This week: Based On Real Events Edited by: Annette
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|Drama is very important in life: You have to come on with a bang. You never want to go out with a whimper. Everything can have drama if it's done right. Even a pancake. |
~ Julia Child
If there's not drama and negativity in my life, all my songs will be really wack and boring or something.
Drama is life with the dull bits cut out.
~ Alfred Hitchcock
Based On Real Events
In every story that is "based on real events" there are parts that were altered to fit a narrative arc.
Real life does not have a proper inciting incident, even-keel rising tension, a clean climax, a professional denouement, and a tidy ending.
Just how life is messy and rarely offers any story element in a clinical fashion, you can take that to add drama to any fiction story. Depending on the length of the story, the drama you insert can tie back to your tale or be detached from in.
Clearly, real-life dramatic events have limited appeal in fiction. Some events are too short to make a whole long movie out of them. But what about a short story?
Last week, there was a train wreck in an amusement park. Nobody got hurt, so that is good news. However, those who were on the train got jolted pretty badly and those who saw it happening from below were shaken too. The event itself took only a few seconds. Fictionalizing this event would have to start much earlier in the story. For once, it should start with how the engineer of that particular train started the day. Or even how the day before went. Did the engineer bring up a rattling rail to management before? Was it the engineer's first time driving that train? Why was that family in the last wagon on the train in the amusement park that day? What is the ingredient that made the giant lollipop not crack when it hit the sidewall during impact? All these and more questions will need to be answered to create a full-blown dramatization of the train wreck that luckily didn't hurt anyone.
Some people (writers) will say that the weather is a terrible subject to write about. Is that also true for the torrential rains that pounded dry Las Vegas last week to a point that walls turned into Niagara Falls and flooded the insides of casinos? A city that is built in a valley that gets barely any rainfall at all is surely going to be fodder for a story that dramatizes rain. Wouldn't that kind of weather lend itself perfectly to shine a light on the life of the janitor who mopped up all that mess with just a mop and bucket like Mickey Mouse in Fantasia? Maybe the parking lot attendant who had to spend the night in their car because the driveway out of the garage was three feet under water deserves a story. What kind of a family background are we going to give them? Does their story start the day before or during the rain? This type of story could start once the rain itself has let up and people realize that the water is not gone but instead working its way toward the lowest points in town.
If you write a dramatized version of a real event, make sure you start your story at the right time.
And, let me know:
How true to the original should a story that was based on real events be?
| ||Blue Voyage (18+)|
Conrad Aiken's semi-autobiographical account of a sea voyage and a mourning for lost love
#2275916 by daninidaho
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|I received this reply to my last Drama newsletter "Irrelevant Revelation" :|
Quick-Quill wrote: My mother's house was destroyed in the recent fire here in Oregon. This NL in pertinent. I took a box of family history from Mom's file cabinet. I also have a box of my own genealogy research. They are in my garage. Not knowing that just one week later my own house was in a Level 2, GET READY TO GO stage. I packed my car with my valuables and things I can't replace easily. What is relevant? What can we cut from our stories that isn't important to moving the story forward and what is backstory that can be left behind, even though we THINK it's important.
That kind of tragedy is so extreme that it is very hard to decide what to save. Life first, for sure, but now what?
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