Thursday, April 30, 2015

Character Descriptions and Internet Dating

Being a writer is amazing for so many reasons; it's a justification for learning any new skill – but I might have a character who's a deep sea fisher – or for eavesdropping on strangers' conversations on the train – it's dialogue research. One of the unforeseen benefits for me was the symbiosis of writing and internet dating. The factors that make a good internet dating profile are also those that make a great character description, and visa versa. My second book on Amazon was actually a guide to writing online dating profiles for nice guys, using the tricks of a writer. And now I'm going to do the reverse and tell you about the academic research into "computer-mediated communication" and how to apply it to writing character descriptions.

Intentional and Unintentional Cues:
All human interactions are made up of what we intend to show the world, and then what we really do. As a Boarding House supervisor, looking after 15 year old girls, I'm an expert at reading the unintentional cues. 
"Are you doing your homework?" 
"Yes Miss Greentree."
In writing, that appears fine, right? But standing in front of the girl: the refusing to meet my gaze, the sudden lowering of the laptop screen so I can't see it, and then the nervous smile tell a different story. We can't help it, our bodies always betray us.

This is why internet dating freaks so many people out: they only have the person's word for it. So when we're online, we read into every unintentional cue: one misspelt word suddenly means they're uneducated and not very serious about their relationships as they haven't taken the time to proof-read their profile. The aim in a profile, therefore, is to create a consistent message with every piece of information given. The more consistent it is, the more honest it will be rated by other people. And honesty is very attractive.
 
So how can you use this in your writing? By remembering that a character description is not just the first half paragraph of physical attributes you give the audience. Everything will be analysed as part of the character, and if the dialogue or actions don't create a consistent message, the audience will feel cheated. So let's go through the five top ways to strengthen your character's personality.

Number One: The Physical Attributes
Online a picture is worth a thousand words. You can type until your fingers are numb that you're sporty, but if your picture shows a man with a beer gut, it's hard to believe. In writing we get to make up the physical attributes (which would be really useful in real life, just saying) but so many writers waste this opportunity by describing only the boring bits, or not giving the character a physicality inline with the rest of their personality. In my strict belief that no writer should waste words (waste not want not), don't give space on the page to physical attributes that add no personality, and make sure these physical attributes demonstrate the same personality.

Number Two:  Clothing and Method of Wearing Them
I know I'm harsh, but online any guy who has put up a shirtless photo is an immediate 'no', no matter how good his body is. There's truth to the adage that clothing maketh the man, and we should embrace that clothing also maketh the character. However, it's not just what we wear, but how we wear it that can drench a description in vitality. Take this delicious description by P.G. Wodehouse:

She looked like she'd been poured into the dress, and had forgotten to say 'when'.

Without being 'told' anything, we get a gorgeous sense of this character's personality. 
The great thing about clothing is that it changes every scene, and so is a constant update on how the character is developing. Have you taken time to analyse the wardrobe of your main characters and discussed with them why they chose that outfit on that day?

Number Three: Psychological Attributes and Mannerisms
Here is where writing has the advantage over internet dating (well, for the audience at least, as nervous men probably appreciate the limits computers have on this). A fast and effective way to give a character depth is to portray their inner workings through physical mannerisms. A repeated action always suggests something's going on beneath the surface, which is just what we want the audience to believe. The need to straighten every room they enter is a louder message than typing 'she had control issues'. 
I admit that I find this one rather fun, possibly because I have a submajor in psychology, so being able to create my own disorders is like a chemist getting to discover new compounds. So let yourself go wild. Think of the most affecting incident that happened in the character's past, and experiment with how that could manifest now. The only difficulty is to avoid caricatures, overused elements or those that produce a comic effect.

