Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and mild
Happy Birthday Me!

Going back to yesterday’s discussion about writing for actors, I had a few questions on that, which I will try to answer.

If you write for a specific actor during the development process, unless the actor is a producer on the piece, or it’s for the actor’s company, you often don’t get the actor for the role. Either the actor doesn’t feel it’s the right fit, or the advisors don’t think the actor should do it (and may not even tell the actor about the script) or simple scheduling conflicts. So you (or the next writer on the project) do a major rewrite every time a different actor is interested.

It’s much easier to create the material without Imaginary Casting and then tweak it once an actor’s assigned.

Of course, some actors bring with them their own writers to rewrite their dialogue – a practice I really HATE. If you’re good enough, you can make any good script your own without having your own people rewrite it.

Again, the writer usually has very little to say in that, unless the writer is also a producer.

Sometimes I use Imaginary Casting when I start a project, knowing it’s all fantasy, but usually, when I’m doing my work properly, the characters grow into themselves and away from my perception of the actor pretty quickly.

The noise level was truly painful yesterday in the hallway. The high-pitched whine of the drill, for hours on end causes physical pain. Having the music on helped, but I jumped nearly ten feet out of my chair when some spoken word came on and I thought someone had walked into the room behind me!

Got a bit done on the sci-fi horror western and a nice chunk done on the thriller. The section I’m doing now is a putting-the-pieces together section – only, they’re putting together some of the pieces incorrectly and will have to find out the hard way that they made mistakes. I’m almost done with the changes on Tracking Medusa – thank goodness it’s more tweaking than rewriting at this point. I caught another inconsistencies in ages/timeline – thanks, Mik, for helping me figure it out.

And thanks, Lara, for the card! It’s great and very much appreciated.

A loud crash in the kitchen last night brought me running. Elsa had climbed up on the counter (bad kitty move #1), knocked a bunch of bottles onto the floor (bad kitty move #2), and had her paw in a box of crackers (bad kitty move #3). I yelled at her and she jumped down –forgetting she was in the box up to her shoulder, and she tried to run away, still dragging the box. Not the sharpest knife in the drawer. And it’s hard to scold her when I’m laughing.

The drills have started up again. Time to turn the music on, zone out, and get back to the thriller. I’m having a low key day today. I usually like to get out of town on my birthday, but couldn’t this year, between work and building chaos. So I’m having a big lunch thing with family and friends and keeping it all low key. And getting a lot of writing done. The thriller’s flowing, so I’m running with it.

New Amsterdam was better written last night – mostly because co-producer Eric Overmeyer co-wrote the episode. And Eric Overmeyer is one of this country’s best playwrights in addition to being a damned good producer. We’re getting to see some of the darker sides of John Amsterdam in his single-minded obsession to find “the one”. It’s interesting character work, so he’s not just an all-out hero, but it also gives us room not to like him quite so much – there’s a sleaze factor to him. Very interesting, and fun for the actor, I’m sure. And both the A and B storyline were well-developed, and the weekly mystery logical and resolved.

Off to write.

Devon

March Literary Challenge: 35,107 words out of 50,000 (70%)

Devon’s Bookstore:


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Published in: on March 11, 2008 at 8:07 am  Comments (9)  

Friday, March 7, 2008

Friday, March 7, 2008
New Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cooler

Couldn’t comment on anyone’s Blogger blogs yesterday. According to them, neither my WordPress nor my Live Journal ID were valid. You know where they can shove that!

The drilling right outside my door all day nearly drove me over the edge. Not to mention the poor cats nearly turned themselves inside out. If I could have given them tiny earplugs, I would have! I worked on Tracking Medusa in the kitchen, with the MP3 player turned unhealthily up, but that was the only way I could shut out enough to get ANY work done. I can’t work at the computer because it’s too close to where the work happens.

The scumbags are not giving us appropriate notice, they are not making appointments, and I bet you they actually think if they force a physical confrontation, I will back down. Silly scumbags.

Tori brought up a good point about New Amsterdam. The Native Americans that lived in this area of New York did not live in tipis (yes, that is the correct spelling). The Lenape (also known as Delaware), some of whom lived on the island of Manhattan, built bark longhouses or oval houses. If I remember the Montauk & Shinnecock correctly (they were in the area and onto Long Island), they didn’t use tipis, either. I’d have to check with National Museum of the American Indian to be sure, and I don’t know that I want to take the time, since this is not my project – but I’d guess maybe they DON’T have an historical consultant on the show after all! I liked last night’s episode, for the most part. It was a moving depiction of race relations in New York in the 1940s, and the family revelations were interesting. Very European to reveal them this early in the series and not wait 8 or 9 episodes. The meaning of all the names, first and last, in the piece, is something I also like, although it is a bit heavy-handed at times. But because they broke my trust in the first episode, I wondered how well they’d researched the hospital situation where Lily had her baby. The art decoration on John’s office in the Chrysler Building was gorgeous, though. I’m not sure it was accurate, but it was gorgeous. It’s now obvious that they mystery/detective/job elements of his life are the B storyline are, but they still need to be plotted more clearly and tightly, and we need to have a little bit of actual mystery in it. One could tell that the killer was the killer the first time the killer came onscreen. Too easy and too obvious. So, I still have mixed feelings about the show, although I’m willing to watch a few more episodes before making a final decision. The conceit of the show falls along some of the same lines I believe – we all have one true soul mate, but there are several people with whom we can be content or even happy. But what I wonder is if this doctor chick is “The” one, and John ages and dies – that’s a pretty lousy thing to do to the person you love and who loves you. If you love someone that much, you don’t want to lose the person, and John ignores that part of the equation so far. Since he has loved and been loved in the past, you’d think he would have a clue after 400 years. His learning curve is good in every other area; I’m assuming the reasoning is that he’s obsessed and can’t see straight in this particular area of his life.

