Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New Year For Writers


I hope all of you have had a successful year in 2012. Hey, the world didn't end after all. Pretty hard to beat that for success, don't you think? I ended the year with an award for Best Thriller Series from a wonderfully supportive group called the Paranormal Romance Guild. 

I don't write Paranormal Romance, which makes the award all the more significant to me. For me, the year ends with success. What comes in 2013? Let's see...

2 +0 + 1 + 3 = 6. 6 is the mystical number of relationship. 6 is the number of creativity. 6 is 2/3 of the way through a cycle of 9. I am in a 9 year. Surely, this means something. Or not.

I choose to believe that it does and that it is a very good year for anyone who is a writer. Why? Because relationship is the key to our success.

There is relationship to our readers. There is relationship to the characters in the story. Relationship to everyone else in our life and world. I don't think it's possible to write about relationship with any success unless it has been experienced it in the outer, "real" world.

That doesn't mean we have had to live the lives of our characters. It means that as writers we have to extract the core of our experience and observation of relationship in a way that communicates through the actions and feelings, thoughts and events we create for our characters.

I am currently hooked on the show "Sons of Anarchy", a powerful drama I would characterize as a soap opera of the highest order with guns and motorcycles. Now I am a bit biased, since I love motorcycles and have known people like the ones portrayed in the show. There is a degree of reality to the show that is based on more than imagination. I doubt that the writers belong to an outlaw motorcycle club and wear their colors to the studio. Yet they are brilliant at capturing the milieu of the outlaw. They portray a complexity of relationship and action worthy of Shakespeare, a story of moral corruption, betrayal, loyalty and love.

It's a violent show, not for the faint of heart, bloody and brutal. It is also a paean to love and brotherhood. The plot twists and turns in every direction. The characters grow and change. Dark minions from both sides of law and order weave their way through the maze. There are times when I want to groan when I hear the line about protecting family. But for an engrossing crime drama of complex relationship, nothing except The Godfather even comes close.

The show is popular because it goes beyond mere violence for effect. It resonates because each of us is, in some way, like different characters in the story. A piece here, a piece there. We watch and understand the demons that drive the actions of the protagonists. Maybe we wouldn't pick up a gun and shoot the evil ATF agent (fully justified by the story line) but we understand why it should be done. The writing and plot line make it right and inevitable. If there is any justice in the world, it has to happen. If I have a wish for the new year, it is that I learn to write as well as what I see in this show.

Before anyone jumps on me for advocating gun violence, please, that isn't what I'm doing. It's a STORY, meant to entertain and provoke. Shakespeare did the same thing and as I recall, left many a stage strewn with bodes. No one accuses him of advocating violence.

If this is a year mystically tied to relationship, then your writing will succeed if you remember to make that the foundation of what you write. 

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