Tuesday, October 23, 2012

At a Loss for Words

An often overlooked aspect common in its way to all individuals in Reality and to all characters in the uber-Reality of drama is loss.  Reminding a class full of wannabe writers of the prevalence among us of loss, you're often given examples relating to money, fame, trophy relationships, and power.

These are true things to lose, and you believe they have story potential, but there are more things to be lost than these, things you have lost in some way or degree and watched those about you lose with varying degrees of concern and side-effect emotions.  Among these things are friendships, faith, trust, confidence,balance, teeth, hair, perspective, lovers, hope, patience, enthusiasm, manuscripts, and one of the most significant things of all to lose which is interest.

These elements are the driving forces of the stories memorable for having subjected their characters to the most excruciating obstacles.  How characters respond to these loses define them and their behavior. Characters you create represent your own responses to such losses, perhaps not directly, but in some kind of metaphor or transferred chunk of an emotion such as grief or a determination to regain what was lost or to make some negotiations with the Cosmos through the writing of the story.

When you are thinking a particular character into being, you are in fact creating a person to mediate between herself or himself, you, and the Cosmos.  You cannot always know this for certain during the early stages of the process and perhaps not ever.  Sometimes, you are not aware of which loss you are trying to mitigate.

Money and fame are of scant interest to you, relationships are important, and power is of some interest so far as they represent viable things to embark upon, but even these have their accommodations downgraded while the more immediate and personal things seem to take hold to the point where you know you will finish reading the material if it is the work of another writer you admire, and where you will finish writing if the material is yours and once drove your curiosity.  Under such circumstances, another loss may come into play, the important loss of momentum.

Listing all these potentials sets of fear alarm bells, causing you to recognize how vulnerable you were in the first place to have presumed to write, and how vulnerable you have been in the past to loss, and how vulnerable you are at the present moment because you cannot for the life of you see your way out of such sorts of loss.

This is, of course, the perfect place for a writer such as yourself to be, a place where it can be said of you with some accuracy that you have lost your comfort zone.

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