Tuesdays with Story
March 26, 2015
He said it . . .
“[Ernest] Hemingway may not have been the nicest person in the world, but his work gave me a new way of thinking about writing — the value of weeding out adjectives and adverbs. He was, above all, a master at the art of not saying.”
– Erik Larson, journalist and writer of nonfiction books (1954-)
Who’s up next . . .
March 31: Fifth Tuesday . . . meeting at Mystery To Me Bookstore
April 7: Alicia Connolly-Lohr (chapter 15, Coastie Girl), Pat Edwards (???), Kashmira Sheth & Amit Trivedi (chapter, novel), Mike Rickey (poems), Cindi Dyke (chapter, North Road), Millie Mader (chapter 62, Life on Hold), and Andy Brown (chapter, The last Library).
April 14: ???
April 21: Lisa McDougal (chapter, Tebow Family Secret), Amber Boudreau (???), Mo Bebow-Reinhard (???), Kashmira Sheth & Amit Trivedi (chapter, novel), Alicia Connolly-Lohr (chapter 16, Coastie Girl), Judith McNeil (???), and Jerry Peterson (chapters 16-17, Rooster’s Story).
Fifth Tuesday . . .
It’s less than a week away, yes, March 31 at Mystery To Me Bookstore.
Have you written your challenge piece? Here’s what we want you to do – and you can write a challenge piece even if you can’t be with us next week – create a list of six writing prompts that you will read to the group. Go for laughs. The instruction from second-and-fourth group is that the prompts must be amusing, at least enough to help fight off sleep. Ruth Imhoff provides this example: How to survive the Zombie Apocalypse!
Bring a copy of your six prompts with you. Also email a copy to Jerry Peterson, email@example.com , so we can post the collection on our web page.
TWS alumna Susan Gloss Parsons will be our special guest for the evening.
This is a potluck event, so what are you bringing for the feasting table?
Great word . . .
From Word Spy Paul McFedreis:
Meaning: (noun) A relatively short flight that leaves late in the evening (cf. red eye).
“Book Low-priced Pink Eye Flights: You can get inexpensive flights to the United States with pink eye flights. A purple eye flight is a flight that is taken or arrives at midnight.”
– Lisa Steinway, How To Get Low-cost Flights To The Usa, Kadash, June 24, 2014
“Got a pink eye flight tonight. LA to Indy.”
– Jack Barakat, “Got a pink…,” Twitter, May 20, 2011
“My flight to Sibu was delayed from 8:25 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and then to 10:20 p.m., just missing being a red eye flight by 1 hour and 41 minutes. I guess that makes it a pink eye flight.”
– Pink eye flight, sixthseal.com, August 13, 2004
Four ways to avoid screenplayizing your novel . . .
YA author and blogger Nathan Bransford says it’s tempting to write a novel as if it were a movie or, worse, a screenplay. Novels and movies, they aren’t the same:
One of my favorite jokes on The Office is when Dwight Schrute boasts, “I know everything about film. I’ve seen over 240 of them.”
It’s funny because it sounds reasonable at first, but then you realize that’s seriously nothing – when you think about how many movies you’ve actually seen, it’s surely thousands, not to mention thousands of hours of scripted TV shows (that’s also when you realize just how much time you actually have on your hands).
When we tell stories, it’s almost impossible to get movies and TV shows out of our heads. So when you sit down to write a scene, it’s exceedingly natural to think of it like a scene in the movies. But it’s also extremely problematic. Books are wholly different beasts than movies.
Here’s how to avoid screenplayizing your novel:
1) Don’t construct a scene around dialogue.
Two people simply talking is not at all interesting on the page, no matter how scintillating the dialogue.
In movies, watching two people just talk can be fascinating because we are actually watching the actors and we’re absorbing way more than just the words they’re speaking. We’re seeing their facial expressions, their gestures, we’re hearing their vocal inflection, we’re absorbing the setting, and there are sound effects and music and countless other small sources of input. Reduce all of that to simply words, and you have yourself a hollow experience.
Instead, it’s up to writers to set the scene, to give the nonverbal cues, to articulate the physical action, and create a full picture of what’s happening. Elmore Leonard probably came as close as you can to successfully constructing novels wholly around dialogue, but his approach was more about economy of nonverbal cues than it was about removing them entirely.
2) Don’t rely on the reader to imagine a scene.
Novel writers are not screenwriters. They’re also directors, actors, sound engineers, cinematographers, key grips, best boys… you get the idea.
When you’re writing a screenplay, all you have to do is say that the scene takes place in Rick’s Café Américain and it’s up to the director and movie crew to figure out what that looks like.
When you’re writing a novel, you have to describe the interior and provide all five senses for the reader. They simply won’t know what things look like unless you tell them.
Many writers feel like they’re being boring when they take some time to set the scene, but it’s so crucial for the reader to be able to physically place themselves within a scene and have enough context to picture what is happening. You don’t have to overdo it describing everyday items – a hammer is just a hammer unless you specify otherwise – but it’s not the reader’s job to fill in all the missing details.
3) Remember that books are about your characters’ inner lives.
Movies are about the exterior. They show characters moving physically through a world. Even when they’re intensely personal and even when there is voiceover narration, we don’t generally see a character’s inner thoughts. Instead, we deduce motivation by what we see in a character’s actions and expressions.
Read the entire post at Nathan’s blog, http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2015/03/4-ways-to-avoid-screenplayizing-your.html