This week it seems there is a theme as everything I have watched that I decided to talk about here is something I have watched before and yes blubbed over more than once. So the television programme this week was…
I purposely only included a clip because I don’t want you to hold me accountable for you spending an hours sitting watching it but most episodes are up on Youtube. I love this show! Now as someone researching their family tree, I know that no way is it this easy for us mere mortals to find our family records but it is interesting to see the different resources available and to see what they find out. The clip I included was one that did make me tear up, knowing the stories is one thing seeing the evidence in black and white is totally different, and knowing that had it not been for one quirk of fate your own existence would have never been, must have been incredibly difficult to think about. The thing is it is the same for every single one of us, had my granddad not been a prisoner of war he would not have contracted TB then my grandma would never have met him, bang one side of my family gone and there are similar what ifs at every stage. The same is true for the characters we create, and while our readers may not need to know every single thing about their back stories I do believe it makes us write better characters if we know why they act the way they do.
I am pretty sure this film needs no introduction…
My daughter made me rewatch this and for the millionth time the tears flowed as the King dies, ooopps spoilers!
The thing about this story is really about the complexities of characters, the King is what we would consider a barbarian, his way of life is different to our own but more than that the values he upholds are ones we cannot condone. When you think about it is is a debate which still rages through the world today, in some countries it is caste systems, in others religion and in many gender is still the main cause for sections of certain societies being mistreated. The King and I is a story about hope and redemption, proof even the barbarian has his endearing qualities and can be prevailed upon and hope that younger generations will step forward and make changes for the better. In writing it would be easy to write a bad guy who is simply that, bad with no redeeming qualities, someone born evil. But what is more interesting is the guy who does bad things, the guy who could have been the hero had things taken a different path.
Okay this may have a few of you scratching your head, how can a video of someone’s shopping in a Lush store relate to writing well bear with me, I promise you it is not just that I love their bath products…
The reason I picked this is when it comes to writing there is one thing we often forget to go into and that is smell. we talk about what our characters can feel, see and hear in almost every sentence but it is the addition of the two remaining senses taste and smell that often get neglected. Taste is harder to convey unless a character is eating or drinking and then it has to be done by using basics such as sweet, sour, or by referring to foods which everyone is likely to have tasted but smell allows for much more. If you mention Lily of the Valley to anyone my age most of us will think of two things, grandmas and childhood perfumes, the smell evokes certain memories and many people will automatically understand our meaning. But it is not just floral scents if you talk about the acrid smell of burning rubber immediately the reader identifies and can almost smell it themselves. The sense of smell can be one of the most provocative and as a writer it can be a powerful tool for drawing your readers into a story.