[The Story] Context and Nuance

“It’s like going into a landscaping project best suited for a rake with a shovel.[1]” “I’d get in there with a backhoe![2]” I prep my writing like landscapers prep the land with a backhoe before using a rake. Some projects just require a light raking or editing. I’m teaching myself how to use the writer’s equivalent of a backhoe because writing John [left] and Trishna’s [right] stories – “The Story” – is like landscaping for someone important.

Spoilers?: Minor (worldbuilding brainstorming exercise)
WANNA CONSIDER, MAYBE, THE PROS AND CONS OF BUILDING FAST VERSUS SLOW AND HOW YOU CAN DO BOTH WHILE STILL WORKING TOWARD YOUR GOALS? CLICK HERE TO KEEP ON READING!

[The Story] Keeping Childhood Memories

Despite our best efforts to sacrifice our pasts for the sake of maturation, we never really forget our childhoods. Certain events and mementos remain sacred. They remind us of who we were, who we wanted to be, and who we can still be, especially if/when we’ve strayed from our paths or are concerned that we might be straying away. In this week’s update to “The Story,” let’s consider the childhood toys of John and Trishna.

Spoiler Warning Scale: Minor (character building through materialism)
WANNA SEE THIS LITTLE PLUSH’S TRANSFORMATION FROM INSIGNIFICANT OBJECT TO A PLOT ELEMENT FIRST CONSIDERED ALMOST A YEAR AGO? CLICK HERE TO KEEP ON READING!

[The Story] Meeting Their Villains

The ideal world would not have any villains. We’d go about our peaceful days without conflict. This “drama-free” world would not be functional, however, because by our very natures we have different interests and therefore investments. I’d rather wake up early to write broadly about how John and Trishna (right), main characters of “The Story” might overcome adversity, here shown as Dr. Mindbender (left). You might prefer clicking on the link/image below to continue reading.

Spoiler Warning Scale: Minor (just chatting about psychology/backstories)
WANNA STOP SIGHING LOUDLY OVER HOW CORNY THAT SEGWAY WAS AND KEEP READING ABOUT HANDLING CONFLICT? YOU KNOW YOU DO. CLICK HERE TO KEEP ON READING!

[The Story] John’s Teacher, Ebersole

“When I reached out to shake his hand, I looked to see what I grabbed onto because there was nothing there!” That exclamation, punctuating a conversation about adverse working conditions, partially inspired this week’s update to “The Story.” What would motivate Mr. Ebersole (right) to provide paternal guidance toward John (left)? It certainly wouldn’t be that as the resident English teacher, he saw potential in the hard working kid. There had to be something more…

Spoiler Warning Scale: Minor (background character building as worldbuilding)
WANNA READ HOW I’M BUILDING ONE OF THE BACKGROUND CHARACTERS THAT INFLUENCES A MAIN CHARACTER OF THE STORY? CLICK HERE TO KEEP ON READING!

[The Story] Possibilities of Prostheses

After dislodging “The Story” from my memories last year, I’ve been busy! I’m spending most of my “down time” learning how to tell this story: analyzing good storytelling, critiquing bad storytelling, writing almost daily, and anything to improve my writing toolbox. After realizing that the main characters would have physical impairments, I realized I had to educate myself on how to “do it right,” so let’s consider: under-representation, invisibility, “hiding impairments,” and their world’s prosthetics.

Spoiler Warning Scale: Minor (world-building, rant)
WANNA CONSIDER HOW RESEARCH MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE? CLICK HERE TO KEEP ON READING!

[The Story] Strong Personality Conflicts

As much as I’d like seeing “The Story” become an idyllic fairytale hosting an idealized couple, I know there will be conflicts between Trishna (left, bottom) and John, if only because both are fiercely independent. Their conflicts, expressed more fluidly with G.I. Joe’s Scarlett and Dr. Mindbender below, might only be minor. They are such close friends, after all, and as a result have enormous respect for each other. Or maybe they’ll encounter larger conflicts?

Spoiler Warning Scale: Minor (character development)
WANNA READ ANALOGIES FOR CONFLICT RESOLUTION? KEEP ON READING!

[The Story] Brushing and Flossing

Here’s my plan: the Saturday fiction practices are mainly to refine my writing skills with random plots featuring characters I have no attachment. Something’s contrived or cliché? Better to have tried and failed in some random short story than in “The Story.” These Sunday updates will continue until the short stories [test] match what I’m aiming for with Trishna (left) and John’s story [production]. So let’s brush on some character development and floss away clichés.

Spoiler Warning Scale: Minor (character development)
WANNA PROTECT YOUR MOUTH FROM THE HORRORS OF TOOTH DECAY? BRUSH AND FLOSS! THEN KEEP ON READING!

[The Story] Fixing the Unfixable?

Two early physical representations for the main characters of “The Story” were Star Wars characters. I scrapped those in favor of infinitely more customizable LEGO minifigs, shown below, for Trishna and John. Along with developing my writing and their backstory through weekly updates, I’ve been developing their physical representations through new props and modifications. After overdoing adjustments to John’s right arm, requiring some superglue repair, I wondered: Could their impairments be completely repaired through surgery?

Spoiler Warning Scale: Minor (character/world building)
WANNA CONSIDER HOW MUCH CAN BE FIXED? KEEP ON READING!

[The Story] Driving Toward Ambitions

Punctuating brave, loving, and violent moments somewhere in “The Story” is a quiet scene that’s lingered in my head for years. John (driving) and Trishna are driving along and nothing exciting happens. No car accident or argument. Just a close couple going toward their mutual goal. In this week’s brainstorming update, let’s cover some of how they’ll arrive at their motivation, because while you can have any goal you want, it’s all about getting there.

Spoiler Warning Scale: Minor (background character development)
WANNA SEE SOME OF THE MECHANICS OF WHAT DRIVES THESE CHARACTERS? KEEP ON READING!

[The Story] Respect Above All

“Dad, I want to include some bigger themes like respect when I write this story. What should I keep in mind?” “Respect is five times more important than anything else.” In this week’s brainstorming update to The Story, let’s explore ways that John (right, shaking hands with Trishna’s dad, Divit) and Trishna (left, not doing anything interesting for the photo) might learn respect, how that manifests in their relationships to others, and with themselves.

Spoiler Warning Scale: Minor (character background brainstorming)
WANNA READ SOME ANALOGIES ON RESPECT? KEEP ON READING!