Things have been quiet on the blog front but I’ve been doing plenty of writing. Thirty-three handwritten pages in the last week so that isn’t bad. I’ve set a goal of 800-1000 words a day and I’m hitting it. The new content is flowing and that is a wonderful thing.
I realized as I poured through the Outline that I didn’t have much in the way of conflict. Canon pretty much stipulates that conflict has to exist or else people won’t be interested. I tend to fall on the fence with that idea. Or rather, I don’t feel that conflict in stories has to be overly dramatic. Sure, there is a time and a place for “the fate of the world lies in the balance” or “the struggle between life and death” but for most people that is not everyday life. Those types of high tension dramatic moments are great and deserve a place but “Life With a View” is not like that. It is a character driven family drama, not escapist, action-packed speculative fiction. Nor is it represented by much of the popular media that movies and television tend to produce.
I’ve recently begun watching Grey’s Anatomy. It isn’t something I would normally watch but my current situation deems that my selection of moving pictures is limited by what is available from Hulu Japan. It’s a good show and I am enjoying it. The acting is solid, the writing is competent, but even though there are life and death situations for many of the guest stars, the main characters are closed off to them. (Which is perhaps what it is really like to be a surgeon.) There are of course exceptions to the rule, but most of the story lines focus on the many love interests that flutter through the operating rooms. Insanely frustrating chase, play hard to get, chase response cycles constantly interweave through every relationship, leading the viewer to believe that the characters only want what they can’t have. Which might be the point. I realize that some people love the chase. For me, it results only in frustration, and finally, lost interest.
I recently finished reading “The Bean Trees” by Barbara Kingsolver. I’ve read some of her nonfiction but this was the first fiction I read by her. I was captured by moments of subtlety in character interaction and dialogue. At times I just laughed and had to stop to consider and reflect on the characters. But what made an impression on me was the depiction of conflict. The main conflict always hovered right around the edges, but never stopped the characters from continuing to live their story. To me, these characters felt more real and authentic, motivated by necessity rather than a need to impress. Just as in life, things happen and we all do the best we can given our situation and means. I realize that many would find a story like this boring and lacking purpose. For me, it was a very real slice of life that I could relate to.
What I’m saying is that there is more than one way to tell a story. There is more than one way to illustrate a relationship. There is more than one way to demonstrate conflict. Medium has a large impact on that, as well as audience, among many other factors. Neither example is wrong, nor is it right. It is just different. These are some of the decisions we must make when creating as well as consuming.
What types of things have you consumed and thought that it just wasn’t for you? For example, you liked it but there was something about the presentation or characters or any other attribute that just didn’t quite strike the right heart strings.