Kerin Freeman ... writer

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DO YOU HAVE TO SUFFER FOR YOUR ART?

Posted by kerf on August 24, 2017 at 6:40 PM Comments comments (0)

The answer is 'yes, you do'.  I came across this article today by Kevin T Johns and thought it well worth adding here. If you have never suffered then how can you put yourself in the shoes of your characters? Read on:

"Yes, you DO have to suffer for your art

 

A friend of mine recently passed away. Losing her was extremely painful. So I wrote about it.

 

Because I’m a writer and that’s the process: life kicks you in the gut and then you write.

 

We’ll come back to that concept in a moment, but first let’s talk about Jack Kerouac’s seminal book On the Road. It featured the following oft-quoted passage:

 

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!”

 

Those “mad ones” were Kerouac’s people, his homies. He no doubt had his artist friends in mind when he wrote those words; people like Neal Cassidy, William Burroughs, and Allen Ginsburg.

 

One day I realized suddenly who my people were while listening to the brilliant song “Thrash Unreal” from the punk band Born Against. The song is about a heroin addict, and one section goes like this:

 

When people see the track marks on her arms.

 

She knows what they’re thinking,

 

She keeps on working for that minimum.

 

As if a high school education gave you any other options.

 

They don’t know nothing about redemption,

 

They don’t know nothing about recovery.

 

Some people just aren’t,

 

The type for marriage and family.

 

Those people who know nothing about redemption and recovery, the ones who judge the junkie when they see her track marks, they aren’t artists. They can’t possibly understand why she (or any of us) would choose something other than a traditional life of marriage, family, and the 9 to 5 job.

 

The people I love, the people I want to be around, the people who I see creating great art, are the ones who have fucked-up bad enough at some point in their lives that redemption is an actual lived experience for them.

 

You see, you don’t have redemption without first fucking-up real bad.

 

And it’s the same with recovery.

 

If you’ve never been an addict, if you’ve never had a disability, if you’re body has never betrayed you, then you won’t understand recovery.

 

It’s from pain and suffering that recovery and redemption are birthed.

 

It is where art comes from too.

 

While we’re on the topic of Born Against, let’s look at another one of their songs. “Transgender Dysphoria Blues,” as the title suggests, is about the experiences of a transgendered person. It includes the following lyrics:

 

You want them to notice

 

The ragged ends of your summer dress

 

You want them to see you

 

Like they see every other girl

 

They just see a faggot

 

They hold their breath not to catch the sick

 

It’s a heartbreaking stanza, and it was clearly birthed in feelings of rejection, hatred, fear, and disappointment. It’s an incredibly moving song, the lyrics are beautiful, and every single one of them drips with pain.

 

Am I saying that, as an artist, you should seek out pain and suffering?

 

No!

 

Absolutely not.

 

Life is going to hand you all the pain and suffering you can handle. And then some more on top of that.

 

It would be idiotic to actively go looking for more pain.

 

It’s already coming your way. It’s unavoidable.

 

Life is pain.

 

And as REM put it, “Everybody hurt, sometimes.”

 

That’s why everybody can be an artist.

 

There is a funny line in the film Orange County. The teenage protagonist tells his father that he intends to become a writer, and his father responds, “A writer? What do you have to write about? You’re not oppressed. You’re not gay.”

 

What the father doesn’t understand is that you don’t have to be gay or oppressed to have something to write about. You just have to have suffered through something. You can be an artist so long as you are willing to face the pain, instead of run away from it.

 

Everybody suffers, but artists are willing to turn that suffering into something worthwhile.

 

When discussing the nature of epiphanies, Steven Pressfield observes in his book Turning Pro, “We usually think of breakthroughs as ecstatic moments that elevate us from a lower level to a higher level. And they do. But there’s a paradox. In the moment, an epiphany feels like hell.”

 

Redemption. Recovery. Epiphany. To experience any of these emotions means going through hell and coming out the other side.

 

You don’t have to go chasing after pain to be a writer. You just have to embrace it."


http://www.kevintjohns.com/yes-you-do-have-to-suffer-for-your-art/

:)



WRITING A FILM SCRIPT?

Posted by kerf on August 10, 2017 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Exactly what I am in the process of doing - turning my manuscript 'Let Not The Vital Thread Be Cut' into a film script. Writing a film script is nothing like writing a novel or a non-fiction so I have had to learn the hard way, plus taking a few courses on the subject which I have truly helpful. I came across this article and hope it can help anyone who is thinking of going down that road.

 

Scriptwriting For Beginners: Learning The Basics Of Screenwriting

By Danek S. Kaus   http://www.movieoutline.com/articles/scriptwriting-for-beginners-learning-the-basics-of-screenwriting.html|

 

1. How To Begin A Screenplay

 

The first few pages of your screenplay are critical. Most execs, or Readers (people who want to become execs) will only give you about 10 pages to get them interested. That is why your screenplay must have a great beginning.

 

Here are some of the best, time-tested screenwriting techniques to begin your story.

 

ACTION, ACTION, ACTION - All of the James Bond movies start with action, which might or might not be related to the main plot.

 

A police detective tries to arrest a pair of drug dealers. A gunfight erupts. One drug dealer is killed, the other drives off. The detective chases him in his own car, driving fast, dodging obstacles and shooting his gun. You get the picture.

 

A REAL BEGINNING

 

The hero or heroine arrives at the airport or train station in a new town. They begin their first day of work at a new company. A creepy person moves in next door. The protagonist meets someone who will be very influential - a love interest, mentor or nemesis.

 

A DAY IN THE LIFE

 

Show us the hero or heroine going about their normal routine. A single mother makes breakfast before sending the kids off to school and then going to work.

 

A lawyer might argue a case before a jury.

 

A doctor in an emergency room saves the life of a traffic accident victim. But the main plot may be about stopping a deadly epidemic. You might then choose to begin with that same doctor treating someone who has a strange, unknown disease that turns out to be related to the epidemic.

 

An inner-city teacher helps a disadvantaged child to learn how to read. Then we discover that she will fight an uncaring bureaucracy that wants to shut down a youth center to put in a shopping center. Or we may learn that her marriage might break up because she has given birth to a learning-disabled child.

 

The trick to making this opening work is not to let it get boring. Quickly give us a reason to root for the main character. Perhaps show them as an underdog in some way or introduce some conflict in their life. It can be related to the main story or not, but quickly give the reader a reason to care.

 

These are a few of the screenwriting techniques to get your movie off to a great start. Consider using them when you begin your next screenplay or perhaps do a rewrite on an existing one to give it a better beginning.

 

2. The Critical Elements of the First Act

 

The great writer and director Billy Wilder offers this piece of advice on screenwriting and movie making: “Grab ‘em by the throat and never let go.”

