Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Freewrite of the Week: Obsessions and Confessions

by Jacqueline Fauni

Whether it's an embarrassing collection of drugstore romance novels or your Aunt Abby and Martha's crowd of poisoned septuagenarians buried in the basement, we've all got obsessions we'd rather not announce to the whole world.  So why would you want to write about them?  Or better yet, why have authors and screenwriters poured their guiltiest pleasures and dirtiest secrets into their work, knowing full well how much they're revealing to their audiences?  As terrifying as it may be, writing about our obsessions can lead us to the story we want to tell, so fiction can be a form of confession.  Of course, that confession can be as cathartic or discreet as we want to make it, as dictated by the unwavering laws of artistic license.  (Just don't make it all up and call it an autobiography, a la James Frey.)

Getting in touch with our obsessions can unlock insight about ourselves as well as our characters.  What does your obsession say about you (besides the fact that you're obsessed with something)?  Maybe you care deeply about the ones you love and would do anything to prevent them from going to prison for murder (and maybe that's what makes you as charming as Cary Grant).  Why exactly do you feel so guilty about your guilty pleasure?  Maybe your archaic ideals of romance are so closeted because they clash with your attitude as a modern woman.  Deconstructing our obsessions can help us translate them into our characters' desires and flaws, which can help us figure out what obstacles they need to overcome to attain their desires, etc.  Before you know it, a plethora of plot bunnies will emerge!

Your task: Write for 10 minutes about the one obsession you don't want anyone to know about.  And don't hold back -- you can always bury it with those gentlemen in the basement...

Good luck, and happy writing!

1 comment:

  1. Not all are true. Everyone has their own way of thinking but I think they have to reconsider. I like to argue for the most accurate results.