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On Romantic triangles

Posted: May 27, 2018 in Uncategorized
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It has been a while since my last post, but let me get back into this talking about a cliche. This may seem like coming out of left field, but bear with me. I am not a fan of romance, especially not as a the central plot for most of my stories. I have some romantic backstories or subplots but I tread carefully not to let it take over, but that is mostly because of my main genres. Romantic triangles however is something I have studied recently because of how it has affected me in polarized ways. Many romantic stories that have used romantic triangles have both bored me and some have touched me deeply.

Romantic triangles are seen everywhere perhaps because of how common they are in the real world. As with all cliches it should be said that motivation and perspective give them their bad name. By that I mean we often see the worst examples repeated the most. Romantic triangles often give romance a bad name. They give characters bad names and it waters down motivation. I am convinced however, that with the right approach to using this device that you would never be discouraged to use it, but rather carefully aware. Cliches can be used to perfection with the right perspective or if it addresses a theme.

I have seen most romantic triangles play off of one of the worst motivations ever- indecision.  Now indecision isn’t a theme many people are fond of. I have indecision every day when deciding about which food I should eat. I am not saying people are likened to those daily struggle of choices, but rather that it can feel that way to the audience. The reality of romantic triangles is lost in most novels since authors have their focus where there is no tension or a false sense of tension. In most of these cases the story is told from the perspective of the party longed after by the other two parties. That is that the focal point of most of these tales are from a girl (usually) having to decide between boy A and boy B and then first making a wrong choice. The plot then is about the fixing of this error or the failure to fix this error. Now there is something somewhat unrealistic about romantic triangles that seem to take precedence in novels and that is that the biggest struggle, the thing authors want from stories, is the whole choice between two people thing. There should be no if you had just moments.  What is frustrating to readers is that the authors somehow try and use the worst of the worst when using romantic triangles. Instead of being one between 3 friends (which allows some true conflict in a choice) rather they opt for the newcomer coming between two friends. (cheapening your main character)  Now I will show that by using it this way authors are wasting a chance by not using the most realistic drive force in a romance and that is unrequited love. Let me put stories in a question form to help show the importance of perspective and ask you which one sucks?

Should I choose my best friend Scott or the new guy Thomas? vs  How will I ever be able to win her heart? vs I lost my best friend, how do I deal with this loss? vs  How will he cope with the unrequited love?

One of these plots sticks out like a sore thumb. It has no theme. It is hollow. Did you notice that in each case there was a theme and a closeness lost or love not gained? Characters and relationships are crucial. In some of those plots lies themes of loss, depression, drive to build a relationship and in the typical one lies a choice that breaks a character. Now I understand that characters have flaws but basing an entire premise or central part of your character on the flaw of not being able to choose loses focus on things that in the real world could matter. Loss and gain and potential loss and gain are probably some of the most important things you need in any story. Now even with the worst case of a romantic triangle there springs forth loss that is rarely visited, because someone loses. That is a new starting point and if that is where you start your story it takes a whole new meaning.

I end with a simile. Robert Beaker is competing with Frost & Co for a lucrative business deal with JI Dynamics. Gain and loss. Potential gain and potential loss. Most people will tell this story from the perspective of the newcomer. The guy fighting to get in or even the second company.  So I am left with a mystery. If this is clear to see in other plots about money or power, why do we struggle when it comes to love?

 

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Source: Update: Mutiny now available on more platforms

It has been a long while since I wrote on this blog. So I am back at it and am also going to finish of my second novel’s first draft.

A friend of mine asked me to write a short story for her birthday, so naturally I started thinking immediately.

“What kind of short story?”

“Absurd.”

I have written an absurd tale in the past, but knowing that she had also enjoyed some absurd stories I did not think I would be able, but out of the blue an idea popped into my head. This time I had no clue where it came from. I took something my friend loved, turned into an antagonist, and figured out a moral of the story.

Then for the first time in a long while I decided to write in the first person point of view. Usually it is something I avoid in favour of the third person limited point of view, however this would turn out to be good practice for me. When I showed her a sample, she thought it was already a short story. That is, dear reader, because most non writers do not use the word short story like writers do. For them it can be five hundred words and perhaps that is true when short is used adjectivally, but I meant the real deal. I would write her ten thousand words about a man who finds himself stranded and who has to make questionable decisions when a “good” Samaritan shows up.