 

This is what your first act, indeed, your first few pages must accomplish. The first act has several functions. It establishes who your main characters are, the setting, the time period, the theme, mood and the genre. It is in this act that we meet the protagonist and the antagonist.

 

In some movies we may not meet the antagonist directly, but we are at least introduced to them, with hints at an ultimate revelation, such as is often the case in mysteries. Although we may not see them yet, we are made well aware of their presence and the negative, sometimes devastating impact they will have on other characters in the story.

 

The first act establishes the premise of the story: a cynical saloon owner is shocked to see the woman he loves walk back into his life during World War II: Casablanca. A huge shark menaces a beach community at the opening of the summer tourist season: Jaws. A young fighter pilot must rescue a kidnapped princess and destroy an evil empire: Star Wars.

 

The first act must really grab the Hollywood Reader by the throat within 10 pages or they will stop reading and move on to the next script in their pile.

 

The first act of a screenplay is usually longer than 10 pages, but that is all the time and space you have to convince someone to keep reading.

 

The majority of screenwriting teachers believe that the first act should be about one-fourth of the screenplay. But many first acts are much shorter. All first acts end with the inciting incident, which is an event that happens that either encourages or forces the protagonist to take his or her path in a new direction.

 

The first act, coupled with the inciting incident, establishes the central question of the story: what does your protagonist want to do, be or have and what or who stands in their way?

 

3. Use Archetypes For Compelling Stories

 

In your screenwriting efforts, be sure to make use of Archetypes. They are not to be confused with stereotypes, which are one-dimensional characters we've seen in too many movies.

 

Archetypes represent elements of our personalities on a deep level -- the mother, father, artist, teacher, king, etc. They've appeared in countless stories for thousands of years. They reach us on a subconscious level, which is perhaps why they have endured and still have the power to touch our emotions.

 

The archetype can be the skeleton upon which you build a fully-fleshed three dimensional character. Some of the common archetypes in movies and literature are: the mentor, the villain, the shape-changer, the fool, the wise old man or woman and the hero, to name a few.

 

Avoid the temptation to turn an archetype into a stereotype by giving them only one, very obvious, characteristic. For example, the mentor is often portrayed as a wiser, older person, such as Gandolf, in the The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

 

But a mentor archetype can also be an older sibling who teaches a brother or sister how to tie their shoes, a boss on the job, a superior officer in the police department or military, a young boy on a tropical island who teaches the newcomer where to find the best fruit trees in the jungle or the customs of his people, and so on.

 

You can make your archetypal character richer by mixing personality traits that can seem contrary to their main role in your story or the society they live in. Shakespeare often used a Fool character for social or historical commentary, making them wiser, on that level, than the characters who believe themselves smarter than the Fool.

 

The Wise Old Man or Woman archetype could have a great sense of humor and tell bawdy jokes. Perhaps he or she could be a practical joker, dispensing sage advice with some exploding cigars.

 

For even greater depth and increased options in telling your story, you could mix and match archetypes. One of the archetypes described by Joseph Campbell in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces is the Herald, who brings news or information that the Hero needs.

 

The Herald might also offer portents of things to come. What if you mixed the Herald with a joke telling Fool? How might that affect your story? Would it make the Hero discount the information? Or still act on it, but with wariness?

 

The choices you make are up to you. Use Archetypes wisely and they will enrich your screenwriting.

 

4. Avoid These Novice Mistakes

 

Screenwriting is vastly different from writing a novel or true-story book. It is a different medium and needs to be treated as such. It is a difficult form that even few authors are able to master.

 

With this in mind, here are a few of common mistakes of new screenwriters:

 

STARTING TOO LATE

 

Novels can and often do begin at a leisurely pace, with scene descriptions, character backgrounds, etc, but because screenplays generally run a maximum of 120 pages, much of it white space -- a screenplay has to get moving sooner.

 

UNNECESSARY DESCRIPTION

 

Screenplay description is minimalist, just enough to tell the reader where we are and a general tone of the place. Leave the rest up to the director and/or art director.

 

STATING THE OBVIOUS

 

One tendency of novice screenwriters is to have characters tell us what we just witnessed on the screen. For example, if we are watching a track meet and John crosses the finish line first, it is unnecessary and boring to have a character say "John won the race."

 

FORMAT

 

Screenplays follow a strict format. The first thing a producer or Hollywood Reader (whose job it is to read scripts for their bosses) does is check the format. If it's wrong, even a little, they throw away the script without further attention.

 

LENGTH

 

Feature Film scripts are usually 90 - 120 pages, though close to 100 is usually preferred. The reason is that one page of a screenplay is considered to translate into one minute of screen time. Industry execs will generally not read a script that is of improper length.

 

TOO MUCH DIALOGUE

 

One big newbie mistake is to write page after page of dialogue. Movies are primarily a visual medium. There should be a good balance of dialogue and physical action, favoring action. Action does not necessarily mean gun fights and car chases. It means the characters are doing something.

Good luck, people, enjoy the process :) and your day

IT'S NEVER TOO LATE

Posted by kerf on June 13, 2017 at 10:50 PM Comments comments (0)

ENCOURAGEMENT TO FOLLOW YOUR DREAM: but to do that you have to make sure your dream pays your rent :)

by Kerin Freeman


Not everyone who does well at school succeeds, and a number of people who fare badly in their early years go on to become great achievers. The education system overloads a child with so many  things for which they have no talent or inclination for - it does not allow children to focus early on on their strengths. Nine times out of ten, wrong asumptions are drawn from a child's performance at school. There is nothing wrong with these children, they are simply on a slower timetable.

Setbacks in early life can teach invaluable lessons. Late achievers can cope with disappointments and failure much better because they are well acquainted with them. A late start in one's career can have a silver lining. Time spent on the sidelines can mature you.

Late achievers are not people who slowly emerge from mediocrity. In most cases the potential is there, just lying beneath the surface. These men and women, until later in their lives, were denied the right environment that could foster their abilities which would have enabled them to bloom. Those special qualities just did not fit into the system.

My teacher told me I had nothing but clay in my head. I took his remark as a blessing and became a sculptor - Mani Nagappa

Like some flowers, these qualities need more time to blossom and when they do, they outshine all others, when all the other flowers in the garden have shrivelled up and died. Some people go up like rockets and come down like sticks. There is no magical age at which excellence emerges. Charles Dickens was 24 when he began writing 'The Pickwick Papers', only 25 when he wrote 'Oliver Twist'. Isaac Newton was also 24 when he formulated the law of gravity. At the other end of the scale, Tennyson was 80 when he wrote 'Crossing the Bar' and Michelangelo was doing his best work at the age of 87. Morgan Freeman was first nominated for an Oscar at 50, and Mary Wellesley, an English novelist, published her first novel at 70.

