The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible - Vladimir Nabokov

There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside you - Zora Neale Hurston

23 September 2009

Dust Storms and DVDs

I had organized ages ago to take yesterday off from work. I had some errands to run in the middle of the week and thought I'd celebrate spring in Sydney with a picnic. I have a favorite spot beneath a big tree next to the river, and it also happens to be in the middle of gardens with lush wisteria, cherry blossoms and poppies filling the air with wonderful scents and delighting the eye with colours. It's a yearly ritual for me and my husband, enjoying 30C heat, watching the water dragons and skinks, the birds and butterflies...

Of course this year there was a freak dust storm carrying red dirt from the Outback across the entire city. At dawn the sky was orange and the air so choked with dust, I had to shut the windows. I couldn't even see the neighbor's houses across the street! Thus, my plans for the day were revised, and we watched a stack of rented DVDs instead. The standout of the batch was "7 Pounds".

I'm a big fan of Will Smith, and that movie was probably his best. My husband and I have been studying writing too much lately--in the first two minutes of the film, he figured out the plot and I figured out the backstory. My husband and I really are a great team. It's not that it was obvious, but it was so brilliant we hoped we were right. I'm glad we were. Even though we guessed what was happening, it didn't detract from our enjoyment one bit. If anything, each scene carried an extra significance; we understood the subtext. As a consequence, I was in tears most of the time.

The point I want to make is that it's important to have a great story, an original plot, a twist...but, just in case your audience is spoiled or guesses what's going to happen, make the journey, the telling of that story so good they don't care that they're not surprised. Quality throughout--don't rely on gimmicks.

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