Today’s revelation comes courtesy of Elmore Leonard. He had his way of talking about it (and doing it). I have mine. Continue Reading →
You may or may not know that I come from an advertising writing background. For those of is in the ad business, Super Bowl Sunday is the high holy day of our profession. It’s the one day of the year that everyone (not just our fellow schillers) pay attention to the ads.
In a way, what airs between the sports is not like real advertising. Real advertising is interruptive. That is, people don’t want to see it; they want to go back to what they were watching. Come Super Bowl Sunday, the ads are more branded entertainment than commercials. And the best of them are well-conceived, expertly written and superbly produced.
I offer you my thoughts on some of the best stories told last night before and during the broadcast. Continue Reading →
Merry Christmas, from your local taxidermist. Continue Reading →
I was feeling festive, so I wrote something to kill the mood. Continue Reading →
Fiction doesn’t have to have a formula. But storytelling does follow a pattern. That pattern is roughly:
- A character has a goal
- Something prevents the character from attaining the goal
- The character reacts and adjusts (pursuing the goal another way or pursuing a new goal)
Sweet mystery of life. Or rather, sweet mystery. Not the whodunnit type, mind you. The kind where you, the reader, actually have to participate in the story experience.
13. Not every conversation has to be clear to the reader. Some speeches and conversation toward the end of the Cormac McCarthy book* reminded me of this. Just about every page of a Dunnett book has conversations that the author understands but the reader doesn’t.
I’ve done a little too much of making sure every main character knows what’s going on with the other and that by characters telling you their own issues.
Chalk it up to inexperience. What I describe above are some of the issues, er, problems, I had with the manuscript for A Summer Longer. Too often, it was as if I was trying to keep everybody up-to-speed with everyone else—characters and readers alike. That’s not authentic. Apparently, I was under the mistaken notion that I was a tour guide. “And we’re walking and we’re moving…”
When I read a good mystery (and it applies to other stories and life as well) I imagine I’m spinning plates. When I come to a place in a book where a question remains unanswered, I have to keep the possibilities spinning in my head like plates on a stick. That means I, as the reader, am engaging in the story. And that’s a good thing.
*No Country for Old Men
It’s interesting to look back at observations that, at the time, were clearly influenced not just by what I was writing, but also by what I was reading. Continue Reading →