Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Secret Life of Cindy Brady

By Keith N Fisher

Who’s your favorite girl character on The Brady Bunch? I will admit, mine has always been Jan (Eve Plum). I don’t know why, maybe it was because we were the same age, but lately I’ve been watching the reruns, and paying particular attention to Cindy (Susan Olsen).

You might ask, why is Keith writing about Cindy Brady on the LDS Writer’s Blogck? In answer to that question, I might suggest that I’m doing character research, but I’m not.

I’ll get to the writing part in a second, but first I’ve got to ask, have you ever seen NCIS? With my schedule, I don’t get to watch much television, but I’ve discovered I like that show. Yes, it has flaws. Even some writing flaws, and much of the technology they use, is really in development stages. Some of it is science fiction. I like NCIS because of what I call the family dynamic. The characters mesh well together like a family and it keeps me coming back for more.

One of those characters, Abby, (Pauley Perrette), has me captivated. The first time I saw Abby I felt I knew her. “Where have I seen her before,” I’d ask myself. I watched several shows before it finally hit me.

It’s uncanny. If it wasn’t for the black hair and tattoos, Abby would be an older version of Cindy Brady. I mentioned it to my wife and now she can’t see past it either.

I did a superficial search on the Internet and found pictures of Susan and Pauley. I discovered they were born about eight years apart and I compared the pictures. Look for yourself. Can you see elements of Cindy in both actresses? With all the similarities, I’ve started writing my own scenario for NCIS. In my version, Cindy Brady grew up and rebelled. She died her hair black to stand out from her sisters. The tattoos are a sign of the rebellion. She changed her name and went back to college. Now, Cindy, uh Abby, runs the NCIS lab.

This is the beauty, and the curse, of being a writer. My mind tends to re-write plots I see in the movies and on TV. I wince because of the mangled sentences written for radio and TV news. Since I’m not an English major, or a grammar expert, if I notice, you’ll know it’s bad.

Lately though, my struggle has been in writing for women in the LDS market. As many of you know, I write women’s fiction, and if it weren’t for my, (all women) critique group I wouldn’t be able to do it.

This week, they reminded me of my need to be in my female character’s head. If for no other reason, than because female readers want to know those things. Also, my group loved the romantic scenes I’d written, but they all suggested it wouldn’t get published in our market. Not that it was too steamy or anything, I just need to change a few words and tone down the desire.

Such is the nature of writing in this market. I take encouragement in knowing my group loved the romance. Now to tone it down a bit and get into the heads of my character’s more. It seems I’m too subtle, how do you show motivation?

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.

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