Friday, August 26, 2016

Final Cut is fictional, but based on HEALTH

HEALTH, my film as assistant to director Robert Altman, taught me to roll marijuana cigarettes, hooked me on baby Swiss cheese and served as the catalyst for my latest work in progress, Final Cut.

When producer Scott Bushnell called me in fall 1978 to see if I was up to a go-around as Bob Altman's "chief gofer," I signed on right away. I loved the old guy, since passed; he was the dad I'd never had. 

The Location
Picture a once-grand Florida hotel, the vaguely Spanish sort that went up in St. Pete Beach in the 1920's, all pink plaster, tile roofs, balconies here and there, and towers that look like an infidel's minarets.The Don Cesar is right on the Gulf of Mexico, with a swimming pool for those who don't like sand between their toes.

Monday, August 22, 2016

4 tips for better writing

Four tips on being a better writer

1. Don’t judge the first draft.
No matter what you’re writing, the first draft, or what I call the Secret Draft, should be about getting the ideas on the page. Don’t let your inner editor to stop you. That’s what revisions are for.

2. Keep it simple.
It’s easy for your message to be buried in the language. Don’t write like you think a writer would write. Write like you. If it can be simpler, make it simpler.

3. Use adjectives and adverbs sparingly.
Regardless of what you’re writing, verbs are your power words. Make them do your heavy lifting, and keep the lightweight descriptors like adjectives and adverbs scarce. Adverbs are the crab grass of writing.

4. Always get an outside edit.
Whether it’s a novel or a blog post, sometimes we are trapped in our own ideas, and the grand vision clouds our ability to see the actual words on the page. So work your vision and polish it up as much as you can … but then, get feedback from someone else whose editorial judgment you respect.

----- (From NOVEL SECRETS available in paperback and Kindle form.)

Let your characters help you

The greatest Novel Secret is this: your characters will help you write the novel if you simply learn to stay out of their way.

A secret draft is a perfect place to overwrite, the place to be too romantic, too cute because you can always fix it later. However, you do not need to do it alone.
Characters help you plot and write the book. If you let them!
I almost cried the day a person on Facebook said, “I am getting ready to start writing my novel. I have almost all of my characters created. Now, I just need to find a plot for them.” 
Extensive outlining and planning the characters before you write is almost a textbook example of how to ruin your novel. I wish I was capable of getting across how important this is.
Write your novel and leave planning to the accountants and the folks who plan air schedules.