Sorry it’s late today. I didn’t get the usual email so had to go to the site to see whether it had been posted. It was worth it as I’m a big fan of the Writing Excuses podcast and Julie’s prompt today is inspired by it. The original link is http://storyaday.org/day-14-m-i-c-e.
Today I want to give you an overview of something that I find useful when figuring out where to start and stop a story and how to keep it on track.
It’s called the MICE Quotient and I learned about it from Mary Robinette Kowal, though it was invented by Orson Scott Card.
The letters stand for:
M – Milieu
I – Intrigue/Idea
C – Character
E – Event
Each letter tells you what type of story you’re telling.
This is largely a story about place. Usually your character arrives in a new place at the start, and most of their struggle is about them negotiating that place, learning about it, trying to escape it. The story ends when they leave that place or they fit it.
EXAMPLES: The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, Ever After.
A question is posed at the beginning of the story. The story ends when the mystery is solved or the question is satisfactorily answered.
EXAMPLES: Sherlock Holmes, Arrival/The Story Of Your Life
A character starts off with an internal conflict and, by the end of the story they have changed it, or rejected the idea of change, or at least understood where the problem lies.
EXAMPLES: Die Hard (Seriously, John McClane has issues at the start of that movie!), The King’s Speech.
External forces change the world at the start and drive the struggle in the middle of the story. At the end of the story the status quo has been restored or a new normal has been established.
EXAMPLES: The Hunger Games, The Parent Trap, disaster movies!
Pick a dominant thread for your story today, based on the MICE categories. Work towards the ending that fits the story type you chose.
I was introduced to this idea by Mary Robinette Kowal, who talks about it on the Writing Excuses podcast. She also made this excellent infographic, to help keep things straight.
This year I won’t be publishing the stories here as I want to send them off somewhere and blogging online counts as published which most outlets won’t accept but will let you know each day how I got on the previous day… so you know I’m doing the challenge with me. Do leave a comment below to let me know how you do.
And me? No surprise that I’ve not got past day one. My novel’s come back from my editor so that’ll be this week taken up plus I have two client novels in to edit so not looking so hopeful for getting any writing done, although I’ll try and keep the two remaining weekends writing. We shall see.