Help developing certain character storylines

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Jody Barsch*
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Help developing certain character storylines

Post by Jody Barsch* » Nov 22nd 2003, 4:32 pm

I have six episodes started, some are near the halfway mark, others are a little less than that, but I am finding that I am most comfortable creating storylines for Jordan and Angela, and Brian only in relation to Angela. I love Graham and Patty as characters, but still find it difficult to continue their individual stories, and to capture their moments of passing dialogue -- such as their conversations about Yoko, Chelsea Clinton and Ru Paul. I do have a few scenes between them an several interacting with Angela... (In short, I feel comfortable with the actual dialogue, and staying faithful to the series and the characters, but am not sure where to ealistically take some of them.)

So, maybe this question can't and/or shouldn't be answered, but I was wondering if anyone could suggest storylines for characters that they would like to see written but were not going to pursue themselves.

Some decisions I have made:
#20, which is a family weekend visiting relatives, starts a week after the letter, we never see a conversation about it, either with Jordan or Brian. Angela is with Jordan, but feels a little awkward for a while. The usher who Angela kissed at the wedding ("Dancing in the dark') makes an appearance, advising Angela about her situation.
For the first few episodes Brian and Angela either avoid each other or are very distant.
#21(There is not a lot to this one yet) Jordan and Angela have their final conversation about him and Rayanne (and Tino) before she puts it behind them. Our Town is performed. The sex issue arises again, but with less pressure. Jordan and Brian share a quick sex conversation about not getting any.
#22 Mr. Katimpsky is asked to resign because of having a student live with him (I have written the dialogue between him and the principal, and the initial dialogue between him and his partner, bur have not take it further yet – I do not want it to turn into a sensationalized melodrama).
Jordan's father begins abusing him again—he confides momentarily in Rickie and withdraws from Angela. Rayanne and Cynthia both give Angela advice. It is made clear (as if “In Dreams” didn’t make it clear enough, that nothing will ever happen between Graham and Hally – or Graham and any “other” woman.
#23 More between Jordan and Angela, playful, moving more towards sex, but n pressure “waiting” – I definitely need other storylines in this one
#24 –have not touched (I just know that there has to be an episode in between what happens in 23 and what happens in 25. I need an episode on Sharon, Rayanne, Rickie, and Brian – NO Jordan.
# 25 Angela is thinking about Rayanne, but does not see a way to be friends again. In a weekend away Rayanne and Jordan get locked in a storage room together (an act of Tino’s), Angela gets drunk with friends. Angela asks Jordan about Jody Barsh, he begins to tell her but Angela interrupts to finally admit she misses Rayanne.
In #26 Jordan and Angela do finally have sex. There are some scenes with Residue (we explore the significance of that name as a greater theme of the show). Rayanne and Angela kind of slip back into the beginnings of a friendship.

OK, so I guess that is a basic outline for what I have so far. I definitely need to develop the storylines of the other characters now. (I don’t want to go anywhere with Cory, and probably not Delia either (although she and Rickie holding hands at the end of “In Dreams” may have been a indicator that she would become a bigger part of the show…)
One storyline I do need help with is a fight/disagreement between Graham and Patty in #22. I do not want it to be about jealousy or the fact that Patty is suspicious of something. It also needs to be something important enough to upset patty, and leave them both feeling isolated, but something that can pretty much be resolved within one episode. Graham needs to be the one at fault – I had thought about making it about her parents, but it seemed forced and repetitive. Any ideas for this one?

I understand that the little I have given you may make it difficult to respond.

Maybe I should just post some of what I have so far, or send it to the Beta Readers but I stupidly wanted to have at least a complete draft before I had someone read them.
Thank you for any help, and I hope at least these beginning outlines sound faithful to the show.
Last edited by Jody Barsch* on Apr 23rd 2006, 2:14 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by Jody Barsch* » Dec 4th 2003, 11:45 pm

I guess when I posted this I knew it would be difficult to respond to. So, assuming that no one out there is just spending a really long time preparing a very thoughtful response :wink: , I'll try this again (probably just as likely to receive no replies): Anyone interested in reading what I have so far? I would be happy to email it to you. OR, another shot in the dark, anyone want to try a collaborative effort?
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Post by grim4746 » Dec 5th 2003, 1:47 am

