Loved this :)
On the face of it, the show’s popularity makes no sense. 1912? What was happening in 1912? Oh yeah, the Titanic, but what else?
Why is Downton Abbey getting such incredible reviews? Why has it won six Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe? Why has it become the best-selling DVD box set on Amazon?
In a word, it’s story. Downton Abbey is packed full of story.
And what does “story” mean, precisely?
Story is characters in conflict. Characters with impossible dreams. Characters willing to do anything to reach their dreams.
Let’s look at the characters of Downton Abbey and their impossible dreams.
This past weekend, I had the incredible privilege of attending the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Conference. The workshops were fantastic, the attendees even more so. But the lessons I came away with were more about life than craft:
1. As I hinted during my last post, I love My Little Pony (Semi-embarrassing thing #1). There. It’s out. *Covers face and speaks through hands* And I love The Last Airbender (the cartoon!) The Legend of Korra included. And H2O. And all frosting. Especially straight out of the can (but none of the light fluffy crap. That’s sugared air. It doesn’t count).
You might not want to be my friend because I like My Little Pony. That’s okay, I understand, because somewhere along the journey of my life, I was told liking these things wasn’t good. For a long time, I believed the lie and treasured my loves in secret. But we do the world a disservice when we hide part of ourselves.
I don’t need to hide the nuances that make me me.
We can do the same with writing.
Despite hours languishing in front of the keyboard, intense word sprints, or writing exercises, another way to exercise the writing muscles is to participate in another form of creative activity.
But how can creative cross-training be helpful?
By training your brain to function in ways also applicable to writing:
“Sarah, are you okay?” Mr. Davenport stopped her at the doorway, trig textbook in hand. “You didn’t answer questions eleven through fifteen on your quiz last Monday. I hope you didn’t skip over answers on this week’s quiz.”
“I didn’t feel very good.” Her chest had grown tight that day. The numbers blurred in front of her face, little animated Star Wars figures chasing each other round and round the page.
“The math-bowl is next week, and we need you at your best. We wouldn’t want to miss our chance for a fourth state-championship. We’re counting on you for another win.”
“Yes, sir. I’ll be ready.” She shuffled her backpack and pushed past him toward English.
What if she wasn’t ready? What if all she saw were more Star Wars figures? The hairs on the back of her neck rose. Think about it later, not now.
I’m experimenting with putting up poetry instead of fiction today (obviously). Feel free to riot as you please.
I wrote this after a boring lunch meeting in Breckenridge, CO. Beautiful place. And they have great burgers for a ski town. A child wandered around outside in a princess dress. I thought, This lunch would be much more interesting if everyone wore costumes. And, I want to be Tinker Bell.
I don’t remember if there was an actual swing. Just the princess dress. Anyway, that’s the backstory: