Friday, May 9, 2008

You didn't see that coming, did you?


I guess you could say I have a knack for lying. If you hadn't noticed, my blog is only about half true... and that's counting my Alaska road trip accounts. Most of the short stories I write are discernibly fictitious, but I guess I walk a fine line. I'm not surprised when I am asked if one of my true stories is fiction... I deal with that a lot. But I have been asked a few times if my fictional stories is true. I guess there are a few ways to interpret that. Either I have a pretty boring life and write about non-interesting things... and people are puzzled by the similarities. Or the other extreme... I have fairly uncommon experiences and write fictional things that seem to fit in with the rest of my blog. I guess the thing that I would like to hear is that I write convincingly whether it is fact or fiction. It matters less to me if they are incredible stories or mundane... as long as someone is reading them.

I have conceptualized a story that has a BIG twist in it. something that you wouldn't expect at all. and it's way out of the ordinary for my type of writing. I'm developing it into a screenplay, that will hopefully catch someone's eye (f not, i intend to make the film myself).

I have written a few stories that were not supposed to be crazy and mind-blowing, just interesting --Writing outside the box/lines. I have decided not to post them, or just scrapped them altogether because they are too similar to life. these are the stories in which no one is diffusing a bomb, they aren't the accounts of being held hostage in a shootout, no one is running from a serial killer or the mob. The characters are just people. people doing very normal things. I guess these characters are really just a projection of myself, doing very normal things. What I aim for though, is for an element of simplicity that becomes a point of interest for my reader. A concept that is entirely plausible, even likely, that they have never considered. A neighbor who doesn't know what it's like to be behind the wheel of a roadster, because he was too tall to fit in one by the time he got his license. The mischievous behavior of a young adolescent as related by the perpetrator-- with an emphasis on the "fun" aspect, where the expense this "thrill" had for the victims is not even considered without the equally self-centered perspective that getting caught/being in trouble was the worst part of it all. I guess the reason I don't care to share these is because I don't think they would be appreciated. Their lack of conflict/resolution are a bore in comparison to the typical short story.

I am finding an application for this type of writing though. I think it is good practice for creating characters.

I just watched a movie made by Akira Kurosawa in the 50's. It's called "Rashomon" and it deals with the concept that truth is subjective--the whole "eye of the beholder" sort of philosophy. It also makes a strong commentary on human nature and our inclination to omit self-incriminating information. or, in some instances, to exaggerate or take pride in these details.

To tie this back in with the theme, I think I have a knack for considering the unique perspective of the characters I write about. I guess you could say I write personal accounts for different personalities. When I say my characters are a projection of myself, what I mean is that I consider the "life" of my character and decide what kind of person I would be/how I would act if I had those same experiences.

The one thing that doesn't work well is that I don't-in simple words- know the "life" of my characters. I know the situations I know who they are at the point that they are faced with the situation. I know the result of how their past, but not their pasts. At least not in a was I can describe or depict. it's just a feeling.

That sucks. Because right now I need to know these things. I need to be able to tell that story.

I'm writing a screenplay. It is a pretty tough job. Luckily I have an interesting (I think so at least) story to tell. But as far as my characters... I am having such a difficult time building a background story for them --a past.

I think the best solution for this is a pretty boring one. Lots of information. I'm reading books on the subject. I'm researching historical facts for accuracy. I'm learning statistics. Protocol and policies. Case studies.

I've done it before for other stories, but I have a feeling this is going to equal more than just a few papers or a book. This one's gonna be a biggie. I have a book on the homeless population, a book about the rehabilitation program for mental patients as of 1964. I have a "wish list" on for a book on the internal operations of a cult-like movement in the 1930's.

1 comment:

whirlygirl said...

I *THINK* i can tell your truth from your fiction. And I like the both of them. But I could be biased, too...

I'm interested in seeing some of your 'normal' stories, too. Is it a M Night Shamalayaananana twist? I bet he'd like a movie by you.
If you hit a writers block next month, come chill w/ me in tha 'Rica!