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Monday, January 3, 2011

Standing Out

This past weekend I was able to steal a few JaeLynn free hours.  You think I curled up with a good book right?  Wrong, I opted for the easy pleasure of television.  After popping in the Sex And The City 2 DVD I settled back with the yummy takeout my honey had gotten me and prepared to be entertained.  After all I knew today was coming and I simply was not ready to think about anything that had to do with writing.  But as with most plans mine got derailed.

Deep in to the first thirty minutes or so of the chick flick and I found myself thinking about story.  Just the word and what it means.  It was during the scenes in which the graduated “It” girls arrived in Abu Dhabi that my mind began to wander.  You see this is where I noticed the story that had pulled me in during the first half hour shifted its focus from story telling to showiness.  Somewhere, someone must have stated that the second installment of the movie must be bigger or needed more, I’ll use Ms. Bradshaw’s word, “sparkle” than its predecessor.  Yeah I get it, in a vast sea of sequels they had to dream up some way for theirs to standout, but along the way they forgot about story.  And how a well written, relatable tale can pull in and take hold of an audience every time.

In college, for one of my classes, I had to write a paper on any story or play found in my literature textbook.  Already bogged down with a heavy work load I flipped through the book simply looking for the shortest story I could find.  Yet as I scanned the many first paragraphs it was the opening of an absorbing play that drew me in and won the honor of being the subject of my essay.  The play was, Mother Courage and Her Children it is a story about a woman who makes her living off of a war that she does not want her offspring to participate in for fear of losing them.

At the time I was a new mother and the text spoke to me just like that scene in Sex And The City 2 when Charlotte sought refuge in a kitchen pantry while her toddler cried for the sake of crying and after her eldest daughter purposely put red paint on her white, designer label skirt.  As writers we do want our work to standout but at times we have to remind ourselves that although "sparkle" is eye catching, it should never be used as the sole means when trying to draw someone in when there is always the tried and true good story telling.
Contest alert: Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award
 You can submit Adult and Young Adult manuscripts from 1/24/11 to 2/6/11.  Good Luck!
Happy reading, writing or whatever:-)
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