Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Imposing Structure part 5: Moving through Space

So last week we explored how your story unfolds in time. This week we're going to talk about how your story can be inspired by the space. No I don't mean location I mean actual space. The space that the characters have to live in. These characters are actual living, breathing, people that walk around, touch things, and interact with their environment. So what environment are you giving them to live in? Here are some things you need to think about...

1. Hostile Environments

Is the space that the characters have to live in hostile to them? Are they in physical danger here? Is this a place where you have to adapt to survive? Or is this just a space that doesn't seem fit for them. Do they constantly have to stoop because they're too tall. Are they in a wheelchair and the space has stairs and no elevators? Hostile Environments are not fit for the characters to live in.

2. Trouble in Paradise

This space is just perfect for the characters. Everything is put just right (or so they think). A character at peace is kind of boring but knowing what their perfect space is means that you know your character well enough. Why do they love this room and what struggles do they have to endure outside it that make it so wonderful.

3. Within Walking Distance

Very often we just cut to a new scene in a different location without thinking about how long it took the characters to get there. One of the oldest rules in theatre (one of the rules set down by Aristotle) was that action could only take place in a location that a character could reach in a 24 hour period. Actually walk through the moments of your play like a character doing this in real time. Can they literally get everywhere they need to go in one day? Are they winded when they get there? What kind of journey was it like?

4. Strange Space

Is this a space that your characters have never been to before? Is it constantly giving them clues? Do they have to explore it? Do they have to wonder why they are there? Have they been summoned? Have they just stumbled by?

5. Common Space Made Strange

It's a space that we see everyday. It's a place so public or so commonplace to us that we would never give it a second glance...until some thing strange, weird, brutal, devastating, etc. happens there. How do we view it now? What new perspective do we have for these places, how do we look at them differently after that? How do your characters behave in this space afterwards?

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