Change the Medium

There is a beautiful but deeply sad scene in “The Vampire Lestat” where Nicholas tries to learn to play the violin. Sad, because he started so late in his life with it, he can never achieve the dexterity necessary to play it well. That is, until he is bitten by Lestat and is turned into a vampire.

I think his situation before being bitten is a fitting analogy to all those people who have countless works of art in their minds but cannot realize them. Perhaps they see paintings but cannot draw. Perhaps they listen to their own music but cannot play. Perhaps they see stories in their minds like watching movie reels but they cannot tell them, because they cannot write a book and they find no-one to listen to them. They are cursed with great works of art they cannot realize unless a miracle happens (if you can being bitten that). But a miracle is not necessarily needed.

Sometimes all that is needed is a change in the medium itself — and not in the person who is trying to perform that work of art.

Some people try to sing until they realize that they are better songwriters than singers. Others, like a character in “The Wrong Boy”, try in vain to find the instrument that gives their hidden melodies a voice, until they realize that they could have sung the tunes all the time. Others struggle with painting until they realize that they can better use their eye for colors for interior decoration, where the left hand for the paintbrush is no disadvantage.

Personally, I like writing stories in the form of short stories and novels, but I found that sometimes I cannot write down what I see behind my eyes. At least, not as short stories or novels. But I can write down what happens in that mind movie in the form of a movie script. This makes sense. It is a story, a movie, that I see behind my eyes, and how best to capture it than to write down what happens as a script.

I found this out accidentally when I played around with Scrivener and stumbled over the “Scriptwriting” Mode (in the “Text” menu). It gives you a document where the Enter key and the Tab key trigger different formatting as needed for script writing. It takes a few moments of getting used to it, but with the explanation in the footer bar, which describes the current formatting and the types of formatting triggered by either Tab or Enter (e.g., Scene Heading, Action, Character, Parenthetical, Dialogue, Transition, Shot, General Text, and General Text (Centered)) you can get quickly into writing this way.


So, instead of being cursed to have stories in my mind I cannot tell, I jot them down as scripts and not as short stories or novels. Perhaps I turn them into short stories or novels one day. The good thing about these scripts is that they perfectly capture the movie I saw in my head. But perhaps not. But it is better than just letting them vanish into nothing and never having even the tiniest chance to realize them.

After all, few people are happy enough to be bitten by friend, gaining the skill in an instant, and then happily slaughtering an audience of gypsies as refreshment after the first act. 😉

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