Welcome to the fifteenth day of Blogtober, which coincides with the beginning of the third week of my self-imposed sleep deprivation ordeal; nice how that all works out, no…?
This came about thanks to
some goading from the suggestions provided by Speaker7 and Sips of Jen and Tonic to try and get around NaNoWriMo by posting every damn day this month instead of working on a book. Which, actually, I am still doing anyway while tying myself to the mast here; what that says about me, I leave you to figure out…
Of course, I did notice in my colleagues’ statements that when they committed themselves to the project, they were soliciting ideas for what to write about this month from their associates, which was something I should have considered; get a few topics, build a buffer around those, slot them in, grab some sleep. If there’s ever another Blogtober, that may be the way to go.
Or not. Because to be quite frank, it’s not whether you have an idea, it’s how you use it.
Seriously, there are only a few plots writers have to work with, simple descriptions for which that are the core of your work that can be summarized by one single sentence. And the quality of your work frankly depends less on the sentence you have than how you build off of that sentence.
All plots are essentially armature, a skeleton that you apply bits of clay to, or sheets of papier-mache to, or hang busted Christmas lights off of; whatever media you work in, you get the idea that it’s how you expand off that sentence that ultimately determines the work’s worth, whether you have a masterpiece or a- well, something else, let’s say…
Let’s look at a few examples of this: I’m going to give a one sentence descriptive, and two works for which the sentence sums the core thereof nicely. By doing that, it should prove the point that it’s not so much your story, but how you tell it, that differentiates your work.
[EDIT: I had word that the images that are part of the post do not show up for all viewers, so for their sake I’m including titles with links where the images would send them. It’s not the first time a joke mine lost something in translation…]
EXAMPLE #1: An ex-soldier opens a bar, get involved with a conspiracy that the authorities are trying to shut down.
You could end up discussing CASABLANCA:
or you could be discussing BARB WIRE:
EXAMPLE # 2: Teenager gets telekinesis, deals with complications from that gift
Either you mean CHRONICLE:
or you mean ZAPPED!:
EXAMPLE # 3: Man given duties out in the wilds takes up the cause of the people he meets there against those who sent him out
We could be discussing DANCES WITH WOLVES:
Or we could mean FERNGULLY: THE LAST RAINFOREST:
EXAMPLE # 4: Aliens launch a plot against Earth, using indirect means to take control of the planet
Either you have INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS:
Or what you got is PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE:
(They colorized that? Dear Lord…)
EXAMPLE # 5: Young girl is possessed by demon and terrorizes her family
You may end up with THE EXORCIST:
Or possibly PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4:
As you can see, it’s all in the execution. With any luck, if you draw a light enough sentence, you don’t ave to worry about execution; just do your time and wait for the paro-
Uh, sorry, a little off-topic there; damn sleep deprivation…
The main point here is, it’s not your ideas you have to be concerned with, it’s how you use them. I can’t be the only person who’s ever seen this; if anyone reading this knows of a few more, I’d love to see the examples you have…