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August is Hot 03/13/2010

Posted by allisole in Musicals, Writing.
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Saw the play August: Osage County last night.  It’s gotten great reviews, won awards, and is hugely popular.  I’ll be honest: when I go to the theater, I love me some musicals hardcore.  My iTunes library is practically all musicals.  I love music with emotion, songs that tell stories.  But despite that sad lack of songs, and the fact that it was 3 and 1/2 hours long, I enjoyed the play.  The dialogue was sharp, funny, real.  This was a story all about family, and it captured the reality of dysfunctional families perfectly.  It also featured three grown sisters coming together and realizing they have no real connection.  As the oldest of three sisters, this really stuck with me.  Will that be me and my sisters in twenty years?  Not even able to remember what state the other lives in?

So no snappy songs to sing afterward, but a lot to think about.  I want to write something like that one day.  Something that feels real to people; something that they keep thinking about, keeping talking about, long after it’s over.  Yeah, I know, pretty big goal, but what is it they say?  Reach for the moon, even if you miss you’ll be among the stars.  Cheesy, but I like it.

I Know Why the Bad Guy Monologues 03/10/2010

Posted by allisole in Writing.
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I am about 60,000 words into my fourth novel.  The other three were all terrible, terrible things that will never be read by anyone, but this one I have hope for.  One of the reasons this one is working better is that I actually had a whole plot in mind before I started writing.  I’m usually a plan-as-you-write gal,but now I’m seeing the great benefit of planning.

But I’m also running into new problems.  Since I planned this one out, I was able to add some mystery to it.  Which is great, except now I’m at the point where all (or most) becomes revealed.  And I can’t think of a good way for the MC to figure things out without just being told.  I can see now why so many movies have that old cliche of bad guy revealing all parts of his evil scheme to good guy.  It’s so much easier that way!  And all that beautiful, really subtle stuff that the bad guy did?  Now you get to find out about it all!  I’ve seen it done the other way too, with the good guy revealing to an astonished crowd/police station all that the bad guy did.

So is there any other way to do it?  Is there any way to show readers what’s been going on besides just having it all spelled out through dialogue?

I guess what I really need to do is read some more mysteries and see how experts do it.  Mystery is not usually my genre (and it’s not what I’m writing, really) but knowing how to add mystery to a story would not be a bad thing.