Archive for February, 2010

Bridge to Nowhere

Posted in Uncategorized on February 25, 2010 by davidburtonwriting

Bridges to nowhere don’t do anybody any good, except the people who get paid to build them, because bridges are connections, whether physical, emotional or mental.  They bring countries, cultures and people together.  Of interest to writers, destroying them  allows one to put a barrier up to the other, possibly, permanently. Hence, “Burning your bridges.” 

Humans have been putting up, crossing, and taking down bridges since the first caveman thought,  What if  I drag this log across this stream? Maybe I can cross to the other side and connect with that cute cavegirl I saw up stream.  That’s how bridges get started, whether a chicken or a culture, somebody wants to get to the other side.  Unfortunately, there’s often  somebody on the other side who doesn’t want you to cross. And that’s when the trouble starts. 

It could be that a bridge is a good idea, but nature is the barrier, see “The Ghost and the Darkness.” Or the bridge is a bad idea and human nature keeps it down, see “The Bridge On the River Kwai.” Up or down, bridges change things. A fallen bridge may be an inconvenience to a commuter, or a new bridge could be the death knell of a culture.  In either case there’s a conflict, and conflict is what writers, and readers, crave. 

IDEAS

What if a bridge could be built across the Straits of Gibraltar to Africa? How would that have changed the world, depending on when it was built? An Alternate History writer’s cornucopia.

What if a young woman has a meeting with a man who owns the biggest and best bridge building company in the world? Though she has no training, her designs are elegant and beautiful. He can’t get them out of his mind. The opportunity arises to build one of her designs. Though the design can’t possibly work, it does and is hailed as the most beautiful bridge ever. On opening day, as the man, and his wife? who have semi adopted the woman who has no family, or past, watch the woman walk ahead, she disappears. Stunned, they can’t figure it out. Finally they find clues in her apartment and as they walk in the same place, they also  disappear. Suddenly, they are on another planet, in another dimension, the future, past, Heaven, Hell, alternate universe.  They must find the woman and get her home–or must they? There are always other bridges to build –physical, cultural, or mental.

What if a wormhole is discovered on another planet. It’s floating in air over the Y junction of  three canyons.  They have to build a 3 way  bridge to get to the entrance from each side (country?). Lots of political wrangling (conflict.) Extremists may go to any length to prevent it, or to make sure it does get built. And what if the wormhole has three exits and you don’t know where you’ll come out–someplace Hellish, Heavenly, or pure utopia. Maybe the story of 3 people. Each ends up in a different place and we find out about each place from their individual experiences. A 3 book series! A bridge to bigger and better things.

What if  you were a child and your  parents are getting divorced and you don’t like the idea? How far would you go to build a bridge to keep them connected. Would you do something extraordinarily (beyond normal human abilities?)  good so  they would be forced to come back together for you? Would you benignly manuever them to a lonely cabin hoping they’d get together, but a storm comes in and they have to fight for their lives, together. Maybe they die and that’s your bridge to the mental institution where a kindly doctor builds a bridge to you and brings you back across to sanity, except you have these slightly extra-normal abilities that he wants you to use for some nefarious world domination scheme.  OR, you could do something nasty like sell their souls to the Devil, send them to a haunted house, cabin, town, tunnel, pit, planet, or your own basement. See “The Cask of Amontillado.” Together forever.

What if, not to be negative all the time, Boy meets Girl, Boy loses Girl, Boy/Girl has to build an emotional/cultural/maybe even physical  bridge to connect to the one they love.

What if there was a bridge and people came to it and it collapsed? Why were those people there at that time and place? Were they all connected, or brought there by fate, chance? Or  perhaps driven by love, hate, desire, or criminal intent.  See The Bridge of  San Luis Rey.  In a similar vein, draw bridges can be frustrating, especially when you’re in a hurry. Like Red Lights, they can be the great equalizer, everybody has to stop, rich or poor, late or early. What might be the difference in your life, and the life of those around you, or that you are running toward or away from,  if you make the bridge or don’t.

By destiny or free will, this is my bridge out of here.  Feel free to run your bridge idea by me. I’d love to hear other ideas. And don’t forget to connect with www.smashwords.com/profile/view/davidburton.

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized on February 18, 2010 by davidburtonwriting

What If didn’t finish the script I’m doing a quick, and radical, rewrite on? That’s a good question, that I don’t want to know the answer to. That’s why I haven’t posted in a while.

This script I’m writing with a partner could be a bridge for both of us to something big. I have some ideas about bridges which I will post when I’ve finished this draft and my partner is reading it for the first time. That will be interesting. 

Advice, comments and suggestions are always welcome.

And that’s my bridge out of here for now.

Entertain Me

Posted in story ideas, Writing on February 8, 2010 by davidburtonwriting

On her blog,  Cassandra Jade in the Realm, at www.cassandrajade.wordpress.com, Cassandra asked for comments on what is most important in a novel. As a published (two novels and one on the way)  and unpublished (yikes that many?!) writer, and an aspiring screenplay writer (yikes, that many scripts in the drawer?!) I wasn’t sure how to answer that, until last week.

