The Artist: Part Two

So then I wondered, why am I apologizing for stuff that hasn’t been even shown to others yet?

It’s easy for me to want and wish for approval. The scale of likability goes up for material produced or published—but even then that’s no guarantee people will approve and like the material, or myself.  So this is the wrong way.

It’s also easy to fear my own potential. Have I gone too far? Did I go far enough? Did I learn my techniques properly enough to execute my visions?

There must be an unflinching bond of trust between the subject, the actual project, and myself.

I must be willing to accept the consequences of my works—misunderstood, or not. I don’t owe anyone anything, least of all, and apology for quality content. The only exception this rule is I go in half-assed, and the material suffers/meanders. That’s’ gross unprofessionalism.

Furthermore I have to believe that I will put together solid works from start to finish. If I’m willing to be responsible for the content, I must not rely on the content to sustain my ego. I’m not an artist because I need adoration.  I happen to love being creative, and don’t mind growing and sharing my material.

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The Artist: Part One

As I put away books, I stumbled across random bits of information. One of the subjects was about various artists, and their point of views.  While not intended as research, it fit the bill for that moment perfectly.

One thing I saw that was consistent, and reinforced by my own teachings, was that artists often act and react to subjects. They present their work, and rarely do they apologize. The material can be bold, audacious, engaging, exceptional or vulgar as all get out.

Regardless of the medium, artists can capture moments, stir responses from us (positive or negative), and even force us to confront elements that we may or may not wish to deal with or discuss at the time.

For example, a topic like child abuse, or racism can make us all squirm, but there usually is a point that’s presented and confronts us in some works. The topics can be as simple as eyes, shoelaces, or doors, but they still can be delivered in a variety of ways.

It reminds and reinforces me to create and deliver without feeling a need to sugar coat, sterilize, sanitize, or apologize about my own works. Furthermore, sometimes you really don’t have to elaborate. Let the material speak for itself.

Stage One

Yesterday, before doing any gaming, I made sure to get some writing done. I needed to type up my ideas to keep on my schedule. This was done while being mildly distracted by family activities, but I got done what I set out to do.

Ultimately I picked out four ideas, and two additional ones as alternate selections (more on this later), and wrote down what I needed to look at for inspiration as a start for getting into the project.   I also typed out the ideas, knowing I’d think over them overnight, revise them today, and develop the premises.

One thing that happened, late last night, was that two of my story ideas were too similar. They were both fantasy-based stories. While one was in an urban setting and had a horror-supernatural vibe, the other was in a fantasy world, and that was really the only main difference.

Both MC’s were investigators, solved crimes, and had contentious relationships with their bosses. I’m not sure these ideas are different enough to warrant being written at the same time.

I may give this a day to mull over, but I’m sure I can merge these two, and pick one of the alternate choices (also urban fantasy). I feel the alternate idea is vastly different from either previous screenplays.

I also looked over genres of the chose screenplays. It’s mainly a variation of fantasy, actions/adventure, or supernatural, so I need each of them to stand up on their own without blending into each other.

To keep each story distinct, I need to add strong themes to each story, and hold to them. This will come from the MC’s personal conflict, and will likely evolve as the story is written.

This is getting complicated already. I like that.

Happy creative endeavors.

Nine Stages

For the past few days I’ve been pushing forth the idea of now or never with my writing goals and projects. The time has come to push them forward, because keep dreaming of them being published and/or produced as opposed to getting them completed really isn’t good for me.

So today I’m a starting projects, with goals and deadlines involved. Hopefully by June of 2018 I’ll have completed writing them, and will move them to the next plateau.  I’m listing my goals below to show what I’m thinking and going. I’ll start of small, and keep intensifying the work.

Stage One:

  • First deadline: 11/30/17
  • Choose four of my story ideas.
  • Convert the ideas into premises.
  • Type the story ideas and premises.
  • Begin preliminary research (article, book or two).

Stage Two:

  • Deadline: 12/31/17
  • Main Character notes (identify MCs heart’s desire or greatest fear, wound, or flaw).
  • Add notes from other characters.
  • Do more research (minimum 4 additional resources).
  • Initiate first draft of outline (minimum: ACT One for each project).

Stage Three

  • Deadline: 1/31/18
  • Complete act Two AND Three of outlines.

Stage Four

  • Deadline: 2/28/18
  • Allow 1 Week for outline draft cool downs.
  • Begin writing Act 1 of each screenplay.

Stage Five

  • Deadline: 3/31/18
  • Begin writing Act 2 of each screenplay.

Stage Six

  • Deadline: 4/31/18
  • Begin writing Act 3 of storylines.

Stage Seven

  • Deadline: 5/31/18
  • Cool down period. Go work on something else/distract self.

Stage Eight

  • Deadline: 6/30/18
  • Complete rewrites and then relax. Project done for the moment.

