How to Manage Complaints–Literally…

After many complaints on various subjects, I have found that categorizing the complaint levels is a tremendous help: Cat 1: These have top priority so sharpen your wit and deal with them bluntly and honestly. Cat 2: General whining and such: Always answer with one word: “And?” especially if they are in your circle and you can do NOTHING about what they are complaining about. Cat 3: The ones that do not make sense. Answer with “Can you rephrase that please?” and MAYBE they will form a coherent thought that one can deal with and cause their complaint to make it from this “junk box” level to a Cat 2.

I have also found that most of the ones in the Cat 3 box tend to come at me when I am at various parties, or at the club.  And the people levying them as if trying to aim a gun without a sight on it, are too drunk to pull my trigger.  They tend to sound like the late Foster Brooks–only with speech less intelligible.

For those of you who do not know or remember who Foster Brooks is, here is a reminder!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yACWE3CzmYQ

Now if this were a post being made on a professional level, believe me, I would rephrase this entire post, but being that I am not making a work related video–except for those of you who work at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, I shall refrain from all logic because at your place of employment, there is NO SUCH THING!  Have a great week, everyone!

In the meantime, here is some interesting reading fodder for those who seriously would like to check out the issues below…

 

The Villain–or My View on Creating the Beast!

If I’m making a character a villain–they stay a villain. I might go back in time to the one point that could have kept them from going completely off the chain, but I am not going to have a confused, indecisive villain…The hero makes a few mistakes that one might wanna kick his/her ass over once in a while–but the villain just flies off the freaking chain!  I want my villains to be hated, loathed and totally detested by the reader–even if I have to make them totally unacceptable to society.  It’s rather therapeutic to write them that way and watch them get theirs…What character in a movie or book do you think is the ULTIMATE villain?  One of mine is the mother in “Precious. Just for Mo’Nique‘s performance alone as a villain (Mary), it is worth watching even if one gets totally pissed off over it! By the end of that movie, I don’t know of a single viewer that didn’t want to kick her ass–meaning that character! Mo’Nique did a great job!

Seriously…What character is your ultimate villain? “Shylock”? Richard III?  Cain?  J. R. Ewing?

Well here’s a link to my top ones but they deal with film…Whether in a movie, TV show or a book, I want to know your thoughts so PLEASE share them! Thanks!

http://wp.me/p1kZ3R-5N

 

Happy Thanksgiving to All!

And I hope you all have a wonderful time with family, friends, and/or loved ones. I’ll be at work and will go to Mom’s after or early in the a.m.

Here’s a laugh for ya!

Oh Come on! You knew this was coming! LOL Have a great one!

Plot…The most important 4 letter word that doesn’t start with “S”or “F”…

Catchy title, right?  ***Ahem***…Some struggle with characterization, some with plot.  Those that struggle with plot might find this useful as they won’t be creating new vernacular words when they hit the rut! PARENTS:  IF you use my blog, there will be times that I talk to students as I would in a non-teaching capacity.  They are less bored that way.  I want to make them laugh a bit and enjoy it!

Whether you are in an English Literature class,  Theater Arts class, Creative Writing class, etc…One cannot possibly deal with plot without an understanding of the different types of conflict. In American schools you are usually introduced to these in the 9th grade, but now, schools are so busy trying to control chaos and teach social skills that many students are not understanding this concept.  As a result, they are left to their own devices on assignments  much of the time because the teacher has to keep one eye on the  ED student (emotionally disturbed) while keeping the other eye on the class bully. I am going to break this down so EVERBODY who does not understand it can get a grip on it.  IF you do understand it, great! You are exceptional! Pat yourself on the back!  Anyway, it is NOT that hard.

The different types of conflict are:

Man vs. Man–This is THE physical struggle

Man vs. Nature /Environment/Circumstances–This is the “classical” struggle.

Man vs. Self–This is the psychological struggle

Man vs. Society–And this is the social struggle.

Man vs. Destiny/Fate

Now you will see this from time to time in writing:

External and Internal  (and all conflicts fall into one of these categories).

1. The external struggle deals with forces outside of a character.  These forces can be anything from a serial killer trying to get to him/her, a fight between relatives, wars, bullying, political hostilities resulting in mass bull, etc…

Man vs. Man, Man vs. Nature and Man vs. Society  are usually going to involve external conflict.  Some stories have mixtures of all of it but there is one thing you need to remember whether you are writing a story or some type of essay for an English teacher:  There is NO such thing as a good one that has NO conflict.  The only place you will see no conflict is in a didactic piece of writing.   By “didactic” I am referring to literature specifically designed to teach a moral–or a lesson of some type–and if you are a student that easily translates into boring stuff that you do not want to touch with a ten foot pole.   Much of the time, instruction on morals, excessive factual or educational information in writing falls into this rut.  Alexander Pope‘s Essay on Criticism falls into this mess.  Steer clear if you can because to droll on excessively about these subjects bores you as much as your instructor does if their voices are monotone. Example:  The “Clear Eyes” commercials–that dude…Get it? Got it? Good!  IF you’re not familiar with him, here is a prime example of the monotone, boring voice:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkNDSkcalNE

And that’s from Ferris Beuller’s Day Off!

