“In public speaking, I always do my best right before I start talking.” ~Dan Delyon
Mira looked down at the two pieces of bread held out by the stranger, either unable to comprehend that someone would give away food, or wary of the gift, but in the end she took it and devoured it.
A few tears slipped down her cheek. She had never been given such a present.
She was the first of the children to be given food that day and was followed by twenty or so other starving people. They were all that were left of her village after the flooding and disease.
She looked up to see the womans tears flowing as she watched them all eat, overwhelmed by what she saw. She had never seen such need before.
It wasn’t the food that kept Mira going. It was the shared tear.
Authors note: I really do hate tear-jerkers. I always have.
The purpose of this is not so that you will have something to cry over and then feel better about your life. I should think that you can figure out the purpose with a few moments thought.
In the down time that is the in internet as of late, it has been very difficult to get the news out that the internet is down because of a natural disaster in the far reaches of Swaziland. It seems that an African bombardier beetle battled a water buffalo, which trampled a laptop computer that was connected to the mainframe at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where a secret government program was in development. This program was being designed in coordination with the department of defense in order to suppress the entire internet globally in a matter of minutes. Our sources tell us that this new technology works much the same manner as the hydrogen bomb, but declined to provide any details as the program is still classified. The current damages from this dilemma are estimated to be approximately $12,098,473,221 dollars so far, but may rise in the near future…in much the same manner as a mushroom cloud.
I mentioned in the last post that the idea for this series came from a film adapted from Agatha Christie.
This is mostly true, as the film got me thinking about how one can be creative and restricted at the same time. As a writer, I would feel partial responsibility if my plot for a murder intended to be pure entertainment were the inspiration for a real murder. That’s why I have to guard what I write. To the same degree, but less drastic extremes, I also have to make sure that the characters who display evil traits don’t influence my readers toward evil. As a Christian, I have that responsibility.
How on earth does an artist create things when his or her creativity is in such chains?
The answer lies in two facts.
First, you’re already in chains, and second you’re already in chains.
Let’s take a look-see at the first one. You’re already inside the restrictions of your art. If you want your reader to see a scene, you can’t just show them a recording of the spot you’re thinking of (this is especially true of sci-fi) so you have to use words to convey a sense of the surroundings. If you have the talent to paint or draw a picture or record a movie of what you want your audience to see, that’s all well and good, but you are then working inside the restrictions of the arts you can perform.
Along the same lines, you’re imagination is limited to slight modifications of things you are already familiar with. And if it wasn’t, there would still be no good done in writing about it, because your readers are limited to slight modifications of what they already know. If you want to describe something to me that doesn’t exist right now or I’m not familiar with, you have to use terms I am familiar with to describe it to me. This is a tedious process that can be made enjoyable only though a lot of skill on the part of the writer.
In short, I’d say “Get used to it and write what you know, unless you don’t know anything, and then you should consider politics.”
And yes, you can quote me on that one.
Now that you’ve got that concept firmly in your memory buffer, lets move on to the part where you are already in chains.
I was reading the preface to Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes and in it there was mentioned the plot to one of his plays. There was a man who realized that his life was being narrated and so he decided to go to the author to change the outcome of his life’s story. I didn’t make the connection until today, that this is essentially the same plot used in Stranger than fiction.
Now it’s possible that the author of this movie had never read this story…as a matter of fact, it’s more than likely that he reinvented the same wheel that worked so well a few hundred years ago.
Which brings me to a quote by Albert Einstein. “Creativity is knowing how to hide your sources”
— Albert Einstein
So, from the available data, I would surmise that the secret to creative writing is two fold.
- Realize that you aren’t all that creative.
- Copy obscure material and modify it so that it is truely your own.
~Dan Delyon, Author in waiting.
The movie was very well done, and as far as intrigue goes, it was, I believe, among the top of it’s class. For one thing, the plot didn’t leave the gaping holes in it that are so common among mystery and murder entertainment. For instance, I have been watching a show called Castle recently and I have found an average of a plot problem an episode from such things as introducing a charater or action and aparent failure to figure this action into the end result. This happens when in the course of trying to make the plot twist, you direct the plot away from a charactor, but neglect to explain his incriminating actions. I do enjoy the cerebral exercise, though I have no appreciation for the language and sexual references that pervade it’s plots. I would not recommend it to anyone younger than 18.
And that’s when the idea came to me that movies like castle, and many of the murder movies I grew up on are at least partialy responsible for the increase in murders. For instance, how do I know that fingerprints are used as incriminating evidence in a murder, that forensics can place a person at the scene of a crime by observation of such small details as gun powder on my hands or clothes? I saw it in the movies.
There have been copy cat murders for many years, but there are many other murders not labeled as copy cats that were conceived on the ideas of telvision script writers. It doesn’t matter to the person who died that their murderer was caught, only that they are dead because the person who killed them watched a lot of movies and used that knowledge to embolden them to do the deed.*
The blame falls mostly to entertainment. The thoughts that entertain us are also entertained by us. As long as we are never in a situation to use those thoughts, we’ll be fine, but if the situation were to be dire enough…
It’s a four way fault between entertainment, the news media (which for hundreds of years has been a source of entertainment similar to reality television.), a lack of real punishment for crimes, and the sinfulness of mankind.