Stage Nine

  • Deadline 7/31/18
  • Look for agent.
  • Send out queries
  • Submit complete projects.
  • Start new projects.

Wish me luck.  Happy creative endeavors.

Know Better, Do Better

One of my talents, as a writer, is to have a sense of humor in my stories. I tend to mock behaviors, attitudes, culture, and whatever subject crosses my imagination.  Humor engages my imagination, and it can be entertaining to poke fun at such topics.

I noticed when writing, a notion–which never fully left me–is the notion that humor isn’t the route to take with my writing. That said, I often fail hard at trying to be seen as a “serious” writer.

By “serious,” I mean writing in a sterilized, boring style, stripped of humor, and intolerant to anything that has aspects of entertainment or enjoyment.  I do this while being so ridiculously ineffective in storylines that in part, end up drying out.

I sorta mocked myself in this moment. I don’t mind self-deprecating humor, but a brother needed to be in on his own joke.

I wrote, in previous posts, how I was bad a creating protagonists/main characters because I made them safe, or they lived in a bubble. Part of making better characters, for me, is seeing where I undercut them—and myself. I wasn’t doing them, or myself a favor.

Creativity is a learning process, and if one develops a strength, then one should see the skill, acknowledge it, and explore it without killing your own asset. Self-sabotage is a beast, but in this case, learning and growing from these mistakes will help me improve my craft.

Writing will always be rewriting for me, however, I’d like the idea, premise, research, outline, and first draft of my stories—in all mediums—to start off with the authentic vision and voice this artist allows his talents to shine through without killing the creativity.

Frankly I can and will do better from this experience.

As always, happy creative endeavors.

Damaged II

After the previous post, I looked at each of my characters to see the direction I steered them towards. A lot of my characters stated as an extremely passive. They didn’t act or react to their situations, nor did they reach for a goal, which is bad for story and character progression.

I also previously wrote that it seemed like “damaged” characters (manly from soap operas I used to watch) made things happen in storylines. Those characters with passion seemed to have the freedom to act. When some of these cats got knocked down, they got back on their feet, and tried a different approach.

The above actions are typically what I see with villains in many stories. They could be earnest, aggressive, and assertive. They didn’t simply react, they acted, they had goals, and no one was getting in their way. If you did get in their way, well, you were bound for trouble.

Heroes should be this way as well, and this may have been a blinding factor for me.

In soaps, many heroes (not all) can be passive, unsuspecting, and clueless to the world around them. The hero defined the genre of melodrama, which is, bad things happen to good people. To me, a soap opera hero didn’t have to do much in the story other than be the constant victim of a damaged character.

It’s only when the hero’s caught onto what was going on in the world around them, was he or she able to react, but it’s always at a late, late moment. By then the villain has made attempts to get their goals, got thwarted, and took a different routes to get what they want. The villain has had far more time to for character development and growth. The villain pushes the narrative with great urgency and strength.

Some villains typically do what the hero should be doing in a given story, which is make things happen.  It also suggests to me that the narrative theory is that those only who have desire act in a devious manner.  If you are bubbled and pure you will persevere though simply being good.  Total rubbish.

I believe characters must be active in their own story or they will be supplanted by another more engaging characters.  This may also explain the appeal of villains as secret MCs in storylines.  Think of how flat some storylines are when the hero and/or villains are cardboard. It’s what I’m doing right now.

As always, happy creative endeavors.

Damaged

This is something I’ve been mulling over since the time I’ve said in a previous blog that my melodramatic characters seem to have more action and reaction than the blank slates that are their counterparts in my other stories.  This still seems odd to me. Why does the melodrama story have more life than my other stories?

This is coming from a guy who has watched soaps for years. Back in the day, my Mom watched soaps and we weren’t allowed to change the channel while her soaps were on.  She watched primarily CBS shows, but from time to time, My Aunt and she mentioned liking Dark Shadows—which is odd cause my Mom does not do the supernatural—yet there she was watching it.

That said, I see a little of what my other characters were missing—Many of the characters are damaged in some way, and they play that pain out in their actions (most of the time).

Don’t get me wrong, I have seen some sorry-ass storylines/resolutions, but I’ve seen some compelling ones too.  What I’m getting at is the characters are who they are, and they try to work with what they have.

Outside of the melodrama story, most of my characters have more flat performances, and never leave their stoic bubble, which I have to admit has been a problem for me as a writer. My creative energy gets sapped when the “bubble” characters stop causing things to happen, and are passive in their own story.

With the melodrama story, I made characters selfish, self-absorbed, secretive, self-righteous, hateful, and scornful. They never apologized for their actions or behavior unless it got them something they wanted.

These are also attributes I give to villains in the other stories, and they have the freedom to act.  SO I need to take a long, hard look at my main characters, and as opposed to torturing them, allow them to be dirty, damaged, and make things happen as opposed to staying in a bubble. I still can torute them. I just want them to be better.

Happy creative endeavors.