I think it's great that you are developing works of fanfiction and hope that it goes well. I'd have replied earlier as I'm always interested in MSCL fanfiction, I'm just not sure that I'd have anything to add to your vision of MSCL. There were several things that you envision that I have a lot of trouble accepting.
Jody Barsch* wrote:Jordan and Angela have their final conversation about him and Rayanne (and Tino) before she puts it behind them.
I find it hard to believe that Angela would be able to fully put this behind her after so quickly and I think the audience would need to see some real developments between Angela and Jordan before it would be believable that they have moved passed the Rayanne incident. And for me personally I've always been troubled be the idea of Jordan having sex with Rayanne being a catalyst for him and Angela getting together. Yuk! but I do realize that the show itself was going in that direction.
Jody Barsch* wrote:Jordan's father begins abusing him again
I find this hard to believe given that the reason Jordan's father stopped abusing him was that Jordan began to fight back.
Jody Barsch* wrote:It is made clear (as if “In Dreams” didn’t make it clear enough, that nothing will ever happen between Graham and Hally – or Graham and any “other” woman.
here we have a totally different take on things. i've always seen the Hallie/Graham scene near the end of "in dreams..." as another indicator that there was major chemistry between the two and that the more time they spent together the more likely it would be that Graham would give in and cheat on Patty.

I'd like to read what you have so far though. maybe having more of the story will help persuade me to see things your way. Perhaps your storytelling will ease me into accepting that Angela could put the betrayal behind her more easily than I imagine. And as for Jordan's abuse, possibly Jordan has developed some sort of self-loathing or depression and no longer has the capability to fight back against his father, leaving him once again vulnerable to abuse (or some other explanation). I don't know what would change my mind about Graham and Hallie but I'm certainly open to being convinced that he's not the cheater in the making I've always taken him for. Differences of opinion or not, I'd like to read what you've written. Please email it to me at blindmonkey@canoemail.com

I do like the idea of ep 20 being away from the usual action and I'm glad you are making some use of Cynthia. She is so much fun; possibly my favorite minor character. And I think it makes sense that Jordan and Anglea would have ended up having sex and am curious about how you will lead them to that point.

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Post by Jody Barsch* » Dec 6th 2003, 1:47 am

Thank you for your very thoughtful response, I appreciate your time and input. You raise very good points that force me to look at my plotlines with a much more critical eye, that being the exact reason I am seeking other’s perspectives.

Just this morning I took my laptop in to be looked at, and unfortunately the episodes are saved on that hard drive, and I may not get it back for another week. I would, however, like to try to address your three initial concerns now...

