Monday, September 14, 2009

I'm a Sucker for a Happy Ending

TEASER: I've got a very special interview I'll be posting with a very special someone soon. Hint: She's written a WONDERFUL book you've probably heard of. Stay tuned...

I watched part of the MTV's VMA awards last night and was struck by something. There are people with class who are all about being grateful and gracious, and there are people who are self-centered and evil.

Even if you didn't see it, you've probably heard about how Kanye West, in a drunken rage, stole Taylor Swift's much-deserved moment in the spotlight. He literally grabbed the mic out of her hand and proceeded to tell Taylor and The World that Beyonce was the one who deserved the award. And maybe you also heard how Beyonce, a woman strikingly beautiful both inside and out, gave up her moment of glory in order to allow Taylor the moment she was viciously denied.

This whole scenario could be broken down into a great, yet fairly simple, story outline: Good girl wins, Bad guy steals her glory, Second good girl restores 1st girl's limelight.

But this was so much more than a two-dimensional story line. It was real life happening in real time before millions of people. What I find fascinating as a writer are the motivations behind the actions. What motivates people to act certain ways in certain circumstances? How does a teenager deal with an extreme high and extreme low within moments on national TV? It reminded me of the prom scene in "Carrie" where Carrie is crowned Prom Queen only to have blood spilled all over her causing utter humiliation and devastation, thereby destroying her greatest moment. Thankfully, Taylor is all about class and composure and didn't turn into a crazed killer like Sissy Spacek, although no one would have blamed her if she gave Kanye a SWIFT kick in his package right then and there!

Fortunately, Taylor isn't the violent type and she wasn't humiliated. Kanye was. Or, at least, he should have been. Why? Because his motivation was spurred by narcissism and alcohol. How dare he take such a well-deserved moment away from someone else? What gave him the right? What could possibly motivate someone to perform such a hateful, selfish act in a public venue? (Or any venue, for that matter.) And Beyonce - her beauty radiating to the heavens - gladly and purposefully handed Taylor back her moment of glory. Why? Because, as she stated, she knows what it's like to be 17 and receive an award like that in front of peers and fans. She wasn't about to let Taylor's moment slip away. She is an angel in human's clothing.

What motivates your characters? Are they selfish, narcissistic, kind, generous, sneaky, nurturing? Do they have different motivations with different people? They should. People are complex. We have many sides, personality traits, and motivations. Remember this as you write. Make your characters three-dimensional, not two. Give that angst-filled teenager a sweet moment with her mom. Have the always generous neighbor make a shallow comment about someone's rickety fence. But, make sure it's genuine for the character. Aren't we all complicated creatures? Of course, we are! Make sure your characters are, too.

As a writer, the human drama unfolding on TV last night was compelling. As a human, it was beautiful, distressing, and then beautiful once again. Thank you, Beyonce. I'm a sucker for a happy ending.

Also, Happy B-Day to one of my bestest friends in the whole, wide world. You know who you are. Give yourself a hug from me.;-)

41 comments:

WendyCinNYC said...

I only watched the video clips after the show, but WOW. What a jerk. It was quite the weekend for rude behavior, I guess.

Beth said...

I watched the clips this morning. Beyonce showed classiness, Swift showed grace under pressure, and West just showed what an incredible dick he is. I hope I exhibit much more of the two former behaviors than the latter.

DebraLSchubert said...

Wendy, It was amazing. Did you encounter more rude behavior?

DebraLSchubert said...

Beth, I'm hoping for that as well! Although, sometimes...

Lazy Writer said...

I hadn't heard anything about this. I guess I'll have to go find a video clip to watch. I love Taylor Swift. She's such a sweetheart, and no way does she deserve that kind of treatment.

DebraLSchubert said...

Susan, It's probably all you'll be hearing about for the next few days. You know how the media is. They love a good fight!

The Peach Tart said...

I didn't watch the awards but saw it on The Today Show this morning. Kanya continues to show what a punk he is. Luckily the two beautiful and talented ladies didn't let it ruin their night.

T. Anne said...

Life is filled with rotten apples. Or at least at times it feels like it. Did Beyonce present her with an award later? I guess I'll have to watch to see.

DebraLSchubert said...

Deborah, Yeah, Kanye was a real dough-head. Fortunately, the ladies stayed classy.;-)

DebraLSchubert said...

T. Anne, When Beyonce won an award, she stepped aside and gave the stage to Taylor. It was a beautiful thing.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I didn't know about this! That's nuts. But very classy of Beyonce. She must have been so embarrassed! I'm glad the story had a happy ending. Taylor Swift is so young to have to have gone through that kind of scene.

Elizabeth
Mystery Writing is Murder

DebraLSchubert said...

Elizabeth, It's times like that when people's true colors shine through. Two out of the three of them shined like diamonds.;-)

Michelle Wells Grant said...

Thank you for calling him out on your blog! Me thinks his career will soon be fading, as people have had enough of his tremendous ego and yes! narcissistic behavior. You may already be familiar with the 9 enneagrams/personality profiles. Each of us falls into one of them and that enneagram predicts how we respond to things like fear, stress, rejection, etc. Great book for writers to create consistent characters: The Literary Enneagram by Judith Searle. Wouldn't be hard to figure out what category Kanye falls into .... that of major asshole. Great post! Thank you!

Karen Walker said...

Gee, I'm glad I've been media disconnected for a few days. This sounds positively hateful, but I'm glad the ladies came through.
karen

DebraLSchubert said...

Michelle, The incident was too much to ignore, plus I saw it as a great opportunity to tie it into writing. I've not heard of The Literary Enneagram by Judith Searle - I'll have to check it out!

