In my recent interview over at Indie-Debut 2010, I threatened to go all anthropological on your writing butts – we’ll here goes. In all societies there is tension between tradition and innovation (those who want things to stay the same and those who want change). And we anthropologist/writers love that. Look around you for examples – remember the US democratic nomination of 2000 & what’s it? (I’m Canadian and don’t follow politics). Hilary was branded as the voice of experience and Barack as the one to bring about change.
Tradition vs. innovation is an universal theme. Start to notice it in the novels you read and movies you watch. Find ways to bring it into your story - between characters of the same generation, different generations, in the framing of conflict, in hindering the protag getting what s/he wants … use your imagination.
I just watched Stick It. (Yes, I’m also woefully behind in my movie watching and being a Sasquatch I generally eschew popular culture). It is the story of Haley a renegade and brilliant gymnast. She rebels against the system of judging that is based on tradition and slavish adherence to rules focusing on minor infractions at the expensive of judging the difficulty of the moves (and judge-coach rivalries, vindictiveness and bias). She sees great talent being stymied by rules. Pushed to the edge she, and the other gymnasts, decide who will win each event when all but one of them scratches.
It’s the tension between tradition vs. innovation played out in a creative, nervy, and possibly career ending demonstration that flips the chalk covered finger to the gymnastics establishment (they don’t call it gym-nice-tics).
Stick with the clip (no pun intended) it starts out slow and ends fabulously!