Michael Hauge's talk on story structure. It was a fantastic lecture interspersed with film clips. I took plenty of notes, and it is taking me a while to absorb all of the presentation. However, one of Michael Hauge's points has really stuck with me. He discussed giving the hero (or heroine) a wound--something from the distant past that has affected the protagonist deeply. As an example, Mr. Hauge showed a clip from the movie L.A. Confidential in which Russell Crowe's character talks about a horrible incident in his childhood. That scene defines the character, lending him empathy, but also adding an emotional punch which would not be there if the viewer did not know what makes the character tick.
I've always found it difficult to wound my heroines. I don't like to hurt people, but--as Michael Hauge pointed out--all of us are wounded in some way. Everyone has defense mechanisms in place by the time they are adults. All of us hide some of our true selves.
Mr. Hauge's left us with a statement to fill in for our protagonist, "I'll do whatever it takes to achieve my goal, just don't ask me to ________, because that's just not me."
If our characters are to succeed, they must go beyond their fears. That is courage. They must reveal their true selves because that is where their strength lies.
Then Mr. Hauge asked all of us not only to use his statement for our character, but to question ourselves.