I am almost at a thousand words now and this is starting to entertain me a lot.

Have you ever written a gift for a friend?

I believe in multiple arcs in stories. When doing a story with round characters, one arc is the minimum for a character. This title may be a reference to math, but believe me stories are anything, but mathematical. It was just a cute way of asking whether you wanted to build all arcs from the bottom.

Sin 0=0. You know the curve (it does not apply to most stories) but stories change and only authors know where arcs end. They surely do not end at the same place… mostly. However if a story has multiple arcs, this title becomes very important. For example one arc is a previously ruined romantic relationship and the main arc has the protagonist stepping up as a hero. Now, you may  well want to show the relationship for starting at ground zero, however you have limited time and space your story may not be about that relationship. Here you will be dealing with backstory.

It all depends on the author. If stories’ character and relationship arcs were to be put on a single graph you would have some weird form of modern art. It would look just like a jungle of ups and downs. However if two of these points are dealt with in a story and their difference is great…well we have a new ball game. Say arc A and arc B are both developing, but arc B is rising and arc A s dropping. Here you have some serious internal and external conflict going on. Dramatic kaboom!

When those lines meet. Man get ready for some hard hitting stuff. To most people reading this, what I am saying may not make sense, but that is since I am vague and I am only trying to ramble my journey. Stories can not be put into boxes. That is a lie we tell ourselves to keep us safe. Many authors have a formula and one arc and it works for them. All these terminology are just made up as well.

Maybe I am imagining another dimension, but hey… this is fiction.

Keep on writing, dreaming and plotting. Next up I will discuss the spine of a story. Do not worry…. it won’t be vague like this.

The Fable Ace

Posted: October 16, 2015 in Uncategorized
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Let’s face it. We remember childhood fables all too well. You may think that it is simple at first, because it is, but it is also a strong tool writers’ can use now and then. The other day I replayed a videogame that used a fable to characterize its protagonist. Now, I don’t mean to spoil any story you may or may never know, but it was powerful. Let me just say that the whole story’s emotions could have been summed up by all the jackdaw’s fables.

The jackdaw fables all depict negative qualities in man: vanity, pride and overconfidence. The bird also loves shiny things which ties in well with the character. Using fables in other stories may seem like a cop out. I mean there surely are more subtler (subtlety is key) ways to show your characters, but here the symbol needs to be revealed slowly. How so? Many people are not aware of the fable of the jackdaw and the eagle and it is never mentioned until the end. The protagonist liked the bird and called his ship, the Jackdaw. So this is a matter of knowledge. People who know the fable would easily see the foreshadowing, but the beauty of this symbol is that it has different meanings and does not have to be applied directly.

Let me put it like this. In the end you may call the protagonist a jackdaw, but you may only be right to a certain extent. Those thoughts of why will linger with you. This is because we easily attach meaning to symbols. What impressed me most was the fact that there are subtle hints at the fables and that this story reminds you of the fables while being a complete story on its own.

Using imagery, both known and personal is a clever way to characterize, period. We use animals in our everyday language. You know the similes.

What are your thoughts on fables and use of imagery? Share if you will.

Tears

Posted: September 10, 2015 in Uncategorized
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Have you ever wondered why people cry when they are happy? So have I. Some people do not get the idea of crying at all, but certainly it would not be necessary if there is nothing to cry about.

Well, too much, is enough said. Too. That word right there is the key to all imbalance. Too much of anything is a bad thing. Fortunately your body is equipped with state of the art homeostasis which also makes you look like a pansy or a misty eyed warrior when you are too happy. Shocker. How can a person be too happy? That’s probably the only thing that we can not get enough of, but apparently we can.

I am convinced that this is the reason that people embrace sad films or novels. Either they do not want the homeostasis or they suppress it. They then proceed to need a way to combat the happiness. That is also the reason some artists believe they have to be sad to make art. It is not that they need to be sad, but rather that they don’t want the high too high.

I first started my quest of uncovering the mystery of crying when happy, after I had watched soldiers’ homecomings. Many times kids and wives cried. There was this one soldier who’s seven year old daughter got out of class early. Her mother got her out of a math test. She was already on a high. Then around the corner waited a hero.(unbeknownst to her) When she saw him, they embraced. She started to sob. She repeated three times that she had missed her dad.The logical man that he is, he asked a clever question, “Why are you crying?”

