My screenwriting friend Marc sent me a link to an article by Lawrence Konner, writer for a gazillion projects including Planet of the Apes (!) and multiple upcoming movies that sound blockbuster-ish. There's a lot of good bits in this article, so much so that you could take any one of Konner's pronouncements and expand into a longer article. Remember, nearly everything he says applies to all kinds of storytelling, be it fiction, or creative non-fiction, or you latest short story. It is helpful to study screenwriting no matter what genre you are writing in, because screenwriters focus on story.
The part of the article that I enjoyed most was his thoughts on character versus plot. "If you try to get characters to do what the plot determines, then they're moving falsely," Konner says. He goes on to explain that the first thing you should do is write a biography of your character because the number one thing you want to do is get your audience (or reader) involved in some way with the character. You must know your character's background, upbringing, current status, dreams, goals and desires. The last aspects are among the most important because a character wanting something is what will power the plot.
Go read the article, its worth a look.
In the department of other bits and pieces, here's a small round-up of recent interesting things that have crossed my desk:
Nobel Prize winner Le Clezio says that writing was actually his third choice of career. Firsthe wanted to be an architect, but his math skills were poor. Then he wanted to be a sailor, but his eyesight was bad. So he became a writer. Writing soon became an "uncontrollable impulse." Le Clezio considers himself a storyteller above all else, and not someone who writes to espouse political views.
Has anybody read any of his novels? I'm intrigued by them, myself. Read the article about him here.
PhilosophersNotes is a really cool idea–they call it Cliff Notes for Self-Development books. During this holiday season, you can download the top 25 titles for free–its an awesome deal. Be sure to read the Meet the Philosopher page on the site, about Brian Johnson, the guy behind it all. It's inspiring.
For those of you looking for freelance writing jobs, Anne Wayman lists the places she hunts for them (or just subscribe to her job listing). Two links to Anne Wayman–clearly she's doing awesome work for writers!
And, finally, Obama's chief speechwriter is 27. Honest. This is a fascinating article about him and his relationship with the president-elect.
I think that clears up all the things I've been saving to post about in my Google notebook. Now its time to return to the magnum opus I'm working on, my 2009 goals.