I must say, I have never found something so difficult to write before. Maybe it's because this approach is still new to me. I usually get into writing quickly after a brief structure outline. But with something so concise as a 15 minute short, I have become almost obsessed with getting this outline right before starting to write. This is a little dangerous as I look at my (extended) deadline in the face with an updated structure (still not 100% there) and little on the actual page.
Elements I had tried to connect over previous drafts were finally coming together, along with my characters, but the drive wasn't there to just write which scared me. Usually when I write a novel, I can just push past it and keep going. But you don't have room for that in a script. It's quite another beast.
(It will hit me, eventually. Just got to keep pushing!)
FINDING THE HUMAN HEART, AGAIN
As you can tell from previous posts, Miyazaki is a great inspiration of mine, and this video is fantastic for revealing just what makes him a genius. It comes down to what I was talking about in the first article, the human heart. It is the thing that translate over boundaries and what made Miyazaki's work so universal.
Over the last weeks, I have been trying to discover what makes my characters tick, and make them human. As the video talks about, we are faulted creatures, and it is our imperfections that make our personality relatable to others. Even my 'villain' is fully fleshed out as I've tried to discover why he has become like this, and why he acts as he does.
And as Miyazaki said, sometimes the ending is not about the character getting what they want, but what they need which is usually entirely different things. I have always been aware of this in my writing, but for this short, I have been overly conscious of it and it's implications. Especially after watching The Birds by Hitchcock and The Innocents by Jack Clayton, I've realised that the ending could even be something completely left of field and cruel.
My story, I've realised as its developed, isn't something that will end wrapped in a neat bow. Instead I have been painfully careful to plant all the seeds throughout it that will provide the ending upon inspection, but won't be overly on the nose in the end.
The real trick is balancing those high concepts with the low heart. I think that's where I am struggling. While I know the main twists of the plot, having the strong story linking them all is a feat.
The amount of times I have rewritten this story, and attacked it in different approaches is getting beyond ridiculous. I have had at least five clear different versions of it, and that's not including the slight variations on those drafts.
I found myself struggling to build the conflict I wanted within the restrictive fifteen pages.
That was when I came across this interesting article by stilleatingoranges about the difference between western and eastern plot devices. (Here is her full article here)
She used these awesome cartoons to demonstrate the difference, which is both amusing and highlights major differences.
Kishōtenketsu is a classic structure that originated from Chinese poetry. It has four stages: introduction, development, twist, meeting point. The plot is usually based on expositional twists in contrast to the western obsession with conflict (usually of the violent sorts).
Below is the 'western' structure which follows a similar outline, but with a different result.
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