An awful lot of storytelling isn’t really about making people understand —- it’s about making people care.
If you look at something like “The Weast Wing”, which is probably my favourite thing ever…I’m not sure I ever understood a single episode! I don’t understand enough American politics for a start. Also, all the characters are much cleverer than me. But they all seem to care about whatever’s happening, so I’ll care too.
Steven Moffat, “The Brilliant Book 2012”, BBC Books
Talking with my newly-minted ten year old today, he was relating a scenario that had happened at school.
As he described the characters in the scene, he assigned each of them a role: one buddy was “the crazy one”, one was “the clever one” and one was “the guy who’s not as crazy but can do anything”.
It sounded like he was describing characters from a novel. It struck me that he’s making sense of his world through the lens of stories he has read or seen or listened to.
I’m struggling a bit with defining a character in my work in progress. Maybe I can take lessons from the ten year old: is she the smart one, the funny one, the sexy one, the goofy one?.
I have been living without a credit card for nine days now. And it is killing me.
That is to say, I have been trying to not use the back up credit card from a company I’d rather not deal with, since our card from the very nice bank we belong to was stolen and someone went on a $15K spending spree in Asia. I still had my debit card for groceries and for getting cash out of holes in walls, but day-um! I had no idea how accustomed I had become to impulse purchases: everything from songs on my phone to books on my Kindle, to random household goods and birthday presents from Amazon. Nine days and I was really feeling the pinch.
A few days ago I cracked and entered the back-up card number into our Netflix account (we don’t have cable, so this is pretty much it if we want to watch anything on the big box), and today I cracked even further and entered the forbidden numbers into a couple of other frequently-used online sources. I rationalize it by saying “I neeeeeed to update my apps” and “I neeeeeed to buy this stuff from Amazon cos it’s more efficient than driving around trying to find this one thing in any one of several different shops.” Recurring monthly purchases are starting to show up now (including a few I didn’t realize I was still making, which is a bonus) and I’m looking at my finances with fresh eyes.
But wow, it felt good to click ‘complete purchase’. I never thought I’d see the day.
It’s interesting. I did not grow up a shopaholic and I’ll tell anyone who’ll listen that “I don’t like to shop” and yet, and yet… Interesting insights for a future fictional character. We are not what we seem: even to ourselves.