It’s almost impossible to be in a bad mood with all this beautiful sunshine!
I had a discussion with one of my colleagues yesterday about whether or not there is any value in avoiding dealing with something unpleasant directly. His position was that if you don’t face something squarely, and feel all of the negative emotions, you are not truthful. But Einstein once said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” If Einstein is right, and his chances are pretty good, and you’re thinking is in problem mode, it would be impossible to find a solution without changing your thinking.
I believe that the secret to solving problems quickly is to change your state of mind to one where you can feel good about things and not worry about an outcome. When you momentarily distract yourself by thinking about pleasant things to put you in a good mood, you can review the problem from a fresh and optimistic perspective. What I regard as a practical problem-solving technique, my friend considers a betrayal of one’s personal identity because you’re pretending. So, which is it?
One way to ascertain which way would be “better” is to watch and see who has more success at problem-solving. Let’s assume, for the sake of this conversation, that both he and I are getting our problems resolved well. So then both approaches work, but we will never agree on the process. This is what you want when building character relationships.
The point of my sharing this story with you is to demonstrate how to find situational conflict in a story beyond the external problems in the plot. Imagine if he and I were both cops trying to solve a case. How much conflict would there be if we were forced to work together? And that’s without even knowing the plot, only the genre. Once you add the details of the case, every scene would snap, crackle and pop because of these characters’ fundamentally different approaches.
This is a great way to increase the tension and conflict in any script regardless of genre. Consider in the current story that you’re working on how your main characters compare in terms of their values, and make changes that will raise the stakes.
Please also consider my rewrite class, Rewriting the Screenplay in Six Weeks, which begins May 18th. I only have a few seats left, so if interested, please look on my website.
I’m also excited to share the feature clip from Jokonastick Episode #67. Please enjoy, subscribe to weekly jokes for free, and tell your friends!
Here’s to your successful writing,
Professor Marilyn Horowitz