Sometimes I have to accept that I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. After a week of doubles and now a week of horrible shifts and computer issues that make me want to break out my typewriter and forget the digital world exists, I’ve realized that sometimes, some days, I just can’t write. This was a bad week of nonsense that truly doesn’t matter, but I’m not one of those people who bounces back immediately. I need time to process stuff, make sure it makes sense, then I can let it go on its merry way while I go back to my happy writing cocoon. So, my word count for this week will be abysmal, but at least I’m coming back to life now. Can a person flatline without actually dying? It was like a creative flatline where I was on the table and ideas were poking at me from all angles, but none could actually reach. So I guess they were poking at my protective bubble. And it wasn’t a bubble to protect me, but to protect the world from me. I wanted to go all RAWR but instead, I pulled into my bubble to keep my Godzilla rampaging at bay. Seems to have worked, since no one got hurt. Yay! Can I just thank goodness that potato chips exist, since they’re basically the only thing that got me through the roughest patches? Chips = rampage reducers.
But that’s not what I wanted to write about tonight. What I wanted to write about was storytelling. I watched a movie tonight for which I signed an NDA, but I can talk about pacing without referencing the movie directly. It was a rough cut of a film, which is always interesting to see. And since the genre was thriller/horror, pacing is paramount. They also added in characters that didn’t need to be on screen, or really, detracted from heart of the story.
First of all, pacing of the story is possibly the most important feature in thriller/horror genre. Building up suspense only to throw in a random expository scene or a description of what the town looks like just as something is supposed to happen takes away from the momentum created. When writing in these genres, definitely keep the story going, even if it leaves plot holes that can be fixed with edits later on. For the most part, the reader will continue with you as long as you keep building the suspense, and will often forgive weird ideas if you keep them interested in what’s happening. *never mind what’s going on behind the curtain, just keep watching the flickering screen in front of you!* But if you break up the story to describe the curtains as light and fluffy, then you’ve lost your audience. Or perhaps describe the curtains as light and fluffy and full of the all happiness you thought you’d lost and that’s why you’re allowing the curtains to wrap around you, suffocating you, but you’re oh-so-happy to have your happy back (all right, bad example, but I’m tired and I really want to find my happy, even in evil curtain form. Did I mention it’s been a bad week?!). Anyway, make sure your descriptions and your exposition add to the tension of your story, not detract from it.
Second part is secondary characters: I love secondary characters and background actors. They’re often my favourite characters in a story/film/show/play. But they can also take attention away from the focus of your story, which, in a thriller/horror story, really should be the pacing and the action. (not that all thriller/horror stories have to be all action, all the time, watch everyone jump out of this plane with a dude swearing at snakes!
All right, those are my thoughts about storytelling for the night learned from a film I can’t talk about directly, so I indirectly talked about instances that don’t happen in the film (killer curtains? Seriously? I must be damned tired!). Apologies if this isn’t the most coherent blog ever written. All five of you who’ve subscribed to this blog may riot after reading the drivel. But even writing this much makes me happy (curtains of happy! Wrapping around me as I type! No, wait, those are my blankets as I get ready to sleep after I post this whatever-this-is.) because it’s words, and words are what this blog is about. Even if they’re nonsense words, they make sense to me somehow.
Out of curiosity, I keyed in killer curtains on a search engine and this came up: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curtains_(1983_film). While I am Canadian, I can honestly say I didn’t know this was a real movie. Learning new things, every single day!
Good night, fellow wordsmiths. Tomorrow is another day. And I hope we’ll all have more words to share then.
WordacCountability Tally for Jan. 8-10 (I should be embarrassed by this bad run, but I’m not because life has a way of making you slow down sometimes):
Short Stories: 0
Grand Total: 3,833
WordacCountability Tally Jan. 11:
Short Stories: 0
Grand Total: 4,835