Monday, June 24, 2013

Playing to Your Strengths

This is a phrase that has many connotations. It could be applied to your job, to sports, to your day to day interactions with people, and even when it comes to relationships. Today though I'm bringing it up in reference to writing. I've always thought that pushing boundaries and trying new things is a really good thing to do. On the flip-side I think when it comes to some things, like writing, playing to one's strengths is necessary.

Over the weekend my friend came up from Richmond and we saw the new Much Ado About Nothing film by Joss Whedon. Now I'm not going to gush too much about the film (literally could spend hours doing that, but I want you all to see it before I do) but I want to talk a bit about how it influences this blog post. Most of you have read Much Ado at some point either in high school, college, or even on your own. It is a classic Shakespeare comedy and is known for the sharp wit and comedic genius of the characters. The back and forth between Beatrice and Benedict is intoxicating and the fact that they are played by Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof (who for you fellow Whedon Nerds is pretty much like Wes and Fred are back together) make it that much more amazing. The constant banter between them and the subsequent love that is started because of that is quite amazing. Shakespeare really had a way with words, especially when it comes to dialogue.

Now it is important to mention that my friend who came to visit happens to be my critique partner. She is studying to be an English teacher and is also a writer. We are constantly swapping stories and helping each other out with things. She noticed something when reading the rough drafts of my "Chronicles of a Teenage Freak" series - the dialogue was very strong, the descriptions were awesome, but the action fell short. She then went on to talk about how much she really loved the dialogue and the fact that my characters reminded her a little of the bantering between Beatrice and Benedict.

So it struck me: playing to my strengths in this case would mean focus on the dialogue between the characters. What does that mean you ask? Well it means that I've decided to take these great pieces of dialogue I have and turn it into a screenplay. Yes you heard me correctly, my next project will not be to write a short story series but instead write a screenplay or even a series of screen plays. I've even toyed with the idea of turning it into a TV show of sorts.

Then of course I know your next question is: Well what does that mean for Summer's Hollow? Don't worry my loyal readers I'm still trekking along with that; I've just taken then opposite approach. In fact the theme if you will for Summer's Hollow right now isn't play to the strengths, but instead identify the weaknesses. See I was so hell bent on getting it out there, getting it in the hands of all of you, that I neglected some major pieces. Right now I'm falling in love with SH all over again and loving it. So you know what? I'm not rushing it. I'm seeing what developments the story will take. It's still slated to come out at the end of the Summer but I'm not stuck on any date right now. The best development that had come out of this has been an amazing Prologue.

Exciting things are on the horizon! Of course I'm going to continue to work on Summer's Hollow and of course keep you all updated on that (frankly I haven't worked on it in a week since work, school, and wedding planning have taken over. Remind me again why I decided to do all of this at once? lol). In between though I will be doing a bit of research on how to best attack this whole screenplay thing. I'm excited to finally figure out what I can do with these 125 short stories that I have that have these strong pieces of dialogue though the story is a little stuck in my head sometimes. So a big thank you to my critique partner for helping me to this development and also a big thank you to Joss Whedon and Shakespeare for constantly inspiring me.

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