Monday, November 17, 2014

Never Gets Old

Today's post is brought to you by the Discovery Channel, Berroco yarn's newsletter, and viewers like you. (It is also possible I've been watching a little too much PBS programming lately.)

"Never gets old, huh?"


I was going to have this big philosophical comparison to the classics versus cliches, but no matter how I wrote it, it didn't sound like I wanted, so you get a YouTube video instead. Watch it, or the rest of this post won't make sense to you.

Finished? Onward, then.

That video sums up the big philosophical comparison I was trying to make nicely.

No, not the "world is awesome" part, though that does tie in well. The "boom-de-ada" part.

What? There's a piece right there about 37 seconds in where a dude launches a grenade or large caliber projectile at a bunker while singing "boom-de-ada." It's fantastic. He's so happy doing what it is he obviously loves. The whole video is full of writing advice if you look at it.

Now, I'm not going to go through the entire thing for you, but I'll put a few examples here for you:

- The astronauts at the beginning looking at the planet. This is you, the writer. You look down upon the world you created and marvel at everything in it. Unlike the song, you might not love everything in it, but you made it, and that's an awesome thing.

- Different people in different parts of the world singing about what they love. These are your characters. Each of them loves something different. It's your job as a writer to find out what that thing is, then fuck with it. Because that's what makes a good story. Take it away from them, break it, hide it, or give them to it in uncomfortable amounts. The possibilities are endless.

- Catchy song. This is your premise. This is the line in the story that your characters follow, and they all sing the same song, even if they're in different parts of the world and love different things.

There. How's that for a philosophical comparison?

You see, each of your characters wants something, even if it's just a glass of water, and it's up to you not only to screw with that, but to tie that in to the bigger picture. The whole world you created. Don't just focus on that one tiny little corner (that character's want), but how that affects the world around them.

Now, at the same time, don't spend so much time focusing on the world you're building that you don't get to that character's wants. Remember the song...the world is huge and there's a lot of people in it, but they're all singing the same song even though their words and loves are different.

This also isn't to say that you should incorporate EVERYONE'S story into your work. Pick one person in the song and focus on them. Say, the lady in the vid who loves Egyptian kings. What's her story? It could be anything. But her story is part of a larger song, which everyone knows.

See what I'm getting at here? After you tell her story, tell someone else's.

Oh, the yarn? It was their title that got me thinking about it. "Good Design Never Gets Old," which led me to the song...yeah. I could go into another big philosophical thing about knitting a story and threads and yarn and so on, but I think I've philosophized enough for one day. Maybe next time.

One last thing before I go. See what I did there? I turned one little phrase into a whole post. You can do that with anything. This is why people who "want to write" or "have writer's block (WHICH DOESN'T EXIST)" or "need inspiration" make me want to punch them in the face, because it's EVERYWHERE.

Boom-de-ada, bitch!

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