Rather than academic achievement, good looks or relationships, a positive mental attitude is the single most ingredient to personal excellence. The power of positive thinking is a valuable key to you achieving your full potential.

Excellence, of course, will always be relative to each individual and, as there is no universal dream, no all-embracing formula that can be written; it can only be defined as the maximising of potential or being the best you can possibly be. To be sure of that you need to do two things: 1) make a commitment to exceed all your previous achievements - if only by a minimal amount. This could be one of the most meaningful decisions you will ever make. From that moment on you will try to control life by what you think and decide, rather than by being controlled by what life throws at you. 2) you must decide what exactly you want from life. This can be a difficult decision, influenced by many conflicting factors, such as power, wealth, family, leisure, spiritual matters, vocation or a meaningful career.

Very few of us ever get what we 'want' out of life, but the majority of us get what we 'expect' or 'think'. If someone else has what you want it is probably because they wanted it more than you. A burning desire, ambition or vision drove them to action, and by using what resources they had available it inflamed their self-belief. Very often successful people are not extraordinary; rather they just did that extra something that was a little extraordinary.

We can dream where we are going on our holiday, so why not with our future - it is never too late in life to do so. Most successful businesses that are started by people are over 40. At school and thereafter, it seems the world of imagination is banned as somewhat childish.

To maximise your potential you need to combine the educated and logical left brain hemisphere with the creative right brain hemisphere. Through regular employment of creative visualisation, you can not only excite your self-concept but you can also incite the kind of action that leads to the desire, and desire, in turn, leads to action that leads to the expectation that can lead to the desired conclusion. If you can creatively visualise the equivalent of the last 10 minutes of your project or goal, and experience the success, then the challenges and hurdles along the way will lose some of their drama and difficulty too.

Your self-concept can be limiting and full of self doubts. This consists of three components: inherited attributes, acquired attributes and attitude. No amount of study, tuition, good looks and so on can increase that. Studies have shown that 85% of the self-concept is attributable to attitude, and attitude can be adjusted by thinking. Every successful person has an abundance of positive mental attitude. Quality thoughts and thinking generate enthusiasm, and enthusiasm flows from one mind to another and affects how others perceive you. So, in pursuit of your own personal excellence, you become a motivator for those around you.

Women's stories are tied to the stories of others, typically husbands and children, and family. In addition, many married women reported fragmented educational and career patterns as a result of their husband's career movements. For women who started late, many may have been in academia for only a decade or so by the time they reach their fifties. Making their mark is still an issue. Thus, there is need to make a distinction between chronological age and professional age. Reputations are made through cultural constructs, informal networks of colleagues, friends, critics and competitors. That takes time to build.

Older people in the leading industrialised nations now contribute more significantly to family income and work than is generally know. The image of older people as frail, unproductive and dependent on others is grossly exaggerated. Many people only get their creative juices flowing later in life. A considerable number of lifelong artists continue to work - and then hit their peak creatively - late in life.

George Elliot was right - if you are good at something and you have a passion for it, then it is really never too late to do something about it.

5 MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT WRITING...

Posted by kerf on June 2, 2017 at 7:05 PM Comments comments (0)

I found this great article on writing today and thought you would like to read it.


5 Misconceptions About Writing That I Used to Believe

by K M Weiland  : http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/misconceptions-about-writing/

 

Are we modern-day writers lucky or what? We enjoy unprecedented access to the wisdom of all the writers who have gone before us. I’m not kidding. the wealth of excellent information at our fingertips is insane. But you don’t get nothing for nothing, and the something we’re exchanging for all this great advice is a pretty hefty load of misconceptions about writing.

 

Just about every writer I know, myself included, has gone through an early period of hair-yanking frustration, in which we were trying to kneel and learn at the feet of the masters, but they kept giving us advice that:

 

a) we hated.

 

b) we didn’t understand.

 

c) we just plain couldn’t make work.

 

Hence, the almost universal phase called Writers Against the Stupid Rules Because They Obviously Don’t Work.

 

But the problem isn’t with “the rules.” Like I said, there’s so much great writing advice out there, you could fill your pool and swim in it (after you become rich and famous and have a pool, of course). The problem is two-fold.

 

1. On the one hand, there is certainly some very bad advice floating around out there—some of it from very excellent and respected writers.

 

2. And then, on the other hand, there’s perfectly good advice that doesn’t always mean what it seems to mean, and which new writers notoriously misunderstand and religiously apply in all the wrong ways.

 

Both are equally dangerous.

5 of the Sneakiest Misconceptions About Writing

 

Today, I want to look back at some of the most insidious misconceptions about writing that I have fallen prey to during my career, so you, in turn, can avoid getting sucked into their undertow.

1. Write What You Know (aka, Have an Adventurous, Amazing Life—or Else)

 

“Write what you know” has almost become the poster child for abused and misused writing advice.

 

On the surface, it’s solid. After all, how can you write what you don’t know? And yet, when writers first hear this simple little line, you can usually see them deflate. “You mean I have to throw all the dragons and dukes and debutantes out of my story?”

 

A few of us may well lead extraordinary lives. A few of us may want to relive those extraordinary lives on the page (perhaps even in memoir). But most of us are admittedly prosaic. We make eggs for breakfast, do the laundry, mow the lawn, take the dog out, watch Netflix serials, and go to bed. Every so often, maybe we’re lucky enough to journey far away and have adventures on a tour bus or get sunburned hiking a national monument. But even that isn’t exactly dragons and dukes and debutantes, is it?

 

Honestly, “write what you know” has got to be one of the dumbest bits of advice ever conceived. No doubt it was intended as a well-meaning prodding toward proper research. But that’s not what it sounds like. What it sounds like is: stop with all the imaginary flights of fancy, grow up, and do write about serious and important things.

 

Thanks very much, but no thanks.

Believe This Instead:

 

The irony here is that the reason any of us becomes a writer is thanks to an incredibly rich inner life that grants us an incredibly rich perception of the outer world. Our commitment shouldn’t be writing what we know, but rather to knowing as much as possible.

 

In her “5 Bits of Writing Advice,” P.D. James gave writers a much better idea to live up to:

 

Open your mind to new experiences, particularly to the study of other people. Nothing that happens to a writer—however happy, however tragic—is ever wasted.

