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Writerly Pursuits

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  • #16
    So this is me, telling me to GTFO this board and start doing writerly things on the book. Like, now.

    The kids are at grandma's riding bikes, and mr.o is off building a wheelchair ramp for an elderly lady, so I have NO excuse. Wanting to do a re-watch of the latest ep of TVD is NOT an excuse.

    Yep. Totally going to do this. Any minute now.


    • #17
      I'm taking a quick break from reading your book and I'd second that you should keep working on it!
      Itís just really honestly so tiring and emotionally draining to have to get upset over reality constantly.


      • #18

        Only 900 words in, and mr.o came home early. I guess I *should* be glad the old lady has her wheelchair ramp built so quickly, but he was supposed to be gone til 3PM. And now he's in the kitchen making a stinky burrito, and fucking with my productivity.

        But hey, 900 words is better than I did yesterday, I guess. Which was zero words.


        • #19
          I managed eke out another 700 words, and then my kids came home and starting running around banging on bongo drums. NOBODY IS COOPERATING WITH ME TODAY.


          • #20
            This is me, telling me to get off the beekdamn internet and get to work. isadora inspired me to write a prologue (and after her notes, I basically have to re-write much of chap 1 and chap 2), and it's going to be a bit of a slog.

            If I don't say it/type it aloud, it doesn't happen.

            Oh, but before I do go . . . just wanted to recommend this to other writerly folks:

            A note recorder! I'm one of those people that most often gets an idea or who composes a snippet of dialogue in bed, or in the shower, or on the elliptical, and this thing has been a life saver for me.


            • #21
              Ophy, that is what smart phones are for!

              Also? My notes are just suggestions. Please don't feel you have to do scads of reworking just for me. I really think it flows quite nicely once all the characters and their world is established. And I'm a tiny bit dumb when it comes to fantasy worlds. I really need things LAID OUT for me. So other people might disagree.
              Itís just really honestly so tiring and emotionally draining to have to get upset over reality constantly.


              • #22
                I don't have a smart phone!

                My phone is very dumb (can't even do texting).

                And you were right about EVERYTHING. Your notes were dead on. But for some reason this prologue is stumping me. I don't think I do action-y stuff very well.


                • #23
                  And you were right about EVERYTHING.
                  That's my favorite sentence. Ever.
                  Itís just really honestly so tiring and emotionally draining to have to get upset over reality constantly.


                  • #24
                    I only got 1200 words into the prologue and then hit a WALL. Maybe never leaving the house is actually working against me, creativity-wise. Who woulda thunk it.


                    • #25
                      Rewriting is hard, which is why so few people do it and why their books suck! If it was easy everybody would do it!

                      Sorry, I was channeling my inner Martha? Where was I?

                      Also? There is no rush to rewrite the beginning. Steven King always completes his first draft, sets it aside for a couple of weeks, writes a short story, goes for an unfortunate walk, stares out the gates of his spooky property and then picks the book up to read the whole thing, note it, and rework it.

                      By the time you are done you might actually decide there are themes or thoughts you want to work throughout the beginning and leave hints for, etc. Don't let this hold you up.
                      Itís just really honestly so tiring and emotionally draining to have to get upset over reality constantly.


                      • #26
                        That is super good advice.

                        But no, I won't be going on any unfortunate walks. ha!

                        By the time you are done you might actually decide there are themes or thoughts you want to work throughout the beginning and leave hints for, etc.
                        Oh, that's excellent.


                        • #27
                          I've done nothing but random shit all day. This was supposed to be my productive day, but I haven't written a single word. I suck.

                          Starting to think I should have done NaNoWriMo just for the disciplined 'write a little every day' approach.


                          • #28
                            NaNoWriMo is officially killing me.

                            This will be the week of my defeat, if today is any indication!
                            Itís just really honestly so tiring and emotionally draining to have to get upset over reality constantly.


                            • #29
                              November 17th: Our Collective Writerly Waterloo: the day the words died.

                              Nah, just joshin'. Not ready to call it quits, just hoping my brain comes back from hiatus at some point soon.


                              • #30
                                Writerly Tips from Joss Whedon:

                                These are sort of movie script specific, but there's good general tips in there, too.

                                1. FINISH IT

                                Actually finishing it is what I’m gonna put in as step one. You may laugh at this, but it’s true. I have so many friends who have written two-thirds of a screenplay, and then re-written it for about three years. Finishing a screenplay is first of all truly difficult, and secondly really liberating. Even if it’s not perfect, even if you know you’re gonna have to go back into it, type to the end. You have to have a little closure.

