Story Lines with lived-in scuff marks

In Drafts, Food, Revision, Theater, TV on January 18, 2014 at 8:46 am

Depth. Contrast. How real are the characters? How believable their exchanges? Not something to spend too much time figuring out in the first surges of scribbling. But on tenth, twelfth, twentieth read-through, where does the eye trip or the mind wander to other thoughts? Or, as the writer and playwright Marcel Pagnol once asked: where do  members of the audience fidget, cough or choose to blow their nose? The disconnect may be minute or it can be the kind of clunker a story or a play doesn’t survive.

What I want some of the early scenes to convey are hairline cracks. The ones that make tiny tracers when you step on the ice of a large pond. Solid? Enough to bear you weight to the other side? Why is this person at my door? Why is he lying through his teeth? Is he best shooed away? Will he stay away?

What about the other one, walking away from his wife and children, for a meal with an old colleague? What about the colleague? What about the all those consequences only starting to reveal their long-term status?

What about the ones back home? What about the so-called secondary characters?

I’m at one of those odd junctures in story writing – something like the adolescent phase. Still a draft, yet part revision. A closer look at how the thing’s evolving.

Some time out yesterday to catch up with “the news” as reported in an assortment of magazines and newspapers. A meeting where I learn I must not schedule activities for the elderly before three because of a TV soap called Les Feux de l’Amour, on at two. There I was, ignorant of the fact this program exists. I’ll have to squeeze in a look, at least at a youtube version of an episode.

Which brings back memories of a Brazilian soap playing on the TV screen of a restaurant in a small Portuguese hamlet where I encountered a dessert by the surprising name of bava de camelo. There must have been a plastic surgeon assigned to the production of the TV drama I watched out of one eye. Not a wrinkle in sight. All breasts firm, all chins chiseled, all tummies tucked.  Young, middle-aged or more, every actor on screen looked like a photoshopped avatar. Or one of those animations based on the movements of live actors who then go back to searching the casting calls for a part designed for real humans.


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