Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Inspiration, Motivation and Perspiration

So, I agreed to read Richard Walter’s new book, Essentials Of Screenwriting. I had hopes of writing a nice, lengthy book review complete with quotes and referenced pages. Well, that all went to hell.
Instead, I found myself knee deep in revision work; of course, thanks to Richard Walter. You see, I only got a few chapters in before that writer-thingy-person inside of me kept banging the crap out of the inside of my head going, “Hey, what are you waiting for, a freaking invitation?” - she’s sassy that way. Anyway, all it took was one line and I was off in La La Land for Writers, otherwise known as inspiration. The line:

Whenever a writer sits down before a blank paper or glowing pixels, they should write down their own personal story.
Of course, most of you (and by you, I mean the two people who read this blog) are saying, “Yeah, that’s the old ‘write what you know’. So, what’s new?” No, it’s not the same. What Walter is saying is write what you feel. Remember, most people don’t know shit - even when they think they do. Our earliest understandings come from our feelings. As infants, we communicated through our emotions; this was the only way our caregivers could provide for us the essentials of life.
As writers, we must go back to the basics (or, as Walter calls it, the ESSENTIALS): sadness, happiness, hunger, fear, curiosity, etc. These are the building blocks to our stories. We may not know what it’s like to be a fireman; so does that mean we can never write a powerful story about a firefighter? Absolutely not! What it means is that, after researching and observing, we must go back to the basics of it all. What are the underlying emotions motivating you to write this particular story, and what are your personal feelings about the story you must tell?
After that, comes the hard work. It’s never easy digging into the emotional crap we have piled up over the years. We are bound to uncover some shit we thought we obliterated from the Universe. This will take work, and maybe even a few visits to a therapist, but the sweat and tears and laughter (the best pain-reliever of them all) will produce something authentic - and nowadays, authenticity is highly underrated.

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