Tag Archives: Writing and Editing

And She Was – Page turner, thriller – Coming March 2012

9 Feb

I just put down And She Was by Alison Gaylin and it is with pure satisfaction that I do so. This book, from the very first pages, has proven to be an addiction. For days I had been passing by it at work, reading the same first few pages over and over again when I decided to pick it up and read it start to finish. My first idea was to save it for my upcoming travels – some very long flights ahead – but “Oh, only one chapter” turned into “Oh, only the first 100 pages” which then turned into me, in the middle of the night, 3 hours with my eyes glued open and only ten pages to go. I promise you…it was THAT good.

Absolutely captivating. A page-turner.

Normally, my recreational reading revolves around humorous memoirs, chick lit,  and some historical fiction. Mystery-thrillers usually aren’t my go-to because I get so engrossed in the novel that I scare myself silly if I’m reading any time after 7 at night and this book was no exception to that rule. Let’s just say that at 1 am two nights ago I could have sworn someone was breaking in to kidnap someone in my home. No, no, not irrational at all :-O My unwarranted fears only prove that Gaylin is very effective at creating nail-biting, page-turning suspense magic with her words. Take  a peek at her website: http://www.alisongaylin.com. She has penned several other mystery novels that I will need to check out of the library ASAP since I already devoured As She Was and loved it.

Happy Reading!

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Peek into Screenwriting

21 Sep

As I mentioned last week, Gotham Writer’s Workshop (GWW) offered a set of free introductory courses in NYC on Sept 20th & 21st. The classes filled up quickly as I found out when I applied to attend a course on the 21st and was told in the next 10 minutes that it was already filled…along with almost every other course listed for that date. This place is popular and there is no shortage of writers in NYC & its periphery, so I suppose I expected it to be that hard to get into a class.

Well, in the end a friend of mine decided to take the Creative Writing 101 course on Tuesday night and I decided that I had done that already in my GWW Fiction 1 intensive last year, so I sprung for something out of my comfort zone – screenwriting.

Now, I am a movie addict. I watched ‘Titanic’ SIX times in theaters and cried every single time Kate Winslet wouldn’t let Jack on that perfectly large-enough-for-you-and-your-lover piece of debris. ANYWAY, I digress… The point I’m trying to actually make is that I love the medium of film but it had never occurred to me to write a screenplay. Sitting in this class, though, I can see myself eagerly transforming my novel into a screenplay and quite easily.

As per usual, GWW excelled in bringing a highly educated, smart, engaging teacher to this class. This time around, I had the pleasure of learning from screenwriter, novelist and director, Richard Uhlig. He attended NYU grad school and has his MFA in Screen Writing from the American Film Institute. Mr. Uhlig was very personable and in the 60-minute span had lots of insightful comments, suggestions and stories to tell. We worked through two different 5-minute writing exercises and everyone was engaged and there was great energy in the room. If I lived closer, I would definitely take his class just to learn something new. Today, in reading about him some more on his website, I learned he has also written 2 novels (covers shown below). You can read the first chapter of his second novel, “Boy Minus Girl”, on his site and it is very engaging an immediately I was transported into the life of this bored, horny teenage boy who desperately wants to hook up with his dream girl and flee Kansas as quickly as possible…and did I mention there’s a Charlie Sheen type Uncle that apparently takes him under his wing to learn the lay of the land of ladies? Oh yeah…I need to get this book asap.

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Anyway, regarding screenwriting… Here are a few tips Mr. Uhlig shared in class that I think are really useful. As a way to break some writer’s block, maybe take a step back from your project and turn a scene into a screen play to better visualize where you want your piece to go.

1) Movies are all about IMAGES. Iconic images that you remember forever. His one example was of the girl getting sucked under water by an unseen create as she swims through the water…aka JAWS.

2) In screenplays you can only write about what you can SEE and HEAR. The ‘internalization’ found in narrative can be adopted to film with voice overs, but they are what drive a movie.

3) The job of a screenwriter is to emotionally involve your audience using IMAGES. Dialogue is secondary. As with most writing, SHOW don’t TELL.

4) Screenplays are written in the PRESENT tense. “The girl is sucked under the water by an unknown creature.”

5) Visual images, songs, characters, conversations, places are all great inspiration for screenplays…and other types of writing, as well. Follow the inspirations you find and work with them to create your screenplay.

6) COMMIT to writing daily. Make a schedule. Be adamant about keeping fresh with your writing. As Mr. Uhlig said last night and I’ve heard time and again, “writing begets writing.”

7) Particularly with screenplays, DON’T write in the shots or micromanage actors. The shots are determined by the director and the actors will interpret the character as they see fit. You want to give both directors, actors and editors enough information to go on, but not too much as to stifle them.

As for me, I presented during on the five-minute writing pieces in class and I think it really is telling of my character in “Alternate Ending” so I’m going to roll with it…take inspiration where you can find it – it’s all over the place!

Happy Writing!

Get the red ink out!

20 Sep
Carrot diversity

Image via Wikipedia

I have an affinity for editing. Well, more like an affinity for utilizing red ink (of any variety – pen, pencil, marker, crayon) to thrash through a piece of writing without apology. Cracking run-on sentences and replacing them with a newly constructed masterpiece or a set of quizzical question marks (“????”) brings me pure joy.

Now, you might think my love of red ink thrashing through someone’s well-thought out masterpiece is sadistic, but I promise you it’s not. The joy I get from editing a paper/contract/story isn’t my nasty attempt to pulverize someone’s writing. On the contrary, I’m throwing my joy into making it the best piece it can be.

I am not an editor by profession, so I use every tool at my disposal when I edit my own writing or anyone else’s. Below are a few websites I’ve found that guide you in the process of editing your novel or short story. Take a look!

http://ghostwriterdad.com/10-quick-tips-for-powerful-proofreading/
 
 
 
http://bethestory.com/2008/08/08/editing-your-first-novel-7-things-you-must-know
http://bethestory.com/2008/08/08/editing-your-first-novel-7-things-you-must-know
http://www.publetariat.com/write/11-resources-make-editing-your-novel-easier
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