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Monday, August 27, 2012

A Writer's Secrets

Last week, my wife and my girlfriend and I were lunching at Tao, you know, near Central Park, when in walked my hairdresser, arm in arm with my personal trainer. Hello! Awkward!

Oh. Well, I thought you'd be interested in one like that.

All right, how's this. When I watch a movie on DVD, I often watch the director's commentary, and all of the documentaries on the movie.

They're really a wonderful resource for a writer. the director will tell you how he set up a certain scene, to fit in with the rest of the work, and to keep the pacing where it's supposed to be. Action needs to be followed by a short rest, but it can't be allowed to get boring. You have to keep up a certain level of dramatic tension, and these guys explain, very frankly, just how they do it, using dialogue, and the kinetics of the scene.

You can also learn a lot from some of the 'making of' mini-documentaries. For instance, the Jane Fonda/Jennifer Lopez movie "Monster-In-Law" is set in Los Angeles, and the director gives a very cogent set of reasons as to why he wanted LA, and what he was looking for in a neighbrthood and an individual house, to move the film along.

Another secret...I don't write sex. Not now, not ever. For one thing, I've never seen any writer who did a halfway decent description of intimacy. Usually it's just embarrassing to read (and to watch, in a film). The second reason is perhaps more important. The characters deserve some privacy, and I feel I have to respect that. If I respect my characters enough to give them off-screen moments, without a spotlight, I'll have accorded them some of the humanity I'm trying to create.

Last secret...Elvis is living in my backyard.

Really! he is!

Elvis is a Pit Bull.

1 comment:

  1. You lost me at word #6. Hahahaha!! Good one.
    Joanne Woodward once said that a truly good love story only neded one kiss. I agree with her. If a writer can't tell a good story, then all the groaning in the world won't save it. It may sell, but it'sstill trash.