#7 Back to work
Well this blog was written last October, then I was unable to work on the project for... a long time. Felt like it was worth just editing this blog to be current. And yes, that makes a full 9 month pause in this project. Wow! Given the title of this blog, that is… hilarious.
I’m trying to get comfortable with this new “non-obsessive” approach to story writing. It’s alien to me, but important I do it. For me, since writing is an unfunded hobby not a job, I have to learn to work on it when it fits my life. And DarkBrain does represent one of the most out of control runs I’ve had in my “hobby career” which I’m learning to peel back from. I have approached nearly every major project in my life with obsessive focus, so… well, this is just weird.
Current focus is still the outline
This blog is just a reset for me to get ready to do another push at writing – or outlining would be more accurate. Because when I’m done with this phase we will have an outline, but not a story. The actual writing could then begin on the story. However, it is interesting to note that a good chunk of what sucks in our current storytelling mediums is the outline, the backbone. I am constantly frustrated by stories that finish badly and ruin the experience.
For example, I just watched Assassin’s Creed the movie and was struck with how hard the movie tried – it had great mood, reasonable story (on the edge of silly, but kept inside), really stellar action, and decent enough acting. But then at the end it fell off the cliff, jumped the shark, and just lazily decided to be over with a mind-numbingly dumb finish. It was horrifying to waste such effort. And the faults could have (and should have) been fixed before writing even started. It was just sad.
And that’s not an atypical deal. Some films can get away with a lackluster ending (Wonder Woman missed an opportunity for true art) by being just so awesome otherwise, but most cannot. Not just movies, of course, Travelers, Broadchurch and The OA were heartbreaking after setting up such an amazing open and middle. I cried for the bad writing like Kevin O’Leary cries for badly spent money.
And some movies can accidentally become genius. Donnie Darko was home run outstanding, but if you watch the director’s cut, it is horrible trash! It is a miracle that editing turned the dung heap into high art. In fact, Donnie Darko is a study in what to *not* say in a story. Leaving the fundamental “science” of the film hidden resulted in an introspective human story that worked amazingly well.
Big changes to Boneeaters story ideas
So, back to Boneeaters. I have noted some rather large changes in my mindset for this story. I want to work these in, and they are a bit dramatic:
- Rape is out, murder is in
The rape sequence doesn’t work and needs to be replaced. It is more story-accurate that the dissenting faction of the human group kidnaps and kills an alien to dissect it and learn. This fits better. I think this is part of the stage where the story starts to write itself – it has made this point known to me. I think the story is also moving to horror vs sci-fi overall, so this also works better.
- X-rated is out, PG-13 is in
Moving to horror also moves it from porn to popcorn, I think I should rewrite as PG-13 and strip out all of the hardcore stuff. Does it fit the DarkBrain brand? Not really. At least not in the outline stage. Sure, we could just add gratuitous sex, and probably would if we run it here, but my guess is that this story will not make it on DarkBrain. Still, I need to finish at least the outline – for the sake of this “how to” project, but also because once a story gets this baked in my head, it demands to be written. (edit: eventually... haha)
- Nobody has a dark background
A very key element of this story is that nobody has a “dark background.” Yeah, nobody. This is not a story that drives from tragedy, it is a story of two leaders in an impossible situation. Maybe just a guttural reaction to how every story is now based on the character’s pain, but this one just feels different to me. It wants to focus on something else – what happens when non-tormented people have to make truly horrible decisions?
- Video Game Comic?
One concept that has come on strong for me is that this story fits some of my original vision for how to tell stories! A user-directed script with multiple endings just screams at me as fitting this story well. So you can make those ethical calls yourself and see the consequences. This is my “video game comic” if I ever had one.
- Voice and music?
Maybe this could be my next big project. Going back to adding voice to the story, adding user-directed choices, maybe even sticking to PG-13 and rebranding to setup a different audience? Could be, makes sense, worth exploring. Long-term thinking though, would take years to get enough money to even think about it.
- Different versions of the story
Oh MAN – what if you picked which person you want to run the story from (for now, Nal or Nate or Kennedy; but could be others too) and you get the entire story only from their perspective? You would be encouraged to run it through both characters and learn completely different things about it. In addition, can the story have pivotal interactions where either character can direct the ending? Juicy.
The irony is not lost on me: I started this experience saying you have to know the ending, but now I’m saying it could have a half dozen different endings. Can I reconcile that? That will be interesting. I suppose this is life: you think you know what you are doing, then you learn you don’t. Ha!
- Stop wandering, get back to work!
But for now need to focus on just the outline of the “first ending.” Can’t get too far ahead… even though my brain wants to desperately.
So, now back to writing – hopefully
this week (ok so 9 months later) depending on “real life.”
October 21, 2017 (edited July 10, 2018)