Friday, March 22, 2013

The Ordinary

NOTE:  No class on Friday, March 29, 2013.  The next class will meet Friday, April 6, 2013.

Alfred Hitchcock is quoted as saying, "Drama is life with the boring bits cut out."

One of my sixth-grade teachers, Mr. Hellsley, often said, "There are no boring things, only boring people."

As a writer, I have come to the conclusion that (nearly) anything can be made to be either interesting (even watching paint dry!), especially when it's tied to something we know or can sense.

This week, our assignment is partially an incentive for us to use our new skills from Jamie's presentation on pictures in class and partially to get us used to including everyday details in our writing to reveal character.

Here are two quick examples/ideas:

1. Use a picture from a major event but use the discrepancy between the momentousness of the event and your own mundane actions to highlight your personality.


For example, this picture from our (3rd) wedding day (yes, same husband--long story) illustrates a milestone in life but also our day-to-day steps.  Even in his borrowed tuxedo, my husband needs to carry our (always) wailing second child while trying to find his parents, who had somehow (as often happens) gotten separated from us.  As usual I am smiling even though we're in the midst of mess like this--not sure where the family was, not certain where to go next, with one sick child and another bored out of his mind and properly bribed with a Power Rangers sword and candy, and talking.  I always smile and talk, no matter how I feel.  The occasion is what links us to many people--many people have been married or been to a wedding.  Our interactions--my talking, my husband's calling, my oldest son's sword play, and my youngest son's wailing--make us the people that we are and reveal our characters.

2.  Use a picture from something everyday but unfold your description in a story form.

For example, here's a picture of the living room after the kids have been into it.  There's so much I can say to let this story unfold.  I can tell the story from the point of view of the Play-Doh.  I could tell it as I'm cleaning up or as I watch it unfold.  I can tell it reminiscently as perhaps some of those messes are long gone.  Each item in this picture can be tied to the person that put it there and the way their action of putting rubs against someone else's (usually my) idea of order.

This week's assignment is to use photographs to tell one of these types of stories.

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