Now to the reason I brought up Agatha Christie.
I realized after I watched it that there was absolutely nothing in the story that could be used in a modern murder. I’m sure when it was written it had potential for disaster, but if writers were to see the problems they may be causing by popularizing usable murder methods, and set their stories in a way that everyone who reads it know’s that reproduction of these methods would result in falure, then the world would be a little safer place. There’s no way to cap the news media though. They’re like a fountain of ideas. None of them original to be sure, but dangerous none the less.
~Dan Delyon, Author in waiting.And guess what! That was only the part on Restraint. Of Literary Creativity is the topic of tomorrows post. I do hope you’ll join me at 1PM for the exciting conclusion to this discussion. By the by, this is intended to be a discussion. If you have something you’d like to add or argue, feel free to do so below in the comments. *I originally typed out “…inspired them to do the dead.” and I was tempted to leave it that way since it was applicable, but I decided in favor of readability.
“Aim low and don’t settle for anything less.” ~Dan Delyon
“I have mused over many theological and philosophical questions in my life, but the most important one by far is…Is Elvis dead, alive, or at Wal-mart? There are no other plausible options.” ~Dan Delyon
“My best ideas come from thinking inside a box. You have to block out all distractions if you want to come up with good ideas.” ~Dan Delyon
“The answer is useless without the question.” ~ Dan Delyon
“Power in the hands of short sighted men and women is the cause of most of the worlds bubbles.” ~Dan Delyon (On the cause of the housing market crash.)
“Why must the good ones always gather moss?” ~Dan Delyon
This is the second installment of my series of short stories. Not to be confused with a short story series. It was originally named “He” but the title changed with the modifications I put to the story. It’s the same as it was, only different.
He wished he could stay outside forever right now. The air smelled good, and felt good in his lungs. The sun washed out the scenery around him making the world look sort of ethereal.
When he thought about it, how could something as wonderful as the sun not have that effect on everything around it?
He wished he could just sit and watch the people going by with their ordinary lives all abuzz as always.
So much good in life. Such extraordinary things tucked inside the package of routine life.
Well, so much for life. He had to go to work.
Fifteen minutes later he opened a large wood framed glass door, nodded at Mrs. Valentine the the receptionist, then went through the door marked, “Dr. McManus”. Once inside, he pressed the intercom button, spoke his name, pressed his heel against the part of the floor that recognized the chip, and entered his lab. It was no ordinary lab as it was clean, neat, and devoid of everything but papers and a giant wall monitor.
The wall before him stood just the way he left it except he had 200 more emails than when he left twelve hours ago. He barely had a chance to sleep at all after he finally got work off his mind. He always left a clean screen but it always filled up. Four foot square of a solid pixelated work.
Now he was back in body and mind. All the thoughts flooded to him reminding him why he was here. Why he would sacrifice 12 hours a day five days a week for an indeterminable amount of time.
He was a genius.
There were no spaces between cases. Killers killed for sport. Terrorists killed for their eternal reward…which couldn’t come soon enough for him. He could make the connections that no computer could. He understood human motivations. No program could be designed to calibrate for the complexities of the human mind, or the depravity it can fall into if one stops resisting evil.
FBI and CIA outsourced their toughest cases to him and three others, but very few people ever knew about this program.
Money couldn’t pay him enough. The best payment was when he saw a man walk by him smiling as he talks to his wife, or the woman who desperately tries to keep her five children from randomly filling the shopping carriage while at the corner grocer. How many people could keep killers inline and prevent murders, bombings, and even wars that the ordinary people would never know about? He had been given an extraordinary gift.
Every ordinary day was a good day.
Once upon a time there was a peaceful land. It was a prosperous land full of many people that lived for the most part in tranquility and harmony.
But as almost all stories worth telling happen, the peace was shattered one afternoon when the dreadful evil came upon the land and shattered the productivity of the land of Netts.
Now, it wasn’t peaceful in all of Netts. The kingdom was divided into two regions that were not ruled by the same sort of people at all. On the outskirts of the island lay the region known as Outer Netts. In it lay many sprawling cities and slums of all sorts imaginable. The vilest people inhabited it.
Between the two regions was a wall made of pure fire. It burned night and day and kept the inhabitants of Inner Netts safe from the outside influences of corruption.
This is the story of how a simple trick defeated the wall.
The guard of one of the three gates (the gate named “peace” ironically) saw in the distance a horse made of bronze. It was being pulled by a team of four white horses. The bronze horse was mounted on wheels and had all sorts of gifts in a golden bowl on its back. In the basket (made of solid gold mind you) mounted upon its back there were beautiful paintings, musical instruments that had been charmed into playing themselves, and various wondrous things.
The guard let the horses bring the gift inside the gate. He suspected foul intent, but saw no harm in letting the contraption through the gate.
Once he did though, he noticed that the gate seemed to have a mind of its own.
