Saturday, February 3, 2007

Up A Tree, Down A Tree

What the hell does that mean? I’m not writing about trees. Or “keep raising the stakes”. Oh, yeah, that helped me right into melodrama. Every second, one of my characters was in some danger or bad shit just kept happening to them. Talk about depressing.

It wasn’t until one of my instructors introduced me to the “up, down, up, down” approach. I remember most of the class looking at him like he was crazy - me included. What, was this paint by numbers? So I pretended to utilize this method, giving a weak-ass attempt at applying it to my sequencing and outlining.

I don’t know what exactly knocked me over the head, but one day, I just got it. I think I might have been watching a movie - don’t remember which one. There it was, right in front of me. There was no tree climbing or rock throwing. Instead, there were characters experiencing life in their worlds. For them, like me, life has its ups and downs. DUH!

Why do I bond with certain characters? What makes me empathize or sympathize? Because I know that for every good thing that happens to them, something bad is sure to follow - or vice-versa. I’m on a roller-coaster ride, not climbing some tree.

Yeah, it’s just plain, old semantics. However, not everyone learns the same way. But keeping an open mind, ear and eye is crucial. Finding out what works for you is key - as with knowing when it doesn’t work.

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