Monday, June 20, 2011

Lights, Camera... pen ran out of ink... why does this always happen when...

Briefly updating - I've had a pretty good weekend, writing wise. On Saturday, I had a chance to go to the big Reference Library in Toronto - where the "rare" books live. I got to take a look at some materials for my novel, including stuff that was printed in the era (1900'ish).  It was inspiring to say the least.

Secondly, I'm still hacking away on a short story (around 6k in length). For some reason, this story has leant itself very well to me practicing a more diligent editing process. Currently, I'm on the second go-through, chopping out all the lines that just plain don't sound good.

Next up though, and what I really want to talk about, is that I'm going to go through it as if I'm filming it.  This idea comes from John Gardner (The Art of Fiction). He approaches "psychic distance" in this manner:

Psychic distance is how "close" the reader is to the action. Picture a camera on a dolly.  With this dolly and the zoom lense you can get as close to, or as far away from, your subject as you wish. The example he uses is an excellent one, so I'll paraphrase.

Wide Shot: On December seventeenth of that year, a man made his way unsteadily down Main street, skidding in the smoke stained slush.

Medium Shot: Philip cursed as he slipped again. He paid his taxes like everyone else, the least the city could do was clear the damned sidewalk.

Closeup: Wet, freezing clumps of coldness slopped over the rim of his shoes, soaking his socks, his feet, his will to live.

See - neat, huh?

Jumping around a bit, Terry Pratchett famously said that the first time you're writing a story, you're telling yourself the story. The second time through, you're telling it to the reader. Big difference.

Now, let's put the two together. When you're writing, do you see the action in your mind? Do you hear the dialogue?   If you think about it, do you see the camera cutting back and forth between your characters, and the action?

This is something to do (and something I'll be bringing to my local writer's group this week.) Take something you've written. Now, put on a baseball cap and a soulpatch, and mark the thing up like you have to shoot it. Mark your shots (Wide, Medium, Closeup, Extreme Closeup... wiki for more...) Mark up your cuts, and mark your major scene changes.

Now, how does your "shot list" compare with what's on the page? Make that movie - if you rewrite a paragraph from a different "angle" or "zoom level", what happens to the action?

And then, let me know how it worked for you! I'm just starting down this path myself, and I'm desperately curious to know if it's helpful.

Keep @ 'er.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Back to our regularly scheduled #Fridayflash

I had the chance to meet a couple new people over the past week or two, who played along with my "Monday Motivator". Thanks Rebecca, Nina, and Lydia for stopping by!

Rather than post another (which I was doing as the site I'm about to mention took a break), I'd like to direct your attention to a challenge that offers the same rules and three word prompt, has been doing so for just over a year now, and has a ravenous, rabid following of the most supportive writers you'll ever meet - Lily Childs, take a bow! (And welcome back!)

Challenges are posted every Friday. See you there!

Monday, June 6, 2011

One more Monday Motivator

Hoping to see a dramatic resurgence in the "writing time / mental will to get the job done / je ne sais quoi / thing that makes me write" thing this week.  In the meantime, I'm keeping the pilot light on with another Monday Drabble "self challenge".
Last week I chose a number at random, and googled "motivation", then counted off the number of words in the listed results.

Same thing this time - except I googled "Monday".

So, by Friday, I will have posted in the comments below, 100 words including:


Join me if you'd like, heckle if you'd like, but most importantly - keep your own sparks firing.


Friday, June 3, 2011

excuse the mess...

Trying to get this site to look proper when viewed on most browsers, including smartphones... blogger's not cooperating. Feels like the old Daffy Duck cartoon where he's fighting the animator.

Sorry for the weirdness. Better will be coming soon.