Saturday, February 22, 2014

Limp Endings

I must admit I found the ending to Bram Stoker's original novel Dracula to be a little disappointing. True they found and destroyed the monster, but after such a long chase and after such a difficult time locating and besting the elusive creature I found myself wondering, Is that the best they could do?

The story was completely engaging. The characters were either much beloved or else quite loathsome. It was worthy of the best comic book copy, and was a fun read with fresh vocabulary to brunch. Chasing down the source of their troubles proved a task that took some doing, but at the end there were no cries from Dracula, no protests, no pleading, no lingering pains of death in exchange for the cruelty he had dealt in his unnatural undead life. It was, in my estimation, a limp end to all their struggles, although I liked the notes that explained how life continued in the resolution phase of the novel.

We must as writers guard against letting down our own audience. We must leave them cheering on their feet instead of raising their eyebrows and wondering if all the imaginary journey had been worth its conclusion. For some it may have been; but we want them all captured, unquestionably enthralled by our performance.

Write on!

P.S. First read the novel if you haven't ever, then see how you would rewrite its ending. You're free to play with that one; it's in the public domain.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Tossing Life

At the summit two foes meet in battle. One tosses the other into the brink.

At the end of all struggles two foes meet in battle. One vanquishes the other.

At the end of the journey the band of noble heroes finds the treasure. Vanquished foe? The lack of treasure has been remedied. Eased. A need, wish, or dream fulfilled.

When life tosses you, get your rodeo boots on. When life behaves like billows, batten down the hatches in your excellent ship. When life rears its head, don the armor and pick up your sword and shield.

And when life gets interesting, turn this into profit. Enrich your story with disguised details taken right from reality. Here's a bit of that for you:

"The weak and miserable creature clawed at the locked door, certain something contained within would parch his thirst, but just as sure he would be unable ever to open it. He could not let go of his empty cup. It had contained a drink once, a very long time ago. He wanted it to produce more, incapable of conceiving that his own mind was illogical and equally incapable of believing that if he simply gave up his quest, tossed aside the ruined and useless vessel, and approached the door empty handed, the wise queen from within would recognize his sanity and would immediately grant him access to a little sink that lay just inside the door. Till then he was an enemy, for empty cups bearing enemy insignia were banished by law from ever entering the castle."

Originality at your service.

Write on!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Valuing Valentines

A small brightly colored message arrives, delivered to the queen's own hand. What does it say?

What other ways can we invent to send a Valentine? The sky's the limit when we're within a story, for we have the vast resource of completely unfettered imagination.

What would you have your character send or receive in the communication of romance?

Novel Valentine gift ideas:

A white horse, a vessel of cherries, a basket of quail, an entire room full of flowers, an attentive servant, a piece of wall art, a sculpture, a sack of gold coins, an entire symphony to play all evening, a magic wand, a treasure box full of mysteries, a huge piece of land, a barn full of milk cows, garden full of butterflies (butterfly aviary), a well trained parrot, a guardian animal (dog, wolf, big cat, mythical monster), a captured unicorn.........what will YOU think of?

Write. Write, write, write....

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Novelty in the Novel

It cannot be stressed enough: take your readers somewhere new. Come up with something completely original. (Try standing on your head to get ideas.) Create something terrifically fresh, customized by your own unique viewpoint. Put yourself into the story. Glean details. Add them where they paint vividly. Make them dance.

Wonder. What would we do without wonder? Twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are...

I wonder what's around the corner of that very old brick building. I wonder what's at the other end of the open field. I wonder what's down the winding path in the rocky woodlands. I wonder what kind of bird's song I am hearing overhead. I wonder if I am the only person ever to examine this wild plant. I wonder if I am the only one who ever saw that cloud formation in glowing orange as the sun sank beneath the horizon. I wonder if the other persons who saw it and liked it appreciated it as I do. I wonder if I can hit that old dead tree with this rock. I can! (Don't worry, it's my tree and I didn't hit anybody's window. Or anybody's head.)

"Plunk! She picked up a rock and chucked it. It curved to the right and sank with a hiss deep into the decomposed rubbish that blanketed the forest floor with a natural moist mulch. She tried again. This time it whizzed by the edge, removing a bit of rotten bark with its hatchet-sharp surface. Determined to improve her skill, she picked up a third rock, aimed carefully, raised her unusually muscly arm, and let it fly. The hunk of stone struck the tree dead center with a resounding smack that rattled the dead branches above, and she smiled at her own success. If she couldn't do everything, there was at least one thing she could do. Little did she know her newfound skill would later make her a hometown hero on the nine o'clock news."

All through the segment, did you wonder if the rock would strike the tree? I wonder if you did.

Write on.