Thanks to Master Cat! Anne Lower, always conquering new heights, for this week’s thought-provoking blog.
Writing is fun.
I know I’m not supposed to say that; I know I should be telling you that writing is work: exhausting, frustrating, challenging work (it is). I know I should be talking about the insufferable life of the writer; how you will toil and slave over your work for years (you will) only to discover that once again you must rewrite (you must).
But at the end of the day, it’s fun. Think about it. How many careers are there in which you ponder and muse and make stuff up? Isn’t it wonderful?
The back of my business card reads “I get paid to write lies” – and, in essence, I do. No, I’m not a sociopath. I’m a writer. The page is my canvas, and I get to paint with all of the colors of the literary landscape that I can imagine or find. I get to create worlds. How cool is that?
Every time you open up your trusty Final Draft© and type “FADE IN,” you are creating a world. Whether it is present-day Afghanistan, Depression-Era Oklahoma, or a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far away, your world is your oyster.
But, remember – with every world, there come rules.
Rules are tricky. You must establish them – and you must abide by them. They must be consistent; and yet, they must be applied with a most delicate hand, for if you over-apply them, you run the risk of “double mumbo-jumbo.” You kill the magic – for your story, and for your audience.
Sony has a futuristic sci-fi
movie they’re looking to make.
Cigarettes in space?
It’s the final frontier, Nick.
But wouldn’t they blow up in
an all-oxygen environment?
Probably. But it’s an easy fix.
One line of dialogue. ‘Thank God
we invented the… you know, whatever
And there it is. The line of dialogue that establishes the world.
Charlie Kaufman knows this. He creates his world, and he sticks to his creation. He does not spend time explaining his world – do you really believe that there is a door that is a portal into John Malkovich’s head – he simply informs us that this is how it is. We nod when he shares this information with us – and we believe.
I’ve been blogging about the creation of my own world for my web-series They Live Among Us. Before writing Episode 1, “Another Piece of My Heart,” I dove into the mythos of demons and angels; I cocooned myself in the cold embrace of H.P. Lovecraft. I had fun… and, by using the data that I had absorbed – add to that a hefty dose of good old-fashioned imagination – I created my world: a present day Los Angeles, far removed from the sun-washed landscape of blondes and Beverly Hills; a grittier, more urban world in which supernatural beings live anonymously amongst the masses of humanity. A gothic film-noir. The dark, seedy side of Los Angeles. Raymond Chandler meets Stephen King. Fallen angels who struggle to find grace in a place known as the City of Angels.
I’ve never had so much fun writing in my life.
So, go ahead. Make your day. Create your world, and those that live in it. Don’t overwhelm us with the details – we’ll get it. Establish your rules, and stick by them. We’ll come along for the ride. Your world is your oyster. Revel in its juiciness.
To learn more about They Live Among Us, please visit the project site.