In regards to Jordan and Angela:
In my opinion, in “In Dreams,” Angela, even though she really wanted a full explanation and a “serious talk,” was willing to move past it and forgive Jordan when she was under the impression that he had written the letter.
It has always been my stance that (as far as Jordan and Angela are concerned - leaving Brian out of it for now) it really doesn’t matter that Jordan did not actually write the letter but that he was willing to give it to Angela and have her know that those were his feelings. The fact that Jordan did not think of and write the words should not detract from him actually being able to let Angela know how he feels. In earlier episodes he wasn’t able to be seen with her in public, and in “In Dreams” he didn’t know how to tell Angela Chase that he is sorry, but with Brian’s help Jordan is able to tell her that he’ll always be sorry until the day he dies. One might argue that he is telling Angela anything she wants to hear, “It’s like she’s starved for it,” but even with the possibility that Brian wrote more than Jordan would have if he could have found the words, Jordan wants Angela to know that he is sorry and that he loves her, he is ready to take responsibility for what the letter promises.
Also, Jordan does not know how Brian feels about Angela, and therefore to Jordan, using Brian’s words to help him communicate his feelings to Angela is just the same as using Shakespeare’s words to help him realize and identify his feelings for Angela.
I am not terribly concerned that it was the letter that got them together, and therefore am not very interested in writing a scene in which Angela confronts Jordan about it. I don’t know, maybe she would have, but I can’t imagine how that would work. I read someone’s (I do not remember who’s) idea for episode #20 in which Angela and Jordan drive away from Brian and then sit silently in the car, not talking or touching, just terribly awkward and quiet. I really like that idea, it seems very real honest, however, the in the drafts I have so far, I have opted to omit this scene-- Angela doesn’t say anything to Jordan that night, and in the days after she is with Jordan, but unsure about it and avoiding the situation with Brian, a period of limbo for her. As to not liking that it was Jordan sleeping with Rayanne that prompted Angela and Jordan to get back together, in a way it was, but not entirely. In “Pressure” Jordan’s “see you tomorrow” indicates that Jordan still cares about Angela and wants her in his life, in “Resolutions” Jordan speaks with discontent about Angela “just [being] a friend, or whatever,” in between “Life of Brian” and “Self-Esteem” Jordan decides that he does want to be with Angela, and I argue that after Jordan makes the decision to actively pursue Angela, incited by the sonnet, he never changes his mind, he is interested in her. We see this too in “Betrayal,” he watches her in the hall with Corey, he asks Rayanne about her, gets drunk seemingly because he is upset about Angela, and he is clearly thinking about Angela when he sleeps with Rayanne. Jordan definitely had been interested in Angela, but she got over him. Having sex with someone he doesn’t care about made it even more clear to Jordan that he wants to be with Angela, but it is not like sleeping with Rayanne made him suddenly remember Angela. As for Angela, she believed she was over Jordan, but the news forces her to realize that she is not (sure something as small as Jordan leaning against a locker may have been enough to remind Angela that she isn’t over Jordan, but still...). I’m not really bothered by the fact that the “betrayal” acts as a catalyst for bringing Jordan and Angela together, and it just seems that it is something they have to get over if they are going to have a future. Yes Angela wants an explanation, but really there is none. (This is familiar territory for me, needing an answer or explanation from my boyfriend [now ex] for his thoughtless and sometimes hurtful treatment of me, but there is none...) what can he really say? It did, as Rayanne explains, “just happen,” no forethought no malice, Jordan regrets it and apologizes, but what else can he say, I think that Angela has to see this and let it go if she decides to stay with Jordan. Maybe it isn’t in her best interest to be with Jordan, but in “In Dreams” she was willing to forgive him; while Angela is a strong person in many ways, and has stood up to Jordan on occasion, namely in “Self-Esteem,” I do not see her as totally capable of staying away from Jordan, even if she does stand to be hurt again. I hope in the scripts it does not see like I am rushing them into a steady relationship, although now I am second guessing myself and wish I had them to go back and read. The relationship that I see taking a long time to repair is that between Angela and Rayanne, this is where I see the real betrayal, and therefore more hurt to recover from, and also (while this may seem cynical), Rayanne does not have the same power over Angela that Jordan does (“why does he have this power over me?”) (-- Rayanne’s influence diminished in “Other People’s Mothers”), and thus there is less drive prompting Angela reconcile with Rayanne. The distance between Angela and Rayanne is so real-- they cannot really avoid one another, nor can they act as complete enemies, they do have limited interaction after their initial confrontation backstage in “Betrayal”: onstage in “Betrayal”, all of “Weekend,” but especially when Rayanne asks for a jar and when Angela asks for the key, and in “In Dreams” when Rayanne is saying that Amber’s dream is to have a daughter in the school play, Angela responds, “oh really?” before she walks away dejected. I am really interested in these kinds of exchanges, also those secret feelings of missing the friend you are supposed to hate, and growing tired of hating, or even caring about the conflict, and focusing on the person, but not knowing how or where to begin again. I do have Angela and Rayanne having a personal conversation about Jordan before they make up, (and I do not show how the conversation started) and I have a feeling that many readers will feel that this is out of place, however I feel that it is very real-- we do not stop knowing everything about our friends when we stop being friends, and sometimes enemy lines are flexible, we awkwardly step into a kind of liminal space only to return to the way things were before.

