Scope, descent, elevation : the symbolism of spaces
It’s been a long time since I wanted to post a note about this. I wanted it to be perfect, full of meaning and precise. But as you know, perfection means never, in a writer’s language. As a great master once stated « There is no try. DO. Or do not » Yoda was right, so here I go.
I assume I’m talking here to writers. Passionate ones, beginners or 6th dan, newbies and veterans, published or echoing in their head the vacuum of their lives. Each of you already experienced that the human activity most similar to writing is dreaming. Most of all the errors and misunderstandings come from there. Sure you gotta plot. Sure, research is great. Sure, you should definitely rely on a solid outline, even though most of the time the definitive version could be numbered as outline 58.
Wonderful, good job, the a comes withe the b, it ‘s all consistent, realistic, me and my disbelief are suspended by the, well, are suspended. What about dream writing ? What about unconscious logic ?
What about walking on a very different ground than the solid concrete of reality ? Because that what stories are about. And how do you do that ? Well, this is the door to darkness and mysteries. Are you willing to go there ?
You want to write a wonderful story ? Fine. Don’t write it. Dream it, sketch it, paint it, live it first.
Don’t tell me about values and characterization. Tell me about colors and lights, dreams and nightmares. And in this field of unheard voices, unseen threats, of skins, textures, smells and vertigo, there is one path you might try to follow : write the dynamics of spaces.
Yes. Write spaces first of all. Wide or narrow, write the frontiers, the descents and elevations, write the light and darkness. On this, you can build a great dream. And only then do your job, use your precious tools if you will, and work on nuts ans bolts. Or not.
Any beautifully written story is written that way. The characters explore the symbolism of spaces as they explore their own high and low, loose smile or tight emotions. They cross a river as they dare, go down the cave as their fears rise, and climb the stairs as they are fully determined to confront the enemy for the showdown.
Each story as its pace, its story as its spaces and a very unique way to breathe in them.
Peter Jackson’s extraordinary King Kong, Titanic, North by Northwest, Inception, Mulholland Drive, The Apartment, LA Confidential, Apocalypse Now, Die Hard. Pearls of spaces, of movement, of thresholds, hills to climb or descents in darks caves to be lost or killed.
Elevators for our emotions, frontiers crossed, spaces narrowing, or wide landscapes.
So dive into your story and explore its abyss and himalayas. Don’t write it to fit to screen. Let the screen fit to your story, if and when the time comes. If the story ‘s good, the screen will deal with it. They say “think big”. Wrong. Correct motto is “dream free”.
The best stories keep that dream quality despite the huge analytic et rational work they demand.
Next time you feel you need to learn some about screenwriting, or you story, just go to bed.
And open your eyes.