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Justin Halpern: If Porno Scripts Had To Go Through Network Notes

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This is savage, I’m surprised no one’s done this before. A short, funny, inside-show-business item from author, comedy writer, blogger Justin Halpern:

I’ve written about network notes on this blog before, specifically that I don’t find them to be as evil as they are made out to be. But what I have noticed, having gone through the development process a few times now, is that most of the notes you get on a pilot are about exposition and a crazy amount of detail that almost no one will notice.  And while I agree that it’s important for the audience to understand who your characters are and why they’re doing what they’re doing, I feel as though audiences these days are really intelligent, and you don’t need to spoon feed them.  You just have to make sure you get to compelling stuff as quickly as possible.  It’s sort of like the structure of porn. Read the rest of this entry »

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Amtrak Opens The Door To Writing On The Rails

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I heard this in the car the other day, great story.

For NPR, Leah Binokovitz reports:  On Twitter, some writers started asking the same question: Wouldn’t it be great if Amtrak offered “residencies” to writers, so they could ride the rails and write? And Amtrak said: Let’s try it.

[Listen to the story: Download]

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: Things can take off fast on Twitter. And that’s what happened when a couple of writers expressed how much they like riding trains, Amtrak specifically. It started with an idea: Wouldn’t it be great if Amtrak would offer writers a chance to ride the rails for free and do some writing along the way? Soon, the idea was being tweeted and retweeted, and Amtrak replied: Sure.

NPR‘s Leah Binkovitz explains.

LEAH BINKOVITZ, BYLINE: Alexander Chee had been thinking about this for a while. He’s a novelist working on his second book. Last year, the literary organization PEN American Center asked him in an interview: What’s your favorite place to write?

ALEXANDER CHEE: I said that I like to write on trains and that I wished Amtrak had residencies for writers.

BINKOVITZ: His comments started a conversation amongst friends and writers on Twitter. The idea seemed to take on a life of its own.

Read the rest of this entry »


Two-Fisted Fiction from The Man of Steel

Just a reminder, for those of you who haven’t yet downloaded author Robert Ferrigno’s latest book The Girl Who Cried Wolf

Deep in the archives here at punditfromanotherplanet, I found this rare file photo of Robert from the early days.

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Before Ferrigno was a Best-Selling Crime Fiction/Thriller Novelist, and Narrative Designer and Content Creator for Game Studios, he was one of the founding Editors of The Rocket, the World’s Greatest Magazine, and a high-flying Features Writer at The Orange County Register

This photo is likely from when he was moonlighting on his first novel, The Horse Latitudes, while still at the Register

—The Butcher

 THE GIRL WHO CRIED WOLF

Order your copy now

 


Repost | Guest Post: Robert Ferrigno, author of The Girl Who Cried Wolf

From Aliveontheshelves.com:

By Lisa. Filed in Guest Posts  |  

It’s Friday and I am letting the writers do the work for me! Today, I’ve got a really interesting guest post from Robert Ferrigno, author of The Girl Who Cried Wolf, which just came out in February. You know that I love to hear from writers about their process — how they write, how they get inspired — and Robert has a unique process. I think you’ll be as fascinated as I was!

Look Around and Listen—We Are All Characters

One of the most useful skills a writer can develop is the ability to pay attention, to notice the things going around you. The bits of conversation, the clothes, the physical and verbal and non-verbal interactions of people. A good fiction writer is first and foremost a good observer, a good reporter. The best fiction is drawn from real events, real people and real problems.

The characters in my latest book, The Girl Who Cried Wolf, come from the people that I met while working as a reporter in Southern California. It was a great job, one in which I could write about nearly anything, though I tended to lean towards what piqued my interest—California sleaze balls, new money and youth culture.

I was a reporter for eight years and in that time I wrote hundreds of profiles, interviews what I called “involved journalism.” I flew with the Blue Angels, and was even given the stick, whereupon I inadvertently threw my pilot and I into a barrel-roll. I did desert survival training. I drove race cars, went on midnight runs with auto repo men and reported on women who made their living entering bikini contests. (My wife was less than happy about that one) What I am doing now with my crime novels is using those same reporting skills, but with a spin, an ability to let the characters breathe and take me and the reader where things are most interesting. I use current headlines to form of basis of The Girl Who Cried Wolf, and use people I’ve met along the way as characters.

My style of writing may differ from the methods used by other writers. Having earned degrees in filmmaking, creative writing and philosophy, I use skills derived from each to formulate a plot and create characters. Through the use of filmmaking techniques such as storyboarding, I am able to visualize my books. When I write I think like an actor. I hear dialogue in my head and oftentimes find myself walking around my house, speaking to myself in different voices. (My family has learned to ignore this) I become the character.

Though this approach may not work for all writers, I can honestly say that above all else, the best advice I could give to a new or established writer is that the world is trying to help you with your writing. Notice how the people around you dress, their choice of shoes, their jewelry or lack of jewelry, their speech pattern, their slang. Each choice people make in how they present themselves to the world can be used by the writer in the characters they create and the plots they  write about.

As a narrative designer in the video game industry, my eyes were opened to the video game world which was an evolution for me. The video game office is a place where people come to work in their pajamas or in, what those in the “real world” would call—semi costumes. It doesn’t even raise an eyebrow—whether it’s men in kilts or women wearing furry hats. I spend a lot of my time taking it all in, making mental notes, but I’m also a guy who wears basic black and hightops every day, so I’m sure I am a source of amusement also.

The most important takeaway from what I have learned in my professional experience is to simply listen. If you want to talk to someone or compile research for a book, approach the people you meet without an agenda—I learned this as a reporter. Just talk to people. What you may not realize is that the way that people talk and what they say makes for such great dialogue. If you want to capture a character with wonderful dialogue that you can hear in your head, consider taking it from people you have already met. You know what they look like, how they sound and what they said—now turn them into a character. I believe this is one of the most useful skills a writer can have. Most people want to tell you their story. All you have to do is listen… and find the deeper story within.

For more information, check out his website at  http://robertferrigno.com/

via Guest Post: Robert Ferrigno, aliveontheshelves.com