Thursday, 23 May 2013

Writing - Meaningful moments in time.

Ron and Hermione after their first kiss.

Just before their first screen kiss Ron and Hermione are about to enter the chamber of secrets and to do so Ron has to speak in Parsel Tongue (snake language). Just after he has spoken  he turns to Hermione by way of explanation of his ability in that language and says,

Ron: "Harry talks in his sleep. Have you noticed?"
Hermione: (guiltily) "Of course not!"

The director did a fantastic job because he had Hermione adopt a rather puzzled and half guilty expression.
In itself this tiny moment in the final Potter film is insignificant, minuscule but hints back to points when Ron was jealous of Harry, and earlier Dumbledore wondered about Harry's relationship with Hermione. It provided an element of retrospective continuity that I believe enhanced the story.

In storytelling we may include this type of device to enrich the quality of the relationships between characters. I'm sure you can all find similar examples and at this point I am refraining from using 'The Magic of Belle Isle' as an example of good practice. The point is tying together two or three relatively minor incidents in the past to add depth to the relationships within your work. It reminds me of the saying 'the devil is in the detail' - if there is no detail where can the devilment be derived from.

As a storyteller it is possible to take Ron's statement and Hermione's response and come up with a totally different outcome. What if she'd agreed with Ron? The book and therefore the film may well have had a very different ending! (Devil)

Perhaps stories turning on such tiny points is why it is so fascinating to write them. When the characters are well-developed and begin to take hold of their own destiny dear knows where the tale may end up. I am into chapter 6 of my latest effort 'Cessation' and it is probably the story that has had the least planning of all six books. I often try to analyse why and how things develop, as you will have realised if you've followed the blog for any length of time. However, it was Stephen Woodfin and Caleb Pirtle III from Venture Galleries, that first suggested that the characters take over. It may seem a strange thing to say but if you put such a lot into building the personalities of the people in your stories it shouldn't be surprising that they come to life. As Caleb said not so long ago beware the minor character that you introduce but then refuses to go away. 
I have one of those. Ethan Small - the Steele novel 'The Biter Bit' - he first appears there intended to be involved in a major incident and then be lost in the mists of time but he refused and has built himself a niche that would be difficult to fill if he left the team. 

Is this a case of the tail wagging the dog? No it is part of the story writing process. Do a good job with your people and they will live on until you have no more use for them.


Having often heard the rain in Ireland variously described as 'soft' and 'warm' I now have evidence of what is meant.

The Complete Works

God Bless