As for Jordan and his dad, I am aware that his father has not hit him in several years because, as Jordan sees it, “he’s too scared, because the last time, [he] threw a chair at him,” and I imagine their relationship to be detached and based on a kind of mutual neglect, however from my experience, an abuser does not just lose those tendencies when his target grows up, their is always the potential that the abuse will begin again, though not necessarily in the same manner as before. As you will find, the abuse itself is not the story, we do not see it occur, we do not see Jordan’s father, we hardly even hear Jordan mention it, and then in a vary vague way. By bringing up this storyline, I wanted us to see Jordan as a character independent of the Angela-love storyline that so many fan fictions (including mine) seem to exploit. I guess I wanted to explore what this would do to him: lower self-esteem, make him detach from people around him, disengage with school, it also ties into that entire episode as one in which the characters feel isolated from each other. Your commentary has made clear to me that: 1) I may have to provide context for what has given rise to this new abuse, 2) that I need to resolve it-- as it is now the episode ends with Angela trying to be there for Jordan without trying to fix or understand or control what is happening, but I never saw it reappearing in another chapter, and I REALLY want to avoid that sit-com formula of resolving everything in one episode. I feel fairly confident that I am not sensationalizing abuse for a story, but do recognize the real need of a context and some sort of follow-up in order to make it believable.
Hallie and Graham, I do not deny that there is definite chemistry between Hallie and Graham, an attraction that they both feel, however, I do argue that when Graham leaves Hallie in the restaurant alone, that is the last time he will allow himself to be tempted. Graham was jealous of Tony Poole, and he is glad. I am convinced that Graham will not cheat on Patty (see Angela’s World on this topic for the arguments behind this reading).

Thank you again for your help.
I will email the episodes (if you can call these partially started jumpy scripts episodes) sometime next week.
(By the way I love your avatar picture!)
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Post by grim4746 » Dec 6th 2003, 10:13 pm

I agree with your opinions about the letter, well mostly anyway. I
don't think it matters that much, at least to Angela, that Jordan
didn't actually write it because she did or soon would have believed
that Jordan felt the things expressed in the letter and wanted her to
know about it. He is making a sincere though misguided effort to make
amends for the way he has acted. I would fully expect Angela to
forgive him and continue with their relationship. When I think of
Anglea putting the incident behind them for good I imagine that it
would be something she no longer thinks about and is not an issue at
all in their relationship. It is that which I consider to be very
unlikely. Now that I'm writing this though I'm not sure why I've
formed such an extreme interpretation of what you meant by putting it
totally behind them so maybe we agree but I'll keep going anyway. I
don't see how him sleeping with her 'best' friend could
fail to cause her to distrust him in spite of his sincere apology. I
believe she would get back together with him and work on forgiving him
but I don't think that willing the incident into the past would work
so easily. I think it would come to mind quite often and continue to
be something she struggles with. I wouldn't really have any interest
(nor would anyone else I suspect) in reading fanfiction that has
Angela obsessing over the incident while trying to move on with
Jordan. I think somewhere in between "totally behind them" and
"totally obsessed with" would be the way to go. Perhaps the
occasional episode would feature a sentence of VO or even a facial
expression or shifting of her eyes to demonstrate that something like
being in the same room with Jordan and Rayanne, or seeing them
together in the hall causes her to briefly feel suspicion and anger
that she doesn't want to feel or even believe is really justified.

I like your impressions of Graham and it helps me shave off a bit of
my cynicism about him. So as far as your fiction is concerned I'll
accept that Graham wouldn't cheat. I do though think that Hallie is
falling in love with Graham. Do you agree? If so do you think she
would just get the picture and work on getting over her feelings or do
you think that Graham would eventually have to spell it out to her
that "nothing is ever going to happen so for the sake of our
friendship and business partnership please stop looking at me like
that"? i could go either way on this. I'm not sure which makes more
sense in terms of being true to the series but personally I wouldn't
want to see it dealt with directly but rather just see an unexplained
but easily understood shift in Hallie's (and Graham's) behaviour.

I don't have a clear picture yet on what you plan to do with the idea
of Jordan's abusive father so I'll wait and see. Though what you said
about the abuser not just stopping is certainly true. And if you
wanted to avoid putting it in context I do think that would be okay.
Even though Jordan did say that his father stopped after he threw a
chair at him this could
easily have been wishful thinking on Jordan's part. He could just be
hoping/assuming that Jordan's own use of force had permanently ended
the abuse but in reality there has just been a long interval between
incidents of abuse possibly because of him throwing the chair but
quite possibly for some other unknown reason. I've read the Angela's
World essays and on the whole I think they are well thought out and
enjoyable to read but I think that the opinions expressed about Graham
and Patty's marriage are off base. I tried to write a response to the
Angela's World version of Patty and Graham's relationship but I'd
typed three pages and still had a lot left to say so I saved it in
Word and haven't felt impassioned/long winded enough to get back to
it. I'll try to make a concise point here.
Angela's World Episode Eighteen--Weekend:
Graham tells Patty that he looked under Hallie Lowenthal's
hood, and the phrase immediately becomes a shorthand for Graham paying
an undue amount of attention to Hallie, although that issue was put to
rest in "Resolutions." Here, with no basis whatsoever, Patty becomes
the suspicious housewife.
I totally disagree! Patty
grimacing as she stifles her (justified!) suspicions about Graham, and
just barely keeping the part of her resolution about being supportive
while failing completely at not being suspicious is hardly putting the
issue to rest. Nor does Graham failing to keep his resolution to stop
all those long talks with Hallie after class, not to mention the fact
that he felt the need to make the resolution in the first place serve
as an indication that the issue has been put to rest. Ugh! Blais is
in such deep denial about the state of their marriage IMO.
I look forward to reading what you have so far.

