Monday, June 21, 2010

Getting back to basics

Yesterday I went to JHS Basketball championships for my 4 town area. It was pretty good. The teams were better than I expected (although they couldn't have held a candle to the U15 team from my school days). To top it off, I actual learned a lesson during the boys final.

Kunohe Junior High was playing in dark. They had STYLE! They were doing all these fancy layups and crossovers and fakes and stuff. BUT they missed the hoop a lot. I can't remember if they scored a single free throw all game long. And on more than one occasion they faked themselves and dribbled the ball on their own feet and kicked it out of bounds.

Hukuoka (Fukuoka- depending on where you come from) Junior High played in light. When it came to style, Hukuoka couldn't even touch Kunohe. BUT they dribbled well. AND they passed the ball around. AND their shots sunk.

The result? Kunohe played a SEXY game- like they should have been in the NBA. But, Hukuoka won.

Why? Because before you try to look sexy, you have to master the basics.

And that's not just applicable to basketball. It's relevant to life. And of course, to writing. Basics first, style after.

Are you worried about your writing style? Your voice? Physical characteristics of your characters? Complex twists and turns of your plots? Well, that's great, but there are some other things you should take care of first.

Plot- Before you get into the complicated plot twists, maybe you should worry about a basic plot which rises and falls in all the right places. And which doesn't have holes the size of Rhode Island. Because, let's face it- Rhode Island might be tiny for a state, but it'd be a monster of a plot hole.

Characters- Worried about the MC's characteristics, maybe you should first consider the big things. What's your character's motivation? What is he or she conflicted about? What's his/her realtionship with the family? (I write YA.) If you've thought these things through and reflected them accurately, then you'll have a well-built character, and it won't matter so much whether he/she prefers Pepsi or Coke.

Words- You want to tell your story in the most eloquent terms possible. But is your grammar on point? How's your subject-verb agreement? Are your sentences so long that you lose track of the subject?

Make your own list. What are the basics you need to take care of? Master them!

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that style isn't important. By all means, decorate. Paint the little house that is your novel as brightly or darkly as you wish. All I'm sayin is that it's easier and a ton more sensible to build the house before you paint it.

Just sayin.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's hard to read something that's missing an ingredient. Of course when I was learning to write, I had many holes in the story.