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Sunday, February 06, 2005

 

Characters

Early on a weekend morning - quiet, uninterrupted. Anticipation. Blue skies and the possibility represented by an unread paper, a fresh pot of coffee. 8:45am is the perfect time - early but not too early, time spread out before you. Somehow this feels like extra time, like time other people don't know about.

Today, I'll work on my screenplay - I haven't touched it in a while, and I feel inspired. I miss my characters. This is the first time I've written something where the characters live inside me... I think because with a screenplay, you develop the structure upfront, so when the time comes to write, you can just write...you can focus exclusively on what the characters are saying and doing without worrying about what happens next, or whether the story is even worth telling. You've committed, and now it's just a matter of bringing these characters you love to life.

My main character is an introvert, and I'm trying to figure out ways to make her interesting without forcing her to say more than I think she'd really say. I decided to check out My So-Called Life for inspiration - I never watched it when it was on the air - and it's perfect... the same feel I'm going for, of being on the cusp, only my story's about 21-year-olds instead of 15-year-olds. I read something the other day about how every coming-of-age story is as much about a culture trying to figure something out as it is about a character trying to figure something out, and I think that's right - at least for coming-of-age stories that are well-told.

There's a line I loved from the MSCL pilot:
It just seems like, you agree to have a certain personality or something. For no reason. Just to make things easier for everyone. But when you think about it, I mean, how do you know it's even you?
--Angela (main character - age 15)
I remember feeling that way for the first time in high school - suddenly watching the way I interacted with people, instead of just interacting with them; feeling trapped by some of my friendships, like they were forcing me to be someone I no longer was. On the one hand, my identity today feels much more genuine than my identity then, since it's a closer reflection of values I've actively defined; on the other hand, sometimes I find myself longing to remember what it felt like to just be me, before I started wondering who I was.



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