Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Stork Brings Them

From Finding Neverland
Mary Ansell Barrie: I was hopelessly naive when I married you. I imagined that brilliant people disappeared to some secret place where good ideas floated around like leaves in autumn, and I hoped at least once you would take me there with you.
J.M. Barrie: There is no such place.
Mary Ansell Barrie: Yes there is: Neverland.

Sometimes I do something I hate very much, that grates against my pride and sensibilities, that makes me cringe and mumbled excuses. And that is summarize my stories. After I manage to word vomit something out, someone will invariably say, "I could never be creative enough to write something."

This ends up being very embarrassing for me, because I feel like I hardly have any creativity at all. If someone doesn't say something like that, they'll ask me where I get my ideas. It's quite easy, and if you follow this advice, you will both have the ideas and the creativity to write your own story.

Cannibalize your life.

Seriously, if you daydream, and who doesn't, you can come up with a story. Both my favourite scripts have been inspired by real life events or issues. All it takes is asking, "What if?"

I already have a couple of ideas for future projects, but if I were to take my own life and cannibalize it, here's what I would do:

Two of my friends at college and I apparently have similar tastes in guys. At some point, two of us have been interested in the same guy at the same time. And we always joke that we'd all get married, but to the one guy we were never interested in. So if both O. and I had been interested in X. at one point, T. would be the one to marry him. We joke about that a lot.

But what if that actually happened? Love triangles are more than popular in movies. What if you had *three*? (The old fashioned kind, guys.) Maybe it would be too much, I don't know. Maybe it would be like a reversed-gender Sabrina on acid. But -- it could be so much fun. It would be like the chaos of Shakespeare's comedies and the humor of My Best Friend's Wedding. The possibilities are endless, and that was a "What If" I came up with with friends. Maybe people don't think about their lives that way. Maybe no one sees the possibilities in their daydreams. Not just anything can be a story, it's true, and not every story makes a good film. Execution is a skill. Execution is an art. But stories? There's a minefield every day.

"People on the outside think there's something magical about writing, that you go up in the attic at midnight and cast the bones and come down in the morning with a story, but it isn't like that. You sit in back of the typewriter and you work, and that's all there is to it." - Harlan Ellison

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