DebraLSchubert said...

Karen, Being "media-disconnected" can sometimes be the most brilliant thing one can do. But, welcome back!

Jennifer Parker said...

Hi Debra-- great post! as you know you were the one who informed me of the Kanye debacle last night.

I have an award for you on my blog, come and check it out! www.jlparker.net

DebraLSchubert said...

Jennifer, Yay! Blog Bling! You are WAY too kind!!! I'm glad I got to be the one to tell you about the whole VMA mess. After all, Beyonce, Taylor, and I are like this (wraps pointer and middle finger together). How dare that big, bad, Kanye try to ruin their night! Okay, heading over to your place now.;-)

Regina Milton said...

Yes, Kanye disgraced his "good" name last night but Beyonce and Taylor both earned some respect and I'm sure some more fans.

This was a great reminder to make our characters more complex. It is human nature to have moments that are like "did so and so just say that? that is so unlike them".

Those moments end up making sense in the end.

Barbara said...

Debra, We're on the same page today.:p) This wave of nastiness seems to have brought everyone's heads up for a moment. BBBC. Bad Behavior By Celebrity. And did Kanye get escorted out as any other disrupter storming the stage would have? No. Arghh. Maybe that might have gotten his attention. Then again, maybe not.
Thanks for following me, Debra! I'm so happy I found your blog, too!

Big Mark 243 said...

I only saw the clips of what he did here, but I mentioned how he was guilty of acting just as reprehensible at the BRITISH Grammy awards a few years ago.

What it says is how society continues to reward the amoral. It was very representative of the broader spectrum of society. I wonder how much more different is the character of Kanye West from Bernie Madoff ... from the Galido cat on the west coast? I will bet that their brains have startling similiarities.

But that is me ... I bring all kinds of different stuff together and it makes sense in my head!

DebraLSchubert said...

Mark, I love your comparison of KW to BM. Brilliant, really. You're right. Why on earth is this guy invited back to events like this when he's already got a track record of being a complete creep? Could you imagine what would have happened to a "lay person" if they'd done something like that? They would have been thrown to the wolves. KW probably had ten body guards escort him out. Ugh!

Sugar Creek Beads said...

I always thought Beyonce was a classy and caring woman and this just proved it to me. What a rude, rude man he was. Jeanne

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Have not seen the clips or anything, but thanks for the synopsis. Sounds like the ladies both showed class :o)

Jemi Fraser said...

Great post, Debra. I just heard about the incident from my daughter. I got teary-eyed :) Very proud of how Taylor and Beyonce both handled the moment. Hope that sends a message to all the young kids who were watching.

Kasie West said...

I sort of heard bits and pieces of the Taylor/Kanye debacle. But wow, I like the way you played it out here. It's so true how you related it to writing as well.

Mandy's Life After 30 said...

Debra, this is the BEST post I've read about this incident today. It gave me so much to think about.

We're all flawed in some way but most of us have some class. I've acted like a douche-bag before but not quite like that and certainly not in a situation where the world can play it over and over again for all to see and scrutinize.

I will definitely keep this scenario in mind as I create characters. Love them, hate them and root for them, our characters form the greatest fan base (or hate clubs) that exists.

Who would've thought this real-life soap opera would've played out like that for millions to see? Maybe that's where Kanye will end up next - on a badly written Spanish soap opera or maybe singing songs about getting reamed in the @ss in prison....one can hope.... ;-)

Pen Pen said...

He's lucky I wasn't there to punch him! I hope he fun hanging out with Brutus and the 9/11 hyjackers in HELL!!
...I feel bad for his bald, snake skinned girlfriend too.

Pen Pen said...

Oh! and my mom was watching with me and she was like, "WHO is that?! ...Kanye West?! His name should be Kanye PEST!"
It was too funny!! :)

DebraLSchubert said...

Regina, Thanks for stopping by! You've got a great blog going, btw. Yeah, he definitely did himself in last night, although I've heard he's been a creep in public before and gotten away with it. Some people never learn...

DebraLSchubert said...

Barbara, You're right. Any "lay person" would have been tarred and feathered. But Prince Kanye was escorted out by a bevy of body guards. Fair? I think not!

DebraLSchubert said...

SCB, Yup, Beyonce's got her act together in more ways than one. She is a classy, beautiful lady.

DebraLSchubert said...

Ken, It was amazing to watch. It was so horrific you wondered if it was scripted. But, no. Kanye is a jerk all of his own accord. I hope he feels some negative repercussions from this, but in the music biz you never know...

DebraLSchubert said...

Jemi, "Very proud of how Taylor and Beyonce both handled the moment. Hope that sends a message to all the young kids who were watching." I hope so, too!

DebraLSchubert said...

Kasie, Thanks. Coming from you, that means a lot.;-)

DebraLSchubert said...

Mandy, Wow! What a compliment! I'm glad you enjoyed this post. I figured it would be useful to glean some pearls of wisdom from the drama. If it helps us improve our writing, then some good has come from it.;-)

DebraLSchubert said...

PenPen, I thought of you last night. Thank God Katy wasn't involved, or you may have committed homicide. And, although I write murder mysteries, I wouldn't want to write one with you in it!;-)

Ronda's Rants said...

I love it when girls win over stupid boys! :)

DebraLSchubert said...

Ronda, Thankfully not all boys are alcoholic megalomaniacs. (But it is fun when the girls win!)

Kelly said...

Kanye is a tool.
And Taylor is a kid (and a sweet kid) for pete's sake! An adult to humiliate a child like that...what a jerk.
I adore Beyonce even more now!

Kelly H-Y said...

Perfectly stated!!!

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