Continuity – The Most Complex Simple Question I’ve Been Asked

So this morning I spoke to a screenwriter about my story. In my quest to eventually have an adaptation created for viewers (since who reads evidently) these conversations, I hope, will happen more frequently in the near future. After today, though, I realize how much that even I don’t know about my own narrative.

This became evident to me after one of the first questions I was asked – “what is your story about?”

Its perhaps the most fundamental, simple question one should ask. Yet, simple as it may be, becomes so complex the more I think about it. What is my book about? When I wrote it, my head was an absolute tornado in the wake of my mom’s passing. I poured my thoughts on existentialism, religion, society, and morality into the manuscript. So many strong, deep convictions exist in me in regard to these topics. But there are more down to Earth themes in the book as well. Take my protagonist, for example. I wanted to tell a story of his progression in regard to his character – how he, over time, slowly transforms from a somewhat shallow, surface-encounter person into a strongly sentimental, sensitive and compassionate human.

Its also a love story. Not in the traditional sense, mind you. I wanted to use the romance arch to illustrate the finite nature of our existence. Throughout the story, there is a sort of impending doom in the near future for the characters. My goal was to use this to create an elevated sense of urgency, leading to them squeezing as much out of life as possible – which I hope explains how quickly Carson and Jennifer fall for each other. The Catalyst, the rock set to end humanity, creates hysteria – but ironically provides a certain degree of liberation at the same time. Emotions become elevated with the knowledge that tomorrow may never come. More importantly, all of the day to day fuss that we get so caught up on completely vanish, as the focus turns to making the most of the time we have.

I wanted to use this “end-of-world” scenario to provide a reason why the characters experience such vast shifts in their priorities and values. After all, how often do people truly think and put time into what really, really matters in life? Aren’t we all guilty of going through the motions more often than not? More importantly: why? Why do so many people so easily lose sight of the things in their lives that are most vital for a purposeful existence?

I can admit that I often overthink things. Its something that has both helped and hindered me throughout life. In hindsight, if that screenwriter were to ask me that very same question right now, my answer would be simple and concise.

Continuity is about having a purpose in life. Its about happiness, love, morality, and meaning. Its about being good.

Nothing more.

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