2.  The internal struggle deals with a struggle within the character’s own personality.  Man vs. Self is the perfect example of this.  When one battles his/her inner demons, habits, etc…That is what this refers to.

Now that we’ve got that cleared up, I’m going to give you all plot examples without running  the characters into the cataract (hopefully).

Man vs. Man:  Best example here is from the movie “Batman: The Dark Knight”–Batman vs. The Joker

Man vs. Nature:  The movies  “10.5” or “The Perfect Storm”

Man vs. Society:  “Falling Down” or “John Q”

Man vs. Self:   “American History X” and “An Officer and a Gentleman

Man vs. Destiny/Fate:   I am going to use the movie “Ikiru” here.  This man knows he is dying, but is fighting to make a difference in the days he has left–as in trying to define his legacy.  One could say it is this type of conflict because of what actually gets done or not done. Watch this and think about it.

Now for a few more differences:

Man vs. Nature   “The Johnstown Flood” (True Story) by David McCullough

Man vs. Society  “The Giver”, “To Kill a Mockingbird”

Man vs. Man         “The Ascent” (Get the old 1980’s movie with Vincent Spano and Ben Cross in it)

Man vs.  Self          “Journey to the River Sea”  Eva Ibbotson  *Ironic one to pick, right?*

Man vs. Fate          “Jaws”…YES there was man vs. nature here but there is also an element of man vs. fate and both worked in this book.

Alright…Now that you have that quick rundown, you should be able to glean whatever else you may need for testing from your literature textbooks, or simply by listening to that boring stuff being added to it in English classes!   Now see! I think I’ve given you a good idea of what to look for in a short reading on a blog!

I think the only way you could make this more exciting for yourself is to read it aloud, imitating the character of Spiccoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High !

The End

 

Write from the Head or Write from the Heart?

This was a question I got two days ago…It is difficult to answer but it depends on A) what you are writing, B) they type of audience your intending it for and C) whether any damned good will come of it–but if it makes you feel a hell of a lot better, then the answer to C) is “HELL YES!” regardless…

When you write from the “head” it is my opinion that you are going for the academia audience–the well-traveled and educated audience and/or the elitists in the movie or publishing industries.  When trying to appeal to this crowd, they are usually looking at what will sell and what makes sense TO THEM.  Again, that is my opinion. The thing to bear in mind is that whatever makes sense TO THEM might make less sense to “Joe Public“.  That is why the a lot of indie projects get respect…They buck the system altogether in many ways.  The same is true of the music industry, I think.

NOW for writing from the heart…IF it feels write to you regardless of what those in the above crowd think AND  if it helps you or someone else who reads it, then it was worth putting forth the energy to begin with.  Now what makes sense to this crowd–which is usually going to be your “JOE PUBLIC” crowd, may NOT make sense to the above crowd…Get it?

The average public will take some C4 and common sense smashing into reality over the new age philosophy any day of the week.  Do not get me wrong, I am not knocking the writers in that movement that inspired me, but I am saying that what works for YOU may be different. There is nothing wrong with watching movies like “Letters to God“, “The Help” and such…However some people will NEVER get into such movies because they were raised to think differently and on a different level.  It doesn’t mean that one audience is above the other either. However every REAL coin is two-sided.  Every person has more than one dimension also.

Now comes the big bitch word:  “REALITY“…Are you trying to write to sell? Then you need to get into writer’s workshops and such.  Take college English classes too…Believe it or not, it does help.  If nothing else, you will learn very quickly how to make a logical thought stick or a new term memorable…My personal favorite that I coined is the “closet exhibitionist“.  This is the person who is too afraid to be themselves, go into acting or whatever, and yet dreams of being a public figure…He or she often pretends to be a famous person that he or she looks up to, or acts out parts of their favorite movies.  Others play air guitar without ever learning how to play the real thing and then kick themselves when they are older for not doing so.

Believe me that condition is very real…I should know.  For the first time in 25 years, I sang publicly last night…I was quite well received and so was my son–who I did one duet with.  Not that we’ll ever make it big but I was not kidding when I said a certain Facebook page changed my life.  I had to build up to this point. I left singing for reasons which I will keep to myself, and I refused to take more theater classes…I probably should have done it, but I had some rather strange ideas about “the establishment’ back then and felt that I was better off being a recluse.

Anyway, to the person who asked, this is from my heart…25 years ago I let my head rule and not all jackasses have long ears…Figure it out and decide for yourself where your destiny lies, but don’t let anything keep you from it–not even those who mean well…Why?  Let’s just say JOB had 3 good friends.  Get my drift?

Have a great week!   If you have time, you might consider watching “Chariots of Fire” with Ben Cross…Talk about 2 sides of a coin…You have two men running for two different reasons…Figure it out…What are you writing for? Who are you writing it for? Find your reason and then run the ink well dry dammit! I WISH I watched this when it came out…I might have not had a 25+ year case of posterior cranial rectumitis, if you know what I mean…

Have a link on me:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmj4lU0sra0&feature=related