He heard a sound that sounded like chanting coming from inside the horse, but could barely make it out for the incessant sound of the magical instruments playing their happy little ditties. It was at this point that the gate swung wide open and a might army of Wallrusses rushed in.
Now, let me explain, the Outer Nett was filled with a people who were called the Russes. The ones who lived nearest the wall and had been trying for generations to break through the fire wall and take over the Inner Netts, were known as Wallrusses.
The guard, realizing that the horse knew one of the Ten Hexes and was using it to control the gate, slammed his spear into the side of the horse hoping to destroy it, but he was unsuccessful and was attacked by three of the midget Russes that flooded in at the speed of electricity.
At the core of the realm, there stood a proud city. The Central Processor ruled over it with much wisdom and foreknowledge…but not all.
At his beck and call were many brave knights. Two of them stood out from among the rest. Sir Mac Afee and Lord Norton. The former was a broad shouldered brute of a man, but a good man. He would fight with more tenacity than any other warrior in the kingdom. The latter, Lord Norton, was a smart man and a scientist. He was not known for his courage, as a matter of fact, he had been known to run away from fights before, but through his superior knowledge of his surroundings and his use of chemistry, he had still won against those opponents. Now few would oppose him.
Once word reached the castle of the failure of the firewall, two armies were dispatched under the commands of sir Mac Afee and Lord Norton.
Sir Mac Afee and his horsemen arrived first and smashed into the wall of Russes headlong. For a short time it seemed as if Sir Mac Afee and his horsemen would win, but it wasn’t too long until the horde adapted to this kind of assault and started to slaughter the horsemen. With no recourse, Sir Mac Afee retreated to regroup. Immediately, Lord Norton came over the hill with a giant force of diverse soldiers. He and ten others rode elephants, and they pulled catapults and ballista’s and many other heavy weapons. When they arrived, Mac Afee and his men that were left rallied and lead the charge into the enemy flood. The heavy weapons did their work well, and soon, the Central Processing army had reached the gate and pushed back the enemy forces. They couldn’t get the gate to shut though. The Hex was keeping the gate open, and another Hex was keeping the bronze horse from being destroyed. Lord Norton, even though he knew one of the Ten Hexes was unable to overpower the Bronze horses defenses or let the gate shut, and if there had been no other help, the story would have ended badly. As it is, the CP forces were forced into full retreat.
Back at the castle, there was a little known knight named Aevy Gee who had put forth a proposal to the king. Though the king was reluctant, he decided to implement the plan as a backup.
Sire Aevy Gee raced north to the desert to find the rumored wizard who lived there. He was known as a trouble shooting wizard to some, even though few really understood the significance of the title as he lived in absolute isolation. Rumor had it that he had breath that could kill, and that the isolation wasn’t by his choice.
When Sir Aevy Gee finally found him, he was in a horrible mood and threatened to blow him away, but Sir Avey Gee threw the letter from the king at the wizard and acted just as gruff as the grumpy old hermit. At this, the wizard softened a little. The hermit read the letter and decided to help the young knight to make his way in the world. After all, this is what the trouble shooting wizard most hoped that he could have done, so he might as well help someone else achieve the same goal.
The wizard blew into a glass, capped it with a glass lid and handed it to the young knight explaining that this was to destroy the bronze horse. Of course, there was no way for the wizard to know there would be a bronze horse, and this astounded the knight who had known about the horse, but not mentioned it.
The wizard instructed the knight to throw the glass at the horse at exactly noon of the following day.
This meant that Sir Aevy Gee would have to hurry. The knight said his thanks and then rode with great haste to the gate.
A few miles out, he passed the remainder of the joint army and charged headlong into the sea of enemy foot soldiers.
They struck out with their swords, axes and clubs trying to kill him and his horse, but they couldn’t get through the Hex he was using as a shield.
His horse stumbled on several of the enemy soldiers and tossed him to the ground where he rolled for 6 feet before he stopped. In the confusion, he was allowed to rise to his feet before he was attacked. A knee sized Wall Russ swung his axe, but was stopped mid swing by sir Aevy’s sword. With little effort, Sir Aevy dispatched him and the next few. After a moment, the Russes decided to rush him as one and just before they reached him, he muttered the number one Hex.
Round about him, everything living exploded for a quarter mile sending the enemy flying in all directions.
He collapsed to his knees thoroughly winded.
After a minute, he gathered himself and summoned the strength to go on. He made it within 100 feet of the horse before the Wall Russes attacked him again, banking upon the notion that he wouldn’t be able to do that again.
They were right, but it didn’t matter. At 50 feet, and precisely noon, he tossed the glass container at the horse.
To his amazement, it grew to twice the size of the horse and swallowed it.
As soon as the jar labeled “Quarantine” cut off the horse from the gate, the gate slammed shut with a sound that could be heard as far away as Central City.
The Russes, caught in hostile territory fought like caged animals.
Sir Aevy Gee sent a pulse to Lord Norton using the Hex code and fought bravely until sunset when the cavalry arrived followed by the heavy weaponry. They made short work of the remaining soldiers.
The next day, the field was clear of the dead bodies. They had faded into the night from which they came.