Christmas is over and I’m going to miss all the lights, giving spirit, and holiday movies. Every year, I’m one of those who start getting excited before Halloween. Letting go of the holidays is going to be tough.
To get back on track, it’s lesson time again. Our exploration of another author’s techniques and works begin. Today, David Mamet helped me shift my mind back to writing as he spoke about two of his most controversial works: “Oleanna” and “Race”.
“Oleanna” was about the start of political correctness and finding the truth as a human being. We search for the truth because we’re confused. Feeling lost and looking for a place to belong can radicalize someone because someone says, “I have the truth and I will protect you.”
His play had the audience screaming at the stage and evoked such strong emotions that one of the actors was punched when she came out of the dressing room. Our emotional centers don’t seem to notice the difference between fiction and non-fiction.
He’s taken his own advice and pushed himself and his audience at the same time. Are you connecting with your audience the same way? Are they so emotionally involved in your story that they can’t put your book down?
Another of one of his plays, “Race”, and the change that needed to take place in order to improve his work. He took out a long repository in the beginning and opened with his emotional speech. Again, he used his own advice to dial up the emotional connection in his own work.
Lesson 21 was short but made one point clear. I can hear David echo in the back of my mind, don’t be afraid of controversy when you write. It’s doesn’t have to be political or on topic that’s considered unsafe in the workplace.
Controversy is we have those unfair moments or conflict with someone else’s beliefs. Differences are what make our stories interesting. If all of our characters were holiday happy and full of glitz and glamour, our story would get set down.
Writing about what’s real, human, and raw connects us all together. It’s the center of our onion. Let those moments speak in your own work.
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Next month, it’s time to apply the class to my novel. I’ll share daily updates as I up my word count again.
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