“‘Cause I’m happy.”

Why was I even wanting to see this? I don’t know. I wanted to see the bonds that other people had.I then wanted to crush it.  I wanted to write some sad ending.

This brings me to writing. Wow, that took a long time. Writers love to write either happy endings, sad endings or a good old mixture of both. Now you have a good idea why. People love change. Boredom is static. Sometimes happy readers want you to do what their bodies should be able to do. You need to make them sad. Some authors do it too well. Then the work sinks in, leaving a reader in a state of melancholy. This works particularly well with great characters. On other occations you will lift their spirits and if you are real nasty you will drop it again. Maybe I have said it before, but here it goes again. Happiness is speed. We experience it detached. We feel the smile just as we see speed by looking at the road. We just do not feel it in our bodies. Change in emotion is acceleration. That can be felt. That is your rollercoaster. So go make people laugh with sadness and cry with hapiness. That is what we are paid to do.

(I am crying now, because I am not being paid yet, but I’ll laugh soon. You know, because there is one too that is okay. Balance.)

Rusty Steed

Posted: August 11, 2015 in Uncategorized
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Rusty steed

He had everything his heart had desired,
but now there was a void.
Here he had gathered his wealth.
It was as though he had been foiled,
because of the wicked he was tired.

His body was winding down, but he had good health.
Though, inwardly he felt weak.
His car glimmered in the sun,
but nothing could satisfy or bring a new peak.
He was a prince of greed with skills of stealth.

By the sweat of his neck, his white collar, brown.
Life was fun.
The car was fast.
He could get away and just run.
After much thought there appeared a frown.

He thought hard, because of his past.
Life was fast.
Cars are dead.
Nothing under the sun can last.

Fun era l

Posted: August 11, 2015 in Uncategorized
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Fun era l

The child doesn’t seem to grasp
that no one can outlast
the curse of death
from the past.

The stone is not a plaything
Daddy is not coming back.
Laugh, while you are young.
Enjoy the fun.

The grass above the bones
look pretty today.
Go ahead and play,
while the men march all the way.

The trumpets calls for the homeland.
Yet, the patriot is home.
Look at the brass band.
Now you will grow up alone.

Hang around and hop from rock
to rock.
Ignore the dark ties that bind.
Be a happy child.

This era will fade like bone.
The world will fit.
The hero is home…
we are in transit.

Marionettes

Posted: May 21, 2015 in Uncategorized
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Marionettes
They dangle by threads proclaiming and uttering the lie of
being flesh and bone. Boxed into an office of their own.
Directed by the tall chairs, yet under the impression of
being real in the way they act.

They manipulate the crowd, but above their heads hang
a hand. Some of them feel the relentless tug and burn out
in the lights… so bright.
Back in the day there weren’t the same chains.
The shine seemed less, but the ropes were longer.
Even now they are free to move until the extension
fails and can only be cut.
Then it is rebound and cut and rebound and cut.
Sometimes they think they believe that they have more control.

Others realize the futile attempts to place a permanent mark.
They bark and bark until their own little paws are given some string.
They compete… yet they utter the restraint… wishing they could
pulp wood and inscribe their own name.

They are polished by their brief fame,
but alas,
even this wood must go to the flame, before paper does.
They have forgotten… it is a crying shame.

.

“The prose and cons”

Posted: May 16, 2015 in Uncategorized
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Let it not be said that this was an easy task, for
no man should isolation ask.
They stared… they mocked… they laughed.
“A novel? Ha!”
However as words multiplied and ideas came to be… so I came to see that I had to give up some to become more. One foot was already behind the door.
An epitome of individual thought. The prose… my worlds, my mind’s subsets. Characters… failures, pondering and philosophical thought could all be wrapped up in narratives.
Maybe a lesson could be taught.
I am strange… I always have been.
Yet, this pursuit is nothing compared to the one we all need.
We will be mocked and they will make their jokes. We will be tested for sure.
It is more than art or abstract thought.
We are to have faith and count the costs:
ostracization, humiliation… exclusion… among a world full of delusion.
Let it not be said that this is an easy task, for no man should isolation ask.
Let us not despair, for though we feel little, we ought to know:
We are not alone.