Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Larger Than Life

First, let me say HAPPY CANADA DAY to my friends up north. Hope its a good one and full of fun and food and frolic and fireworks.

My 9 year old is obsessed with the Titanic. She has read about it and made it the focus of school projects. She's been fascinated with the wreck for a long time. I don't know why it intrigues her so, but she is captivated. I don't think she can wrap her mind around it, it is larger than life for her.

Unless you've been living in the outer reaches of the universe for the last week or so, you couldn't happen to miss the recent deaths of certain celebrities. I have no desire to rehash their lives, accomplishments, etc. but to make a point. Some people simply see them as famous people who died. But they were more than that, they were larger than life icons. In the late '70's, I don't think there was a girl who didn't try to get their hair to feather just like Farrah's. And in the early '80's, I didn't know a person who didn't own "Thriller." These two people wormed their way into our culture, becoming something more than human. They were never truly mortal to me, obviously they were, but the persona's they created went far beyond what I had in normal life. Its funny, we read about celebrities who try and convince us how "normal" they are. Do we really want that?

For most of us, life has a routine. We get up, go to work, participate in a few activities, watch t.v. and go to bed. No, it isn't exciting, but ultimately, it makes us happy. But we love the exposure to those beings who are larger than life. It takes us away from our daily routines and lets us experience life on another plane while never leaving the safety of our own.

As writers, we have it even better. We don't have to wait for TMZ to bring us news. We don't have to watch the news to find something scandalous or extraordinary to spark our interest. We can create it. No matter what genre you write in, the point it to create a story most people will never experience. Our characters are plunged into danger, into heartbreak, into inescapable situations which require us to pull them out in the most fascinating way possible. The reader joins us on a larger than life adventure which gives them another view of life they don't ordinarily see. It doesn't have to be a tense spy adventure or an epic romance. It doesn't have to be a story populated by monsters and magic, knights and ladies, it can be an ordinary world with ordinary people with an extraordinary situation. As long as it evokes emotions which we don't get to experience everyday and takes us out of our humdrum routine.

As a reader, what does a story need to make it larger than life? As a writer, what part of your current project is larger than life?

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