Archive for October, 2012

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A Little Close To Home

October 20, 2012

Today’s story started out with the basic idea that it frequently takes someone crossing the proverbial line to get people to care about anything. I wanted an entire city to be outraged by something a small group of people did, but ultimately I wanted what was done to be a rallying cry, and draw attention to their issue.

Furthermore, I wanted to make the setting my hometown of Detroit. I was born and raised in Detroit and I currently live here. I’ve always loved the city, and, honestly, I’m very sad about its current state. I hate that I was woken up by gun shots very close to my home last week, and heard more late Wednesday night. I hate driving by abandoned houses and burned out buildings as frequently as I’m driving by occupied ones. So how do I honestly portray what I see around me without dumping gasoline on the proverbial fire and spotlighting it for the world to see?

Well, until now I simply avoided it. With the exception of one story that I wrote for a friend many years ago, I never set a story here before. I might have characters that were from here or mention it in passing but I never had anything that took place here. The reason is simple: despite all the problems, all the hell that this place has seen and sometimes represents, this city is my city. I’m as much a part of this city as it is a part of me. It’s shaped me into who I am, and though I am not a dangerous person, I represent a not insignificant part of its population. I represent who Detroiters are and can be even as I myself am discovering who I am. I am incredibly defensive when it comes to my city, as are all Detroiters, against all outsiders, including those that live on the city’s borders. Yet we, me and other Detroiters, will be frank and honest with everyone about those very problems within the city. If nothing else, we’re honest people, and most of us are hardworking even if the rest of the world doesn’t see it.

So why set a story here, now? Well, it’s complicated as most things are. There are certain things that are going on within the city government that really aren’t fair, and someone needs to bring attention to them. A certain city organization is getting shafted by the city, and no one seems to realize they can just walk away. So I wrote about that; the organization, in defense of its members, just walks away when the city crosses the line one too many times. And what makes it so poignant is that I was able to use actual events and statements, changed just a bit, to underscore the reality and absurdity of the situation.

This was very therapeutic. I submitted it to The New Yorker as soon as I finished it.

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That’s Better!

October 18, 2012

Well that’s better… I got to the FMG meeting early and pulled out a spiral notebook and restarted the story. As opposed to my original attempt, I stuck with the protagonist, describing things from his perspective as opposed to setting up the scenario. Everything flowed much better this time. I’ve still got a lot to do on it but it’s a better start.¬†

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Drop Back and Punt…

October 18, 2012

I had a great theme for today’s story… It was supposed to be about a more or less psychopathic guy that is put into the position of being a hero. At the climax of the story, he was supposed to say “So it’s all fun and games until I kill someone…” But the story that I’ve begun doesn’t really sit well with me the way I’ve been telling it so far.
Right now, I’m more wrapped up in the minutiae of setting up the story, and explaining how everything got to that point rather than just telling the story. I think the problem is that I was attempting to start with the line then drop into a flashback setup for everything, but there’s too many characters that need to be positioned, and too much action that needs to be described for me to be comfortable with what I’ve written and for me to take that approach…
So, after I get back from today’s Filmmaker’s Guild meeting at OU, I’m going to scrap what I’ve written, and restart today’s project.
I’ll let you know how it goes…

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Feeling Good

October 17, 2012

As I mentioned in my earlier post, Quit Slacking!, I’m now putting forth an effort to at least write a short story everyday. While this is only the second day of my effort, I managed to write another complete short story today, and this is really beginning to feel good! I don’t think I’ve felt this creative and good about my writing (in general) in more than 10 years! I’ve definitely written better stories in that time, mind you, but I don’t think I’ve felt this good in ages!

I can’t wait for tomorrow!

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Quit Slacking!

October 17, 2012

I think I’ve mentioned once or twice that I finally graduated from college. Since that time, I’ve worked on multiple short films, have taken care of my mother a lot, and been to Virginia twice. What I haven’t done is spend much time writing. Yes, I wrote a story for a contest, which I obviously didn’t win, but beyond that I haven’t done much.
I’m extremely lucky. I’ve been afforded a whole year to get myself together, career wise, without needing to be concerned about finding a job. I’m now roughly six months into this period, but I haven’t gotten anything done to show for it. I’ve decided to get my butt in gear.
Starting yesterday, I’m making an effort to write a short story everyday. It doesn’t matter whether the story is one of my better ones or not, it also doesn’t matter if it’s in a genre I feel comfortable writing in; what matters is that I’m writing. I’m not abandoning my screenwriter ambitions nor my desire to write a complete novel; I’m just trying to get through and over my mounting self-doubt that I can make it as a writer. A writer must write, must make efforts towards achieving her/his goals, and until now I’ve not done that.
That changes now. I’ve decided to quit slacking. What about you?

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