask for.

 

photo by Teresa Jade LeYung 2018 November 20

 

I wish you, dear Reader, excellent health.

Sincerely,

Teresa Jade LeYung

Teresa Jade LeYung - photo by Sharon Leong 2019 May 10

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a story theme consultant, award-winning writer, and platform-building coach for pre-published and published authors, Writing Coach TERESA JADE LEYUNG empowers her clients to identify their core themes in their manuscripts and career mapping.
http://lovemadeofheart.com/blog

TERESA JADE LEYUNG (formerly Teresa LeYung-Ryan) is the author of:

Love Made Of Heart

Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW

Talking to My Dead Mom monologues

 

 

 

 

 

Mary E. Knippel and I (Teresa LeYung-Ryan) presented a 45-minute session “Be Your Own Editor: Inject Your Manuscript with the 5 Ws and Core Themes” at last weekend’s San Francisco Writers Conference.

The first W (“Who”) – as in “Who is the Protagonist?”  And, “Who or what is the Antagonist?”

Who or What is the Antagonist in Your Story / Novel / Memoir / Book ?

For every Protagonist, there’s an Antagonist!

Antagonist is a character or a set of circumstances that threatens the Protagonist’s well-being OR the well-being of someone the Protagonist cares about.

Other powerful Antagonists are:

  • the Protagonist’s reaction to circumstances
  • the Protagonist’s own character flaw
  • something that threatens the status quo
  • illness or grief (including loss of an aspect of One’s self)

This is how screenwriter/screenwriting teacher Terrel Seltzer defines “what” is a great story.  She says:  “Someone we care about … wants something badly…  and is having a terrible time getting it.”

Coach Teresa here . . . “The Antagonist is the one who/which is causing ‘a terrible time’ for the Protagonist.”

Go through your manuscript; are you showing at least one of the antagonists within the first 5 pages?

Happy re-writing!

Sincerely,

 

 

 

 

Teresa LeYung-Ryan   aka  22-Day Coach Teresa helps clients identify their themes and archetypes; she is the author of:

Love Made of Heart: a Mother’s Mental Illness Forges Forgiveness in Daughter Ruby (novel used in college courses)

Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW (workbook for all genres),

“Talking to My Dead Mom” monologues

Coach Teresa’s website http://writingcoachTeresa.com

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