Number Four: Actions
Action is the Show Don't Tell of the real world. Someone can say they're an adrenaline junky, but until I see the evidence of them jumping out of a plane, I'm not sold. In a story, there are three levels of action we need to look out for. First, we start by making sure that plot-wise the character acts in line with their nature, no matter how much we want something else to happen. Then there's what the character does on a scene to scene basis: yes he must confront the bad guy and save the world here, but does he sneak into the secret base, or go in guns blazing? If you've told us he's a highly trained military expert, his actions need to reflect good strategic thinking, not just 'run at them with guns'. Finally, there's backing up the character by the choice of verbs to describe their actions. She walked across the room. Blah. She prowled across the room. Now I'm getting a picture. So go back to the scene where a main character is first introduced. What action can you give them that typifies their personality?

Number Five: Dialogue and Description
A profile is one long monologue, while in writing we get to break this into dialogue and point of view description (if writing in first or limited third). Most profiles (and bad writing) sound lifeless or awkward because there's no consistence between the message and the language. 'I am an active person. I like windsurfing.' Like? Like? What sort of active word is that?
Character is created as much by how something is said or described as by what. Vocabulary is the obvious first point. Anyone who's been around doctors knows they cannot resist being specific; it's not a broken arm, it's a 'fractured radius'. I was seriously put off a book when an average 12 year old described a boy's head as having 'Botticelli curls'. Grammar is another indicator, just think of the person who says 'yous'. Punctuation can also add personality, such as a person who always turns statements into questions. Then there's the length of their speech; the monosyllabic teenager, for example. And finally, think about their focus: imagine a main character who immediately notices all the possibly single men and how expensive their suits are. 
One great tip of dialogue is to take away everything except the actual speech, and see if you can tell who's talking. If not, you need to do some work. 

Another Type of Character Description:
And if you just want to be silly about it, you can do a Neil Gaiman from Neverwhere:

There are four simple ways for the observant to tell Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar apart: first, Mr. Vandemar is two and a half heads taller than Mr. Croup; second, Mr. Croup has eyes of a faded china blue, while Mr. Vandemar's eyes are brown; third, while Mr. Vandemar fashioned the rings he wears on his right hand out of the skulls of four ravens, Mr. Croup has no obvious jewelery; fourth, Mr. Croup likes words, while Mr. Vandemar is always hungry. Also, they look nothing at all alike.

So in the end, as with internet dating, just go out there and have fun. 

Buffy Greentree

Monday, April 27, 2015

Short Story Writing - for fun!

by Catriona McKeown
I love writing short stories.
I love novel writing too, the way you can explore characters and situations and see the character change in a way that readers will be able to relate to. But short story writing and novel writing are two very different sorts of writing. Sometimes, I need to walk away from the drawing-blood-from-my-fingertips, oozing-sweat-from-my-brain that novel writing is and just have some fun with my technological pen.
Short story writing lets me do that.
In short story writing, I can just grab any character that sways, staggers or strolls into my imagination. I name them, work out their age, what their occupation is or was, and a relationship status. Then I throw them into a situation to see what they do. Most often, I don't even know what that situation is. I just put the character somewhere - on a beach, in a car, standing at a front door - and describe how they're feeling. I give them an emotion and describe how their body is reacting to that emotion; which body parts are they aware of? What are they seeing? Smelling? Hearing? Tasting? I love contemplating their feet or their hands - how these body parts feel in a character. Revealing some of a character's senses is a great aid for the reader to emotionally engage with the character and understand them.
Then I have my character meet someone and the story flows from there.
Usually, my character has an obvious, small dilemma, but underpinning it is a larger issue they are unaware they need to move on from. In my short story Remembering Rosemary Carter, Rosemary suffers from short term memory loss and needs to discover where she is and why. But running through the story is the importance of forgiveness in families. Another story I am finishing at the moment is about a retired doctor who has had a panic attack after proposing to the woman he loves - but underpinning it is the issue that he hasn't fully recovered from the death of his first wife and daughter.
Short stories are glimpses into a character's life. It may only be ten minutes of their day, but it is a pivotal ten minutes. These stories are such a challenge! Especially if you're writing for a competition that is imposing a word limit. To have a character that is engaging from the beginning, to pull the reader in and make them care about him/her, place them into a situation that is going to impact the character and have them come out different in the end - all within 1500 words? Who wouldn't love it!
What about you? Do you love writing short stories, or do you do something altogether different to take a break?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Well, this is embarrassing...!

