Monday, March 30, 2009

A blockbuster obstacle course

There is a reason I don't watch movies much any more, and not long ones, and definitely not if they're going to run past about 10pm: I get too wrapped up and then I can't sleep. Last night I got caught by a couple of scenes of Saving Private Ryan, which is why I am thinking to mention it.

I didn't stick around for the presumably gruesome and tragic ending but after a few hours of tossing and turning and returning to the story in my mind I stood back and broke it down by story arc. Guess what I found! our old friend, Hero + Objective + Obstacles to Same. And what obstacles: there wasn't one scene where Tom Hanks wasn't presented some new problem in his search or left to process the aftermath of his last few decisions.

That might be the thing that hit home the hardest. I keep finding obstacles in my path, every time I sit down to write fiction. This is partly the result of having ignored all obstacles for over a year while I worked on the first draft of my novel - they're bigger now and harder to miss - and partly of being much more easily distracted by shiny new projects just now. But when I didn't write yesterday, I knocked a lot of obstacles out of the way entirely, and today I have more on the agenda, and I'm hoping - really and for true this time - to reach a grassy clearing by the end of the week. Just don't quote me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm going to subvert and adopt this as my new mantra of self-aggrandizement: the laundry has been transformed from ugly heap to veritable Kilimanjaro; getting food from the shops and onto the table is recast as provisioning the Russian army... I see possibilities to heroically explain my failure to do anything more profound this week than nearly finish that second pair of socks. That career in academic psychology? Paf! My character arc got in the way.