Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Birthdays, Candy, and Characters

Jean Purcell

Twitter @opinaripeople

Happy Birthday to Les and  others...

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Writer and film-maker John Hughes 
knew how 
to create and develop 
characters... like or not like us...and we got them!

John Hughes' movie Uncle Buck (rated #5 on list of 10), a John Candy-arranged birthday fete, got this high-five:

     "...In the John Candy classic, Uncle Buck, this well meaning uncle gives 
little Miles the best birthday he can pull off. The celebration includes 
giant pancakes, lack luster guests, and a hysterical confrontation 
with a boozed up clown... reminds me of how funny 
John Candy was and what a great birthday moment 
he has provided movie goers with!"

Writers know that good stories involve balance, and we can count on a John Hughes film, like Uncle Buck, for pathos and slapstick, easy and intriguing to watch, not easy to do so well.  

Somewhere deep within ourselves... we love this, and this is a big reason for reading wonderful books, watching talented movies!

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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Bulding Character from Life: what happened when Steve Jobs spoke at Stanford in 2005

Stanford UniversityImage via Wikipedia Hoover Tower, Stanford, campus where Steve Jobs spoke

Jean Purcell

Twitter @opinaripeople

Twitter @OpineBooksCafe_NEW 

Fiction writers must create and develop believable characters. The protagonist, especially, must have flaws, weaknesses, form identification by the reader.
Steve Jobs, who died after a long illness, created Apple, the high-tech business known all over the world. He was not afraid to tell about a tough time in his life. Speaking about a time of apparent failure, Steve Jobs told Stanford University graduates: "Sometime,  life is going to throw a brick at you."

The line was followed--oddly, I thought--by laughter. You can find that speech on YouTube and listen for the laughter rippling over the audience after that line.

Surely some of those students knew exactly what Steve Jobs meant; they had already had to dodge or recover from a few "bricks" that had come their way. Maybe some who laughed like dark humor, after the fact. When we get out of the dark, we can look back and laugh sometimes. 

Fiction writers know that good stories involve some "bricks" being thrown, usually at main characters. Protagonists cannot be shown as jumping to the right conclusions all the time. They cannot have all the answers, do the right thing always, or never fail to make the correct or anticipated responses.

Some authors are able to bring the release of tears to our eyes, making words swim on pages before us. That, we know, means the story is moving us somewhere deep within ourselves. 
I hope that if a brick has already come your way in this New Year 2012 that you know you will somehow recover. You can even be stronger for refusing to give up, to allow that brick to destroy you. Just listen on YouTube to what Steve Jobs said. Whatever his beliefs, he was given ability, in this life, to push forward and give to graduates who were about to learn more about life outside than inside the university.  

That is no joke.

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