 

2. Never Consciously Apply Theme

 

The idea here is that theme is supposed to find you, rather than the other way around. If you’re really a writer of any worth, you’ll prove it by being able to airily and effortlessly float to through the metaphysical land of Deep, Meaningful, and (Always, Always, Always) Abstract Philosophies. You must be so deep in this place of spiritual genius that your theme wells up from your narrative like oil from Texas. And when it does, you’re more shocked than anyone: “My, who could ever have guessed that’s what this story was really about?”

 

Honestly, in the beginning, when I was first informed that the only way to approach theme was not to approach it, I about had a panic attack. The only way to be brilliant was not only to not try to be brilliant but to not know anything about being brilliant? Okay, sure, anything you say, Mr. Writing Expert, sir.

 

Now, I say: BUH-lo-nee.

 

Granted, theme is one of the highest of high concepts in writing. It’s hard to do right, and very easy to do wrong in a way that comes across as on the nose and preachy. It’s no wonder some writers—even masterful writers—are scared of it. They let their subconscious do all the heavy lifting, never looking straight at the subject, and just hoping and praying it’s all going to turn out.

 

Maybe it’ll turn out, maybe not.

Believe This Instead:

 

The idea that you can’t consciously and logically approach and create your theme is not only wrong, it’s crippling. Theme joins with plot and character to create the trifecta foundation of all stories. You deliberately work on your plot and character, don’t you? So why would you leave that third leg of your foundation out in the cold?

 

The reason this bit of advice gets perpetuated is because when you create plot and character, you’re also creating theme, whether you realize it or not. This is why writers discover themes “effortlessly” arising from their stories. They were working on it all the time; they just didn’t realize it.

 

But how much better to bring poor Brother Theme in out of the dark and give him a place at the table? When you’re able to create plot, character, and theme in concert, all three elements are all the stronger and more cohesive. You lose nothing by approaching theme deliberately. You only enhance your ability to portray it adroitly.

3. You Can’t Be Logical About Writing

 

Lie That Tells a Truth John DufresneYou hear this one all the time. It comes in a variety of forms, everything from “rules can’t govern art” to “outlining will kill your creativity” to “your inner editor is plotting to assassinate you in your sleep.” We hear it all the way from on high, from some of the greatest writers of our time, so of course we have to believe it, right? In his nearly classic writing book The Lie That Tells a Truth, John Dufresne has this to say:

 

If you’re having trouble, that means you’re thinking. You’re being logical, critical.

 

Sounds totally reasonable, right? Except, according to this, we’re not supposed to be reasonable. It sounds like we’re supposed to throw our logical, analytical left brains out the window. After all, those infernal internal editors of ours just cause so many problems. They make us miserable.

 

That’s why (as I sometimes tease) we tie them up and lock them in the closet while we write. Everything just becomes so much easier and more intuitive when we run on instinct instead of logic.

Believe This Instead:

 

That’s true enough as far as it goes. Writers must rely on intuition, creativity, the subconscious, and what I call the writer’s greatest weapon: gut instinct.

 

But that’s only half the arsenal necessary to write good stories. If you chuck the other half of your brain, the best case scenario is that you have to work twice as hard to achieve your full potential.

 

Barring logic from the writing process is not the answer. Rather, you must learn to harmonize creativity and logic into a perfectly synchronized piston, pushing and pulling, giving and taking, at every moment of the process, to give you both the power of creativity and the precision of logic.

 

What Dufresne is really recommending is to avoid overthinking. Don’t use your brain to the exclusion of your imagination. But don’t go so far in the other direction that you become incapable of looking at the (very logical) equation of story and using your analytical conscious brain to recognize and correct problems.

4. You Have to Be Either a Plotter or a Pantser

 

I gravitated to outlining almost from the beginning (although I didn’t develop the full-blown outlining process I now use until I started my sixth novel, Behold the Dawn). Like many writers, I just intuitively knew which camp my brain fit into: the logical and patient plotters versus the spontaneous and innovative pantsers (aka writers who “write by the seat of their pants,” or without an outline).

 

But, oh boy, I had no idea the firestorm I was walking into. I soon discovered both these camps were adamant their way was the only right way to create art. I fired my own round of bullets in this war, before nobly taking the high moral ground of pacifistic tolerance: “Everybody’s got to do it their own way. No one way is better than the other. There is no one road to proper storytelling.”

Believe This Instead:

 

I still believe that. What I don’t believe anymore is that there is actually such a thing as a “plotter” or a “pantser.” Even though writers certainly fall into general categories of right- or left-brain approaches to the writing process, we’re only distracting ourselves from true productivity with this idea that every writer must be either a plotter or a pantser. Or, you know, a plantser—just to make sure we include all of you lonelies who don’t get to play with the rest of us in one of our exclusive clubs.

 

Except… are you the lonelies? Or are you the ones who really understand how things work?

 

I have come to believe we’re all plantsers. We all plot; we all pants. We all use our logical brains; we all use our spontaneous imaginations. Yep, even me—and you don’t get much more outline-y than my fat, in-depth outlines.

 

Plotting and pantsing are not exclusionary approaches. Rather, they are both necessary tools for bringing our fictional visions to life. By trying to box our processes into comforting camps of camaraderie, we may actually be stunting our ability to use the full range of available techniques.

5. You Must Write Fast

 

I still remember reading the following bit of advice from no less than Stephen King:

 

The first draft of a book—even a long one—should take no more than three months, the length of a season.

 

I probably turned a little pale, maybe even felt a little sick to my stomach. I know I definitely squirmed. I’ve never written a book in three months in my life. I wrote my 1920s aviation-adventure novel Storming in something like five months, but that was just the first draft; that didn’t count the other five months of outlining.

 

Still, this speedy approach to writing has obviously served King and other bestselling writers well.

 

Indeed, if you start investigating the habits of those authors lucky enough to be part of the “boom” of legitimately successful indie novelists, the one thing you almost invariably find is an incredible output of work—at least a book a year, perhaps even a book a month.

Believe This Instead:

 

I’ve been a hustler all my life. I run 110 mph all day, every day, the speedometer needle always in the red, churning out checkmarks for my to-do list at a crazy rate. But interestingly enough, not with my fiction. My fiction I write slow and steady. The very thought of having to speed it up slays me (and not in the good way).

 

This year, I’ve been learning some hard lessons about the destructiveness of “hustle” in general, learning how to take better care of myself, to slow down and enjoy the journey of life. But the thing I find particularly interesting is that the only area of my life in which I didn’t have to learn this lesson also just happened to be the most important area of my life: my writing.

 

Instinctively, I somehow realized from the beginning that forcing myself to up productivity on my fiction would destroy my enjoyment and fulfillment in the process. It’s perhaps the only area of my life in which I (mercifully) intuited that productivity is not the point.

