Thursday, March 19, 2015

Spring Break

    Beyond Where You Stand is going on Spring Break.  A new post will appear on Thursday, April 2nd.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Way Inn


    Attending a conference, Neil Double checks into the Way Inn, one location of a Holiday Inn-like super-franchise.  But the Way Inn's hallways wind much deeper than anyone suspects and when Neil follows the wrong person through the wrong door, he steps into a surreal nightmare of cosmic proportions.
     Will Wiles has written a powerful rumination on the effect our modern physical and social structures are having on the world and on us.  Beyond the fact that it's beautifully written, I found that Mr. Wiles explores many of the same ideas I do in Those that Wake and What We Become, though with his own sophistication and expression, of course.  If I may be so bold as to say so without Mr. Wiles's permission, the Way Inn feels like an adult counterpart to my own young adult novels.  For this, as well as for reasons of pure quality and enjoyment, I couldn't recommend the Way Inn more highly.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Couples Retreat Redux

     The last Couples Retreat, a conference on collaboration hosted by the LREI librarians and Tech teachers, went so well, they asked us to do it again.  The next retreat will take place on Friday, May 1st, when the fine folks at Ethical Culture have agreed to co-host and open up their space for attendees.  All details can be found here.
     If you missed it last time, please join us.

    

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Confilct

     They say conflict is the basis of all drama.  They even say the three kinds of conflict there can be.  Those are:

1. Man vs. Man

2. Man vs. Nature

3. Man vs. Self

     I always thought they skimped in the Man vs. Society area, but I guess you could make a case that it falls under number 1 (or number 2, if we're going to let the metaphor of Nature stand in for a lot of stuff).  Anyway, I was watching the television show The Slap, which does a really excellent job of distilling conflict and making it personal and interesting, and it got me thinking about how a well written drama can create a conflict within the audience itself.  A primary way of doing this (which, again, The Slap does exceedingly well) is by making you root for someone who is not particularly likable (admittedly something of a trend in modern television writing, between your Don Drapers and your Walter Whites).  A subtle variation on this, and perhaps more difficult to manage, is knowing the guy you're rooting for is doing the wrong thing.  The Slap may be doing this, too.  At only the second episode (of its American incarnation, anyway), it's too early to tell.  But it will be fascinating to watch it unfold.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Plowing with Your Mind

     Gordon B. Hinckley, who was the fifteenth President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints among many other things, said "You can't plow a field simply by turning it over in your mind."
     As a writer, you spend an awful lot of time in your own head, and that is a work of sorts, searching for plot and character along the winding paths of your imagination.  But it's awfully easy to get lost in there, caught up in the planning, dreaming of where you could go.  Ultimately and practically, once you've laid the groundwork in your head, a single written sentence is worth more than all the hours you spend dreaming up the mountains your going to scale.  Naturally, this applies to life outside of writing, too.  Take an entire day to think about what you could do and how you could do it and then take ten minutes to actually do something and see which accomplishes more.  Mr. Hinckley knew that, even with prayer on your side, eventually, you just have to get off your keister and get to work.