Back in March, I struggled over a scene mainly because I didn’t find the pain, and I didn’t go deeper into what those painful emotions would cause someone to feel. In this scene, the very first scene I went deeply into, one of my character’s, Devon, walked on stage wanting to play baseball, rather than doing what his friend wanted to stay inside and play with dolls. And I stopped digging into his agenda right there. Since Devon wasn’t my protagonist, I felt like that was enough for me to write the scene. But I learned, by uncovering Devon’s deeper agenda even though he wasn’t my protagnosit, it made the scene so much deeper, so many more human emotions invovled.

Here’s how my coach went deeper, how she described — on the fly — Devon’s mindset walking onto the stage:

He now spent all this time with Lucy [his first girlfriend]. She’s gone for the summer. And he’s lonely. And he wants to talk about her. He wants to feel close to her. And what makes him feel worthy of her, is the baseball stuff. So he wants to play baseball because that’s what Lucy likes.

She targeted the pain, and through that lens asked why does he want to play baseball. His agenda walking on stage becomes so much thicker and more human. There are layers to it. He’s not just a robot with the single desire to play and have fun and he can achieve that through baseball.

So a reminder: agendas are a crucial area to pause and look for deeper layers, layers of emotion and of pain.