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.

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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.

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.

My Precioussss

I don’t quite nuance that title as well as Gollum does in the Lord of the Rings films, but that was the aim.

As I continue to research, write, and learn, I noticed a lot of my characters are very much blank slates to a point that things happen to them, as opposed to them making things happen.  My characters can and should be active and not passive in their respective worlds.

That said, some of my characters are all inadvertently in melodramas (bad things happen to good people).  For example, in my novel, the MC (main character) is a dancer, but really doesn’t do much—other people cause the trouble. He just happens to be in nearby, and gets dumped on. No fighting back, and barely even a snappy line or insult.

The one time he was active is when he was placed in a situation where he had the option to run or fight. He chose to fight. I LOVED that scene. Totally my fault for the lack of an active role, though.

The MC was too precious to me to be active, OR to have true flaws to address and explore within the story. This is killing my stories from the inside. It plays a part in why I sometimes stall time after time on projects.

Let’s face it, I can procrastinate with the best of them—I’d clean my room before I spent the day writing (my personal flaw).

Ironically, the one melodrama story I worked on, has a very active character doing bad things while struggling to maintain the façade of an upstanding man of the town.  His actions cause problems as opposed to waiting, and he reacted to events. Dude has so many flaws, I was like this is good.  I have to know more (my nosy self).

Perhaps I should view my other stories as melodramas, and then I will dare to break them away from their precious, protected blank slate. I’d like to move forward in writing. A bother has to evolve creatively.

As always, happy creative endeavors, and don’t get stuck like I did.

Sixteen III

In the process of writing, I’ve found some humorous things that happened with the premises I thought I’d share for grins and giggles.

A lot of theses stories are set in Charleston, or North Charleston, a fictional variation of the two, or a fantastical/sci-fi setting.

  • A lot of people make some bad or interesting bargains.
  • My ignition is high. I’m the rational one.  😉
  • Family dynamics show up in one form or another.
  • I love science fiction and fantasy a lot.
  • I have one melodrama that WON’T leave me alone.
  • I also love dinosaurs.
  • And monsters.
  • Also mythology.

That’s enough. Gotta go back to writing, but those made me smile today. The news is on, and it’s depressing me, so I better listen to some music and write.

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.