Friday, August 10, 2012

Author Guest Post: Trisha Leigh

Today I'm lucky enough to host a guest post by the author of Whispers in Autumn, Trisha Leigh! 

A little tidbit that people enjoying tossing around is this: every story has already been told. And it’s true. There have been plenty of books and thesis papers and yes, blog posts written about the four or five main plotlines that are recycled again and again into new tales.

But we want to be writers, we have things to say, stories to tell, characters to develop. How do we give readers something fresh, exciting, and new with a story that’s already been told?

I witnessed a great little example last week on one of my favorite television programs, So You Think You Can Dance.

For those of you who don’t watch (first off, you should), every week the couples draw a genre to perform, then work with a specialized choreographer to create the final piece. The dances that seem to connect best with the audience are Contemporary or Broadway pieces, I think because it’s easier to find familiarity within those movements. The pieces that typically get kids tossed off the show are Ballroom numbers. They’re hard, they’re complicated, there’s no accompanying story and most of us don’t understand the intricacies that make them astounding feats.

I’m one of those people. I admit it. Except for the Viennese Waltz, which I always enjoy, my attention strays while the kids struggle through learning a Salsa or Mambo or Quickstep, etc.
Except last week, So You Think You Can Dance brought back a favorite former contestant, Pasha Kovalev, who choreographed a Cha-Cha for contestants Janelle and Dareian. It was obvious from the rehearsal footage that they were having trouble with the steps, among other things, but when they began to perform and Carly Rae Jepson’s Call Me Maybe pumped through the speakers, I started to pay attention.

“This is a Cha-Cha, but it feels like a Contemporary piece”, my brain chattered. “I think this is interesting. It’s romantic! I’m not bored!” It stared to shout and get excited over a dance that usually has me looking down to check Twitter.

And even though the performance didn’t go all that well, I remembered it at the end of the night. Pasha took an old dance—the Cha-Cha—and gave it his own update, a new twist, by setting it against an upbeat pop number that is invading every corner of America. Honestly, I’m not sure it worked, but you know what? He tried. He didn’t just offer audiences the same old thing. Pasha maybe thought, I want people to love ballroom dancing as much as I do! How do I make them notice its positive qualities?

I’m making that up. I (sadly) don’t know Pasha. But that’s what I would have been thinking.
And that’s the point of creating, whether you’re a choreographer putting together your seven hundredth performance, an actor reprising a classic role, an artist painting within an established style, or a writer who’s dying to tell a dystopian tale, or one featuring vampires or angels (etc) at a time when publishing adamantly insists those books are done.

If you can do what Pasha did, and make viewers/readers/patrons/agents/etc sit up and pay attention because you did something unexpected and daring, then you’re doing your job as an artist. It may be harder to sell certain genres sometimes, and you might even fail at the attempt (sorry, Pasha), but if that’s what you love, you should try.

Because as ancient as stories are, their authors are not ancient, and we are not uniform, and we all have something special and unique to bring to the table. People may have heard your story before, but they have not heard you tell it.

Thanks again to Trisha! You can check out her website here!


Anonymous said...

Does anyone place CoD for single player anyway?
This is amazing game, i play about 5h in day.

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