How to keep yourself on the active side of the consumption equation.
A pair of fiction writers and teachers offer their summer reading picks.
How and why to join a small wine club or two.
Balancing writing and literary careers can be precarious and challenging. Here three writers give their take on how they wrangle a “bi-vocational” existence.
The hearth killed more poets than alcohol, according to William B. Yeats. But like Jim Harrison, I prefer intense domesticity. Or maybe that’s just what I say because that’s what I have and I’m of no mind to change it. I fully believe that any writer has to master the skill of capturing a senseContinue reading “Hiking with kids”
My daughter was watching a show on PBS about a dog who travels through time. It worked on multiple timelines with several threads weaving the overall narrative. A pretty complex structure for a kid’s show, or so I thought. I paused by the television on my way to the kitchen for an espresso and sheContinue reading “Story within a story”
I’m still thinking about last week’s excellent New Yorker article on screenwriter/directory Tony Gilroy. What sticks in my mind is the notion of “the reversal.” According to the article, this is a well-used film convention. I’ve never heard the term, but then I didn’t go to film school and I’ve never read any books onContinue reading “Using Reversal?”
So I’m reading a book on economics and the fall of the Soviet Union last week and one line suddenly jumps out at me. In moments I’m recalling Boris Yeltsin standing on the tank talking about democracy. I still remember the feeling vividly. I’d been thinking of my childhood years in West Berlin and whatContinue reading “When to start”
As of a few hours ago I received my first remuneration as a screenwriter. It consisted of a plane ticket, a motel room and a very nice meal (and a few beers) at a seafood restaurant in Santa Monica. Of course tomorrow we’ve got a full day of combing through one of my scripts line-by-lineContinue reading “Collaboration”
A friend once told me that every conversation that takes place in a screenplay should be an argument. It’s advice he heard from a writing teacher, and I think it’s basically sound. I’d replace the concept of an argument with the more general notion of tension. It doesn’t have to be direct confrontation, but thereContinue reading “Tension, context and subtext in dialog”
When you first start writing scripts, one of the great liberating experiences is the ability to start a scene with something like this: [scrippet] EXT. PARIS STREET – AFTERNOON Smith steps to the curb and hails a cab… [/scrippet] And then, you can follow up with the next scene, with a quantum leap: [scrippet] EXT.Continue reading “Writing for the budget”
I don’t know how many times over the years that I’ve recommended to writer friends and fiction writing students to read their work out loud. Not only will you catch every typo and grammar glitch, but you’ll be able to hear the ring and rattle of the words in your head. Now that a tinyContinue reading “Do you read your stuff out loud?”