Telling a Story

    It's always an adventure, telling a story. You have the picture of it in your mind, you can see the characters just as they are, not just their looks or actions, but the distinct traits and emotions that fuel their actions. You can see the house where they live, whether it be rugged or ramshackle or ostentatious. You see the characters and how they live. Russell lives on one side of the park and Nancy on the other, and perhaps Nancy has lace curtains, so when Russell stands out below her window, he can see her moving before she peeks out and sees him. And he sees something of her, and the audience sees something through his eyes, something the writer already knows, because they would be intimately acquainted with those characters.

    People don't really write of what they don't know, or that's not how they start off. You have to find something of value, something that the audience will find valuable, and you have to be familiar with it. There has to be a genuine aspect to your introduction of character and setting and plot. There must be adequate description, but also a mystery. And the mystery must be honestly set out, so you know that you will discover the hidden bits and quirks and secrets of the characters, because nobody wants a character that is set forth as who he will be, you want to know where they stand at the beginning, not at the end, and if it starts at the end, then the mystery part is all the more important.

    Stories should be journeys. You should be living with the character, in the setting, during the plot. As the character breathes, you breathe, as they cry, you cry and every time it must be honest and true to what was set forth and what you discover along the way. If a character is suddenly presented in a new light, without that mystery at the beginning so the audience knew it was promised, it can be very disappointing. You are lead to believe one thing, and find yourself completely deceived. Unexpected plot twists are not unwelcome, but the audience appreciates the honesty at the beginning that you don't know what is going to happen, but here is someone you can care about.

    There must be something you can relate to about the characters. Even the villain needs something about him, if he is not redeemable, there needs to be a look into his past, something that lets the audience understand why he cannot be saved. A character created to be hated is a worthless character, unless he has a real personality, real emotions, real thoughts that follow some semblance of logic, so that while the audience hates the actual character, they appreciate his part in the plot. And a redeemable villain is better all the more, because your sympathies and emotions become attached to the story even further, because the villain has more to him that his ability to be hated.

    And the heroes can never be perfect, because people aren't perfect. Even while you read something to get away, to distract yourself from what is real, you want to read something credible. This does not do away with fantasy or science fiction. It merely means that within the guidelines of that world as introduced to the audience, the actions of characters and the tone of the setting must be consistent to that world. Within the fantastic bound of whatever realm you are transported to, credibility must still be established or the whole thing sounds like an unfinished dream that you crammed onto paper and thought, "it's not real, it doesn't need to make sense," but it does, and as long as it makes sense within the rules of the realm, it does not need to follow the rules of the real world.

    Writing is an adventure! The writer needs to believe in the story before the audience can. If they author scoffs his own work, the audience loses faith, and the story is lost. The honesty is not there and, consequently, the characters and setting and plot have no credibility and so die. Many fantastic things can happen on adventures, but they must still be "real" according to whatever rules you have set forth for that realm, for that dream, for that journey.

    Honest adventures are the best kind, because the more you believe it, the more they will.