If you haven’t read yesterday’s post, do so now because this one picks up right where it left off…Seriously – read it here.
I don’t remember a lot about being in the fourth grade, but I do know that the first story I remember writing happened then. The story was written in first person, and I, Justin Simpson, was the narrator. The story followed me as I fought beside John Conner in the war against the machines (Terminator 2 had recently been released) and it was up to me to save mankind as a race. By the end of the story I had saved the world and was a hero to the few who had survived with me – my teacher also praised me highly for my fourth-grade masterpiece and I was shy and embarrassed for being recognized. The next year, I won third place in my grade level’s DARE essay competition. Throughout middle school, my short comics depicting my teachers as superheroes / supervillians with slick costumes and stereotypically teacher-esque, yet witty, one liners and jokes were a hit with each semester’s study hall periods. I received A’s for all of my English / Comp classes and their required essays and short stories throughout high school. Even after all of this, it took two years of college before I realized I liked writing. After that realization, I had two short stories and three poems published in various academic literary magazines, taking home second place in fiction and third in non-fiction in one particular contest. After school I have been featured in the Knoxville Metro Pulse, Cosmopolitan Magazine and Morpheus Tales Horror Magazine and was featured in the Knoxville Horror Film Festival’s Screenplay Contest (2010).
I write because (apparently) I’m pretty good at it.
Writing and filmmaking are two completely different, yet similar, mediums. Both are telling a story, both are giving you a visual within its own limits. You can show the same thing in both mediums, but how it’s shown can vary drastically. When I wrote my first full-length screenplay, I had to switch on a part of my writer’s mind that I’ve never really used before (correctly, at least). In writing fiction, I can tell you that someone is terribly afraid, or nervous because a hot girl is flirting with him – but you can’t just state those things on video (unless you’re Quentin Tarantino in which case you’re fully capable of breaking all rules and having them work for you no matter what). No, you have to instead show what that person is feeling, either through symbolism or through body language. While the results from this brainstorming session are often supremely entertaining and on a level you didn’t think you could reach, it puts video / film at a slight disadvantage if you’re not necessarily used to writing for that particular medium. If a person sees what someone is feeling, they put in less work mentally to visualize it – although it took more work on the writer’s part to make it visual. The same is true of the flipside, just in reverse. It’s funny how that works.
I write because sometimes I want you to know what someone is feeling and I’m not generous enough to let you just see it.
I do not write all of the time. Not because of “writer’s block,” because I don’t believe there is such a thing – not because I’m out of inspiration, either. Sometimes I do not write simply because I can’t. When I’m in these modes, I feel like all I’m able to do is play guitar – or paint – or draw – or illustrate something digitally – or create a website, both visually and technically. But sometimes, I can’t play guitar – or paint – or draw – or illustrate something digitally – or create a website, neither visually nor technically. It’s not creative block and I have no excuses, I simply cannot do it.
I write because sometimes it’s the only thing I know how to do.