                                2. STRUCTURE

                                Structure means knowing where you’re going ; making sure you don’t meander about. Some great films have been made by meandering people, like Terrence Malick and Robert Altman, but it’s not as well done today and I don’t recommend it. I’m a structure nut. I actually make charts. Where are the jokes ? The thrills ? The romance ? Who knows what, and when ? You need these things to happen at the right times, and that’s what you build your structure around : the way you want your audience to feel. Charts, graphs, coloured pens, anything that means you don’t go in blind is useful.

                                3. HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY

                                This really should be number one. Even if you’re writing a Die Hard rip-off, have something to say about Die Hard rip-offs. The number of movies that are not about what they purport to be about is staggering. It’s rare, especially in genres, to find a movie with an idea and not just, ‘This’ll lead to many fine set-pieces’. The Island evolves into a car-chase movie, and the moments of joy are when they have clone moments and you say, ‘What does it feel like to be those guys ?’

                                4. EVERYBODY HAS A REASON TO LIVE

                                Everybody has a perspective. Everybody in your scene, including the thug flanking your bad guy, has a reason. They have their own voice, their own identity, their own history. If anyone speaks in such a way that they’re just setting up the next person’s lines, then you don’t get dialogue : you get soundbites. Not everybody has to be funny ; not everybody has to be cute ; not everybody has to be delightful, and not everybody has to speak, but if you don’t know who everybody is and why they’re there, why they’re feeling what they’re feeling and why they’re doing what they’re doing, then you’re in trouble.

                                5. CUT WHAT YOU LOVE

                                Here’s one trick that I learned early on. If something isn’t working, if you have a story that you’ve built and it’s blocked and you can’t figure it out, take your favourite scene, or your very best idea or set-piece, and cut it. It’s brutal, but sometimes inevitable. That thing may find its way back in, but cutting it is usually an enormously freeing exercise.

                                6. LISTEN

                                When I’ve been hired as a script doctor, it’s usually because someone else can’t get it through to the next level. It’s true that writers are replaced when executives don’t know what else to do, and that’s terrible, but the fact of the matter is that for most of the screenplays I’ve worked on, I’ve been needed, whether or not I’ve been allowed to do anything good. Often someone’s just got locked, they’ve ossified, they’re so stuck in their heads that they can’t see the people around them. It’s very important to know when to stick to your guns, but it’s also very important to listen to absolutely everybody. The stupidest person in the room might have the best idea.

                                7. TRACK THE AUDIENCE MOOD

                                You have one goal : to connect with your audience. Therefore, you must track what your audience is feeling at all times. One of the biggest problems I face when watching other people’s movies is I’ll say, ‘This part confuses me’, or whatever, and they’ll say, ‘What I’m intending to say is this’, and they’ll go on about their intentions. None of this has anything to do with my experience as an audience member. Think in terms of what audiences think. They go to the theatre, and they either notice that their butts are numb, or they don’t. If you’re doing your job right, they don’t. People think of studio test screenings as terrible, and that’s because a lot of studios are pretty stupid about it. They panic and re-shoot, or they go, ‘Gee, Brazil can’t have an unhappy ending,’ and that’s the horror story. But it can make a lot of sense.

                                8. WRITE LIKE A MOVIE

                                Write the movie as much as you can. If something is lush and extensive, you can describe it glowingly ; if something isn’t that important, just get past it tersely. Let the read feel like the movie ; it does a lot of the work for you, for the director, and for the executives who go, ‘What will this be like when we put it on its feet ?’

                                9. DON’T LISTEN

                                Having given the advice about listening, I have to give the opposite advice, because ultimately the best work comes when somebody’s fucked the system ; done the unexpected and let their own personal voice into the machine that is moviemaking. Choose your battles. You wouldn’t get Paul Thomas Anderson, or Wes Anderson, or any of these guys if all moviemaking was completely cookie-cutter. But the process drives you in that direction ; it’s a homogenising process, and you have to fight that a bit. There was a point while we were making Firefly when I asked the network not to pick it up : they’d started talking about a different show.

                                10. DON’T SELL OUT

                                The first penny I ever earned, I saved. Then I made sure that I never had to take a job just because I needed to. I still needed jobs of course, but I was able to take ones that I loved. When I say that includes Waterworld, people scratch their heads, but it’s a wonderful idea for a movie. Anything can be good. Even Last Action Hero could’ve been good. There’s an idea somewhere in almost any movie : if you can find something that you love, then you can do it. If you can’t, it doesn’t matter how skilful you are : that’s called whoring.”
                                Oh, he would say 'finishing' is the most important thing. Bastard trying to make me feel bad. Gah.