I, like most here, love writing devotionals. I see the world in pictures, and often find myself chuckling at rather inopportune moments at the things God reveals to me in my head.

Devotional writing tends to come easily to me; it's a great blessing and one I don't take for granted.

At least I didn't think I did. Until today.

Unlike my last sheduled CWD blogspot, which I quite simply forgot about - my apologies once again - I have had this one at the forefront of my mind for some time now. And I've been actively using my senses to hear/see from God as to what he wants me to write about.

Nothing.

More looking, more seeking.

Still. . . nothing.

As the days moved closer, my senses started going into overdrive! God, what do you want me to share?!

Silence.

Even now, as I sit here and type, I am pleading with God to give me something - anything - that might sound better than this confession.

Because it feels feeble to write that I have nothing. 

Have I failed God?  Did I not pray hard enough or look hard enough? Surely I could scrounge up something that would "meet the criteria" and sound so much better than...well, than writing about my desperation!

I wonder if I should have handballed this spot to someone else, someone with a pre-scheduled, fully edited and truly awesome message ready to go?!

No, that's not the answer.

So then God, tell me, what is the answer?! What do I do when I have nothing to say?!

You always have something to say Helen; you can praise me!

When it feels that I am silent, praise me.
When it feels that you are getting nowhere, praise me.
When you are doubting where you are walking, praise me.
When it feels that the road ahead is blocked, praise me!

Remember that King Jehoshaphat won the battle when he and his men praised me! They did not put their trust in their own strength, but called upon my name and sang praises to me before facing their enemy.  And then I moved in power and in might, and I defeated their enemies before them! 

Ahh, yes, this most wonderful tale of King Jehoshaphat, found in 2 Chronicles 20. It has always been one of my most treasured scriptures, revealing to us the importance of praising God when facing our enemies.

And so today I have been reminded of two things; firstly, I never have "nothing" to say! No matter what blockages I might be facing in my mind, my spirit is never without praise and exhortation of my God, who is my everything! 

And, secondly, as I begin to praise my God, he will start to move things in the spiritual and natural realms, allowing my gift of exhorting and encouraging others might flow as it should. 
Not for my sake alone, but that I might be blessed to be a blessing to others. 

I pray that as I have struggled and shared today, that my revelation would be one that opens up the gates of your praise, and brings breakthrough in whatever areas might feel blocked in your ministry. Keep on praising Him, no matter what, and trusting in his strength to flow through your natural abilities, and your breakthrough will happen.

With many blessings,

Helen Curtis


Monday, April 20, 2015

Faith, Hope and Love



We need never be hopeless because we can never be irreperably broken. 
John Green


I love this quote from young adult author, John Green. It says so much in a few words. We all have an essence in us that survives even the most tragic or unfortunate circumstances.

Stories of holocaust survivors, overcomers of abuse and cancer conquerors are inspiring.  Overcoming the odds, persevering, coming out the other side stronger, and other phrases like this cause us to have hope that if we too had to go through something, we could thrive and not just survive.

In the midst of struggle we often feel helpless and hopeless. We can be paralysed by fear, or just plain run out of energy.

To reach that part deep down inside of us that is still alive, to reignite the spark we once felt, to rebirth our passions and have the courage to start again takes three things, faith, hope and love.

As writers we all need to have faith, hope and love in order to keep going on a path that is often filled with rejection, loneliness, discouragement or just plain weariness.

We need faith in ourselves. God has created each one of us to have something specific to write. Something he wants us to bring to the world. Have the faith that you were created unique for a purpose and that, no matter what, you can still achieve that.

