Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Cookie Dough Reality

The same argument takes place every time I collaborate on something with another writer. Does a story element have to be possible or probable or can it just be plausible?

Wait -- before we go there. Does a cookie sheet have to be greased or floured or can you bake cookies on it bare?

Same thing.

Is too.

You can't answer my cookie sheet question unless you know one or more of the following:

  • What kind of cookies?
  • Are there chocolate chips in them?
  • How well did you follow the recipe?
  • What temperature are you baking at?
  • Is there Teflon on the cookie sheet?
  • How long are you planning to bake them?
  • Is the oven conventional or convection?

There's more. But the point is, it's all about the cookies. Not me. The cookies.

It's about what AFFECTS the cookies, what's IN the cookies, and what ENVIRONMENT the cookies are made in. It's not about what affects me, my makeup, or what environment I'm in. Well, duh. I might be able to bake cookies at 98.6 degrees but do I really want to do that just because that's what my own temperature is? Or, maybe I should just set the oven to match the room temperature?

Story elements are not about what works in my life. They aren't about my environment or my reality. Story elements have to work in the story's reality -- in the reality where my characters exist. If that reality was influenced by own, fine. But it's still not about MY reality. It's about where the story is.

I think part of the problem here is that many writers only create realities that mirror their own.

Real men don't get emotionally attached to Volleyballs so we don't write that. (Castaway)

No man's dying wish is to watch Fred and Ginger instead of porn, car chases and explosions so we don't write that either. (The Green Mile)

A dog can't identify a murderer he saw 200 yards away behind a dirty upstairs window at midnight. Okay, scratch the window, scratch the murder, and scratch the dog. (Turner & Hooch)

Alrighty then. Now my story reflects my own reality and my thermostat is set at 350 degrees.

1 comment:

The Moviequill said...

you are welcome to lay out some dough on our back patio, it's 101 out there today