30 Day Writing Challenge: Break the Rules

There is nothing more fun than intentionally writing something terrible. This is a familiar exercise, and I was so happy to see it in Sara’s book. I had so much fun doing scrawling into this while I enjoyed my coffee. Recommend it for everyone.

At the bottom of the skit there are questions to ask yourself at the end of the exercise.

The Exercise: Break the Rules

The Hap’s: Write something that is supposed to be bad.

EXT. CITY STREETS – NIGHT

Something from Arcade Fire’s “Funeral” is playing, because of course it is, and our whimsical heroine, KATE, is heading down the street.

KATE (V.O.)

I’ll never forget the night I tried to break up with Dean.

She steps into a bar.

CUT TO:

INT. BAR – NIGHT

KATE (V.O.)

Who’s Dean?

Kate passes several men and women, each more stunning than the last.

KATE (V.O.)

No, not him. Not him. Not even her.

Kate finally encounters DEAN. He has pursed lips, perfect hair, perfect body, a perfect brooding expression, so dark and mysterious.

KATE (V.O.)

And there he is.

KATE

Hey — whoa!

Dean has swept up from his seat at the bar, and embraced her tightly, arms wrapped around her shoulders, and head nestled sharply against hers, lips close to her ear.

DEAN

(dramatic)

I didn’t think you’d make it.

KATE

Uhm, I mean, the school’s right up the street. A couple students stopped me on the way out today —

He separates from her, clenching his hands into her shoulders.

DEAN

What!? Who!? If they hurt you —

KATE

Totally fine. They just needed to go over their essays with me.

Dean calms.

DEAN

Oh. Well. Please.

KATE

Thanks.

She accepts the offered seat. Dean sweeps back into his seat, and takes her hands intimately within his.

DEAN

I’m glad you came.

KATE

Me too, yeah, look, we gotta talk.

DEAN

No, me first.

KATE

Uh, okay.

DEAN

There’s something you need to know about me.

KATE

I’m game.

DEAN

There’s a reason you only see me at night.

KATE

It’s not really a big deal, you know. Lots of people only come out at night.

DEAN

But most of them aren’t… vampire-werewolves.

KATE

I’m sorry, what?

DEAN

I knew you wouldn’t accept me.

KATE

Wait, no, I’m just… sorry, not everyone tells me they’re a vampire –?

DEAN

Vampire-werewolf.

KATE

Vampire-werewolf, right.

DEAN

Right. Demon.

KATE

Sure, vampire-werewolf-demon.

DEAN

Exactly.

KATE

Look, it’s fine, because… I’m the chosen one.

DEAN

Huh?

KATE

Yeah, I was born under a blood moon, and I’m all chosen-one, like, every day.

DEAN

Chosen for what?

KATE

I’m supposed to save the world from ultimate evil. I think at some point I find a magical sword in a cave. It all gets allegorical after that.

DEAN

Do people even need swords anymore?

KATE

I mean, maybe? But, like, it’s the only thing that can slay the time-traveling ghost-wizard that slayed my parents.

DEAN

I thought ghosts went, like, through people? How did he slay them?

KATE

I imagine very complicatedly.

DEAN

Sure —

KATE

So, I mean, with you being a demon-werewolf —

DEAN

Don’t forget the vampire, that’s really important.

KATE

And me being an all-powerful teacher destined to save the world with a magic sword that coincidentally is intended for the time-traveling ghost-wizard that also killed my parents in a complicated way…

DEAN

Uh-huh.

KATE

Right. I think we better you know, just call it. Our schedules will be really messed up, we’ll barely see each other. I’ll mostly likely find some mench of a guy that is dopey and unnecessarily emmasculated in some way, because god forbid I save the complete opposite of that. In any case, I mean, gender-roles in these things go both ways sometimes. It’s not always just about me being this all-powerful woman who still has to answer to some controlling, aloof pretty boy before I can — uh, hello?

DEAN

I’m sorry, I was brooding.

KATE

(sighs)

Anyway, it’s for the best that we —

DEAN

I think I see where this is going.

Dean suddenly clasps Kate to him, running his hands through her hair, pressing the side of her face against his chest.

DEAN (CONT’D)

I will protect you, Kate.

KATE

Uhm.

DEAN

From everything.

KATE

That’s okay, really.

DEAN

I’ll never let you from my sight. I’ll always ask you where you’re going. I’ll always stay by your side, and you will always stay by mine. Forever.

KATE

Okay, Dean –?

