The Case Against Editing as You Go
When I first started writing I scrutinized every paragraph the moment after typing. I counted the syllables so I could adjust for rhythm and flow. I checked my metaphors to see if they mixed wrong, I ran every verb through the thesaurus, and I dialed all my hyperboles back.
By the end of the day my word count hovered around the same number I’d started at. Sometimes it was in the negative. My effort to fine tune the perfect page kept me from finishing my stories. Continue reading How to Fix Your Story Without Going Back to the Drawing Board
The Procedural Formula
Here’s a simple formula for destroying an original idea by adapting it for television: take a film (or comic book) series and shoehorn it into a format suited for syndication. The defaults you’ll find on network television are: ER clones, law firm look a-likes, New York ad agency stories, the monster of the week, and the cop drama. When in doubt, go with the cop drama.
Find someone in the source material with a unique ability. Reduce them to a roving freelance detective who plays by his own rules. I specify “his” because the maverick on network TV is almost always a “He,” (iZombie is one of the few exceptions). Continue reading How to Ruin Your Favorite Stories By Adapting them for TV
The Real Reason Joss Whedon Left Twitter Should Make Sense to Writers
Writer/director Joss Whedon just left twitter for reasons that should concern every writer. Reasons, as it turns out, that have nothing to do with the social justice warrior blame game twitter’s been playing. In an article titled Joss Whedon Calls “Horsesh*t” On Reports He Left Twitter Because Of Militant Feminists he told Buzzfeed:
“I just thought, Wait a minute, if I’m going to start writing again, I have to go to the quiet place,” Whedon explained. “And this is the least quiet place I’ve ever been in my life… It’s like taking the bar exam at Coachella. It’s like, Um, I really need to concentrate on this! Guys! Can you all just… I have to… It’s super important for my law!” Continue reading How Writers Can Keep Time From Slipping Away
How Architects Build Character Profiles
When I started screenwriting I discovered my characters as I wrote them. It was fun to meet them for the first time, but when I went back to edit their personalities had problems. They seemed less like themselves in the first scenes than they did toward the end. Their dialogue drew from stoic clichés in the first act. Their voices didn’t sound distinct until the third. I decided to take screenwriting courses to help fix the problem.
George R.R. Martins says, “There are two types of writers, the architects and the gardeners.” Continue reading How to Build Character Profiles… For Writers Who Hate Planning