Tuesday, January 11, 2011

5 Steps to The Writer As God

One thing about us writers is we get to play god. (I'll use a small 'g' here out of respect - and small 'g' or large 'g', you know what I mean.) We do it every day. Write a book, write a screen script, write a TV pilot and you're creating your own world with your own rules; all of it, your way and all you have to do is make it believable.

And of course it will no doubt take you a bit more time and God took to create the world (depending on your beliefs). I mean the generally accepted week thing probably won't work for you.  Afetr all, you have many more distractions like getting that second cup of coffee, maybe going to your day job, remembering a friend's birthday or playing with Wii.

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."  - Lao-tzu

So, for starters, number one, decide what your story is meant to be - is it a book, a script, a TV pilot or Movie of the Week? You can change your mind later, but just to get things going, which is it to be?

Now if we're going to think in terms of 'faith' as opposed to scientists who say it took  a couple of billion years to create the world (I'm sure you can accomplish your writing project faster than that) then think about the WORD. Because you're a writer the word won't echo across the universe - you  must in fact write it down or your new world won't spring into being .

So, Number two, write something down. Something. Anything. Begin with whatever you already have in your head about the project. A location? A character's name and/or info? Some plot twist?

Just as an example, do you have a character in mind? A main character or one who will be major in a subplot?  You do.  Great. Write down that character's name, make him or her real.  No name?  Make one up knowing you can always change it later - more than once if you like. Be original. Make the name ultimately fit the character, but don't go crazy and don't name him or her after yourself.  Got that name written down? Now, add something you know about the character. Anything. Age? Married? Buddhist Monk? Capable? Confused?

Not you confused, your character. Anyway, make it something definite. If you're struggling with too little information that should get you started.  If you're excited to begin and overwhelmed with what you think you know, that should help you pin things down and shuffle lots of less relevant material to the background for now. Not that that surplus of information isn't important, it just can't be part of the mix right now.

But on to Number three - suppose you don't have a character yet, supposed you just have an idea.  Okay, start there. Where does the story take place? Another dimension? The downtown supermarket? A retirement home? Focus in on that for the moment. Yep, I'm gonna say it again. Write it down. Then do the same as I mentioned for character. Write down something you know about the place where the story is set.  Is the dimension parallel to ours in time or is it future or past? Are the people the same as us or something entirely different? Is the supermarket clean an dtidy or a mess? Is it close to everything or isolated?  Is it open 24 hours or less?  Is the retirement home an excellent environment, the setting for a good-natured comedy, or is it grim and sad - like something from a horror story?

So hopefully you've taken a couple of steps here: writing things down!

Now, number four, you can begin combining your elements.  Just as an example, Jason Smith works down at your local home improvement store and he's just fallen through a fairy pothole into a parallel dimension. Or, Eleanor Reems is 87 and lives in a delightful retirement home where her children have put her, but she hates it and is plotting her revenge.

You've got a few things established and while it may not seem like a lot, it is a solid beginning, something you can add to and build upon.

Okay, step number 5. Think about a problem for your character. What might it be? Review what you've already written down. What kind of problem could spring from that? For example. If Jason Smith is in another dimension can he get back?  Is there a time constraint wherein after it the pothole will colse? Is there someone on the other side he sets out to rescue to bring back with him before the pothole closes?  Or what about Eleanor Reems - is she 'dead' serious about revenge as in the ultimate ancient black widow?  Or is she set on petty retaliation? How does she get out of the retirement home? She's not a prisoner, but she is watched. Or maybe she doesn't get out - maybe she sets traps there for her unwary children.

Whatever it is write it down.  It doesn't have to be good yet - that comes later - just play god, create your world and write it down!


1 comment:

  1. Hi Peggy,

    In order to show my appreciation for the good work you're doing on your blog and encourage you to continue, I've nominated you for the versatile blogger award.
    See it at this link:

    Pass it on and keep doing a good job.


Other Posts Of Interest:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...