Sunday, March 11, 2012

16586--Don't Settle for a Spark

If you're going to write, don't be shy about it.  Jump in with both hands on the keyboard and your brain in high gear.  Creative spark?  Tap into the energy of the humongous 3500 DD batteries at the center of the world (they keep it all spinning, trust me) and set the whole roof on fire with your inventiveness!  The readers didn't come to not believe what you're offering.  They suspended that at the door, so load up and hit 'em with both barrells.

This means it's up to you to cut loose, dust off your imagination (proof that our ancestors didn't waste all that evolution) and write outside your experience.  I know, for years people have said, "write what you know", but that's also brought us to everything written being derivative of everything that's come before.  Some of that is attributable to writers and some of it to audiences.  Audiences like what's familiar to them and writers often find it easier to just give them that.  This is why formulaic sitcoms and dramas perform better on television than anthology shows.  Likewise, a book series gains an edge over a single work that is new and unknown.  We all know who James Bond, Sherlock Holmes and Superman are and we know what to expect from them.  More importantly, we don't want them to change.

"But, Phoenix, characters are supposed to grow and change in stories."  Well, some characters are supposed to and some aren't.  Our heroes are icons who are strong enough to resist the chaos of change, facing challenges that would tear others down, all presented in the context of an inventively told tale.  Remember those guys I just mentioned?  I didn't have to describe them because you know who they are, how they do things and what they represent.  What's special from one story to the next is how it's told.

Even a story that one might consider wholly unique under the sun, requires some familiar elements in its structure or it'll be too alien to find much of an audience and leave its writer to be either mocked or locked away.  The mass audience likes not feeling completely lost.  The feeling that they can know and understand your characters helps your audience to relate to whatever's going on with those characters when you send them on whatever version of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride you cook up.  With luck they'll be able to skip the dizziness and nausea.

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