Posts tagged Writers
Posts tagged Writers
General rule: writers are organized, painters are messy as shit.
Roy Peter Clark for Poynter:
According to traditional standards of newspaper writing, this lead should be a disaster. It is 79 words long, most of them in that first rambling sentence. It begins not with the news but with a subordinate clause. There are no concrete nouns. No strong active verbs. Why, then, do I think it works so well?
In a word, it has voice.
Any experienced writer can master the short snappy sentence. It takes a good writer to master the long sentence, the one that takes the reader on a journey of discovery, the one that leads you to a special place you could not have imagined when you stepped on board the bus.
This is exactly why I loved reading Ebert. And, truth be told, it’s the same style of writing that I’ve tried to put forth. Any success that I’ve had as a writer, I’d attribute directly to that notion: voice. Of course, I’m nowhere near Ebert’s level of expertise — give me 40 years.
A single mother in Massachusetts reads through her son’s notebook and shoots herself. Still grieving, the son ends up working in a Boston homeless shelter, where one day his alcoholic father seeks refuge. The father is a bad drunk, as many are, and after a while the clinic votes to bar his reentry. The father spends his first night on the streets, sleeping on exhaust vents behind a library. During the vote that sent him outside, the son either does or does not raise his hand. Then the son writes an entire book about his mom’s suicide and the booze and the homeless shelter and that vote. The writer later stands onstage with the likes of James Frey, and this man, Nick Flynn, makes Frey’s semi-real book about semi-real addiction pretty much disintegrate into oblivion by comparison. Flynn leaves Boston and marries and has a daughter, and his father eventually makes it into a subsidized apartment and then to a hospice and then gets to meet Robert De Niro, who will be playing him in a movie about his son’s book. It’s all Nick Flynn’s doing and the result is Flynn’s third memoir, The Reenactments, a poetic and probing diary of writing, memory, and filmmaking.
1. Underwear is definitely pants.
2. All you need to be a writer is talent.
3. My talent and its demands protect me from the responsibilities of normal people.
4. I’m almost done.
5. When I’m not engaged in the process of writing, I’m thinking about writing, therefore I am writing.
6. My writer’s block protects me from humiliating myself.
7. I don’t care that my frenemy from grad school got a million dollars for that literary crossover novel.
8. I don’t care that I got a million dollars for my literary crossover novel. I’m going to just keep it real. This doesn’t change anything for me. You know.
9. I don’t need to back up my computer.
10. Publishing this book will change my life.
11. I’m not going to get caught up in all that publicity stuff.
12. I’m only on social media because I have to be to promote X.
13. I’m only going to go on Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr for a few more minutes.
14. I need a MFA.
15. I don’t need a MFA (and no one else does either).
16. If you put something on the Internet, no one will read it.
17. If you put something on the Internet, everyone will read it.
18. Writing for free for that website will help me get my name out there.
19. I don’t need a contract for this.
20. I don’t need an agent for this.
21. My agent is ignoring me!
Vonnegut’s “How to write with style”.
Series ran by International Paper and included in Spin, January 1986. Pages 20,21.
Oooh, I’ve read transcriptions of this but never before seen the original.
To observe the creation of some of those [early Simpsons] episodes—to sit in a writers’ room that included Conan O’Brien, George Meyer, John Swartzwelder, and so many others—would be to witness a fundamental part of my personality being formed.
Today we talk about the creative processes we wish we could have witnessed. What culture would you like to retroactively drop in on?
DC Pierson schools a lazy student.
Now that she belongs to everyone I feel weird about quoting her because everyone does but god, I love her.(via michelledean)
The first draft of When Harry Met Sally ended with Harry and Sally never becoming more than friends. The first draft also included the above exchange, after Sally suggests they create a movie about their lives together. It ends with Harry saying, “I love you. You know that.” “I love you too.” “When I say ‘I love you,’ you know what I mean —” “I know what you mean. I know.”
Nora Ephron was important. She was important for women, vocal in that it’s okay to feel this way when people tell you that you should feel that way. She was important as a writer, giving a solid validity to Romantic-Comedies that, in modern cinema, is so rarely accomplished. I am a huge fan of RomComs and it is easily because of two major players in the game: Nora Ephron and Woody Allen. Still, Allen has never been able to write dialogue like Ephron. She found a way to take simple conversations that happened in life and put them on paper to show us what simple conversation can mean. What we learned from Ephron is that those quiet moments — those walking and talking, those sitting and talking, those phoning and talking, those talking and talking moments — can be monumental. Life changing. Life ruining. Important.
I was shocked when MCA died. I was disappointed when Ray Bradbury died. But I felt a genuine sense of loss when I learned about Nora Ephron’s death. A gasp in the parking lot of the mall as I checked Twitter, a longer-than-usual ride home as I took the back roads. The only thing these people have in common is that they produced art that I imbibed throughout my teenage and early 20s, but it’s hard not to compare the three considering their recent deaths.
When Harry Met Sally is, hands down, one of my two favorite movies. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched it. I fall asleep to it several times a month. It’s comforting and familiar, like an old blanket or a Xanax or perhaps an old blanket and a Xanax at the same time.
I’m going to miss Nora Ephron’s presence on this Earth.
“Back in 1981 Ray Bradbury was hired by NBC to adapt his story “I Sing the Body Electric” as a TV special to be called “The Electric Grandmother.” The network rejected the script he submitted, and he was angry. NBC then hired me to write the script. I loved the story and I loved Ray Bradbury; I was also keenly aware of the effrontery of trying to produce a “better” dramatization than the one submitted by the story’s own creator. When my script was accepted for production I did a very stupid thing, something only a very inexperienced and ill-advised member of the Writers Guild would do: I requested an arbitration to get full Written By credit. I lost the arbitration, quite fairly, and he and I shared the credit. “The Electric Grandmother” starred the luminous Maureen Stapleton and won a Peabody. Did Bradbury hate me, as he had every right to do? Nope. He was a generous, forgiving man. He said he loved it, and that meant the world to me.”
A few hours ago, I landed in Los Angeles, turned on my phone, and confirmed what you already know. Sony Pictures Television is replacing me as showrunner on Community, with two seasoned fellows that I’m sure are quite nice - actually, I have it on good authority they’re quite nice, because…