I get several screenwriting newsletters. Last week I read Hal Croasmun’s New 10 Commandment’s of Screenwriting (www.screenwritingu.com/blog) and found my answer in the first commandment.  No. 1 – It has to be Entertaining.  Sure, all those other annoying details like plot, character, pace, dialogue, theme, subtext, and proper grammar are important. But what good are they if the story doesn’t entertain you? If you have to force yourself to keep reading in hopes of finding the good stuff, that’s not entertainment, that’s work.

If  you  want me to work at reading,  send me your manuscript or script and some money and I’ll read it and tell you what I think. Just make sure it’s entertaining.

IDEAS

What if there was only one singer in the known universe, galaxy anyway, and almost all the rest were no better than American Idol rejects? Except for a few who were pretty damn good, but they weren’t allowed to sing because there was only one True Singer. What if these few singers secretly banded together to assassinate that Singer so they would have a chance? What if you were the one responsible for the Singer’s security on all the inhabited worlds?

What if you wanted so badly to be a wildly successful entertainer that you tried to make a deal with the Devil, but he didn’t want your soul. So you made a deal with God. He would give you what you wanted, but after you died, loved and adored by your billions of fans,  you owed Him a small off-the-books favor. And now it was time to pay up.

What if you were a great entertainer and was, along with other entertainers, collected by a sociopathic alien, sorcerer, witch, demon, president or CEO and every performance had to be better than the last and if it wasn’t you ended up next to the butterflies with pins in them. What would you do –  steal from the others for your gain, band together with them to escape, work on your own to escape, work on your own so all could escape, sacrifice yourself?  What if you were the one who had to go out and do the collecting? How far would you go and what would you be thinking?

In any case, entertain me by checking out www.smashwords.com/profile/view/davidburton for all your e-book needs.

Don’t Foget Me!

Posted in Uncategorized, Writing with tags , , on February 2, 2010 by davidburtonwriting

Don’t Forget Me

What if when you died everybody forgot you? Sure, immediate family, maybe a few friends, will remember you, but what about anybody else? Why do you write? Because you have to, for money, for fun, to show off your literary skills somehow obtained during four years of  college level beer drinking,  to be able to impress girls by saying, “I wrote a book?” How many, whether they admit it or not, write to leave something behind so as not to be forgotten?

What if you were forgotten? What would you do after death to make sure they did remember you. Whether you were watching from Heaven or Hell.

I wonder if the extrovert writer, the one with a family and a zillion friends ( real ones, not the sycophant ones,) writes more for the present rush of accolades, awards and money. I wonder if the lonely introvert writer, holed up in a dark apartment, basement or garret (If there is still such a thing,) whether they admit it or not, might write almost as much to leave something behind to be remembered by than for the money to get a meal or the lights turned back on.

I read a story years ago about a rich guy who was bored with his life, so he had his memory erased and hired men to pursue him. He thought he was on the run from bad guys so he would live his life to the fullest every second. He didn’t want to be forgotten. He wanted a life to remember.

IDEAS

Like the idea of wanting someone to read your blog, what would you do to be remembered by somebody other than those obligated to remember you?  In what category would you (meaning you or your character) want to be remembered: Philanthropy, down and dirty, in the trenches alleviating suffering, writing a classic/award winning book/movie, save the planet from alien invasion/ psychopathic demon invasion, a company with your name on it, wealth accumulation, murder? All possibilities that would get you remembered, whether you took the high road or low. I think the low road may be more memorable. Or at least more fun to read about, no matter what genre. I could be wrong.

No matter how you achieve, or fail to achieve (don’t forget that important option) your legacy, keep in mind Hal Croasmun’s New 10 Commandments of Screenwriting at www.screenwritingu.com/blog . If you’re writing fiction, they apply.

FORGET ME

On the other side of Don’t Forget me, is Please Forget me.  What if you (Well, not you, I hope) or your character wants nothing more than to be forgotten. What if you witness something you shouldn’t and now people want you to forget- permanently. Okay, that’s been done to death, but You probably have a new and compelling take on it.

What if you’re running and you are the bad guy, being pursued by badder guys, or one bad guy. Remember No Country for Old Men? Does that make you a good guy?

What if a family member died and you thought you were responsible, either  by action or inaction, and the only way to deal with it is to run as if you were guilty,  seeing pursuers at every turn, until you meet someone with the insight and compassion to help you find the truth.  Or, you run until madness takes over your soul with unpleasantly fatal consequences for you or others. A psychological horror possibility there.

What if you were running TO something? Maybe your daughter or son is in some grave danger and you have to get there to save them, but your journey takes years? How would that affect you? Make you crazy? Make you hard? Make you do whatever you had to do regardless of the consequences to you or others? Make you forget the person you wanted to save, even as you knew there was someone you needed to get to? At the same time, what would happen to the one you love? Would it be too late? Would they wonder where you were as they suffered? Would they endure their fate only because they knew you were coming? What if they forgot you? How cruel would that be?

J D Salinger died recently. Did he want to be forgotten or remembered? What about the rumored writings in his safe?

Most all story ideas will work for most genres.  Whatever genre you write: Horror, Thriller, SciFi, Literary, make sure to follow Hal’s number one writing commandment – Make sure it’s entertaining. Don’t forget.

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