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3 Tips from GUYS AND DOLLS

I’d never seen the musical GUYS AND DOLLS.

Until this week.

Until I saw my daughter walk across the stage as an extra in the first scene.  And then I enjoyed the excellent acting and singing.

But the writer in me popped out to analyze plot and character. #onceawriteralwaysawriter

1. Make sure opposites attract.

In order to procure a spot to shoot his crap game, one shady gambler bet another shady gambler a thousand bucks that he couldn’t get a girl to go with him to Cuba.

Except the first shady gambler got to pick the girl. And he picked a straight-laced girl who worked for the mission to convert sinners. Talk about conflict and humor.

What about your romantic leads or best friends in your current wip?

2. Make sure characters stay true to who they are.

I knew it would be a happy ending but I didn’t know how it would happen. Well, the second shady gambler gave the straight-laced missionary girl an offer she couldn’t refuse. He guaranteed her six sinners at her next prayer meeting if she accompanied him to Cuba for the day.

She couldn’t refuse when her boss threatened to close their mission because of their lack of saving sinners. #high stakes #motivation

And in the depths of the sewer, he gambled with the sinners and won. They all went to the prayer meeting.

Do your characters show change and growth while staying true to themselves?

3. Make sure all secondary characters have motivation, a stake in the plot, and a character arc.

  • Shady gambler one: He wanted a place to run his crap game.
  • Shady gambler two: He not only wanted to win the bet but then he fell in love and wanted to help the girl.
  • Shady gambler one’s girlfriend: They’d been engaged for fourteen years. She just wanted to get married.
  • The missionary girl: She wanted to save her mission and learned to look past the sinner at the person.

Each of these four characters could have been the main character.

Do your secondary characters have a story goal and character arc?

No wonder GUYS AND DOLLS is famous and has been around forever. Clever plotting. Well-rounded characters. Humor. Emotion. Believable.

What I thought would be a yawn-filled night surprised me. What’s your favorite musical? What tips could you learn from it?

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