Thresholds II

Also tragic story doesn’t have to end with the hero’s life, right?  What if the hero lost something of great value to them; wealth, family, reputation, happiness, sanity, health.

This loss would have a great impact on who they are: The athlete who could no longer compete due to health issues. The philanthropist who loved using his money to help others fulfill their dreams. The once proud writer accused of plagiarism who can’t get a call back.

Villains, in a lot of stories can be tragic heroes, and it gives them enough of a sympathy that their fall is both interesting, and memorable. Why aren’t the heroes this way?

Ultimately, for me, the writer, a hero has to at least be brought to the edges of defeat, or at least close enough to know and feel the the weight of the stakes involved in the wins or loss. It’s rather scary to me.

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Thresholds I

Today’s writing question: Would you dare write your characters as tragic heroes? I ask this as it bothers me to think of my heroes in such a bad way, knowing their actions will lead to their own undoing. This is coming from someone who loves to put his heroes through a lot of paces, BUT none of it has lead to them to their deaths.

By contrast I love strength through adversity, which is why my heroes take a beating and keep on moving towards their greatness.   

I ask this question because it forces me to think about turning ALL the screws to heroes who are possibly paying the ultimate price for their actions, and it’s not necessarily a noble sacrifice. Needless to say, I would be plotting and chronicling some serious emotional and physical pain that may or may not be fun, yet compelling journeys. 

That said, what if I had tragic elements that threatened their worlds, but didn’t completely end the characters? It wouldn’t be a true tragic story, but the characters would come real close to danger, and/or death. They’d be fundamentally changed, or at least shook to their core over what could have happened to them.

 

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

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.

I Don’t Know What Day It Is

It was a weird night, and the dreams were even stranger. It involved politics, social media, and the news surround me in a beef with politicians. It was surreal as thing shifted like jump cuts from looking at magazine, listening to news reports, and then waking to ask myself what the heck was that, and what did I have to eat that set me on this hot mess.

Needless to say after rolling out of bed and trying to get myself together, I sincerely forgot what day it was. That seemed embarrassing for a second, but as I became more and more awake I realized it was Thursday.

Since I had time to enjoy my coffee, I decided to watch a video on how to form better writing habits. I felt is was a good way to sober up from weird dreams.

Happy creative endeavors.

Cranky

Today, even with coffee I am cranky. Maybe I didn’t get enough sleep.  I know I’m in a mood, because I am mildly annoyed with everyone and everything.  Needless to say I feel drained, and no, I don’t need more coffee. I’m just gonna have to go through this little mood until it leaves me be.

It doesn’t mean I’m rude to people, or that I’m blasting people. I  keep the mood to myself, but OMG I could go back to bed, and not be asked a single question or talked to for the next few hours. For the record I like being nice to people, so I even if I am in a mood, I try to give people the best of me so I don’t give them the worst of me.

I firmly believe my bad mood shouldn’t be something to give to others. Discussing it via blog helps me manage my mood in some ways.  Also being kind perks me up a little more.

Writing went up and down. Wrote out a lot of thoughts, ideas, and even tried to boil my working ideas into two sentences–my version of a high concept. Some ideas felt inspired to where I liked what I wrote the first time. Other ideas needed several revisions before they arrived at being remotely a satisfied point.

Now all of those ideas need a “time out” moment before they are looked again.  Other than that I will remain cranky, polite, and keep writing.  This week is so darn odd. LOL

Happy creative endeavors.

 

Southeast Location

I took a few days away from working on my series that was inspired from my jokes, and after yesterday’s blog post on story styles, I felt inspired to revisit the concept with more thoughts.  Let me also add that I will have to do some research, so we’ve gone into a new stage.

As per past posts the story revolves around a man who has global influence, and is trying to work with his dysfunctional family.  My initial thoughts is he was trying to find his voice. That still holds true, but I think he has a new role he’s trying to please a lot of people while remaining true to himself.

I think the MC/hero/protagonist starts and LLC, and it grows like wildfire. His mom is in charge of the business as she manages him, the finances, and the demands.  She has become the an influential person who is the closest to her son.

Location was another aspect I worked on.  The story takes place in Charleston, SC (or outside the city). This is personal, as I am from the south, and I know this region well.  The main setting is the business which is set in a restored southern mansion.

Needless to say I need to brush up on businesses, and southern mansions, because I’d like for this to be a strong aspect of the series.   This also made me think of ideas for the series.

Below are some notes I made as thought this out:

  • Getting sued.  I know it’s an LLC, BUT I imagine people want access to the MC unfiltered.
  • The MC has a unintentional monopoly no on can match, and this sets some people’s shorts on fire.
  • People want favors at the MC’s expense.
  • People want Mom’s favor and try to bribe or blackmail her,
  • MC has to learn when to say “no,” and not being a people pleaser when the business has policies he and his mom are ironing out.
  • Mom and MC are having issues over policies.  Some she insists upon, others he insists upon.

Tomorrow I may post something I found to be a problem: I want to create some other relatives that have positive influence on the MC.  I’m thinking an aunt (Mom’s sis) and a Uncle (Dad’s brother) who may or may not work for him.

As always, happy creative endeavors.