Writing Exercises

Today I came up with random character descriptions to see if I could make main characters (MC) who weren’t too passive in their own story.

Let’s see:

  • Broke, drunk ho who needs to pay off gambling debts over having a good time.
  • Slacker who hates his job of preventing the apocalypse from starting.
  • Witless, vain romantic who causes drama and heartbreak everywhere they travel.
  • Shameless social climber not afraid to stab friends in the back for personal gain.
  • Reckless blabbermouth who feels satisfied spreading gossip and lies.

As I said, these are random character ideas, just to get me in the mind of making characters less passive and more active in their own stories.

If I had to modify these, I would add some goofiness to them, really because I like goofy things, and have a hyper imagination. By goofy I also mean weird and fun to me.

So:

  • Broke, drunk ho is desperate to pay off gambling debts to slug gangsters and vicious loan roaches who want their money, or they’re gonna feed the MC to the angry ants.

Mind you, I find this totally gross, however, I wonder if I can make that work.  It’s not on my “to do” list of stories, but it’s funny to keep my mind to work. It’s all super random and needs a lot more work, but this is part of the learning process.

Happy creative endeavors.

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An Emotional Response

Here’s something I was thinking about, in regards to writing stories and scripts. I was wondering what and how I, the writer, can create something that I, the viewer, could emotionally respond to. Sounds simpler in my head.

A while ago, I wrote out a story where the characters’ actions dictated a lot of the conflict, as opposed to dialogue. It had a sense of urgency and danger, and I kept the scene, not knowing how or when to use it.

I experimented with this method a couple of times, then abandoned it. There was, however, something to be said when you can only imagine parts of the sounds and words, as well as feeling the urgency and danger.

I think that time has come to revisit this aspect of writing.  I don’t have a why now so much as it crossed my mind moment, and I’m always looking at ways to tell stories and retain some impact past a moment.

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.

Tuesday is a Silly Day…Somewhat

Today I shall simply write, as ideas seem to pop outta nowhere, and they are outlandish. Outlandish is good, fun, and notoriously silly. They make me laugh, and then I move on from them.

I usually leave my outlandish ideas off the table for consideration to produce or publish, as my fear is no one will “get” these ideas, but today, let’s throw caution to the wind.

The fact remains that there’s a chance that any or all of my material won’t be considered for production  and published (and I have had a screenplay and several stories rejected)  and while rejection is a hard groin kicker, it’s not like that’s ever made me feel like I need to go 100% full stop. I’m a masochist for writing projects.

I must also be an optimist who believes in his work, and wants to get better. I confess every day is a learning process that I’m willing to work on and improve.

That said I have an idea—it’s silly, nonsensical, and amusing–that needs to get onto paper. Gotta go make that happen.

Happy creative endeavors.

Sixteen II, or Tell Me How You Really Feel

Yesterday I discussed writing down modes, getting them to a premise state, and wishing to type them up, and revising them. Overnight I thought about a book I was reading, and later heard the author speak, which reinforced the ideas of how emotion can drive a story forward.

So, I have a few more questions to ask of each premise:

  • So, how do these characters feel along this journey they’re going through?
  • Do these emotions change during the course of the journey?
  • What do they evolve (or devolve) into?

For the writing of the novel, the TV script, and the idea I worked on for the blog, feelings weren’t considered as the story progressed. For the novel I know I was mean to my main character, but he was kinda mellow and things happened to him, it felt like the idea was greater than the person going through the experience.

I should be so focused all the darn time, but theres something to be said for having a methodical approach especially when the goal for these stories is for them to evolve from where they currently stand.

So todays assignment is to look over what’s written, and figure out how each character feels about their life and their situation. My theory is that they will have a different or stronger directions. There will also be a moment of clarity where the character better defined.

Happy creative endeavors.

Sixteen

Yesterday was a day without heavy distractions, which is a little odd for a Friday. I decided that I should take out pen and paper and write. My first thought was to simply list the projects I was working on and define a premise for them.  This was simple enough.

As stated before, the premise is a fleshed out idea that is one or two clear, concise sentences.  There’s another step in this that I wanted to see which was a few simple questions I’ll post below.  The questions would also help me stay on point, see where my thoughts were at that moment on the concept.

One thing pointed out to me is that if your premise sounds confusing, or if your audience doesn’t understand it, then  t needs more work.  As per my own word, writing is rewriting.

The questions for me were:

  1. Who is the MC (main character)?
  2. The MC does what and when?
  3. Where does this event/journey take place?
  4. Why is the MC on this journey?
  5. How does the MC go about this journey?

Writing this down felt complicated, but some of the things were easy to jot down. For example, I knew some of the characters have names, or I used an X as their name.  I knew their situation.

Wrote it all down. I pushed for the five premises on paper, then looked at my story list, and pushed to sixteen premises put down on paper. I’m very happy I did that, but the work can’t stop here.

Now part two of this will be to type all of this out because this is where rewriting will get done as needed.  Once I get a stronger feeling that the material is clear and concise, I will be doing more research. This will lead to even more revisions, but I’m down for that kind of challenge.  I feel good when I push myself further because I want to get it all written.

As always, happy creative endeavors.

Let’s Get To It Already

Been typing my notes on writing for television, and it helps me keep up with what I wrote down. Sort of refreshing the information for me. Plus it looks neater than before. I’ve gone back a couple of times and wrote notes or thoughts on top of my typed notes.  I feel like I never left college.  LOL

Today will about two or three trial runs of plot outlines for stories. This is simply an exercise to get me into staying creative.  I will take 3 sheets of paper.  Dived each sheet into five parts, which represent the five acts of  a TV script/episode. The goal is to write down what happens in  each act.

One of these runs will be the story I wrote about in the premise I’ve been discussing on the blog. The second will be a previous pilot I wrote but know already it needs rewriting to fit the format properly. The last is up in the air, BUT I’m thinking of converting my novel into a TV outline.

Gotta get on top of this, but I’m glad I wrote a post first.  Puts things in perspective.

As always, happy creative endeavors.