 

So what is the point? Well, honestly, that depends on the writer. For me, I’d say the point is undeniably the journey itself—the exploration, the evolution, the experience. This isn’t to say there’s anything wrong with writing fast. If that’s the speed you run at, slowing yourself down may prove just as destructive for you as undue speed would for me.

 

What’s important to realize is that what works for Stephen King won’t necessarily work for me and what works for me won’t necessarily work for you. You must be honest and brave enough to find your own path to fulfillment and success in your writing.

 

***

 

Writing misconceptions are just part of the game. We can’t avoid them. We can’t blame other well-meaning (and sometimes just misunderstood) authors for trying to share what’s worked for them. But we must be aware of the truth behind every statement.

 

Get into the habit of doing a gut-check on everything you’re told about the writing process. Be warned that just because you don’t like a bit of advice doesn’t mean it’s not true. But if something someone says (even if she’s your favorite author ever) has you squirming and turning a little green, take note of the cognitive dissonance you’re experiencing.

 

Don’t try to assimilate advice just because someone says it with conviction. Use your own experiences and understanding to collect the bits that work for you and to incorporate them into your own process in the most meaningful way.

HOW TO CRAFT A PERFECT SCENE

Posted by kerf on February 22, 2017 at 5:40 PM Comments comments (0)

HOW TO CRAFT A PERFECT SCENE

by Guest Author - see Being Author: https://beingauthor.com/author/guest/

Every writer has a method for how they create each scene. There’s no wrong way to do it, as long as it’s working for you, and over time, all writers develop their own style. The following is an outline of the method I use to ensure each scene is valuable and engaging.

Each scene should either advance your plot or reveal information about your character. If your scene does neither, cut it. People tend to skim or skip over scenes that have no clear goal.

I begin with the dialog. I write out what conversation is taking place first. This helps me to ensure each scene is relevant and that the overall message is there.

Next, I go back and fill in all the little details that bring it to life. This is where describe the setting and any non-verbal actions taking place.

Once I’ve finished those critical details, I begin to fill in any narrator commentary or internal thoughts.

Lastly, I give it a read over, swapping for better words and removing unnecessary sentences.

Here’s a quick list of the benefits of using this method.

 

Controls releasing too much information too fast.

Ensures every scene is relevant and the message is clear.

Keeps narrator ‘rambling’ to a minimum.

Helps speed up the editing process.

Once your scene is constructed, ask yourself the following simple questions.

 

What happened?

When did it happen?

Why did it happen?

What is your character's reaction to the event?

How did the event affect your characters and their world?

If you follow my method, you are sure to have a solid scene that will keep your readers engaged. If this post was helpful to you, consider checking out our website. We have tons of great ideas coming for authors who just need a little boost.

 

This post is contributed as Guest post by Andrea Lacey-Payne.

 

:) Contribute a post to Being Author Blog : http://beingauthor.com/submit-guest-post-contribute-post-author-blog/


 

FINDING A PUBLISHER/LITERARY AGENT

Posted by kerf on February 5, 2017 at 8:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Being a writer I want to get on with the process of writing. Having to find a publisher or a literary agent is damned hard work - even harder than writing your manuscript, make no mistake. Finding the right one can be mind numbingly frustrating, its a wonder you have any nails left or hair on your head !

 

A word to the wise! Before submitting anything to an agent, read their submission requirements carefully, and follow them to the letter. I'm not kidding about this. Agents are usually swamped with requests, and that means they will use any excuse to throw your submission into the cyber trash bin. Check your spelling a zillion times. Address your query to them personally and make sure you mention why you chose them.

A word to the not-so-wise. There are a few unscrupulous people out there who claim to be agents, but who are really out to ensnare writers who are desperate to publish. Do NOT under any circumstances pay an "agent" to read your work, or to edit it. Do NOT get sucked into having your work crowdfunded, or placed before "beta readers." AND DO look agents up on Preditors and Editors, and on AgentQuery. You've worked hard on your book. It deserves good representation. And keep at it. I spent two years searching for a publisher for my non-fiction. I was determined to have one publisher in particular, and in the end I was lucky, they took me on. Don't give up whatever you do. You've probably put years of your life into your work, it deserves the best. If in doubt when presented with a contract, contact your Writers Guild, they're there to help. So, what are you waiting for - go forth and write, and find that publisher then celebrate in style! :)




SCRIPTWRITING

Posted by kerf on December 18, 2016 at 8:30 PM Comments comments (0)

I have studied scriptwriting for a very long time. I have devoured movies like forever. Movies and books are my obsession. The difference in writing them is totally different. I have taken classes, read books on it, watched numerous movies and read many scripts, but for some reason nothing gelled. I know we all learn differently, and that's good. But what helped me enormously was completing an online university course in scriptwriting. Listening to four scriptwriters discussing every aspect of this creative field was enlightening. Everything, suddenly, made sense to me. Now I have completed the first draft of my first script I am thrilled. I have enjoyed the process immensely. The only trouble is... I was left with 175 pages which I have now whittled down to 150 - 30 more to go. Writing a true story in script form is hard work, at least I think so, because there is so much that goes to make up the life of a person. What is meaningful? What stays, what goes? Where to start the movie. Now, for the tightening up. My story 'The Murder in the Milkbar' I hope will see the silver screen so that everyone will come to understand who he was and why something so disasterous happened to him.

I love writing books but I think I love the process of scriptwriting just that bit more :)

You could check out this article if you are a first timer like me (p.s. there are plenty more online) : https://www.quora.com/What-are-some-basic-tips-for-writing-a-screenplay-for-the-first-time

Have an extraordinary day and each and every day learn something new - how exciting is that!


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READ A SAMPLE FROM 'THE CIVILIAN BOMB DISPOSING EARL'

Posted by kerf on November 5, 2016 at 6:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Enjoy!

CHAPTER ONE

 

Nous Maintiendrons;

Non quo sed quo modo

 

‘We will maintain’; ‘Not for whom, but in what manner’ – the Howard mottos

 

A certain chain of events set in place during April 1941 ultimately led to a catastrophic date in history. Captain Kenneth Privett of 2 i/c 25 Bomb Disposal Company, Royal Engineers, had just received instructions from Major Yates to stop dumping any more bombs on the open land of Erith Marshes’ bomb cemetery. The area was surrounded by housing and neighbouring streets where children played and people went about their daily business.

Erith Marshes was to be ploughed due to complaints received from local residents regarding damage to the neighbourhood. They wanted the Army to refrain from using the Marshes as a detonating site. In order to move bombs to the cemetery Bomb Disposal men had to immunise the 50 fuze beforehand and place a clock stopper on it, which would be removed when the bomb reached its destination. To all intents and purposes it was safe to leave out in the open. But one particular bomb had been lying around throughout winter, causing the explosives to deteriorate with perhaps some exudation.

