The Walls

Thinking about what I’m doing in my writing and thinking, and writing and posting to understand what I’m thinking and writing.

See, I had to leave my characters behind and scale the walls once again. First I did it while I was walking, but once I glimpsed the territory, I needed to map it out on paper.

I don’t know if you’re familiar with the walls. I’ve never heard other writers use the expression as I use it. The walls establish the characters’ limits of knowledge. They’re different for each character — all remember, realize, experience, or know different aspects than others.

Beyond the walls are the other events taking place that will affect the characters. How much is happening and what you, the writer, decides to share, depends on the story you’re telling. For examples, walls are frequently employed in sitcoms. One character establishes some half-ass fact or understanding predicated on misheard or overheard information, or glimpse something and make a wrong assumption, initiating a chain of misguided decisions. We, the audience, knows what’s going on beyond the wall. That sets up the humor.

We see the walls in the Jason Bourne movie franchise, where many walls are employed, torn down, or penetrated. Secrecy, security, dirty histories, and personal agendas establish and maintain the walls.

In this series that I’m writing, I use multiple walls. A huge part of what’s going on is happening beyond the walls. It’s stuff that wasn’t told to the characters or the readers. Now, though, the characters are storming the walls. They’re planning to tear them down, so I need to go see what’s happening on the other side. To get to that point, I pulled out pen and notebook. I resort to this methodology when I’m going my craziest. Pen and paper is less permanent, and more fluid and malleable. Typewritten words on screen or paper demands grammar, punctuation, and spelling be followed from years of conditioning. The notebook and pen shouts, “Scribble fight!” And off I go.

Got my coffee, and in position. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.



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