breaking down writer’s block via Firefly.

I'm writing this blog entry to try and kick the writer's block that has been plaguing me all afternoon and evening.  I have a couple very large ideas in my head that have been screaming to get out for a couple weeks now and I'd really like to set them free.  Unfortunately, I haven't completely organized everything in my head so the connection between my fingers and actual sentence creation is sketchy at best.  Even now I find myself revising sentences multiple times in this nonsense blog entry, which is the tell tale sign I'm locked up in writer's block.  Eventually, the hope is that sentences start flowing better and I can go write what needs to be written.

Anyway, since I wasn't getting anywhere tonight I stopped for a while and stopped to watch the two-hour pilot of Firefly on DVD.  I've actually saw this episode more than a year ago when I was still living with roommates that had TV (Peter has a nice TV but we don't actually have it wired to grab signal out of the sky, so it's more of an XBox monitor) and a Tivo.  Some people had recommended I check out Firefly and so I added the show to the recording schedule.  I was impressed.

Many other people have covered just how poorly FOX handled this space western adventure.  I'm not here to add more noise to that signal.  Instead, I wanted to discuss something that I found myself enjoying my second time through the two hour pilot 'Serenity'.  There are nine characters.  Each of them are individuals with a story all their own.  In this two hour pilot, you actually get a real solid feel for the connections that exist between each character. 

Creating characters that the reader is supposed to care about is extremely difficult.  That's one of the problems that has kept me out of fiction for so long (I just use characters from reality).  On top of that, I've heard it said that there is some non-linear increase in story complexity as you add more characters.  Nine characters, even if River is not well developed, introduced in two hours is an impressive feat.  I have nothing but praise for the writers that pulled it off.

Okay, that last paragraph went fast enough, sorta'.  It's only taken me an hour to write so little.  <sigh/>  I think I'll try to go back and write all my ideas down in PowerPoint for a while now.  The bullet-point format in PowerPoint seems to help me visualize (I'm a very visual person) seems to help organize my ideas.  I also find PowerPoint is easier to move concepts around by dragging slides and cutting/pasting bullet points. 

What am I writing about?  The future, and if I get all of these ideas organized just right I truly feel that I could help shape a bit of it.

Comments (3)

  1. Adam Bell says:

    I know how you feel. I struggled to write half of a Sci Fi book years ago. I made it to the mammoth mile stone of 30K words (hey it felt mammoth to me ;-p) and then decided that I didn’t like one of the main characters because she was pretty "flat".

    I moved to Sci Fi poetry because I figured it was a pretty unique and I found it easier to get my point across!

    The best cure I’ve found for writers block is a shot of JD & coke and a white board 🙂 The problem is stopping at that one drink!

    Take it easy Rob and keep in there!



  2. You should check out the writer/director commentary on "Serenity" and on "Train Job" – they talk quite a bit about establishing character. The "Train Job" was the new, short pilot they had to write over the weekend when the original pilot got bumped. Introduce 9 characters in forty-five minutes…

  3. Imagine a blog entry where I answer the question:

Skip to main content