On Tuesday 6th May, Captain A. G. Bainbridge visited the Marshes and ordered Lieutenant Sprankling, the Commanding Officer of 25 BD Coy, and Lance Corporal King, to take all defuzed bombs to another bomb cemetery at Richmond Park in London. Their orders were to leave behind any bombs still containing fuzes, of which there were a few. Bainbridge made a point of referring to the 250 kg SC, thin-walled general purpose bomb fitted with a number 17 clockwork time delay fuze and a type 50 anti-handling fuze that had been lying on the Marshes for about seven months. It was usual policy to avoid transporting fuzed bombs after an accident happened on 10th October, 1940, when a bomb being carted through the busy streets of central London exploded, killing a number of people.

Someone with a macabre sense of humour had chalked in scrawly handwriting on the side of the rusty casing ‘Old Faithful’. Old Faithful was originally meant to be destroyed but the demolition crater in which it was lying was so full of water that to blow it up outside of the crater would cause blast damage to surrounding properties. And it had not been possible to sterilise it by steaming out the contents due to the nearby ditch containing water too dirty for use with a small capacity boiler. However, Captain Bainbridge of the Royal Engineers had, owing to the recent dry spell they had been experiencing, made arrangements with Lieutenant Sprankling to blow up two or three 50 kg bombs that had been lying around, leaving a suitable crater in which to place the 250 kg bomb and detonate it.

The unfuzed bombs were taken away to Richmond on the 7th and 8th May, and it was on the 8th May that Lieutenant Corporal King had a conversation with Corporal Baxter and the Earl of Suffolk & Berkshire, Charles Howard, who was known to all as ‘Jack’ or ‘Mad Jack’, a nickname he’d gained during his hazardous though enterprising Top Secret mission in Paris. King mentioned the fuzed 250 kg bomb still at Erith.

After this next assignment had been completed Jack was going to surprise his team by taking them to Charlton Park, his 10,000 acre estate, for a fortnight’s rest and recuperation after treating his men and his secretary, Beryl, to a slap-up meal at Kempinski’s. They had all been slogging hard, felt utterly exhausted, and deserved a break. Jack and his confidante Fredders had been talking of late about what they’d do after the war. They made plans to take their respective families to Australia where Jack had once owned a working sheep farm called North Toolburra in Queensland. Out there in the bush in the hot dry sun, on a horse and miles of countryside to farm, isolated from the crowds, he could hear himself think, be himself. Away from England with its incessant bombing and the increasing mountain of bombs piling higher every day all waiting to be defuzed. There was no doubt they would all benefit from the healthy lifestyle and a wonderful place for his sons to grow up. Jack was exhausted and wished the damn war would let up but with Germany’s need for order and supremacy he knew they would never relent.

That afternoon, on Saturday 10th May, he took leave of his family at Charlton after spending a relaxing but brief weekend and drove back again to London, refreshed and ready for work and to meet up with his team. Even though Jack wasn’t aware of it, Rudolf Hess picked that day to pilot a Messerschmitt to Scotland for alleged peace talks. The following day Jack visited Erith Marshes, a spot beyond east London, to inspect Old Faithful. The sun was out and, if it didn’t slip behind a passing cloud, it warmed him. It was a habit of his to wrap up on cool days in as many layers of clothing as possible in order to heat his rheumatic bones. He set aside Old Faithful for the following day. To Jack’s eye it looked corroded and dejected, it was unexploded but not ticking.

He decided on an early night because tomorrow would be an eventful day. Once the bomb was out of the way they’d drive to his favourite restaurant. He knew exactly what he was going to have – chicken chasseur with rice with a nice bottle of white to help it go down - then onto Charlton for two weeks. He couldn’t wait to spend more time with Mimi and the boys. Bloody war! Before he got into bed he looked out the window at the night sky, it was clear and dry. A good omen.

Jack woke early the next morning, drew back the curtains and examined the view. His prediction had been right, just the ticket for the job in hand. He’d telephoned Mimi the night before, the boys had become excited at the prospect of seeing their father. The afternoon turned quite warm, around sixty-four, maybe sixty-five degrees, he hazarded a guess. He left his balaclava and scarf at his apartment. Between 12.30 and 1.00 o’clock he was back at Erith Marshes with his ear pressed up against Old Faithful’s cold steel casing. Jack wasn’t happy. He hushed his men and listened again. He was right the first time. He jumped into one of the lorries with Beryl and a driver and drove over to the Borax Consolidated Factory, 25 BD Coy Headquarters, to use their telephone.

Early that morning Ken Tinker, Borax’s office boy, had peddled his weary way across Belvedere Marsh to work on the Thames embankment when he saw an army contingent of half a dozen vehicles pull away from the bomb dump as fast as their overworked vehicles would allow. He guessed another unexploded bomb had been added to the “Bomb Dump” as the locals called it, in a locality less than three hundred yards from the open road, where every retrieved unexploded bomb in this area of south-east London had been gingerly lowered from the lorry that had carted it from the point of where it had been dug up. So far, approximately a hundred bombs lay on the surface from which detonators had been removed. Every Borax shift going to and from the factory using bicycles or simply walking the mile from the railroad station to the factory passed within a few hundred yards of the Marshes. That few hundred yards separated them from certain death if a delayed action bomb still possessed an active fuze.

It was a glorious May morning after yet another night of sirens, planes, anti-aircraft fire and bombs. Cycling towards the factory, Ken was glad to see it intact although shrouded in a light blue cloud of smoke. Inside the gates the still of the morning was shattered by the roar of fire pumps working on the remains of an oil bomb that had fallen at the base of the two-hundred foot chimney. Such bombs were rarities, designed to hurl flaming masses of waste oil products in every which way. The marsh on the east side of the factory was peppered with grey mounds of Rasorite, Borax’s raw material, which had been scattered when a high explosive bomb hit the sacks of material waiting to be processed. Up on the jetty, Henry Bishop had finally managed to persuade his stubborn old steam crane into action, and begun the task of unloading barges of that same raw material moored alongside.

Chaos greeted Ken in the office as the night’s damage was being assessed. He reported to Head Office who had been bombed out of their London office, now operating from the comparative safety of the countryside in Oxshott, Surrey. The staff used Ken as a runner to collect the night shift’s shortened production figures from the shift foremen now otherwise engaged in coaxing the shattered wheels of production back to work. Back at his desk, Ken tried hard to resume his normal work but the jovial atmosphere induced by the foremen turning in reports of damage to equipment and lists of men who failed to clock-in for work rendered his routine work virtually impossible. As the day wore on, their sole contact with the outside world was the single telephone, ERITH 2163, in a kiosk beside his desk. The phone was going mad that day as missing workers reported their lack of transportation, death and injuries to family members requiring their presence, among a dozen or so other legitimate reasons for their absence.

