Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"Drawing the Story"--October 14th, 2008

You must create a past...to understand the future...

If you have ever struggled with starting a new story and somehow get caught up in the "rules" of writing...here is some information to help push you along. You are NOT alone. Every writer--I don't care who they are or what they say--struggles to create new stories. The struggle is part of the journey that makes "The End" worth it. If you don't believe me...pass a sheet of paper along to someone and give them a pen and ask them to start writing...and see what happens. Pay close attention to the blank stares on their faces and the struggle to find any word--the first word to put on paper! It's time to step over the excuses and write...

I do not...have not...will not...care about any writing rules at this point in a story. The beginning stages to anything you write are simply free flowing creative thought...nothing set in stone...nothing that can't be altered or changed at any time... So don't ask about an outline (what's that?) or grammatical rules or rules of structure, plot or storyline. They do NOT matter when you are writing a draft. You need to learn to free yourself from all the silly nonsense teachers, writing instructors, writing books and experts have put into your little head...and simply write. Write...write...write..

Create a past and build some history for your characters...

If you want your characters to start "talking" to you and opening themselves up within the imagiation of your mind, to help you formulate a better fictional story...well, first you have to build them a past--a history of who or what they were--in order to better understand their future.

Let's pretend you have an idea for a story. Let's also pretend the story begins with a particular character--someone you like or don't like or do or do not understand. And let's go another step further and pretend you have an "idea" (no matter how vague) for what their story will be about. (You can exclude any consideration for genre by this point, because you don't know where the story is going and to limit the storyline to a particular genre, then you are limiting your ability to create an amazing story for another rule--story genre!!! Don't do it!)
Back to what I was saying. Let's take a character...make him male..or female...whatever you choose and let's say she or he is sitting in a coffee shop or sitting in their car, parked outside a movie theater or sitting in their cubicle at work. Picture the very first image you draw(write) on paper as the opening scene to a movie. The audience (your readers) see them, sitting wherever they are sitting. Now, what from their surroundings can we the audience learn by watching their movie or reading your story???
You have to ask yourself some important questions...questions you would ask if you were watching a movie--having NEVER seen a movie trailer or heard what the movie is about. What would you ask yourself? Because what you would ask yourself...is what your readers will ask of you!
*Who are they?
*Where are they from?
*What do they look like?
*Why are they there...in your opening to the story?
*What are they waiting on?
*How did they get there?
*What is they struggling with?
*What is their name?
*Do they have a family?
*Where is there family?

This is a basic approach to how I create characters that later reveal themselves to me and introduce me to their story. Here is a test...to see if anyone is listening...
...There is a man standing on the seashore...barefoot...overlooking the waves of the ocean crashing against the surf....

Who is he?

Tell me about him here on my blog....

~Bobby Ozuna
"Drawing Stories...With Words"


jessykamp said...

dear bobby, shortly after we spoke i got the call that my grandmother was taken to the hospital, in an attempt to keep my mind busy until i know more i read your post. i will be working on that...so look for it soon.

Bobby Ozuna said...

Can't wait to read your responses... Good luck in your writing endeavors! Keep me posted! If there is anything I can do to help...just ask!

Zulmara said...

Love this way of looking at back story and creating back story...it is one of the best ways to get out of a slump as well...

as for the man standing at the shore...it is my long lost friend...the one who could have been, but wasn't. Afert 30 years, we had a chance meeting at the beach and the first time I saw him, he was silhouted against a setting sun...waiting to see if I would come up the hill to meet him...

His name is Mike, by the way...



jessykamp said...

There is a man standing on the sea shore...barefoot...overlooking the waves of the ocean crash against the surf...
his kacky slacks are rolled up to mid calf, he stares down at his feet as he digs his toes into the moist golden sand. The wind whips at the shirt tied around his head. He shields his face from the shirt and sand filled wind with his hands. He gazes out to the vast ocean and wonders where the supply ship is.
Every three weeks the ship drops supplies for Dr. Seth Mason, drinking water, foods, cigarettes rum local to the near by island and some random reading material including the occasional smut magazine he has grown fond of. The crew, always the same men, had become his friends in the year since he set up the reserch center on the small island.
The ship is a week late now and Dr. Mason worried, not for himself but for the crew. In nearly a year they had not been more than three or four days off schedule usually due to a storm or shipping delays.
Dr. Mason shields his eyes from the mid afternoon sun and squints focused on the horizon that seems to drop off like a waterfall at the edge. He brings the binocculars hanging from a strap around his neck to his sun wrinkled eyes and scans one last time.
Tomorrow, he thinks, they'll be here tomorrow. He turns to the one room makeshift shelter and back again to the sea. with a sigh of defeat he returns to the shack where he will attempt radio contact once more.

jessykamp said...

dont know if thats what you're looking for but you didnt say there were "rules" so thats what I came up with...

Bobby Ozuna said...

I love it.... with a background and history of any character...you can create a whole new (fictional) world much easier!!!


Bobby Ozuna said...

That was very good! Very creative!
See how easy it is to take a prompt--an idea, thought, image or symbol--and create a whole backdrop to a story? From there you could direct the story one-thousand different ways, each just as intriguing and interesting as the next!

I love it!!! Way to go!

jessykamp said...

wouldnt it be fun to just keep it going and let other people add to it or we could go back and forth with the progression? let me know what you think.

Bobby Ozuna said...

I am waiting on others to add to the story!!!!

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