Tuesday, February 20, 2024

3T Writing Tidbit

One of the struggles that creators in the entertainment industry deal with is -- we want more of that, and make it the same, but different.

I was musing on that today. Most of the creative advice I've been given centers on this seeming absurdity. But there are ways to achieve it.

In music, the easiest and most common way for same-but-different is the old: State your theme. State it again. The third time you state it, go off on a variation. The opening to Beethoven's fifth symphony nails this. Duh-duh-duh-dahhhh. Duh-duh-duh-dahhhh. Duh-duh-duh-dah-duh-duh-duh-dah- and off it goes.

For a story, what you're looking to do is make the story and characters recognizable but stimulating. We love seeing family and friends, but the same stories every time we sit around the dinner table would be boring. Of course, that dividing line between safe, recognizable sameness and unpredictable, stimulating different is a moving target. Not only does it differ by reader (or movie-goer or whatever), it differs in the same reader depending on the day and what's just happened in their lives.

My grandmother taught us about politeness. Offer once, offer twice, offer a third time. If turned down three times, it's really refused. Fairy tales, music, or a grandmother's wisdom, it's a good sum up of the seemingly impossible same, but different. 

Published since 2009, over the years I've accumulated various items of writing wisdom. The Third Tuesday Writing Tidbit showcases these items in no particular order. Click here to see all 3T Tidbits.

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