No Bad Dreams Allowed

Last night I had a dream where I decided to take up running. Cool running outfit and everything. As I ran, I was ready for the pain associated with me trying to exercise; shortness of breath, pain in my legs, and chest, and wanting to fall on the floor and lay there until I calm down.

To my surprise, there was no pain, or negative symptoms. Even better I felt energized, so I kept running.  I woke up from that dream feeling happy. It that moment I saw myself as strong, enduring, and moving towards greatness and happiness.

I like this dream, simple, sweet, and didn’t have me waking up feeling confused, disrupted, or upset — as sometimes my dreams can leave me in those states.  

For the record, I don’t know what this dream fully meant. My interpretation is that I’m doing something good, or about to go in the right direction. Can I have more dreams like this one?  

That said I wasn’t writing for a few weeks as things got very chaotic, BUT I think I was fortunate to have the luxury to abandon projects temporarily. As I review the notes I see them with fresher, eyes. Some things make more sense, and had me thinking and writing down  my thoughts.  

Happy creative endeavors.  

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Get It Done, Darn it!

I was trying to write about how I was looking forward to revising material for the novel. The content was sweet, thoughtful, and faced multiple revisions. Then I deleted it.

Why?  I was laboring too much, and if the material is to unabashed, progressive, and creative. I must act, not hold back, and do what needs to be done to make an entertaining story.

That said if the main character is naive, innocent, and these are defining traits, then he’s not truly passive. I simply have to break his traits. By that I mean I’m going to break, destroy, and ruin those traits for him.

He’s going to get some choices, where he can run, hide, and hope it all goes way, or he can man up, and get his life under his control, and it won’t be easy, or pretty.

So everything can and will fall into place.

Why? Because he’s my hero. Right or wrong, he’s going to get through his journey.

Happy creative endeavors.

Tropes, Archetypes, and Sterotypes

Was looking over tropes and archetypes and came across something interesting.  In my novel I needed a mentor archetype to teach my MC (hero) the ropes. The MC is white and the mentor is black. I didn’t think this was a trope, but came across what is called “magic negro.” BTW I bristle at the word, and should. It’s a pejorative.

For those not in the know, the term refers to a black character, usually of a lower economic and social standing, who is “in touch with the earth,” and may or may not possess magical powers. He or she may be the sole black person within the story, and his/her sole purpose in a story or film is to find the clueless white leading character, and give him or advice, then sacrifice himself for the MC.

This magic black man/woman typically doesn’t have their own storyline other than he or she is to be the MC’s guide. The magic black person has no family, no origins, and kind of a blank slate. This makes their character role pivotal, but also underwhelming.  Even Obi-Wan got to hang out and guide Luke after his death. Dude had more than agency—he had staying power.

By contrast, mentors are the archetype, and serve to guide the hero. They may sacrifice themselves, however they have agency and are viable parts of the narrative. For the record, the mentor for my novel has magic, and knowledge he teaches the MC how to use magic properly, but this is a world where magic exists.

The mentor in my novel evolved from being simply a mentor, to having elements of an ally (potential friend/companion), and trickster (who’s side are you on, anyways) archetypes.  He definitely has his own story arc, and he’s not the sole person of color in the story.

For the record, I love mentor roles in stories. I also love teachers, ad teaching. Academics is important to me personally. It’s important for me to get story elements correctly without falling into tropes and/or racial stereotypes.

Do I think I can have a black mentor for a white student? Do I think the roles can be misconstrued or misunderstood?  Can I give my mentor the role he deserves, past perceived limitations? Can I even defy expectations by not having a mentor be perfect or a great role model? The answer is “yes” to all of these questions.

Happy creative endeavors.

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.

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.