Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Last Time & Stranger Than Fiction

I wrote a short story this morning called The Last Time.  I felt pretty good about it until my reader didn't really get what I was going for at all.  I guess I try to attempt new things every time I write and so I may hit some speed bumps here and there, but I was somewhat disappointed by the reaction I got from this one.  It's written in the first person which is one of the many unusual things I tried with this story.  Oh well.  I enjoyed writing it and maybe someday others will enjoy reading it.

Yesterday I watched the movie Stranger Than Fiction (free as a PS3 download, fyi) which has given me reason to regret the numerous ways I've killed or plan to kill characters in my stories.  Upon thinking about it, I realized that I kill someone in each and every story that I write.  Whether that means I'm trying to work through my own personal issues or whether it means I'm a little bit crazy has yet to be determined, I suppose.  At any rate, it's not as if I imagine my characters to be real and walking around the Earth as they are subjected to my sadistic whims.  It simply means I have a different perspective on my inventions.  I casually discard my characters whenever I feel like it simply because they belong to me.  

Let me take a step back for a second.  Stranger Than Fiction starring Will Ferrell (and that girl from The Dark Knight who I don't care enough about to look up) is about a really boring IRS agent who falls in love.  At some point he starts to hear the narration of his life and begins to realize that he is a character in a story and that the author plans to kill him off in the very near future.  He doesn't want to die and very little comedy ensues, considering it's a Will Ferrell movie.  I'm not saying it's a bad movie, it's simply not a punch-you-in-the-face comedy like every other one of his films.

I was discussing part of this concept with a friend of mine and she wrote it off as "death is a natural part of life and is therefore integral to everyone's story."  Maybe that's true, but to me that sounds like a load of crap.  Death isn't a necessary or even an important part of all of the plotlines.  I just manage to kill a character every time I write.  A bank robbery gone wrong, a self-inflicted gunshot to the head, a vampire bite, drowning, leaping off a rooftop, and armageddon are just some of the ways I've destroyed my own creations.  I had never thought twice about it before watching this movie, but I have a new appreciation for an imagined reality now that I've seen it.

In conclusion, I've killed yet another character.  Ironically, this time it seems that I killed them without point or purpose since my reader didn't even enjoy it.  Back to the drawing board - or typewriter - or laptop.  However you want to look at it.

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