A lot of authors constantly talk about writer’s block and being unable to come up with storylines or characters.
When writing, it can be hard to come up with something new. One of the things to do is use tv shows, movies etc as a base and then put yourself in the position of…a character or contestant, on the show, the astronaut, cop or paramedic in the movie, the role opposite your favourite actor… whatever the character is or does, pretend to be it and see what you come up with.
In other words…roleplay.
As an author, I’ve often thought about what it is I do, how I do it, and what sort of analogies comes along with it. And this is one analogy I’ve come up with. I’m sure many creatives will be nodding their heads as they read this, because at the end of the day, ideas for creatives are all the same, and come the same way, regardless of what it is we do.
A Story Is Like A Pot Of Stew
First off, start a fire, put a huge pot onto the fire, then fill it with water.
So far, it’s just plain old water. It’s the start of your story, your vague idea. You’ve got it in your head and you’ve written it down. It’s the pot of water on the fire.
Second, as the ideas come to you put them in, pretend they’re seasoning like salt and pepper then start adding your vegetables. Write them down/throw them in and soon the water in the pot is bubbling with all sorts of twists and turns in it.
Third, you add the meat which is your big crescendo or twist. You stir it around, you let it thicken and gain traction, and by the time you have a pot of thick hearty stew ready to enjoy, the story should be ready to go too. Ready to write down and turn into reality.
So there you have it, how a story is like a pot of stew.
After talking about potty mouths and toilet humour last week it got me to thinking about other phrases that we use, and actually, how wrong they are.
Take “you’ve made your bed, now lie in it”.
The way I see it, you don’t have to lie in it, you just have to deal with it, and in dealing with it you can fling back the covers and go and buy another bed. You don’t have to live your whole life in that bed, get rid of it, change the sheets and linen, and change who you share it with. You do not have to stick with a decision that has proven itself to be wrong.
The other thing that people say is “don’t have regrets”.
How can we not have regrets? There is stupid shit I did in my teens that I still feel that twang over, my head hangs and shakes side to side at the stupidity of my choice, and I’m like, ugh, why did I do that?
I think it’s a good indicator of how things work. By regretting a choice you can learn to not make the same one. By feeling those feelings you remember how it felt so you won’t continue making the same stupid choice.
There is no possible way that there is a person on this planet that does not have regrets, even just one. Or is it just that at their age (it always seems to be older people who say this phrase) they don’t remember the feelings they had over the regret, so they no longer have it?
I don’t know, but it seems to me these days that phrases just don’t cut the mustard any more and don’t mean what they once did because I can debate and argue a phrase to death.
Have you guys come across a phrase that no longer seems to work in the current environment of being human?