Monthly Archives: April 2013

How To Be A Screenwriter – A Possible Explanation:

Everyone thinks it’s easy.

Some years ago, a Canadian screenwriter wagishly suggested that the typical Canadian film was the story of a woman living in a remote rural setting, enduring a life of poverty and hardship.  One day, early in the film, as she’s doing the dishes, she looks out the window, sees an owl and it ruins her life.  And that’s pretty much it.  Not what you’d call a compelling story.

A film or movie requires a strong narrative line.  The memorable movies you’ve seen (e.g. “The Third Man”, “Citizen Kane”, “The Godfather”, “Midnight Cowboy”, “On the Waterfront”, “The Bicycle Thief” etc.) all contain an imperative story; and although character, dialogue and setting might appear to be the most viable elements visible in a compelling screenplay, narrative lies just beneath the surface, tightly binding the other elements.  A successful movie depends on strong performances from imaginative actors and a well-executed concept from an imaginative director; but if the screenplay lacks a taut narrative it’s unlikely the actors and director will be able to salvage the movie. Continue reading Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

The Trouble with Publishing (Part 2): More Cautionary Tales

The response was unequivocal, “Great to hear from you… you had me laughing out loud.”  Steve, responding to my inquiry and sample chapters by return email from a small press in America, invited me to forward the MS of my glittering and beguiling, first novel, Lives of An Amoeba.  Hopeful again, thinking that someone (possibly my new bff) was able—finally—to apprehend what I was about, I did.

Almost immediately after emailing the MS to Steve, I received an offer of publication from Chris at a small press in Canada, who had read and liked the MS.  After months of rejection, I was now getting Continue reading Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

The Trouble with Drugs: A Cautionary Tale

My friend John says I hate technology, which isn’t true; not really; okay well, maybe a little.  It’s true that I’m intensely un-fond of the automobile (i.e. all the pavement in America is equal to all the arable land in Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania combined, an infrastructure costing over $200 million a day to maintain); and I’m also not keen on flying (being in an airplane gives me the same sensation as being a tinned sardine); and even though I have a website (which I have no idea how to navigate), I spend far too much time, as it is, on the Internet, a miracle of modern technology which I’m convinced will explode one day, covering me in google goo.  I’m also weary of living in a society in which two thirds of the people (even when in groups) stare at tiny handheld screens at all hours.  Who do they think is going to phone?  The Pope?  Simon Cowell? Continue reading Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

The Trouble with Publishing: A Cautionary Tale

You emerge one day from your writing sanctuary.  You have just completed a new novel—a glittering and wondrous thing; a full length book that you imagined all by yourself and which is now a 255 page reality—the funny, clever, satirical story of a vulnerable young woman finding her way in the sexually-obsessed world of movies, confronting, at the end, an aging, paranoid movie star.

 Your manuscript (MS) has been polished and endlessly re-written; your friends tell you it’s funny and riveting; you know you are ready to set the book world ablaze.  You imagine the clichéd version of success—a champagne launch for your novel, your name plastered all over the Net; and possibly glowing reviews in the few remaining book pages of newspapers still being published—but what you desire more than anything, all you really want after two years of toil Continue reading Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail