Friday, February 5, 2010
A good rule of thumb for staving off writer's block and finding an interesting plot is to research current events in the newspaper and world news. The most popular topics in the world are more likely to grab a reader and hold their interest than say an idea that no one really cares about, such as returning a shirt that's too small. It's also helpful to outline a story and see where it's going before writing yourself into a dark corner that you can't find your way out of.
I don't do either of the latter. (shh!) I like to make my ideas complex enough for my reader to think and suspenseful enough to make them want to turn the page and find out what happens next. I like to make my reader think they are in the story and what the character goes through could also happen to them - if they're that unlucky.;) Then again what writer doesn't try to do all that! Most of my writing is a surprise, even to me. I work off of dialogue and add in details about a gesture or sound after I read it all back and make sure the reader sees what's in my head as I'm reading the characters conversations.
As a writer, I find that the most important aspect to writing is human interaction. Without it, stories and characters would never come alive or be believable. You'd never know how many different answers a person can have to a question until you've asked a million different people that same question. Solitary confinement only generates stories that the writer alone wants to read. If they're that self-absorbed.
Which brings me to my next point. First Impressions! A lot of people worry about these. Will s/he like me? Will they like my looks/car/house/dog? What if I do the wrong thing? What if they didn't like my movie choice? All those questions relate to the visual or in-person meeting, but nowadays technology has changed the first impression. People don't worry so much about how they're perceived on the phone, in an email, IM, text, or letter. There is security in these things. A wall of protection that people can hide behind and be rude, flirtatious, nonchalant, or just plain nice. Is that the real person on the phone? Who knows, but I bet they won't be short and angry with you in-person if you're just a messenger, like they would have been on the phone - not making that first impression.
This all begs the question of: Are teenagers anti-social? Some are shy, some are too bubbly for their own good, but the shy ones are the ones that interest me. They use their cell phones to communicate with others and play online games that interact with others all over the world. Does that make them anti-social? Not necessarily. They just relate in a different way.
As impersonal as the teenage lives sound, I'm taking a twist on this and coming up with a story based on the idea that two people develop a relationship based off of personality, honesty, and confidentiality. A story about a crisis hotline. What's so interesting about a crisis hotline? Well, nothing really, until you meet the operator and the caller. Two teens who basically live in each others "back yards" and never know the other one exists. Their paths are crossed and until the moment those paths intersect it's unknown how important they are to one another.
The story will beg these final questions and hopefully answer them: Can one save the other if they've never met? Are inner, unmentioned feelings returned and worth the fight to keep the other? What happens if they do meet? Can personality and honesty win over looks and material objects?
I guess we'll find out.