Monday, October 13, 2008

OCD, but okay with it

Sometimes, people ask me things. And sometimes, I have an answer--or at least an opinion. The other day me and Kaige were talking about some screenwriting techniques, and over on RD, Jennifer Bianco was, too.

The trouble with trends is that it's easy to get caught up in how certain people interpret them for us. For the longest time Robin Perini interpreted Robert McKee's Story, and people got used to the idea of turning points. I listened to a lot of converts insist, this is the way things work--and only this way. Because Robin Perini said so. I listened to her lectures. She says to take what you can use, which people don't seem to hear. It's easy to get caught up in our own glory and stress our system as the better system, but an honest teacher will admit they don't know everything. There's always some new technique, or thing to learn. You build on stored knowledge, and the more knowledge you have, the more you understand, because your database expands, and you interpret things in the light of current knowledge.

Screenwriting, the hero's journey and archetypes--most particularly archetype--are like polo shirts. People still wear them, but right now, it's cold, and we're moving to sweaters. Some people have a polo shirt under their sweater, and some have t-shirts. Everyone is individual.

Jennifer Bianco said, "I feel very strongly that this particular technique works and it's right for me" (I'm paraphrasing) and Kaige was worried about threshold. Honestly, I was worried about ordinary world, which totally bogged my beginning because I couldn't figure out how to apply knowledge to practice.

But...the thing I like about lectures I've listened to many times, is the knowledge goes subliminal, and the first hour of Hague's lecture was stuff I'd heard before. He's fabulous, and I was definitely paying attention, but I was able to troubleshoot ideas and listen (and ask questions) about things that were bothering me.

Take me and Kaige, our stories both start separately, and yes--that's what we're supposed to do. Show the real world, and then the connection where the h/h meet. It's not long, just a few paragraphs, but it didn't work because it was a screenwriting technique. The "concept" is right on the money. BUT, we aren't in actual camera mode, so we were trying to show something that could be done as internal, externally. (is that confusing?)

Kaige's story opens with her hero and his dad. He's in his ordinary world, you get to see the inciting incident and the story set-up. It covers a lot of ground. And in a movie, it would need to be there, because you can't "show" internal dialog. BUT, in a novel, you can open with the heroine in "her" ordinary world, and show the hero's ordinary world through the heroine's pov. So opening in Gunther's or just outside, would show the heroine, and introduce the hero as he is now. And the inciting incident could be shown as the first turning point, or opportunity. AT the time they meet.

Free association is a good thing, lol...


Alice Audrey said...

I frequently like to show something that would make a great movie scene through the eyes of a character who is not actually in the scene in order to give a different perspective. I've been told it's a no-no, but the same people who site "the rules" prefer those scenes.

Kaige said...

I think I'm just trying to cram too much into that poor little story. LOL

I'm also not convinced that the story I want to tell is captured on the pages I have written, but I'm not sure it can be told by starting off in her POV and showing his ordinary world through her eyes. I can't help but cling to the idea that he has a unique perspective and think that abandoning it changes that story too much.

But yes. I do agree that the mediums are different and the techniques won't always mesh nicely and finding the places where they do work for you is great.

Glad to hear the Hauge lecture went well! Troubleshooting, yay! Questions, yay! Hope you had many Aha! moments you can put to good practical use.

Btw, I'm really enjoying Suzanne Brockmann's The Unsung Hero. Very rich and love all the subplots.

jodi said...

Alice, people are just contrary, and I've noticed that more and more as I get older. (it's probably something to do with gray hair, the moer gray hair you havem the more you notice? lol...)

Kaige, I love Suzanne Brockmann right up to...Cosmo's story (can't remember which one it was, but it was the start of her extreme focus on gay subplots, and then for awhile, everything got confused, like she couldn't get off her pedestal and tell the story without dragging in personal agenda. But--yay!! The last one, Into the Fire, was excellent. She's back on my "buy in hardcover list")

have you thought about starting in Huberts pov and showing her through it? or doing it as a prologue? I didn't finish my post, I think--because I forgot to add in my aha moment.