Sunday, June 22, 2014

Various Writing Observations

“If only it were so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human-being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”
- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

In a day, I embark on a wonderful adventure, and shall be away from my computer for five days.  The thing is, it's so very hard to write when you're so excited.  The brain swells and all you can think about is how close it is, and your fingers freeze and refuse to type, and of course your brain controls your fingers... so... I find it is so much easier to write when you have something to start with, and build off of it as if you were editing it, but you're really finishing it. 

There is so much to pray for.  Safety on a journey, a return home, someone sick, a family member dying.  The prayer requests on Facebook never stop coming.  The world keeps turning.  But prayer /is/ powerful.  Don't forget to pray for those you care about, and those you don't like too.  And don't forget to have faith that something good will happen.
In my experience, expecting God to answer a question increases the chance of it getting answered.  But he may not answer you in a way you expect.  He will not always do what you want him to do.  But he knows what we need more than we know what we need.  Also in my experience, the more I trust him, I see his faithfulness and goodness.
Just like a character in a book.  The way out isn't always the easiest.  If our characters knew what we the author put them through, they most likely wouldn't like us.  But God is always with you, ready to comfort you if you allow him.  The world needs more prayer warriors.

I wanted to post a few observations/opinions on writing.  Note: these are simply opinions.  Do not take them for more rules to follow, but possibilities to think about.

When you're learning/hearing/reading about a story someone is writing, don't compare it to something you've watched or read or heard about.  They may think it means their story isn't original enough.  But the truth is there is nothing that's original, only our individual voice/character/style of writing, and our approaches to writing.

When writing a character, there should be something unique about their look that draws the reader in.  In one of my stories this meant black-and-white-striped stockings, jeans that only went down to the knee with a few tears in them, and an old, purple backpack that my character Melody wore.  In the movie an American Tale, it was sleeves much too long for the little mouse, that sometimes get in the way.  In the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (movie), it was Lucy's chin-length hair that made her unique.  In the book of course, she had pig-tails in the illustrations, but I don't think C. S. Lewis ever really described his characters much, unless they were unordinary like a talking mouse or Prince Caspian.  He left much up to the reader to imagine, though this was hard because we had already seen the illustrations that showed the characters. hm.

Don't tell us too often what a character /didn't/ do, because it will make us think about the action they aren't doing, and sometimes we don't notice the "didn't" in front of it.  Only tell us what the characters /do/.  This is only opinion though.  Perhaps it's okay to do.  Maybe it's just a way to be more concise.  Sometimes it is important to focus on what a character isn't doing.

And don't forget the villain's humane side.  Nothing ever started out being evil, though bad habits form bad character from the very beginning if they're not pruned like branches of a tree.  My own villain has a conscience buried deep inside him, though he hates it and longs to be rid of it.  He easily overpowers it because he's fought against it for so long.  And because of this, he feels somehow more real/scary than say... Captain Hook in the book or Disney movie, Peter Pan (he's not scary at all... well... not very... and not for long... in Once upon a Time).  Or even... say... Maleficent in Disney's Sleeping Beauty.

The movie, "Maleficent", is a different matter. *spoiler alert* Their version was merely a woman who had been wronged and so we understand why she places a curse on a kingdom whose king is greedy and evil (he's kind of more evil than she is though).  And then she regrets it and tries to even stop it.  I wouldn't call her a villain.  A villain is someone who stands in opposition of the hero. *spoiler over*  Not that Maleficent is a bad movie.  I still want to see it.  (yeah... I'm spoiled by reading way too many movie reviews)

Into the Woods (a musical) is a good example of how even the people we think are the heroes and heroines of stories do bad things, and how those things have consequences.  And they /still/ don't have a trailer for the movie yet.  Maybe they'll get a trailer for it while I'm gone.  I do know Disney is changing it a bit to make it less sad (and I'm kind of sad about that :P ) but they're not /ruining/ it... hopefully.
What do you think of all this?


  1. I like the point about writing what the characters do, instead of don't do.
    Disney is making Into the Woods a movie? Hm, I didn't know about that!

    1. Yeah! Sadly, they don't have a trailer out for it yet -- WAIT -- *checks* -- yep they still don't have it out yet.