We need faith that there is a God, a force bigger than us, who has everything in control, even when we doubt or filled with unbelief. Or even when our work is rejected or we just can’t find the energy to write one more word.
















We need love. The love of those around us: friends, family and community is crucial to unleashing hope.  We need a cheer squad-even if it’s a squad of one. God can be our biggest supporter, but we need the warmth of flesh and blood. The right people around us can love us through our situations and hope can rise.

A mentor empowers a person to see a possible future, and believe it can be obtained. It’s that feeling that someone is concerned about you, that they want you to succeed.  Shawn Hitchcock

Having critique partners and writing groups such as Christian Writers Downunder give us connection and love in a very lonely profession. We sit at our desks and write alone, day after day. Without the connections with other writers, we may be tempted to give up.




















We all need hope. Without hope, our soul becomes sick. Nothing is joyful, we can’t even enjoy the moment. Hope gives us the capacity to live in the now, without seeing what we hope for. Loss of hope causes us to see life as purposeless and meaningless.

Maintaining hope that our work will be published, will be read by our intended audience and will fulfill the call God has placed in our hearts will keep us pushing the pen or clicking away on the keyboard.
















A blend of faith, hope and love weaves a pattern into our lives that will sustain us even during the darkest of times.

Our lives are not perfect and we are often challenged by our insecurities. Every now and then, I need a reminder to plough ahead in faith, hope and love despite the challenges.

Elaine Fraser
www.elainefraser.co







Thursday, April 16, 2015

Your Turn!


So, it’s my turn to blog, and I thought: “It’s hardly fair that I get to do all the writing and you get to do all the reading.” So what about we all have a go this time. I’m going to post a synopsis here, and invite you to choose a scene to develop either as a piece of prose or screenplay, and then post in the comments. I’d suggest you check the comments and try to write in chronological sequence. Of course that might not always work, as two or three eager beavers might be away working on the same scene at the same time. It doesn’t matter. In about a week, I’m going to check the comments and see how the story looks. I might choose the scenes I like the best, stitch them together and post on my website. Don’t forget to post a name for the story as well. OK then. Ready. Set. Go... Here’s the synopsis:

Setting – small rural Australian town, mid winter
Main characters Michele (pronounced Mick-el) named after his Italian great-grandfather, 30 year old farmer who has just taken the reins of the farm as his parents have bought a caravan to take a year travelling around the country. He agrees to take in a house mate to help the local school with a short-term accommodation for one of their temporary teachers.

Charlie – 23 years old, is named after her grandfather. Fresh out of Uni has won a short-term temporary contract at the local primary school for a maternity leave staffer. Charlie is from the city but has been assured they will find her suitable accommodation.

Scene One – Charlie has left the city at 4am to reach her new school in time for classes, but she has a flat tyre. She You Tubes ‘How to change a tyre’, but wheel nuts won’t loosen. Michele comes along, is condescending, she is offended. The tyre is changed. It is raining.

Scene two – Charlie reads instructions to Michelle’s house. When a man opens the door – the man she has already met on the road, she asks after Michelle, and he is annoyed, as he is Michele. She’s expecting a woman, he is expecting a man. Charlie says she doesn’t feel comfortable moving in with a man. He says ‘suit yourself’.

Scene three – Charlie goes to the local pub. It is run down, poorly run, and the owner is a bit sleezy – as are some of the patrons. Charlie gets a key to a very run down room. She goes to have a counter meal and gets propositioned. She stands her ground, but not very convincingly. Michele has come to the pub to see how things turn out. He plays the hero and fends off the unwanted attention. Charlie is annoyed with him, as she says she can look after herself. She decides she would prefer to trust Michele than the men in the pub.

Scene four – Charlie’s second day at school. The classroom is a little chaotic. A ten year old informs her she is Michele’s cousin, and tells Charlie all about what her mother thinks about Michele and his impossible love life.

