Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Counting of the Omer 5771 - Day 47 - Are We Here Yet?

The Last three episodes

For these last three nights and days I have broken up our journey to Sinai and our sacred narrative into a storyboard. For those of you unfamiliar with the term it is how some writers (professional and not), cartoonists, advertisement professionals and screenwriters, physically lay out their stories. We have taken in a lot of information over the past 46 days and it is time to bring it to the mountain. On an elevator at Cedar Sinai Friday morning as I was heading up to see my family a woman in the back clearly mimicking a much used phrase said to her contemporary Are we there yet? She was clearly no kid. So inresponse to that I am entitling these three Nights and Days


Night and Day 47 - The beginning

Once upon a time we might have had a notion of what we would do and where we would go. It might have been sidetracked or had to change but once upon a time, perhaps when we were too little to really know we had a dream, a way it would be, we began to follow that dream. Sometimes when I read books with strong character development I can see that happening and when I teach people to write episodic pieces I do that as well. As an exercise to get to that place Im suggesting you think about creating for yourself, three panels (remember storyboard) of whom you recall at the beginning. Develop those characters in your head and if you want on paper. Now define in word or drawing those characters (they need not all be human) and their surroundings. Where you lived at this point and any incidents that come to you.

An example from one of my favorite books: Please watch how it turns in the next three days. Try to note how the protagonists goals and dreams might have changed by incident external and internal. You will have trouble equating your story to his but there are similarities and his basic issues of compromise, responsibility and chance make this story an easy template. Not to mention that it should be a familiar story. It is easy to see how this story changed in history as it should be easy to see your own story retrospectively as well.

So we begin

Born to a slave family and hidden from view for fear of his certain death there was a boy who would become Moshe. There is little evidence that his future would change the history of his community but he was born with pride and perseverance and a lot of courage. The family all centered around him to protect and love him. To further protect him we can envision as this book tells us he was put in a tiny boat sealed with pitch and set to float in the Nile River. Not by chance into an area that was frequented by the daughter of the Pharaoh, or as some might even stretch to say by the bosss daughter. Rescued and brought out of his watery cradle his sister magically appeared to offer her mother as a wet nurse – to care for him as we will see her do again.

So we meet the hero of the story and the characters that formed him. We can imagine the household, the setting, the incidents that began to form the story. There are clues of family traits and the story is put into shape. At this stage of the protagonists development there is little that could be altered by him.

That is how much of the beginning of the story you should think about beginning to form.

We are not here yet!

Shavua tov! May your week begin with a strong start!

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