Another show I started watching on and off is Stargate Atlantis (thanks, Imp!) I caught a few bits here and there and actually saw part of a repeat of the series premiere. The show makes me laugh. I think the ensemble’s very good and it balances action, humor, and humanity pretty well, in the bits I’ve seen. And Joe Flanigan, who plays Sheppard, just makes me laugh. Talk about perfect casting. When you find the absolute right actor for the role, everything else falls into place. He knows when to be goofy, when to be serious, when Sheppard is on the job he exudes capability, yet thinks out of the box, he’s very focused, and just nails the character. I sure wouldn’t want to date Col. Sheppard (too high maintenance for me), but I’d like him at my side or at my back in a bad situation. Flanigan’s light touch makes you give a damn, and he’s another one of those actors where you don’t seem him work at it — he simply IS. It’s one of the best gifts an actor can give an audience (or a writer)!

After a day of writing and editing my own work, it’s fun to break down other people’s writing in shows. Also, because I’ve worked on sets, I can sort out the different hands in the pot a good deal of the time, especially since I know some of the directors’ styles now, etc. I couldn’t imagine being a show runner on something like Stargate or even Lost – the amount of information one has to keep track of is stunning, and it keeps morphing, so you have to keep up, and you have to keep adjusting scripts as new information about the worlds and characters is filled in. Inconsistencies jump out more readily in alternate universes. Many people think they’re easier to hide in “made up worlds”, but they’re not. Because you’re teaching the audience (or, in a book, the readership) the world, inconsistencies hit in a much more tangible way. It’s interesting.

I better try to grab a few minutes on the computer before the chaos begins again. We’re getting another storm and are on flood watch again through tomorrow afternoon. The car’s still safe over in the next town, so I have less to worry about, but with the building chaos and constant flood concerns – I’m a little tired.

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and mild

The brook’s holding; barely. We’re supposed to get one more major rain storm through here in the next few hours. If it doesn’t flood from that, we should be okay, until the next storm comes through on Friday.

Finished the assignment for Confidential Job #1 yesterday; have to write up the report and get it out by noon. Worked on the Tracking Medusa revision. Still waiting to hear about whether or not I have to send the full. Still not happy with the outline, although the synopsis is better, so I think I’ll be able to send out a batch of queries early next week. Worked on a few more things, and the sci-fi horror western, although it’s not anywhere near clipping along quickly enough. It’s out of my genre, and my comfort zone, and there are a few topics in there that push my buttons. All good, but difficult while trying to make it work on a deadline.

I feel like I’m losing days and days and not getting enough done; most of that is dealing with building problems, but at least I’m getting something done every day, unlike the last go-round, where I couldn’t get anything done for months.

Good morning’s work on Old-Fashioned Detective Work. We’re very close to the climax of the story, and then the resolution. I’d hoped it would come in at 20K; I had to push it back to 25K; most likely, it will be between 29-30K like Hex Breaker. That seems to be what each of the stories in this particular world needs. Billy’s story comes next, and then another one with Jain and Wyatt the main focus, and then a longer piece where they’re all back together.

I watched the pilot of New Amsterdam last night. It was directed by Lasse Hallstrom, whose work I respect a lot. I like the actor in the lead, for the most part. He inhabits the character well most of the time, but we still see him work too hard in some of the angsty moments. If he pulls back just a touch, it’ll be perfect. I was intrigued, though not yet sure. I’m willing to watch a few more episodes before I make the decision. It feels like the writing focused on the lead’s lines instead of developing everyone, and the mystery plot that he, as a detective, is supposed to solve, felt more like the B storyline instead of the A storyline, but was developed more like a C or D storyline. It’s fine to switch what’s usually A and B storylines – have the A storyline be his life and the B storyline his work – but they both have to be cleanly plotted, even if there are mis-steps and red herrings. And the plotting was weak in the pilot, which worries me. A lot of the exteriors are pretty good, but I don’t have a sense of where Amsterdam actually lives. It’s a huge space, looks like a warehouse space. The indications are that it should be way downtown, in what was the original area, but there’s nothing that big. AND, there really wasn’t back then, in the early days. Everything was small and close together. In other words, I’m being asked to suspend disbelief in a way that, as a New Yorker, I can’t really do. Some of the historical art direction is pretty good, though, especially the way Amsterdam keeps photographing Times Square and putting the pictures upon his board. I wonder if someone from the NY Historical Society is a consultant. There’s a part of me that says, “ooh, if they order more episodes, get on the show” and there’s a part of me that says, “Why? You don’t do this anymore. Sit back and enjoy being the audience.” Working in theatre, film, and television is like a drug. It’s very hard to go cold turkey.

They’re banging around outside. Sigh. I’ve got to get that review written and out, and then I HAVE to focus on the sci-fi horror western. And try to ignore the chaos.

Devon

Old Fashioned Detective Work
– 23,255 words out of est. 25,000

March writing challenge — 7695 words out of 50,000 (15%)

Devon’s Bookstore:


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Published in: on March 5, 2008 at 9:32 am  Comments (3)