Turning to Fiction

Writing fiction seems like it should be easy, right? I mean, you can write whatever you want. However, this is the problem that I am currently stuck with. Sure I have some guidelines. I am attempting to create a fictional screenplay based off a non-fictional essay I wrote last year for ENG 325. But this is a bigger leap then I first anticipated. I have an idea for a story but I feel as though it could go in so many directions. There are so many different themes I could focus on, symbols I can emphasize, and types of characters I could develop – but the question becomes, what are the choices that will lead to the best script?

This experience reminds me of my gateway project. For that project, I was taking an academic essay that I had already wrote on The Beatles’ song “A Day in the Life,” and attempting to turn a creative interpretation as to what The Beatles hidden, deeper messages were in the song. I struggled with finding what the most important lines of the song were, and the themes which to focus on. With time I was able to come up with a strong piece of writing that I felt comfortable with, but still being in the early stages of this project has made me question how difficult it will be this time around.

What I learned from that last experience was when I start with a big idea, and then start to narrow it down and focus on what seems to be the most important, and then researching and spending time thinking about it is how I got the most productive response. I am trying to do this for my story now, but there seem to be a lot of challenges that I didn’t anticipate.

One thought to “Turning to Fiction”

  1. Hi Oliver, I can totally see how this is frustrating and overwhelming. This reminds me of something I recently read. I’m a proud Imgurian (i.e., I peruse Imgur when I’m bored; look it up, it’s cool) and a neat feature is the ability to tag posts. One of the tags is ‘Writing’ and, naturally, since Imgur is for the creatively-oriented there are many posts on writing. A lot of those are tips, writing prompts, and reflection on the writing process, so that’s one potential source for your Research List.
    One post in particular talked about writing short stories and making sure the themes, symbols, etc. were evident. A piece of advice that stuck out to me was that a good piece of writing should need no explanation; if you need to explain the themes, they’re underdeveloped. Another post (which is unrelated but fits with your concern well) said that if you’re having trouble coming up with lines for characters, a practice you could try is written/aural diaries of the characters’ days. This isn’t directly related to helping your themes pop, however I firmly believe that if you’re writing themes/ideas that come naturally to you (as in, they follow the guiding ideas you have for the proposal/Capstone project), then if you can work on the superfluous, small details, the larger themes will emerge. For example, a theme could emerge between an interaction between two characters, however for it to emerge the interaction would have to feel natural to you, which is aided by putting yourself in the minds of your characters.
    I hope I didn’t ramble too much/that helps. Good luck!

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