G’morning. My apologies for my scarcity; time’s gotten a bit away from me. There’s a whole stack of topics sitting in my queue–all unwritten. A few notes, but, otherwise, little more than halves of ideas: scraps off to the side, partially-used templates, thoughts on multiple pieces of software…
Honestly, it sounds like my story notes. Being the oddball who collects various storyboarding methods and splices them together like Frankenstein gathering corpses from rogues and cutthroats he thought no one would miss, well, let’s just say it’s not that odd for me to be working off a half-baked idea on a napkin, an image that captured my attention, and a random line or quote. But the madness doesn’t stop once I leave my harvested field. From there I go down into my lab, where I’ll use OneNote, Excel, Word, and a gigantic sketchpad simultaneously. Each medium lets me look at my notes a different way; and each storyboard will evolve faster than I can write the next page. Faster and faster until, somehow, like the Creature, my story–my creation, my characters, my world– comes alive.
We writers are an obsessive lot, so much like Victor Frankenstein, scouring even the darkest recesses of humanity , seeking to do what only God can do: endow life in dead things. This is, in part, our contribution as Imago Dei–being made in the image of God as children are in the likeness of their fathers, so we take hold of that creative spark and weave together universes with the mere stroke of a pen.
The Creature was made from murderers and thieves, and the souls of these fragments of flesh found their way into the Creature’s soul. He had a choice, no doubt–but the point was he didn’t believe he had a choice. Even his maker condemned him–abandoned him and left him alone. Unlike Frankenstein, we understand that these creatures–these stories of ours–tales, come together from various scribblings over a lengthy period of time: an image, a thought, a line from a book or movie, a concept–and they cannot be neglected or thrown together haphazard and careless.
Infuse a story with scraps of light, and at the heart of the story will be light. Infuse it with scraps of darkness, and the whole story will also be dark.
It’s my firm belief that absolutely anything can be spun into something of a story. Prison yard, grave yard, church yard, anything and everything is at the writer’s disposal. But the materials we choose–be it a plot device or something in our own souls imprinting on the core of the story–weed their way into the very fabric of the story until there’s no separating one from the other.
And maybe in the end, this is more important than how ‘clean’ a story is. All the prettiness in the world can still leave at its center a rotten corpse and a wicked soul. By being careless and foolish and, ultimately, blasphemous, Frankenstein sought to be God and instead became the Devil, and his Creature the son of the Devil. If what comes out of a person (or thing, in this case) is more important than what goes in, then the most important part is not creating a body (words on a page, three-act structure, story world, characters) but a soul (the immaterial, intangible part of a story that can be described but not defined, always present, but never forced).
So writers are really left with two choices: We can create a story which externally is pretty, or functional (I think the Creature was actually disfigured, if I remember right) at least, but, deep down, is inherently more of the “white-washed tomb” category; or we can instill a deep reserve of life and goodness despite whatever other flaws–real or perceived–it might have.