Thursday, December 27, 2007


Those three numbers will eventually all line up.

Convinced today that most of the problem relates to how a character is composed. If you make someone up in service of a storyline, it goes like this: I know person X has to do the following things, and I know thematically he should change some way, and then you hang traits off him like clothing on a scarecrow. The other way is to say "How would I feel if...?" And that's more frightening, because it makes your characters equal to you or, if you're firing on all sixes, they're slightly better than you are. You have to trust that they'll bend to the plot (or the other way around). You also risk looking like an idiot. Not that you weren't risking it already. You risk looking like an especially vivid, nude idiot.

But this error can lead to moments where a character vanishes and all that's left is spectacle. Spectacle is the refuge of those afraid of emotional engagement. It's profoundly safe, in that the noise and the light seem like they should distract the audience into forgetting they aren't enjoying themselves. "My word, that explosion was tremendous" is rarely heard outside the theater, or the moment the book is put down. If you have the emotions alone, that's good enough, but if you feel them and THEN thrill through a spectacle, that's much more satisfying.

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