Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Measure of a Man: Brainstorming

The last couple of weeks have been difficult. I spent much too much time wallowing. My brain has been overwhelmed with questions, such as "Why?" "How?" WTF?" That said, my writing has suffered for it. I have given my stories little to no attention over the past two weeks.

However, that does not mean that I haven't been thinking about my current project. After the first draft I was unsure as to whether it could realistically happen or be believable. In the course of development I think I have discovered a much more important story. Maybe eventually I will return to the original.

Among our peers at least today-in-age, if not for all-time, I might argue, that men are defined by their successes and failures. This is a focus of much fiction: the highs and lows of men. Perhaps this is a reflection of my own state of mind, but what happens when a man utterly seems to fail in everything? I'm talking about a man (or woman, of course) who's never caught a break, never had a moment of positive luck.

Celebrities have shown us time and again that even with success in excess failure at times is inevitable. But at least they've excelled before. Lets evaluate a man who never had a boyfriend or girlfriend, who never made above a D in school, who failed to get into college and was rejected by the military, a man who can't keep a job and rarely makes above minimum wage. This is a man that screwed up everything. What causes a fate like this? How would a man cope mentally? What, if anything, redeeming can be found about his life?

Personally, I am of a mind that every person has a function and a purpose, and that ultimately no life is a failure. My questions are completely for fictional pondering, story-potential exploration.

I think what this means is that I am going to take a secondary character from my first draft of "River Rat" and explore his story. This will not be a happy story. Part of the reason I write is to explore the human condition, and because we are fallen it's not always the brightest of existences.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting question. I'm sure I've read a story or seen a movie where everything seems to go wrong for the character (at least, until the very end), but can't think of an exact example right now. There does need to be some redeeming aspect to keep it from being a completely down story - perhaps the character has a very positive attitude despite the downs or one consistent friend or something.

    On another note... isn't it interesting that even when we aren't actively writing, our brain keeps working on the project? Sometimes time not writing is beneficial, because that time is spent thinking and planing (even unconsciously) so that when time to write returns, you are ready to write.

    Good luck with the second draft!