So what do we think about the new language? I’m kinda digging it.
Why it might be hard to identify with Max
- He’s dorky. He’s an asshole to his only friend (and only really friends with him because he has the hots for the kid’s mother.)
- We always bond with people when a vainglorious fantasy is contrasted with a humble reality. He imagines himself as a beloved math class hero, then wakes up to his unpopular status. It’s always easier to believe in heroes with consistent tactics: He’s told he’ll be kicked out of the school if he fails another class and his friend asks him what he’s going to do. He replies, “The only thing I can do: try to pull some strings with the administration.”
- He’s naïve, with idealistic delusions of grandeur, which can be touching. He’s getting kicked out of his beloved school. He briefly loses his bluster when he weakly asks, “Couldn’t you just let me float by, for old times’ sake?”, only to hear “Can’t do it, Max.”
- Only he claps for Mr. Bloom’s “Take down the rich kids” speech. We admire his drive: He’s part of a dozen clubs, most of which he founded or leads. He’s adorably precocious: He got into Rushmore in 2nd grade by writing a play, “a little one-act about Watergate.”
- Eat: No.
- Exercise: He’s on the track team and we see him running.
- Economic Activity: He’s disconnected from economics.
- Enjoy: He enjoys his clubs, but not wildly. He always looks a little stoic. He really enjoys the speech.
- Emulate: He wants to be Herman.
- Just the opposite: He considers himself above economics until late in the movie when he learns to respect that his father has to work for a living. (And realizes how valuable his scholarship was.)
High five a black guy:
Honestly, the difference between Connect vs Care/Commit is confusing me, in a way Believe vs Care/Invest never did. Couple things: In the Raising Arizona and Fugitive posts, the word "believe" was used in the Connect section anyway. On this post and the Selma post, the Connect section seems like a mix of Commit and Care, rather than believing in the world and characters themselves. Was Believe always supposed to be more of a "Connect" thing? Or is the info included in the section being changed to account for the different meanings of "believing" and "connecting"?
Looking back through the BCI posts from the past few weeks, it looks like the Believe section wasn't only about details that make the world literally believable (as I presently thought), since it did often include stuff that could arguably be put under "Care" or "Invest" in some fashion or another. So maybe I'm blowing hot air here. But the word "Believe" just seems intuitively distinct from Care and Invest, in a way that "Connect" is not. If the term Connect is specifically defined at the start of your book then I guess that's okay. All my personal opinion, of course.
BTW, Commit and Invest are basically synonyms here, so no big issues there (although "investing" oneself in a story/character might be slightly more intuitive than "committing" oneself. I dunno, really).
Either way, your posts are still informative and enjoyable (say something positive Joel!)
P.S. ~ If people disagree with me, I would be happy to hear that, since Connect Care Commit is very catchy.
Hmm, you're right, since I switched to the Connect language I have been switching from "believe in the reality" and more in the direction of "identify with". Is that a good thing or bad thing? Ideally, I'd do both, I think.
Joel's (excellent) comments make me think maybe there is more than one thing going on under the hood of Connect/Believe.
It's interesting that just a small change in the meaning of the "category" title would change how you analyze these openings.
Also, I "believe" that puts BCI in the lead 3-0, not counting the fact of the first book.
I also believe I put random things in quotes far too often.
It's bothering me about the Connect/Believe thing, so I had to come back to it. So, by definition, they're very different. Believe is to accept something as true, to feel sure it is true. Connect is to join or link, in this case the audience to the character.
In your book you say Believe is about the audience accepting the characters as human beings, believing they actually exist. (Side note: have you read about how our brains sort of see fictional characters in the same way as real people, hence why people sometimes get really upset, to the point of crying, when a fictional character dies? Anywho.) And you get the audience to believe with a moment of humanity. Maybe analogous to getting the audience's interest piqued but NOT forming an actual connection yet. Like a hook.
For example's sake, Han Solo may have gotten our attention at the beginning of IV with his comical vanity, willingness to kill, then smile and walk away, and ostensible love of only money -- but when did the actual connection form? Shortly after his intro, we see his financial problems with Jabba, quickly followed by his competence as a pilot evading the imperial forces, where he both seems to be Enjoying himself and Explaining how things are to Luke while escaping Imperial forces. But no connection yet, right?
Maybe connection really falls under Care. Not only has the character grabbed our interest at this point, but they've managed to hit us emotionally, and a connection is formed. With Han, I feel like this happens with his statement of philosophy about the Force, which lines up exactly with the parameters for Care. It's like with Mimetic Theory, once a character (or person) establishes a value choice, you automatically pit yourself for or against it. Pessimist vs optimist, hopeful believer vs skeptic, deist vs atheist, etc. Emotion is now involved, connection established. You've taken a side and you now care about the outcome.
I think the foundation of this is that the word connect has emotional connotations. Humans are always "forming a connection" with someone or being infuriated because their USB cord won't *connect* after flipping it a THIRD time. So Connect automatically gets muddied with Care.
And I liked Joel's take on the distinction between Invest and Commit. Invest has emotional connotations that are possibly hopeful, possibly not. You could invest in either a person or a financial affair and either come out on top or lose it all. Who knows? It's a mystery. (And where there is mystery, there's a story, no?)
Commit, on the other hand, has a few negative undertones and no real emotion. We think of a committed relationship as boring, right? Final. Or making a commitment to do something as possibly dooming ourselves to drudgery. Oof.
What I'm trying to say is, for the whole two cents my meandering opinion is worth, I think your initial choices were intuitive.
All good points! I never liked Believe enough because when we say "I believe in you", we tend to mean "I have confidence in you", not "I believe that you exist", which is how I meant it. I never liked Invest enough just because it makes my book sound like an investing book!
But you're right that now that I've changed Believe to Connect, I've been saying totally different things! Ultimately, I think believe and connect are both important and somewhat distinct, and I certainly don't want four things!
I hear what you're saying that Invest has more emotion to it than Commit. But I like how it doesn't sound like an investment book, and I like alliteration!
I'm still connecting with this new language, but I haven't committed to it yet, because I care so much about getting this right.
What about accept? One definition is a synonym for believe, and the other is to approve, say yes, etc. Both of those are things you need to do to make it to Care. And, while it doesn't start with the same letter, the hard C sound still makes the alliteration happen.
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