I find I obsess a lot. About different things. Of late, I’ve obsessed about staying up too late watching TV. Which led to obsessing about sleeping in too late in the morning. Which further led to not getting enough done before noon — all my “plans” and my “schedule” were in disarray.
Do you do this? What do you obsess about? Can’t get it out of your head, even while you’re DOING whatever it was? For instance, today I was supposed to have put the rest of the Christmas boxes away in their closet, started cleaning up some other boxes out in the garage (I’ve lived here since June of 2010, and I still have boxes I’ve never opened since the move). I must get through the paper jungle I’ve created so we can get our taxes taken care of. I need to critique something for a friend. I’m not getting enough exercise. I’m so far behind on reading wonderful books written by friends, I don’t know how I’ll ever catch up. I’m writing blogs. Then I’m too tired, or out of ideas, or have spent all “my time” before I got around to MY writing. The house is in as much disarray as my plans and schedule. What to do?
Write a list, prioritize each item:
A: What must be done
B. What should be done
C. What could be done, if time opened up.
Who is the most obsessive character you write (or have written) about? Did s/he get over it? How? If not, how did that hurt (or even help?) your character? Was he/she a list maker? Did that help? Or only add to the “not done” list?
Maybe we should all write about our obsessions. It’s evident: that’s what we care most about in the moment.
I’ve visited the Arizona Memorial in Hawaii twice. I can do nothing there but stand and weep. My tenuous connection to the Memorial is this: the bombs on Dec. 7, 1941, were landing just a few miles from where I lived. I do not remember any of it. I turned two the next day, to a ruined birthday party and party favors for me, my cousin and her cousin from her father’s side of the family — never given us: fear was so rampant, my mother was afraid to let us have the three little Japanese dolls she’d purchased. I have no knowledge of any of the people named at that memorial. But I feel a huge connection to them all the same.
I have also visited the Viet Nam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., once. I knew young men who were called up during those years. I’m not aware of any who may have died. I would have no idea of whose names to look for. But I don’t need the specific names: I watched an obvious vet rub for an image of a friend or relative’s name, dashing away tears every time he could no longer see what he was doing. I was almost positive that someone I knew had his name displayed there; or, at the very least, names resided there of people who were friends and relatives of other people whom I did know.
What details surround painful or exhilarating memories for you? Kennedy’s assassination? John Lennon’s? The picture of Neil Armstrong stepping onto the moon’s surface? The day the Towers came down in New York?
Write down whatever details you know, the details which have stuck with you since being a witness to specific events. Which of your characters may have been touched by some of these events or something similar? How has it changed or marked them? How could details be changed to show how such an event affects your characters in a romance, a steam-punk story, a YA fantasy?
An old one from Cheryl:
I just watched The Great Gatsby again and I’m wondering about what makes it a classic. It’s not the writing, at least not for me. There are a few brilliant lines in it, but overall, it always felt too flowery. The characters aren’t likable either. Each are burdened with flaws that can’t be vindicated.
I think the genius lies in the fantasy it provides. Everyone can relate to longing for The One Who Got Away. It’s such a romantic idea, to think that someone has been pining for you from afar. And on the other side, we have the quintessential American Dream. A young boy, dirt poor, who managed to rise up to be the greatest and the richest of them all.
And then there is the debate about soulmates. The definition of bravery. The concept of honor. Is it possible, after all, to rectify a mistake made in the past?
What do you think makes it a classic?