Scene five – Charlie discovers she and Michele have something in common: they both love footy (AFL). She agrees to go watch him play on Saturday. She sits in his car, pulled up around the outside of the oval. It’s all good until he takes a hit in the head and is carted off the ground on a stretcher. She waits until his mates come to get his car. When they see her, they suggest she could take him to the hospital in the next town. She has the car and the keys, and they basically leave her with it.

Scene six – The doctor says Michele can’t drive, and someone should keep an eye on him for his concussion. Everybody makes assumptions. She sits up with him for the whole night.

Scene seven – They have something else in common: they both go to church on Sunday. Charlie drives. More raised eyebrows and assumptions.

Scene eight – Michele’s young cousin if full of gossip and what her mother thinks of the situation. Charlie sets her straight, and determines to set the record straight with Michele’s aunt.

Scene nine – The six weeks are up, and Charlie has packed ready to go. She has a little farewell party with the kids at school. Michele’s cousin tells her that Michele doesn’t want her to go. He’s never said anything to her, so she is a bit confused by this.

Scene ten – writers, choose your own ending. Let’s see what you come up with.

Hope you have fun with this. Don’t forget to keep an eye on the comments and see how the story grows. I will post your compilation (or selected parts of it) on my website later.

www.meredithresce.com

Meredith Resce has sixteen books published. She is currently preparing the sixth title in the best-selling ‘Heart of Green Valley’ series.

Monday, April 13, 2015

What should God's writer do?


by Jenny Glazebrook


I'm on the phone, the doorbell is ringing, the house is a mess, friends are lonely, I have Bible study to prepare, the church bulletin to edit, accommodation to arrange for my daughter's hospital visit, and all I want to do is write. In fact, my heart is yearning for it, my mind is working so fast the thoughts feel like a volcano about to erupt.
What should I do? There are so many 'shoulds' and I am driven by them.

The shoulds are never-ending so there's no time left to write and no time left to sit with my children and listen to what they have to say about their day. And there's no time left for God.
Because I'm busy doing things for God.
I don't sleep well. In the quiet of the night there is finally time to think and my mind starts to race with all the interrupted thoughts and ideas of the day. When I sleep I write in my dreams because God has given me this innate need to do it. It's like breathing.

When I wake I manage to fight through the tiredness, send the children off to school and prepare for Bible study.
As I prepare I read these words:
'Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.' (Matthew 7:21-23)

And a still, small voice breaks into my racing heart and mind: 
Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, did we not listen to our neighbour and put together the church bulletin and run a Bible study? Did we not answer every call for help, did we not let good things drive us?'

Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'

'But Lord,' I cry, 'didn't I do it all for you?'

Those words come back: ‘I never KNEW you.’

I find my heart breaking because I long to spend time with Him and know Him more. I long to worship Him and writing is the way I worship best. Loving my children and sharing Jesus with them is the way I worship best. Deep in my heart I know these are the things God has given me to do. They are not 'shoulds', they are a joy because I do them with him, not for him.

Where along the way did I start to listen to the guilt that said if I enjoy it or find it satisfying it can't be pleasing to the Lord?
When I am trying to please everyone, then I am not loving Him and knowing Him.

Lord, may we do the good works you have prepared for us. Please drown out those voices telling us writing is not good enough, not important enough, not spiritual enough. If, like Noah, we find it takes 100 years to accomplish our task, help us not to give up, not to be discouraged by those who laugh at us, who pressure us to build something else, not to be disheartened by those who built their arks years ago and are already safely floating through the storm, those who have managed to reach hundreds and convince them to come on board. Even if it is just our family you want us to reach, we will be satisfied with that, because we will have satisfied you.
May we write, not because we are driven, but because it refreshes our soul and deepens our relationship with you.


Jenny is the wife of Rob Glazebrook and the mother of Micah, Merridy, Clarity and Amelia. They live in the country town of Gundagai with lots of pets. Jenny is the author of 4 published novels with the final 3 of her Aussie Sky Series due out this year.  Jenny enjoys inspirational speaking, and is passionate about sharing her writing knowledge and experience and encouraging others in their walk with Jesus. To find out more about her and her books, go to www.jennyglazebrook.com

Thursday, April 9, 2015

How to Have Originality

by Charis Joy Jackson

                       “Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality 
          will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring two 
            pence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become 
                                           original without ever having noticed it.”
                                                                                                                    - C.S. Lewis

I want to be original.

Who doesn’t?

As an artist, I paint pictures with words and words are awesome. They invoke emotions and take us on wild adventures through time, space and alternate realities.

They remind us of what’s important.

Sometimes, though, those words seem traitorous. My magical fingers will weave a tale and lo and behold when I read back my masterpiece I discover something. It’s not original. The story’s already been told.

Alas.

Once, I created this character who was sure to warm the readers’ hearts. He was a doctor, or in his world a “healer”. He was a small character, but still needed the perfect name, so I popped over to one of my favourite writing resources babynames.com and found one so perfect it actually meant “healer”. About a month later I picked up a book by one of my favourite authors and discovered he had used the same name!

Not just that, but the character was the same. EXACTLY.

ENTIRELY.

I was crushed. If I ever got it published it’d look like I’d stolen the character.

After beating my head against the wall for a bit I came to another conclusion. I was growing as a writer. If I could come up with a great character, like my favourite author, then I’d come up with more. Yes. Success.

I also discovered the quote above.

Personally, I believe the fear of not being original lays at the foundation of writers block. Think about it. How many times have you opened a fresh document and instead of filling it with all the goodness waiting inside your head, you just stare at it?

Stop staring!

Each of us are an original and so are our stories.

How about we take the lead from our good friend Clive and say, “I don’t care two pence how often it has been told before. I’m still gonna tell it!”

Now stop reading this. Go write.


Charis Joy Jackson is working as a missionary with Youth With a Mission (YWAM) a non-profit organization & is part of The Initiative Production Company. She loves creating stories & is currently writing a novel, which she hopes to create into a seven part series.

Here's to a life lived in awe & wonder.
Welcome to the adventure.

www.charisjoyjackson.com

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter - The Same Old Story? by Nola Passmore



When Monica Andermann asked a friend to church on Easter Sunday, her friend replied ‘No thanks … I’ve heard that story before.  I know how it ends’.  Do you ever feel like you’ve heard it all before?  It’s easy to become complacent about well-known Bible stories, especially when you’ve been around Christian circles for a long time.  If I’m in a church service and the minister announces that we’re going to look at The Prodigal Son or the Parable of the Sower, I groan inwardly.  ‘Not that one again.’  How sad is that though?  How sad to lose our wonder at the amazing things God has done on our behalf. 

At Easter we celebrate all that Christ did for us on the cross.  How phenomenal is it that God sent His Son to die for our sins so we could spend eternity with Him?  God’s word is just as ‘alive and active’ as it was 2000 years ago (Hebrews 4:12).  However, I think part of our challenge as Christian writers is to communicate Biblical truth in fresh ways.  How could we do that with the Easter story?

A few years ago, our minister invited the congregation to read a book of devotions by Walter Wangerin Jr. for the 40 days leading up to Easter.  I bought a copy of Reliving the Passion thinking that it would all be pretty familiar to me.  However, it was more than a set of devotions.  It was told with drama, dialogue, internal monologues and great emotion.  As I read each day’s entry, I was able to look into the thoughts of Peter and Mary Magdalene.  I was able to see and hear what was going on and it helped me to gain fresh insights.  Here’s a sample based on Mark 15:1 after Jesus has been delivered to Pilate:

