Friday, January 29, 2010

The Push And Pull Of Drama

First things first: I'm sorry. To myself, yes, but more to anyone who actually took the time to check this blog over the past month and half. Frankly, I didn't realize there was anyone who actually checked back all that often. In any case, I will continue to post thoughts and chapters I've written or am working on and, as always, criticism and comments are most appreciated.

But this isn't a chapter. It isn't one of my rants. It isn't another sad attempt at humorous observations about my home, the city I love, and the setting of most of my fiction: Chicago. No, this is a quick thought on a technique I've used to instill drama into my writing.

I've long been an avid sports fan. Some sports more than others, but really I enjoy them all. But I never really understood why I become so immersed in what a bunch of larger, more athletic men are doing on my TV screen. But one morning when I was draining my cup of coffee and working myself into a writing lather, I had Sports Center on in the background. They were detailing last year's Bulls/Celtics playoff series. If you're even a pedestrian basketball fan, you know how it went. 7 games, 4 of them in which they played overtime periods, last second shots, tight finishes, heartache, drama, the whole bit. But this segment of the show particularly took note of how many times the lead had changed hands throughout the series, some ridiculous number.

That is what builds tension, and at its heart, drama is all about tension. As a fan of either team, you never felt comfortable. Even when you had the lead, you were worried. You felt as if, should you turn your eye of from the screen for even a moment, the opposing team would snatch the game away from yours as punishment.

I now think of this segment whenever I'm writing a particularly dramatic scene, regardless of the content. Love scenes are like that: they get close to coming together, then one of them says something ignorant, but she forgives him, but he resents her forgiveness, this makes her cry, which breaks the anger within him, and so on.

I'm curious, if there are any creators of drama reading this, or even avid readers/watchers/listeners that have another example on which to base drama....

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