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Lessons for a Writer from Project Runway

“Originality is nothing but judicious imitation”

Voltaire

Normally I’m not a fan of reality TV. But I love watching HGTV shows and Project Runway. I love the lightened drama and the various types of colors and styles that come out of those shows. But mostly, they speak to the artist in me. I’m not a painter, sculptor, or fashion designer. I’m pretty bad when it comes to home design. But Creativity is creativity, and for an author, there is a lot to learn on these shows.

Watching the first two episodes of project runway, and reminded of the past seasons, Here are some things that I think transcend all types of creativity, and apply especially, to writing.

1) Tell a story…

Duh. When it comes to writing, we are obviously telling a story. But it is more than just the here and now. A lot of the designers on project runway choose a character who has a past and a future. When we are writing our stories, we have to remember that our characters do not just live on that page, but are a person who has layers and layers of history and dreams that inform

2) … but yours (or in the case of writing, the main character’s) isn’t the only story.

Especially in team challenges, the designers on project runway are either competing with each other to be better than their teammates, or they lose their own voice to their pushy teammates. Likewise, when an author is writing a story, the main character isn’t the only one in the story. The cast of characters play a part in the larger story. The setting plays a part. Plot points. Genre. The moral. They all add to the overall story, and we can’t lose those details because we are only writing about the main character.

3) Be true to your aesthetic.

Sometimes the designers take a risk or go boring, because their work was criticized the week before. The art becomes something different from their design aesthetic. Different from the language that their art usually speaks.

Similarly, authors are told to write what they know. Even in genre fiction, authors write from the heart, finding similarities of surroundings or stories that they relate to. Sure, I would love to write a historical romance set in Shakespearian times, but how good would it honestly be?

4) Be original.

Again, a duh. But sometimes designers come out with dresses that I can find at Ross, on discount. Similarly, why are there authors out there still trying to write about sexy vampires? Why are we still coming up with stories about teenagers falling in love in an unrealistic and (apparently) “true love” romance? Aren’t there more stories to tell?

5) Make it work

How many times have we heard Tim Gunn say this? But really, writer’s block sucks balls. With my thesis, it literally sets me into panic attacks. But even with my creative writing, when I hit writer’s block, all the stupid and negative thoughts pop up and halt my progress. And, you know what? I have to push on through. Write that bad scene, chapter, dialogue. Get past it and move on. You can come back and clean it up. At some point, you may hit inspiration and rewrite the whole scene. MAKE IT WORK.

It’s hard to come up with something completely new. But we humans have the same dreams and make the same mistakes. It’s just reimagined to fit our age and culture. Reimagine, create and develop. You’ll create something beautiful and worthy of the runway.

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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To the tune of… General Hospital?

“I am not cleaning that up. I’m not even helping you clean that up. That is nasty.”

Deathwish by Rob Thurman

I hate cleaning. Everyone knows that. It’s part of the top 3 things you need to know about Zeenat: 1) I love chocolate, 2) I love to read, and 3) I HATE cleaning.

I’m not the only one who hates cleaning. I have asked around for coping methods. Many people suggest listening to music, which works once in a while. Typically, TV doesn’t work. You need to pay attention to what is happening, and you miss stuff when you are scrubbing the toilet.

But I found a trick. It’s watching General Hospital. I have been watching the soap for almost 20 years now, and one thing everyone knows about soaps is that it’s repetitive. The same conversation is had over and over again, and the conversation lasts over 3 or 4 days. And last week was the Nurses Ball, which meant I could dance to fun music, too!

So, now I’m cleaning to the tune of General Hospital. And the evil Brit is about to show up… uh-oh! Better than having to listen to “Call Me, Maybe” (again).

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Hate TV Executives . . . Forever!

“So help me, Trent, if you don’t get back on the interstate, I’m going to, to…hate you forever!”
Jenks’s wings hummed as he laughed. “I’d get your ass back on the interstate, cookie maker. You wouldn’t like it if Rachel hated you forever.”

Pale Demon by Kim Harrison

People always complain how movies get books wrong.  The changes the director of all the Harry Potter movies made, or the edits by Peter Jackson for the Lord of the Ring movies, were criticized by many.  Hollywood tries to explain that some changes are necessary to translate from book to movies, but people still get fussy.

But, I don’t think movies do a bad job.  They usually stick to the overall plot (outside of Savages, but that’s a whole different story), and make changes that are necessary due to law, filming ability, and, of course, sales.

But TV?  TV irritates me.  The changes they make from books to tv are almost always completely different.  Sometimes, yes it’s for the better (Vampire Diaries).  Other shows make drastic changes like True Blood.  The point taking away from the novels as a whole.

The Hollows was slated for the CW this year, but it got cancelled for various reasons.  But from what the author said and I’ve heard around, A lot of the changes they were going to do would change the overall plot.  Such as they would have made Kisten a witch and Jenks wouldn’t exist.  The Hollows just wouldn’t be the Hollows without Jenks!

I am now reading the book 666 Park Avenue, and ABC is coming out with a show in the fall.  Just from the previews, I can see the whole plot premise is changed.  In the book, She is Parisian American who falls in love with a New Yorker, and they move to HIS family’s home on Park Avenue.  The show, it’s just a regular married couple.  The reason why that irritates me is because her past and him being part of that family, is so integral to the book!  Stupid.

I can usually deal with the changes movies make.  But TV shows, they just make me mad. I am gonna hate TV executives forever…Or at least fume about this for the rest of the day.

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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