More than Amusement
When my wife Barbara and I entered Prater, the expansive amusement park in Austria, we didn't know what to expect. I has some thoughts since I once worked at the largest amusement park in the world (at the time) in Sandusky, Ohio, a place called Cedar Point.
(I once fell out of the roller coaster called the Blue Streak.) See video below.
However upon arrival, this park mirrored Cedar Point, but had a distinct flavor of its own. This made me think of when we tell a story or write a tale we often have preset notions about the direction of the work.
When we are little, we are provided the assignment to write to a specific mood or genre. Write a scary or horror-type story. This makes us think that we need to write some all the plot points are leading to scary. This does not make for effective writing or work on the story.
There is nothing wrong with fear being increased as you write or tell a story, but to think that the entire story needs to be loaded with nothing but fear hurts the impact of the story. Good writing or telling often occurs in the release or the unexpected.
What I discovered and if I think back and remember the parks, both Prater and Cedar Point, served goals that were more than for the purpose of amusement.
I expected to see roller coasters and I did, but there was far more to behold.
We saw crazy eerie statues that just didn't seem to belong. And you know what, they did belong. The reason they belonged is because they set up for continual unexpected things for us to see or think about as we explored the park.
My wife marveled that between the giant polar bear that sprayed water at us was the 80s lady in a bumper car.
In the middle of the massive roller coasters, Ferris wheels, and "House of Ecstasy," was a young woman who looked like she was doubling for the "I bring home the back, fry up in a pan" commercial but in a bumper car. I still recall the rich laughter we shared from this unexpected image.
As we walked down the causeway, we didn't know what to expect around the next bend and this made us want to proceed. The park was not designed only for amusement, but for shock value, selling enticing food, or for thrills and most of all, the surprise.
As we write or tell stories, let us not write to be predictable. Don't set out to say I am going to share a scary story and I will only concentrate on building the fear. Spend time on the release, so we can feel the fear. Don't be afraid to add humorous times so when we do feel the breeze on the back of our neck, it stands out.
The same with a love story. When you are writing or telling a story, don't be afraid to place your character out of the interest of someone they desire, let them find their own world, and explore how they connect. to that world.
Don't write to only build the connections. of a relationship.
The stories that I connect to are ones that contain fully developed characters and environments.
What I mean by this they don't have characters serve one goal when they are the lead or even secondary character.
Like the amusement park, think of the world you are building. How does the environment also serve as the character for the whirlwind of events that occur there?
In crafting your story, don't forget like this amusement park in Austria, it should contain wonders, worries, and warts.
Build the world so the intention is built over the time of the story and not in every episode. If you can build a world for the characters to do the expected and the unexpected, your story and the play you build around it will take flight.
Imagine boarding a plane not knowing where it will land, but as you look around you are you fly, you get a sense of where you are going. It is the same when you play with building the world of your story. Get ready for the ride, but remember sometimes the seat belt doesn't work and when you thought your girlfriend was next to you, turns out to be a gorilla with horn-ribbed glasses. It is possible if you allow it.
I now send an invitation for you to start writing or telling a story that instead of writing from the intention that you want it to create--for example, fear, think first of the landscape of where it happens. Put a telescope or binoculars to the world. Think of how these new lenses and how others interact in this world from this lens. Let this sense of play create an intention for your story. When you have a first draft or telling of the story, share it and decide the following:
How can I weaken the strength of my main character?
How can a character test or question someone so that control of the story shifts?
In what way, can I, like a fine roller coaster provide a twist or a time that lands them upside down?
We never know what to expect, it might shock or surprise you.
Feel free to share the results in the comment section or send it to me. I have enjoyed the conversation about these place based ways to move your story. Your conversations encourage me. You can send to firstname.lastname@example.org Send me some of your work or drop me a line. to let me know if this helpful. We would love to listen.