Monday, March 19, 2012

Trying on the Overcoat

Ryan Edward has two jobs. He owns mattress stores, and he buys and sells items much like you see on the popular television shows, Pawn Stars and Storage Wars. He loves antiques and has a great knowlege of history. He bids on Storage units that go up for auction and it's always fascinating to see what he ends up owning, everything from someone's old VHS collection to highly valuable treasures. I tease him that so many of his success stories start with, "So I thought better of it, and dug it out of the trash."
On Saturday, he came home with the most amazing memorabilia from World War II. He sat us all down in the living room, picked up each item and told us its story. The most interesting and foreboding was this jacket.

It was worn by a member of the Gestapo during the reign of Adolf Hitler in Germany. It's sitting in my living room, its black leather worn and rough and heavy. I could try it on, but the very idea scares me. What acts did the hands that slid themselves into that coat every day commit? What were the thoughts of the man who buttoned those buttons? Was he conflicted? Was he purely evil or just filled with a hope that had turned to dillusion?
Writers have to think a lot about people. We have to think about who they are, about their thoughts, their motivations, their goals.
Dwight Swaine

wrote that it is impossible for a writer to do justice to any real person with a character in a book. People are too complex. Our job is to accurately portray the things readers need to know about our characters.

According to Randy Ingermanson, there are three main things a writer should try to understand about his character when he "tries on his overcoat".
1) His values, or his core truths.
2) His Ambition, what he wants most in the world.
3) His Goal, the one concrete thing he believes he needs to do, or be, or have in order to achieve his ambition.

I might have to try on that heavy, Secret Service overcoat and get inside the head of my villain. We all know I'd rather write about the hero and the damsel than the bad guy. I once watched Beauty and the Beast at the Tuacahn Theater and Gaston stole the show. Who are your favorite villains?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Not Feeling Sexy.

Okay, apparently a Monday can pass without romance while I'm still alive. :) In my defense, I'm barely alive. It's not that my writing isn't on my mind every day. My focus has to shift a little sometimes to things that will further my goals in a way that blogging won't. I've been using the extra time to read this:

I have two more like it on hold at the library.

I guess you could say I've been feeling studious instead of sexy.

Also, I've been on a diet. That's right, the evil, evil diet. When dieting, I am an unhappy person with occasional dreams of one day being happy.

You might say I've been feeling starvation instead of sexy.

Also, I've been working out more. Which will eventually make me feel sexi-ER, but given the fact that in my crazy life right now time for a shower is a luxury,

You might say I'm feeling sweaty instead of sexy.

Also, I'm suffering from a terrible cold. My sinuses hurt.

I'm feeling stuffy instead of sexy. Whenever I think of stuffiness and sexiness at the same time, I think of this:

I couldn't find a clip of this episode that was clean enough. I just always think of Monica trying to seduce Chandler with a stuffy nose when I'm sick. Funny stuff.

The positive side is, these things will all lead to improvements! There's sun on the horizon! There are little green shoots springing out of the ground. I can hear birds singing outside again. A bright future beckons. We put up our trampoline, we went to the park, we went for a walk and saw baby farm animals. I've been bonding with my family.

I feel spring-y even if I don't feel sexy just yet. There is a time for everything.