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Post by Guest » Dec 10th 2003, 2:15 pm

Jody Barsch* wrote:I guess when I posted this I knew it would be difficult to respond to. So, assuming that no one out there is just spending a really long time preparing a very thoughtful response :wink: , I'll try this again (probably just as likely to receive no replies): Anyone interested in reading what I have so far? I would be happy to email it to you. OR, another shot in the dark, anyone want to try a collaborative effort?

Hey I would also like to read your stories,so please e-mail it to me as soon as you can yoda12@bigfoot.com

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Post by Clockwork orange » Dec 14th 2003, 1:15 pm

Anonymous wrote:
Jody Barsch* wrote:I guess when I posted this I knew it would be difficult to respond to. So, assuming that no one out there is just spending a really long time preparing a very thoughtful response :wink: , I'll try this again (probably just as likely to receive no replies): Anyone interested in reading what I have so far? I would be happy to email it to you. OR, another shot in the dark, anyone want to try a collaborative effort?

Hey I would also like to read your stories,so please e-mail it to me as soon as you can yoda12@bigfoot.com
That was me above,I forgot to log in. I guess you haven't read my post yet or something
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Post by Jody Barsch* » Dec 14th 2003, 8:04 pm

Jody Barsch* wrote:Just this morning I took my laptop in to be looked at, and unfortunately the episodes are saved on that hard drive, and I may not get it back for another week.
I did read your post, but I only got my computer with the episodes saved on it back yesterday.
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Post by Jody Barsch* » Dec 14th 2003, 9:19 pm

Grim4746 and Clockwork orange, I emailed you but I hve reason to believe it did not work, so I sent you both the episodes via personal message. Hopefully that worked.

By the way, C.O., should I be afraid of your screenname? I saw the film years ago, but I remeber it freaked me out. :shock:
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Post by grim4746 » Dec 14th 2003, 11:10 pm

Jody Barsch*, the second email you sent me did have the attachments but maybe you know that by now. The PM messages also arrived but you are right the attachments are in a better format. I've just glanced at them so far. Thanks for getting them to me.

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Post by Guest » Dec 19th 2003, 6:09 pm

Jody Barsch* wrote:Grim4746 and Clockwork orange, I emailed you but I hve reason to believe it did not work, so I sent you both the episodes via personal message. Hopefully that worked.

By the way, C.O., should I be afraid of your screenname? I saw the film years ago, but I remeber it freaked me out. :shock:

Hey,I got your stuff.Thanks!

As far as my screenname goes I'm a huge Kubrick fan,but you have nothing to wory about( for now :twisted: )

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Post by Jody Barsch* » Dec 23rd 2003, 6:17 pm

… ?
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Post by Clockwork orange » Dec 28th 2003, 1:11 pm

Jody Barsch* wrote:… ?
I only read #ep 20 "Life in Progress" .I like the fact that you didn't start where the show ended because that would suck.It also kinda freaked me out because I also have a big "family" and the idea of spending the weekend with them is just to painful to imagine. :shock:
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Post by grim4746 » Jan 19th 2004, 9:45 pm

I've finally read all your scripts. It only took me 5 weeks :oops: I've emailed you my thoughts on them, I hope they are helpful. Thank you again for sharing your writing with me. Overall I enjoyed them and look forward to the final result.

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Post by tennisgirl55 » Jan 24th 2004, 2:34 pm

It seems like they'd be pretty good

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