Ken heard an army vehicle pulling into the yard, a daily occurrence as army personnel often came to use their phone – wireless communication had ceased to exist, or was prohibited because of security concerns. A sudden break in the general noise of loud talk caused him to look up. He walked over to join several staff members staring intently through the window at the lorry parked outside. A man bundled up in civilian clothes as though expecting a snow storm jumped down from the driver’s seat and was now standing beside the closed passenger door engaged in conversation with the person seated inside. The door as with most army vehicles had no windows and it was not difficult to see the person seated inside who just happened to be female, which was quite unique because bomb squads never included ATS girls on their staff roster. Furthermore, the lady was dressed in civilian clothes which were half concealed by an army greatcoat wrapped around her shoulders. Watchers at the windows stood gawping at the unexpected appearance of an attractive young female in their rough and tumble world.

No one ever dreamt of knocking on the office door so the sudden crash of a healthy set of knuckles with two imperious thuds on the wooden door caused Ken to jump. He slid off his stool, glanced over at the clock – it was just after 1.00 o’clock – and reached the door in short order. Upon opening it he was brought face-to-face with a handsome bear of a man with a mass of shaggy dark hair, sporting a smile that would have won any woman in an instant, and a gentle voice that belied his impressive size. He was wearing a naval duffle coat and rubber boots which reached his knees. There was no visible insignia on the coat, not even a gold braided cap which, somehow, in that first few seconds of eye contact Ken expected.

“May I use your telephone?” the man asked in a rich upper crust accent as he strode past Ken into the office, not waiting for an answer. Fred Payne the office manager and veteran of WW1 assured him he could indeed, while the office boy stood open mouthed to one side.

After that brief exchange, Ken dutifully wiped the hand piece with a disinfected cloth he kept handy after the instrument had been used by a sweating barge man who was used to handling a four inch hawser, who was completely insensitive to the fact he was practically crushing the hand piece. Shouting to a point where the phone was hardly necessary to talk over the four miles upriver to his base office.

Their visitor was too large to enter the kiosk and close the door behind him so every word he spoke was audible to the now suddenly silent office. His opening words were very clear. “Suffolk here, old man, we have one active so we will have to deal with it immediately. I need a Mark II magnetic clock stopper and a Mark 2 electronic stethoscope…” The rest of his telephone conversation to Captain Kenneth Privett RE was lost to Ken’s memory as everyone rushed outside to the gate. The office manager gave the boy a stern look, and together they stayed while their visitor completed his exchange. Ken heard him explaining in calm measured tones that the mechanical clock in the 250 kg heavy explosive was running. Probably, thought Ken, jerked into life during the journey to the dump. That indicated he had perhaps hours if not minutes to extract the detonator before it exploded. The Earl ended his conversation, leant on Ken’s desk and after some good natured bantering bid them a cheery “Good day, Gentlemen,” and left the yard with his driver accelerating away at high speed.

Two or three minutes later Jack arrived back at the dump and the crowd outside the factory gate filtered away, and staff in the office moved away from the windows and resumed their work.

The young office boy had never in his life met the likes of the Earl before.

Before Jack and the team got down to work they were offered and accepted a welcome brew and a genial chit chat with Mrs Cooper, the mother of a young boy, who lived in one of the cottages close by in a small village of seventeen cottages and a pub called The New Marsh Tavern.

Having the Earl sitting in his kitchen sipping tea with his mother brought back frightening memories for Mrs Cooper’s boy of WWI when, one night in 1914, a string of four bombs were dropped by a Zeppelin in those same fields. His father had raced up the stairs to where the kids were sleeping, grabbed them from their beds and ran downstairs again placing the young ones underneath the kitchen table. The German planes had been trying to bomb the searchlight in one of the fields mounted on top of residue from the Borax works near their cottage. While the Earl and a few of his men in the cottage were enjoying the pleasant chin wag, some cheeky inquisitive children had crawled through the protective fence of the Marsh to inspect the bomb that was attracting so much attention. Before they could do any damage, they were seen and shouted at ‘Oi, you lot, go on, get out of ‘ere’ by a soldier with attitude.

Just after the men arrived back at the bomb site, Jack had a welcome visitor – his friend and mentor, his Master, Dr Gough, who had always been a bit nervous about Jack. Although the Earl gave the appearance of being slap-dash at times, he knew him to be meticulous to detail. Yet for some reason he was uneasy about him that day so he decided to motor from London to see how he was getting on and found everything was as it should be. Jack was going through all the motions of safety, taking every precaution he should. His Master drove back to the city completely satisfied, his worries alleviated.

Meanwhile, Lance Corporal Brownrigg, the NCO in charge of the stethoscope and clock stopper equipment, Sergeant Cole, and Staff Sergeant Atkins had driven from their Headquarters at Westbury Lodge in Wythfield Road, Eltham, with the equipment requested by Jack; the traffic had been reasonably light, arriving at the Marshes around 2.45 p.m. Driver Sharratt drove behind them in the Guy Truck carrying the hefty batteries required for the clock stopper that weighed around 81.5 kg. Atkins pulled to a halt, took hold of the stethoscope and jumped into the lorry with Jack and Fred Hards and drove over to where the bomb lay. A moment later, Dave Sharratt followed. Jack, Beryl, Fred, who everybody knew as the The Holy Trinity, Atkins, Sharratt and the remainder of the Earl’s team stood within ten yards of the bomb.

Jack and Staff Sergeant Atkins worked on the bomb for a few short minutes as Sapper Liposta watched the Earl proceeding to remove the base plate of the bomb, which was usually hidden under the fins that had no doubt been ripped off when it had landed. He needed to remove it in order to gain access to the explosives which could then be steamed out. The heavy magnetic clock stopper and a stethoscope were then placed into position by the men. Nearby, Atkins was listening intently though the headphones attached to the bomb to see if it was ticking. Jack told Liposta and another sapper to start filling the water tank for the steam generator from the nearby ditch. The men were completely absorbed in their work and each one knew the odds. Although brows were deeply furrowed in concentration, their work mentally and physically challenging, they were confident. Each sweating man had done this before, over and over and over again.

It was Jack’s thirty-fifth bomb and he had, just couple of months ago, celebrated his thirty-fifth birthday with friends and family in fine style, his life was indeed blessed. It seemed as though he’d been doing this forever. Hopefully, one day, he’d be free of it all to follow his dream in Australia. He’d had more than enough of war, running all over southern England searching for bombs and fuzes, and his ancestral home Charlton Park was a financial burden, but these were thoughts he kept to himself. Maybe it was just tiredness talking.

