Now that we have these fun things on paper it is time to make a story. Pick your characters and let’s go.
One of the best examples I can use for the above is the statement “writers’ convenience”. We used this in scriptwriting. It applies to everything we write. It is easy to break someone’s heart in a story by having a partner cheat on them. It is easy to get into a fight in a bar by having someone hit on their partner. However, a very docile man will not fight, fighting is not in his personality and thus punching out someone would be writers’ convenience but not believable.
If, however, his docile nature is due to spending years in Tibet as a monk after being in Afghanistan it may be believable. However, one person pissing him off will not send him straight back to being a killer. On the upside, we can push his buttons and even a docile man with the right amount of aggravation, anger and rage can turn a person into a killer. He or she can snap.
A funny thing that happened to me that is a great example of this is when I was 16. I was in Dallas Texas for a soccer tournament. I ended up in an elevator with a man and suddenly he crept closer and closer. I placed my hand on the emergency button on the elevator panel as he asked how old I was and where I was from. He came uncomfortably close and I imagine he was into young men as this was no joke. Now if my friends and I were just shooting the shit, we would say I would punch the guy, kick him or scream. But in that situation, I pretty much froze because nothing like that had ever happened to me before.
It was not in my nature to fight back because I was shocked. This applies to all characters and having “writers’ convenience” we can do anything we want but it would not be believable. Especially in movies where we need to show and not tell this can be hard. But in books, we need to explain feelings, situations and small nuances in the story and the characters. An ex-boss of mine was very adamant about this. Yet he broke the rule whenever it suited him. This is something that should not be done. We cannot have unrealistic things happen. If we do not have the proper input, we cannot have the proper output.
While this got all technical all of a sudden it is important to understand the differences. Rocky couldn’t take on Apollo Creed without practice and without having his background and reasoning outlined.
This stuff I learned along the way of working in the movie industry and having written hundreds of episodes of soap operas. But in general, it works and the more we establish the background of a character the better and easier the writing becomes.
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