Monday, July 25, 2011

Amazing Things Already Exist

Quite some time ago, I had an idea for a character. Normal painters very often draw a pencil sketch of what they plan to paint on a canvas as a beginning step. My character would do the most gorgeous pencil drawings of one thing (like a covered bridge), then paint a completely unrelated image on the canvas (like a formal portrait). With this character, it makes no sense why he does this or how it helps, but he is completely unable to do a painting without making the sketch first.

I have yet to do anything with this character because I cant find a story for him yet. I have some scenes, like a friend coming to visit and seeing the process in action (and having his mind blown). I also see a scene where the friend (or some other ancillary character) faces a deep personal struggle whether or not to scrape the paint off of the works to see the pencil drawings beneath them.

Right now, I have a cool concept and some scenes, but not a whole story, which is why it has remained on the back burner for some time, though it has never left my head.

Today, I was screwing around (either flipping through TV stations or internet pages) and saw a hairless cat. It is by no means a new sight to me, though I was really looking at the patten on the skin; it was mostly white, with some black splotches on the back half. I was thinking about how incredibly weird it is that a cat's fur creates a totally different pattern than what their skin pigmentation shows. And today, it clicked with me how similar this phenomenon is with my bizarre painter.

It may be worth exploring. If I can draw parallels between the two, it could be the story that I'm looking for. More importantly, one should realize that some amazing things already exist in this world. Even if you come up with a really compelling concept, either for a character or a place or a relationship or a material, look around the real world first, because there is a chance that it already is out there.

That doesn't mean that you shouldn't write the story you want to write. It just means that you should learn even more about that subject so you can make the most-compelling story possible.

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