Sometimes he felt like they were fighting a losing cause because whatever they did, it wasn’t adequate enough. The Germans always seemed one step ahead. He admired and respected his team, had every confidence in them, and he loved his country, so he wasn’t about to give up until the enemy gave in, hence the two weeks R n R. They were a tight bunch, their spirits were high, each knew what other was thinking and they relied on one another other totally. Jack saw them as a well-knitted, well-loved jumper all woven together. They enjoyed being filthy, scruffy and exhausted because with that came the knowledge of a job well done. They were a good team, they laughed a lot, told each other dirty jokes, mouthed obscenities and often got drunk together.

Jack stood on the side lines watching his men who were hard at work, like family to him. He fixed a Dubarry cigarette into his long cigarette holder and lit it. A quick puff always settled his nerves before defuzing the bloody things. He patted his pocket, yes, the other holder was still there in case either one broke, it wouldn’t do being without that. The sun was out and warm on his face, bringing for Jack a sudden rush of excitement and gratitude for his life; he was looking forward to the surprised looks on his men’s faces when they saw Charlton for the first time. Jack smiled to himself as he thought back to the other day when one of the lads, known for being nosy, asked him about his wife and his sons, and about where he’d been brought up. Jack never liked talking about his private life, it wasn’t for public consumption. But that day had been different, they had shared a few drinks after a strenuous day’s work and the atmosphere had turned mellow. It seemed eons since he’d been a little boy rushing around the rooms and halls of his ancestral home, or out riding his horse, playing with his dogs.


FAILURE AND OTHER THINGS

Posted by kerf on October 29, 2016 at 3:00 PM Comments comments (0)

First off, before we go into failure, I'll start with the other things:  just to let you know I have now completed my online University scriptwriting course. I loved it. Future Learn is an amazing place where you can take online University courses for free. Here's my certificate of achievement of which I am rightly proud: https://www.futurelearn.com/statements/mjuinbe

Check out Future Learn for yourself, up your skills, there are hundreds of courses to choose from in all different categories: https://www.futurelearn.com/

Now onto failure. None of us want to fail at something we are passionate about, but often it is the case that somewhere along the line you'll encounter it. See what J K Rowling has to say on failure in a TED talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/jk_rowling_the_fringe_benefits_of_failure

When I write I see it as a scene on film - I adore film, have done since I was young, so imagery is a good way of 'seeing' what you are writing. Check this article out on carrying on a theme throughout your manuscript, your film script, whatever, :

 

How to Develop and Nurse a Theme Throughout Your Narrative:   http://www.moviemaker.com/archives/series/first-draft/the-question-of-theme-how-to-develop-and-nurse/?utm_content=bufferc33a7&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

I find many articles on writing for film very informative for when I am writing a novel or non fiction. Script MAgazine is a good place to find various articles on writing: http://www.scriptmag.com/

How Do You Develop A Story That's Worth Telling: here is another article I found interesting: http://www.raindance.org/develop-story-thats-worth-telling/ Fleshing out your story may be stressful and complicated, but it would be impossible without an initial starting point. Finding the starting point, finding inspiration, is more difficult, and is something that generally cannot be taught.

Hope these articles, ideas, have helped. It's a long, often lonely, journey us writers take, so we must take help where we can get it. Not everyone understands a writer's journey so we all need to stick together.

Have fun! :)





Mastering Writing

Posted by kerf on October 1, 2016 at 2:55 PM Comments comments (0)

It's been a while I have to say since I last wrote. Where does time go? I wish someone would tell me.

 

I am back to working on my book 'Let Him Hang' - I believe it's advantageous to you and your writing to cast aside something that isn't working for a while and go back fresh. Let Him Hang is a hard book to write - the story of a young man who believed his new country would look after him, the land of milk and honey no less. Yet two years of arriving he is standing in front of a judge who has just placed small  black cloth on his wig and told my man he is to hang. I've rewritten it a few times coming at it from various perspectives, and still Fred is evading me. Has that happening to you?I'd like to know.

I found a great book the other day that will, I think, benefit all writers: Mastering Suspense, Structure, and Plot : How to Write Gripping Stories That Keep Readers on the Edge of Their Seats : https://www.bookdepository.com/Mastering-Suspense-Structure-and-Plot-Jane-Cleland/9781599639673 - see what yout think.

I find reading various articles on characterisation very helpful. Writing a script for screen is similar to writing books in three ways,: characters, plot and dialogue - they are everything. See:   BALLS OF STEEL: Finding Character Motivation, Conflict and Compassion by: Jeanne Veillette Bowerman:  http://www.scriptmag.com/features/balls-of-steel-finding-character-motivation-conflict-compassion

or this : 5 Types of Heroes Everybody Loves: http://screenwritingumagazine.com/2016/07/25/5-types-heroes-everyone-loves/?

In  5 Rewrite Strategies That Actually Work  it tells you to go through your book's/ your script's storyline and  dialogue and make sure it belongs to the correct principal character. Check it out  : http://screenwritingumagazine.com/2016/07/12/5-rewrite-strategies-actually-work/?

One of my favourite reads has to Stephen King's book on Writing. He nails it everytime.

For dialogue there is nothing like Aaron Sorkin, of 'Social Network' and  'Newsroom' fame. His characters and dialogue are always right on the button making it  a joy to watch any of his films and TV series. You can read what he has to say on writing here: http://www.slashfilm.com/aaron-sorkin-screenwriting-tips/  ; When I have time I intend to take his master class and benefit from his vast knowledge. You have to get out of your happy slippers, your comfortable jeans and frayed jumpers, and lift your backside off that well worn computer chair and go walking outside arounds towns and villages and cities and see what real people are doing, how they talk and behave. Sorkin says 'Just stick with your voice. Write as well as you can and move on.' Use your 'voice'.

His Master Class, by the way, if you want to enrol: https://www.masterclass.com/classes/aaron-sorkin-teaches-screenwriting?utm_content=1331944#/

Writing books is, I know, very different to writing scripts for TV or film but we can all learn something from various mediums. It's comforting to just sit at your desk and write, but you have to write about something you know. Listen to the tone people use in their voice, their dialect, watch how they behave in various settings, their habits. Create characters your readers will empathise with or hate, give them their own 'voice'. If something is not working for you, leave it, go and write something else or sit down with good friends and discuss why something that's irritating you in your book is not working, get their perspective. And read, read, read. Never stop doing anything that can make your writing great.

Or you can write and let me know what ails you - you never know, I might be able to help :)

Now... go forth and write!





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