Posts Tagged ‘creative writing’

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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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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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Writing Competition

June 25, 2012

There’s a certain writing competition going on right now that I’m planning to enter. I’m leaving it nameless right now because only a limited number of entries are going to be accepted, and the challenge is going to be difficult enough for me to begin with. The basic competition is to write a chapter of a potential novel using a particular character, and an outline for the rest of the novel.
Part of the challenge for me is that until this weekend, I hadn’t read anything involving the character, and at this time last week, I hadn’t even heard of it. Furthermore, the story must be in a genre I don’t really enjoy to read, let alone write. Still, after I read the first two books this weekend, I think I have a decent understanding of the character and feel for how the stories work. What surprises me most is that working on my entry has been surprisingly fun. I’m only about 10% done with my entry but I feel that I could easily write the full novel.
The moral of this post is that while writing with someone else’s character(s) in a genre that you don’t usually use can be scary, it can be quite liberating! Without being confined to the traditions and rules others feel obligated to constrain themselves to, you have the opportunity to surpass them. The only concern I have with this competition is that while I’ve read 2 books in the series, there’s another 9 I haven’t touched and don’t have time to do so; therefore there are facts and mythology that I haven’t been able to consider for my work. That’s a huge risk, but I think the key here is to capture the spirit of the character and stories more than the precise details.
To that end, I will push on with my work.

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Writing meditation

June 12, 2012

I’ve occasionally asked myself why I want to be a writer. Most frequently the reason is because I enjoy creative writing, and it seems like a good way to make a living. But I think I need to take a closer look at this.
Read the rest of this entry ?

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Busy Day

March 20, 2011

I’m taking a quick break to point out exactly how busy I am with writing today.
First and foremost, I’m closing in on completing the class length version of the ancient story I mentioned in a previous post. I got to touch on all the original plot points I wanted though I’ve now taken it in a new direction. Considering there’s a 10 page limit for class, I’m somewhat satisfied but I’m looking forward to letting the story run wild in the “for sale” version.
When I’m done with that, I’m going to be rewriting a script I offered to Oakland University’s Filmmakers’ Guild last semester. It turns out they’re interested in producing the short… While I’m not likely to be paid, I’ll be more than happy to put it on my resume! It’s possible that it could even lead to me needing to join the Writers’ Guild of America, which in turn would validate my career plans!
And finally, I just took a few minutes to write up a quick log line and synopsis to try to attract a collaborator for another script idea floating in my head. Sorry, you don’t get to hear about this one because I hope to pitch it someday. 🙂

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