Perhaps I live in a vacuum but, I, writing article addict, had not heard of Lajos Egri before yesterday. I stumbled across Notes on Lajos Egri’s Art of Creative Writing on Dark Cloud Press' website. Incredible.
Egri has some fundamental beliefs about creative writing which include:
"Every type of creative writing depends on the credibility of a character. Whatever a character does or says, he does or says for only two reasons:
1. To create sympathy for himself.
2. To show how important he is."
Every story needs a premise. "The premise is the seed from which the story grows. It is a thumbnail synopsis of the story you want to write."
"Desire is a mild word for the strongest motivation there is. Self-preservation is the second."
"Insecurity is the basic law of existence. All human emotions, good or evil, without exception, spring from this one eternal source."
"To create an original story, pick one individual with and outstanding trait. This person may embody all other virtues in existence, but they have one trait that makes them loveable or intolerable to live with. This character will totally possess one trait – one trait that is 100%. A compulsive trait. If you’re writing about a self-centered man, don’t make him just a little self-centered. Make his universe revolve around him alone."
Lots more. Go read the notes. I'm going to buy the book.