I read a lot of non fiction, mainly social psychology books on the cutting edge of our understanding of the human condition. I’m interested in why we do what we do, why modern society still enjoys a public shaming, why we follow charlatans into oblivion, and why a certain segment of the population falls asleep after copulation. I consider these books general research materials. I don’t use them to inform any specific projects, but rather all of them. I read them before the conception stage and they educate my characters’ behaviors. Continue reading How to Keep What You’re Reading Out of Your Writing
Point: Why Write About Events When You Can Live Them?
Something big is happening tonight. It’s the mixer of the season. The gathering to end all gatherings. So, why are you staying in?
Didn’t you hear? They have the best musical lineup you could ever hope to listen to, the best film screenings you could ever want to see, and the best dance floor you could ever feel beneath your feet. They have seven of the most delicious courses you’ve ever tasted, paired with the finest wines that will ever pass through your lips, and just wait until you see what’s for dessert. Continue reading Point/Counterpoint: Should writers fear missing out on other things?
A Big Difference Between Film and Fiction
In film we sympathize with characters that are introduced in vulnerable situations. In fiction we get to see that vulnerability underneath their skin. In film we judge characters by their actions. In fiction we get a broader sampling of information. In film a character’s charisma makes up for their shortcomings. In fiction a character’s rationality makes all the difference.
Characters in novels shouldn’t be burdened by the same like-ability standards as characters in films. Characters in movies have a few hours to get their motivations on screen. Characters in novels can slow time down to give us a play by play of their every thought. This is why villains in text tend to make more sense than their big screen counterparts. Continue reading Why the Best Characters Overshare
I have lived with my share of slackers; people who couldn’t be bothered to clean their hair dye out of the sink, to sweep up all their broken glass, or close the door on their way out of the apartment. These were people who used scuffed CDs as coasters for the beer bottles they were using as ashtrays. They stacked towers of dirty dishes in the sink, too high to soak.
One night, at the old place, a girl was too drunk to figure out how to get the toilet to flush. She lifted the lid, found it was too heavy and dropped it into the tank. It fell straight through the bottom, shattering it. The toilet gushed its gallons across the hall and into my room. Later that day she tried to superglue the porcelain pieces back together. When that didn’t work she left an envelope full of cash on the counter. This was the same envelope the roommate who’d invited her in used to paid his rent. Continue reading Raise the Curve: Why Writers Should Surround themselves With Passionate People