COF

COF

Monday, July 30, 2012

Art With A Keystroke...

.....or a penstroke, whatever gets your fancy.

I think the only people who think writing is easy are those who don't write. I'm well aware that the actual act of writing is very easy and anyone with hands and eyes can do it, putting words on paper by typing or by utilizing penmanship; and even if you don't have hands or eyes, nowadays  they have programs like Dragon where all you have to do is rant and rave and write at the same time. (unfortunately I can't use Dragon software; if I had to say the things I write about out loud, my neighbors would have the cops at my door every day suspecting me of being a murdering terrorist or a deranged lunatic)

In that same vein, anyone can paint or be a singer too. I've seen 3 year olds finger-paint masterpieces and I sing in the shower every night,  but those masterpieces wont ever make it into a gallery and I'll never make it on Idol, because while anyone can do it, you still need craft.

It's easy to write a cohesive story; look: Exhibit A

Jane kicked the ball. The ball bounced on the grass. Jack caught the ball. Jack looked at the ball. The ball was orange. Jack rolled the ball. The ball rolled across the grass. Jane kicked the ball. It got dark. Jane and Jack went home.

Simple, correct, and boring. The plot's all there, there's a beginning and an end, all you need for a story; but yeah, quite frankly it sucks. And where's the dialogue? Ok, lets add some.

Exhibit B

“This is fun,” Jane said. 
Jane kicked the ball. The ball bounced on the grass. Jack caught the ball. Jack looked at the ball. The ball was orange. 
“Yes, it is fun, Jack said. Jack rolled the ball. The ball rolled across the grass. Jane kicked the ball.
“Its getting dark out,  Jane said.
“What should we do?” Jack said.
“We should go home,” Jane said.
“All right. Lets go home,”Jack said.
 Jane and Jack went home. The End.

Again, blah! to the max.

Now, let me try to improve it with a little craft.

Exhibit C

Jane dropped the ball and waited for just the right moment to kick it as hard as she could, sending the orange globe soaring through the air to smash hard into Jack's nose with a satisfying crunch.
“Take that you lousy motherfucker!” she screamed at her ex.
Jack centered himself, looking wide-eyed down at the blood dripping into his hands from his flattened nose. 
“What the hell is wrong with you?” he asked, sounding stuffy. “I don't even know who you are.
Enraged, Jane ran to where the ball had come to rest, but instead of picking the ball back up she spied a discarded beer bottle lying in the unmowed grass of the park.
She picked the bottle up instead.
Turning, her blue eyes focused on Jack who was back-stepping across the grass, face a mess of blood, his eyes wide with fear. She knew he'd come here and knew he'd deny everything. But he'd broken her heart, so now she was gonna break something of his--permanently.
“Did you think I wouldn't find out?” she hissed, following him as he continued to walk backwards.
But he didn't answer, only shook his head, turned and started running back across the park.
That was fine with Jane; she wasn't about to let him get away.
Bottle in hand, she took off after Jack, racing across the park, uncaring of the gawking stares she attracted from those fiddling around the swing sets and basketball courts.
Jack ran out onto the sidewalk that bordered the small park area, screaming for help.  Oh, I will make you scream, bastard! she thought with dark satisfaction. 
She made it to the sidewalk, still in hot pursuit, but another voice brought her up short.
“Jane!” she turned around, dazed.
Jack?
“Jane, how'd you get out again?” the man in the white coat approached her. There were two others behind him, she saw.
“Jack?” she asked aloud, confusion setting in deep. 
“Yes, Jane, it's Jack. Now be easy. Put the bottle down. Good girl.”
“Oh, Jack, I missed you so!” He got closer, and even though she knew he'd hurt her before, she had missed him, needed his touch now. 
Jack closed in, wrapping his arms around her, she returned the embrace gleefully, and that's when she felt the pinch in her neck, the pinch that always brought dark dreams. 
No, Jack, not again! Why...darkness.

The End



Ok, it's not perfect and will never be a bestseller, but you get the point. It takes some amount of work to turn finger-paints into a potential masterpiece. And its not easy. I personally think that any writer who thinks or feels that writing is easy should find another profession, because those writers will never know the passion of the finished project, and that will ultimately translate over to the reader; only struggle creates passion, and passion is love. If you don't care that much about something, then you wont put the effort in to make it the best it can be, and then you cheat both yourself and the reader; on the other hand, if you feel passionate about a thing, you'll torture yourself day in, day out to achieve the perfection that you, the project, and your readers deserve.

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