The Setting of a Story

Recently, I watched a Western cable movie that left me thinking about two of the characters after the end credits rolled: what would happen to them in the aftermath of the bloody gunfight? Would their relationship develop? Or would he just drop her off at the nearest train station? Would they ride off into the sunset?

I took it a step further and started developing the idea – what was she like before the gunfight? What was he like afterward? Was there a Happily-Ever-After for them? And most importantly, can I write a western? Because I’m not adverse to writing about other time periods, I just prefer to stick to what I know.

I decided I could and everything seemed to be developing nicely. But then because my brain is alway going, I thought, what if I moved it to the Modern age instead? The characters would remain the same – names, details, circumstances – I would simply update it the setting.

That’s when something interesting happened: the story changed. The woman, whom I created as strong and proud of the scars she bore in the Western era, was now uncertain and needful in the Modern era; while the man went from emotional to emotionless.

Baffled by this change, I started a thinking exercise: what would the two become in, say, Ancient times? Or Medieval? Victorian? How different would they be then? Indeed, the end result was that no two stories were alike, regardless of their similarities. It’s a reflection of the times certainly (the definitions of gender norms/expectations and whatnot), but it also interesting to see how much of an impact setting has on a story. It sets the tone, determines who the characters are and then how they act and react to each other and to their surroundings. Undoubtedly, it’s an important component to any story.

But this does leave me somewhat stuck because I like the way both versions of my story flow. I might just have to write both.

Stay With Me – Free Download on Inkitt

It’s been a few months since I last posted. Life has kept us busy for sure – surgery, teenagers, work, high school graduation (times two), vacation, etc. Name it, we’ve experienced in the last six months. In any case, I’m trying to get back into routine and I’m starting by letting you know about a free download of my book, Stay With Me, available on Inkitt. If you haven’t read the book, but would like to, click here to get your copy. Enjoy! And thank you for your support. I’ll be back soon, promise.



The Aliens, or What’s on British Television

Ever since I was little, I’ve been a fan of all things Britain. The accent, the people, the history – it was fascination bordering on obsession.
Unfortunately, I was limited to whatever I could find at the library, Entertainment Tonight or whatever PBS was offering at the time (‘Are You Being Served?’ or ‘Monty Python’ are two I remember) – not a whole lot to feed my passion.
Then the internet happened.
Along cable channels like BBC America.
And most recently, Hulu.
I love Hulu.
I was scrolling through the entertainment app this past weekend and discovered they have a British section. I was immediately intrigued.
Lots of good stuff.
Lots of British humor stuff, which is way different than American humor stuff.
And also weird stuff.
I stopped at a show called “The Aliens”, and being the Sci-Fi fan that I am, decided to give it a try. Forty years after aliens arrived, they have been segregated from the rest of society and forced to live in a walled area called Troy (think District 9 or Warsaw Ghetto). The aliens look and act like us, BUT (and here is the weird part), their hair is addictive to the point where it has become the next illegal narcotic to hit the streets called Fur.
<We’ll pause here so you can absorb that fact.>
In any case, the show centers around the human Lewis Garvey (played by Michael Socha) who works at the wall as border control and how his world is turned upside down when he discovers he is half alien.
Weird as the fur premise is, the show was actually pretty good. The story was well told and the characters were immediately likeable, or despicable, depending on who it was. Unfortunately, it was canceled earlier this year, due to scheduling, so there’s no Season 2. Which stinks, since Season 1 ended with a cliffhanger!
I mean, they even had their own website for the alien resistance!
Of course, given the US track-record of stealing…I mean borrowing… television series ideas from the UK (e.g. Being Human, Primeval, The Office, Da Ali G. Show, Three’s Company, Sanford and Son, Undercover Boss, Whose Like is it Anyway?, etc.), we just might be seeing this one pop up ‘across the pond’ in the next few years.
Until then, I’ll just get started on the Misfits. If nothing else, it’s got five seasons available.