Running away, finding the way out, keeping the back to the wall with an eye on every point of egress. The loopholes of sanity for those struck with paranoia, fear, or ….
That’s not me (don’t look at me like that!). It might be a character though, so I study these things. It’s fun, terrifying, enlightening to see how different people respond to situations that may be dangerous, life-threatening, or it might be no more than the perception of something to fear (the boogeyman is real, you know).
Because that’s what it is. Perception. How the world is viewed by a person. We don’t see it the same. Four people at the same accident equals four varying stories. As it should be. And if you’re a writer, like me, you know that putting something too close to the version of another character means —- they’ve collaborated on the answer they want to present to the world!
Yeah – I see it now, but when I was a reader, and young, and naive, these were the subtle movements in stories I missed until — kaboom — the denouement (or sometimes a little earlier if there was a bigger bang waiting somewhere).
Learning how to unravel these puzzles, these tests of skill and intrigue, were the mainstays of an overactive mind, an under-stimulating environment, and — a dream. The dream is coming true.
Which one? Learning, writing, publishing, reading, sharing knowledge … it goes on and on, that list.
I write stories. I have never not told or written stories (my mother called me a liar, but really, I was only slightly manipulating the facts). When I had foster kids, we made them up as we went along (I’ve even used some of those now, but the longer versions – they’ll recognise which ones). Now, there’s a much wider range of ideas and premises to choose from. I’m free of loopholes, but happy to create the sense of doom so the characters start looking for them. I love writing these stories. Obsessed, it seems.
I try to help (as much as I can) other people who write by offering to share what I’ve learned. Some things can only be learned by doing, by practicing the craft (style/voice (I know they’re not synonymous, but no one else seems to agree with my version of what each is, so) is one – no one can teach you how to be you). In the constant practice of the craft, we grow and (nearly said prosper) improve. Some things I need to learn by listening at the knee of giants (you know who you are), and some things are best left alone.
But, back to the main game (wandered off a bit there – whoops!).
In my stories, I look for the loopholes to get my characters out of their situation. Because there is always at least one, and if there’s no more than one, I need to create more. Why? Because if there’s only one, the reader will see it and will roll their eyes when the exit strategy comes into play. If there are three, which will the character choose? Why? Will it be the most obvious? Will it be the most dangerous? Can the character think fast enough, react appropriately to the situation? And what about that choice makes it compelling (to read)? What makes it different? What makes it a ‘big bang’ moment? And the biggest reason of all? What about this choice is different from every other story out there? Why? Does it add value and move the story in (you guessed it) a new direction? Is it unique (or at least different enough)?
Loopholes – every story has at least one, every character in every scene has at least three. I might make that one of my rules – every character has at least three loopholes to choose from when in the deeps of danger.
And that’s my off-the-top-of-the-hat Wednesday post. Until Sunday – Ciao!
most pics from Pixabay.