Monday, August 27, 2007

MMWUC for August 27, 2007

EXERCISE: Students gasp. The sign had indicated a guest lecturer, but no one expected Stephen King. King stands at the head of the aisle, unblinking, and wearing black. "I Walk The Line" by Johnny Cash plays over the loudspeakers lower than a whisper in church as King smiles a row of rotted teeth and limps up the aisle. Students ready to rush him for an autograph retreat. Eyes follow King as if tethered to his every move. When King reaches the dais, he adjusts the microphone. His hand falls off and blood squirts. Students scream. He opens his mouth and teeth cascade to the lectern. A girl in the front row swoons. His real hand emerges from his jacket sleeve, and he reaches up and removes the mask revealing Dean Koontz. "But aren't you dead?" the girl who swooned says. "Not yet," Koontz removes the mask to reveal King. He smiles and removes the rest of the false teeth. Some students laugh nervously; some look around in disbelief. "Close your eyes (no one dares), take a deep breath (no one does), and relax (no one can). For the next ten minutes, write from the antagonists POV, 'Daisies lined the cobblestone path, but all I could see....'"

MUSINGS: A friend is struggling with the beginning of her new novel. The story is rich in possibilities, and I responded by suggesting the many layers of meaning along with goals, motivation, and conflict the story could (and should) have to enhance the readers pleasure allowing the rich message in the story to soar from the hidden depths of despair in the black moment to crystal clarity of realization in the climax providing the protagonist with the silver bullet to thwart the antagonist. If your story seems flat, look to go one more emotional level deeper for your characters, one more universal truth that will make the outcome resonate with a larger audience. King could have removed the mask to reveal himself for a good joke, but now the joke/deception has struck a deeper distrusting cord. Well, at least, that's what it seems as King removes the mask to reveal Michael Chabon.

No comments: