1+1+1 = 10
Three weeks ago, I had an awful day. It started with an unexpected $10 bill from the city, an unimportant work project got canceled, and a telemarketer called me while I was taking an evening nap. These minor issues should have had no effect, but they did.
My entire day felt like I could not catch a break. Taking a step back, it’s clear these minor issues built on themselves and resulted in enormous disappointment.
We deal with all kinds of crazy occurrences every day, and we must rise above them. Commercials pound us with body shaming, financial shaming, fuel our need to eat, and the desire for products. People put us down for no reason, and parts of our endless technology must fail. Our social interaction is verbally aggressive, complex, and unforgiving. Even our entertainment contains extreme competition where there must be a looser. IE sports.
The only way we get through our day is to put on a brave face and ignore the noise. However, that effort occasionally fails.
I find it interesting that everybody understands this concept, but writers cannot use this topic. Readers/viewers need to see the logic behind a character’s mood. Of course, it is safe to write, “A bunch of minor problems upset Bill.” The reader/viewer can fill in the blanks because they have experienced their own bad days. Yet, if the writer described a bunch of minor issues, readers would think, “Those problems do not seem too bad. Wow, Bill is a wimp.” We say this because our protective layers typically deal with a lot worse.
I enjoy exploring topics that cannot be written about, such as conspiracy theories:
It is always interesting to see the fragility in our society. This particular fault probably has several origins. The main issue is that our stories must make sense. Meaning, a character needs to have a clear motivation, and many minor issues do not make up a bad day. Society forces political correctness, which limits our topics. This means we have to all act properly and not get caught up in the little things. Readers/viewers are more knowledgeable and tougher than we used to be. So, a weak character will not persuade us. Yet, some issues get unnecessarily magnified and then vilified on social media. IE a person who throws a temper tantrum about awful coffee. 1+1+1 = 10,000!!!! Can we write a character like that? Book critics, media monsters, and readers would eat the author alive.
Should writers be able to describe a bad day resulting from minor issues and have readers/viewers accept this outcome? I suppose it would be nice, but that might mean our stories would not be as edgy and entertaining. Sadly, we have become so conditioned to accept so much bad news that we must maintain a rugged appearance. And yet, this lower boundary opens up a vast entertainment spectrum. Hmm. I might have uncovered the dynamic range of writing.

You’re the best -Bill
May 19, 2021
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