Archive for April, 2012

Reviews, Pretty Please

Hey, all you wonderful people out there. If you have read and loved my books, I need your help. I need reviews on Either Book 1 or Book 2, ebook or paper back, it doesn’t matter. Hopefully, you will put good reviews. Otherwise, I will be sad, and if they are total crap, I will just take them down, so be nice. You don’t have to be eloquent, just pick the number of stars that you feel are appropriate and say a few words. A thousand times, thank you.

Scripts versus Novels

When I first started down this rocky, rutted path called “writing”, I began with television scripts. Even though that may never be a legitimate source of income, it did teach me a few things about discipline. Artists in general are not people who like to live a disciplined existence. We take our work very personally. We don’t like being told what to do. We don’t tend to work all that well in a team environment (could be all those humiliating years of getting picked last in gym class). You need to keep all those things in mind when you write a script.

A television script is all about the action.Period. A script is written in the present tense because the action is live. The actors who read your script are by their very nature acting out what you tell them to do and saying what you tell them to say, but the script is about them, not you. Once you finish writing it, you’re done. After that, it belongs to them. It also belongs to the director, the producer, the make-up artist, the prop department, the studio, the network, the advertisers, and last, but not least, the audience.

A book is a purely intellectual medium. A script is a purely visual one. That’s where the real discipline comes in. As an example, a one-hour drama on television takes no more than 60 pages, give or take, to write. That’s it. The writer has to get the entire plot for that particular episode, twists, turns, conundrums, emotions, climax, resolution, all of it in 60 skinny pages with extremely tight margins. There is no room whatsoever for bullshit. Your audience still has to be drawn into your story, they still have to care about your characters, they still have to believe the story you’re telling them, and your new job is to keep their attention between commercials.

One of the largest differences between scripts and novels is the lack of introspection. A pure script, that doesn’t resort to flashbacks or voice-ever narration, has to give the actors a way to convey their thoughts in action alone. For people like me, who have spent their lives living in their head, that’s a hard process to conform to, but it’s necessary for writing a script. There is no inner-monologue in a script.

There’s usually lots of inner-monologue in a novel. Hopefully there’s still lots of the other stuff too, especially the action, but with a novel you have almost an endless horizon (in comparison to a script) with which to wax poetic about one problem or another. For some writers, that privilege can be almost debilitating, hence the  would-be writers who have that half-done manuscript lying around that they can’t seem to finish.

With this series, that doesn’t seem to be a problem for me. Part of it is probably because I’m not trying to write some great literary work of fiction that critics and really smart people are going to swoon over for decades to come. My audience is people like me, who read as a leisure activity. My books are funny, suspenseful, a little gross, a little sexy, and, well, short.

After months and months of working in the confines of script writing, I actually have a hard time getting more than a couple hundred pages out. I need the inner monologue just to slow the action down to make the story stretch. Part of that is, the story still acts out visually in my head like I’m watching a TV show, so then I have to switch gears again and crawl into my characters’ heads. It’s kind of the opposite of a script. I have to interpret what I see in my head, so my readers can re-imagine it in theirs. Weird ha?

Book Reading in New Richmond

This looks like the last Library book reading for a few months. The librarians get too caught up in the Summer Reading Program to have much time other things. I think I am going to move on to hopefully coffee shops, book stores, maybe a wine-bar or two (if they let me have a sample before hand). I’m really excited because my culinary-gifted sister is making snacks for the occasion. If you’re in New Richmond, WI, or thereabouts, pop on in around 6:30 or so and see what all the fuss is about.