DEAN

No harm will ever come to you, because —

KATE

My face…

DEAN

— Oh, sorry. Because it was prophesized.

KATE

Prophesied.

DEAN

Right, that one.

KATE

What? Wait, what?

DEAN

Yes. I haven’t been totally forward with you. I knew you long before I offered to buy you that low-fat, low-carb, no sugar, light foam cappuccino from Starfuckers.

KATE

Uhm…

DEAN

Since you were a child I knew you were special.

KATE

Ew, how did you — ?

DEAN

The whole vampire-werewolf-

KATE

– demon thing, right.

DEAN

Right. Since you were a child, I knew you were special, and the shaman of my pack told me we were destined to be together.

KATE

So, you’ve been stalking me since show n’ tell and story-time and stuff?

DEAN

I mean, like, off and on. I’m a demon, I have needs, and you were, I dunno, 7. I’m really possessive and slightly obsessed to an unhealthy degree about you, but I have some standards.

KATE

Fair enough. Look, you’re a mediocre, gorgeous guy-puppy-hell thing, but I’m just way too… not into that at all.

DEAN

But destiny —

KATE

–is not the basis for a functional, invigorating relationship. I’m afraid you’re meant for another movie, and I am, too.

There’s a collective swoon from the bar, and all attention turns to the doors. There is a man in an overcoat (MALACHITE), flanked by cartoonishly unique individuals that appear ready to kick ass.

KATE

What the — !?

DEAN

I’ll protect you, Kate!

KATE

Okay, we just went over this —

MALACHITE

I am MALACHITE, and this is my Tribe of Tropes. We are here to pulverize you into fantastic banality, most likely with awesome CGI.

DEAN

(to KATE)

Can I protect you, like, once?

KATE

Ugh. Fine.

What rules did I break? I broke a lot of 4th wall, and littered my scene with Mary Sues. Shattering the 4th wall is a tender and specific art, and there is a time and a place. Something like a Deadpool comic or a Ferris Beuler monologue demands it, but I think the privelege cane otherwise be easily abused, much like injecting over-powered, over-intelligent characters into a blah story in the hopes that their awesome presence will somehow elevate a heavy, tired plot. I also over-loaded the short with exposition vomit.

How would you do the opposite to change the craftsmanship of the piece? If the overall short is meant to be a parody, I would probably maintain a lot of this, but if it were to be a serious piece there are a couple things I would change. The 4th wall would only be broken via Kate’s narration, something in tune with the occasional narration in “House of Cards” or “Ferris Beuler’s Day Off”.

Dean’s multiple backgrounds would be delegated to other characters, trading in his all-powerfulness for urban fantasty world-building. Kate’s role as a teacher would ultimately reflect her own passage into being a “chosen one”, a process she would ultimately need to study, learn, and discover discipline within. The idea of a “chosen one”, in this case, wouldn’t be about how awesome Kate is, but would be a way to convey a personal message about how awesome and incredible teachers are!

Instead of Kate and Dean relying on each other and controlling each other, they would balance each other. Their superficiality would be sacrificed, replaced instead with a process that most new couples go through together; learning each others quirks, fears, strengths, desires, and doubts. Then again, Kate says that destiny is no way to build a functional relationship, which I think would be something I would keep in the piece going forward, whether or not the item is up for parody or not. The idea of two characters not succumbing to the idea of destiny is attractive to me, because when the “destiny” card gets played in films, the relationship often loses credibility to me. Do the characters even want to be together? Are they in love with the idea of destiny more than with that person’s nuances and overall personality? So, there would have to be a lot of tinkering here, is what I’m getting at, but man, what fun.

Then, of course, there are the hunters of this weird monster-man and this divine woman. The two characters are already complete juxtapositions, coming from both two different sides of the track, so who are these guys, and which of the two would they have interest in? Maybe there are multiple groups that would be happy to be rid of the two characters, who ultimately shouldn’t be together. Does Dean’s own people turn on him? Do those on Kate’s side try to punish her for allying with a monster? Or is she simply shunned, and isolated?

To completely paraphrase something Tarantino once said: “There is no such thing as a “bad” movie”, so learn from the things that make you roll your eyes and go UGH, instead of simply dismissing them. Ultimately, that experience can be just as fulfilling as its opposite.

Advertisements

About ourladywar

I love food and I love games. When I'm not stuffing my face or throwing my controller against the wall, I work as a full-time line chef. I am also trying to launch my own catering company. Otherwise? I act and I write to make sure the hobbies get their due. Thanks for checking me out!
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s