Jesus, how do you feel?  What are you thinking?  You don’t talk.  Your mouth has been closed for such a long time now.  Last night, before the legal machinery caught hold of you and began to grind you in its wheels, you said your soul was sorrowful, even unto death—and then your eyes revealed the grief.  I saw it.  But now, in the dawn of your deathday, your face is expressionless.  I can read nothing in your eyes.  Jesus!  Jesus!  How do you feel right now?  What moods contend within you?  What worlds collide inside your soul?  O Jesus, are you hating?  Are you praying?  Are you screaming silently?  Are you thinking about me now? (p. 94)

Singer-songwriter Don Francisco also used first person in his classic song He’s Alive which is written from Peter’s perspective.  Through the lyrics, we see Peter move from doubt to hope to belief as he sees the empty tomb and later encounters the risen Lord face to face.  The song always gives me goose bumps.  To listen to it, click here.

I tried my hand at a ‘different’ kind of Easter poem by writing from the perspective of Barabbas, the criminal released at Passover in the place of Jesus.  There’s not a lot of information about Barabbas in the Bible, so I had to try to imagine how he would have felt.  I took the perspective that he may have thought they were leading him out to be crucified, but instead he found himself a free man.  To read it, click here.
  
As you contemplate what Jesus has done for us this Easter, try looking at it with fresh eyes and meditate on how amazing his sacrifice of love was both then and now.  If you were going to write a story, song, poem, script or devotion about Easter, how could you give it an original spin?  Or perhaps you’ve already written something along those lines.  I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts.

References


Andermann, M. A.  (2014).  Same old story.  In M. Nutter (Ed.), Penned from the heart (vol. 21, p. 57).  New Wilmington, PA: Son-Rise Publications.

Wangerin, W., Jr.  (1992).  Reliving the passion.  Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.




Nola Passmore is a freelance writer who has had more than 140 short pieces published, including devotions, true stories, magazine articles, academic papers, poetry and short fiction.  She loves sharing what God has done in her life and encouraging others to do the same.  She and her husband Tim have their own freelance writing and editing business called The Write Flourish.  You can find her weekly writing tips blog at their website: http://www.thewriteflourish.com.au

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Everything Old Becomes New Again.

My son recently turned nine. He desperately wanted the theme of his party to be Pokemon. He’s crazy about this childhood phenomena that swept through the 1990’s generation, then died significantly, only to live on in the shadows of diehards fans. Now it’s back, as popular and lucrative as ever. I pondered the dramatic return of these slightly annoying creatures, and came to a strange conclusion: Everything old becomes new again.
Cinderella, the timeless fairytale re-told through generations, has undergone yet another re-vamp and is currently playing to audiences around the globe. I can’t wait to see it (if I can drag my son away from Pokemon to do something ‘girly’, that is.) Then there are television shows. I googled ‘old TV shows being remade’. The results claimed that over fifty movies, and at least eight television shows are currently in the process of being reinvented for a new generation.
And, of course, many movies are actually adaptations of books, including The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and Fifty Shades (no, I haven’t seen the movie or read the books). Fifty Shades is itself an adaptation, of the Twilight series, which I did read. Although I managed to ignore the controlling male character in Twilight, I found some interest in the romance factor – something I am told Fifty Shades lacks.
Even Twilight is said to be a reinvention, with a contemporary American setting, and the addition of vampires and werewolves. The first book is apparently a retelling of Pride and Prejudice, while the second is Romeo and Juliet (I’m told the third and fourth are also retellings of famous romances, but I can’t recall which ones). 
With so many remakes over so many creative genres, I had to ask myself the question, have humans run out of ideas, or are we so invested in a sure thing (money-wise) that we are unwilling to take a risk on all things new and untested?
What do you think? Are we taking enough creative risks? Or have new ideas been replaced with the greater-valued sure thing?


You can visit Rose Dee at: http://rosedee.com/
A special thank you to Iola Goulton for the extra information about the Twilight series.