Quote Of The Week #3 - February 16th 2019
About Albert Einstein
Einstein is possibly one of the best known names and faces in the physics world, having penned over 300 papers.
However, few people remember that he started his career as a patent clerk, was a self-taught violinist, that he was critical of capitalism, or that he is reported to have said that his biggest mistake in life was recommending that President Roosevelt develop the atomic bomb.
Despite being best known for his theories of relativity and special relativity, it’s probably his humanitarian works that stand out. He persuaded the British government to help place Jewish scientists from 1930’s Nazi Germany in English universities, campaigned for civil rights for African Americans and even helped found the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
But because of his ideas of a democratic global government and socialism, by the time of his death the FBI had amassed a dossier on him of over 1400 pages.
Simplifying The Complex Concept
There are times as a writer that I come up with ideas for stories, but I can’t simplify the idea enough to get it out of my head and onto paper.
This is particularly true when I’m creating the “story concept” – that attempt to sum up the essence of the story in a single sentence. I’m even worse at it when trying to sum up my characters.
But it’s an important skill to be able to simplify things.
Why? Because not everyone has the same level of knowledge about every topic. And that’s important because people specialize, and that’s how we discover new things, and push the boundaries of what is possible.
Hang On... Isn't That Adding To The Complexity?
To be fair the answer is both Yes AND No…
When I’m creating a character I have to decide all kinds of information about them.
- What do they look like?
- How do they dress?
- What are their mannerisms?
- Who do they know?
- What was their childhood like?
- What’s their current situation?
That’s a ton of complexity. But they help inform the answer to the most important question “Who is this person?”
Because I know all those details, I can use them to decide how best to describe that person to someone else.
Take Richard Parsons For Example...
Richard Parsons is the main character in “Under A Hunter’s Moon”, “The Lupine’s Call” and “Of Wolves & Men” (my current writing project).
Take a look at his character profile page for a moment, and then come back here.
So that’s a ton of information. But do you know how I describe him to potential readers?
“Richard Parsons is a shapeshifter who’s drinking habits have led to a criminal record, and being blackmailed into working with the Supernatural TaskForce.”
It's Not As Easy As It Looks... Try It Yourself!
- Pick any character or story
- Try to summarize the most important points in one or two sentences.
- Then drop your results in the comments below.
- Bonus points if you can summarize without naming the character or story, so the rest of us can try and guess.