Monday, July 30, 2007

Character Descriptions in Two Lines

Ever been stuck trying to introduce a new character? Okay, maybe not. Especially if you tend to take an entire paragraph to do it. But I'm here to tell you that it can actually be done in just one short sentence.

Yep. Once sentence...Actually, two lines in this case.

How am I so sure about this? Well, The Nails told me so over twenty years ago. The song was 88 Lines About 44 Women and it's a great example of concise character descriptions. Check these out:

"Reno was a nameless girl
a geographic memory..."

"Jeannie had a nightclub walk
that made grown men feel underage..."

"Jackie was a rich punk rocker
silver spoon and a paper plate..."

"Sarah was a modern dancer
lean pristine transparency..."

You get the picture. Just two lines and you instantly get a feel for what each woman is like. All they need are ages and they're pretty much good to go.

For most screenplays, this is quite sufficient for an introduction. As the story continues, however, it's the characters' actions and dialogue that fully uncover the essence of their personalities.

Monday, July 09, 2007

A Real Page Churner

You gotta love public transportation.

You save on gas, it's less wear and tear on your car, and since someone else is doing the driving, there's plenty of time to kick back and read, listen to music...

...and write. And write. And write some more.

In fact, in the past three days, I've managed to churn out fourteen pages of my first draft. Not too bad, especially when you factor in a eight to five J-O-B and four kids who are all involved in some kind of extracurricular activity during the week.

According to my guesstimate, based on my current outline, I should be able to set the overall limit to 110 pages. A nice lean spec.

But as I've been writing, something freaky has happened. The characters are reorganizing the outline. I'll get halfway through a scene according to plan and it's as if they're saying, "No way, dude. I would never say it like that." or "Hell, no...I'm not doing that!" I've heard other writers talk about this happening, but I have to admit, it's kinda spooky when it actually happens to you.

Anyway, to celebrate making progress, I've included the ubiquitous writer's progress bar on the right. And yes, the title (for now) is Left of the Dial.

Look for various scene snippets in the near future.

(Progress bar courtesy of David Anaxagoras. Check out his fantastic blog!)

Thursday, July 05, 2007

I'm As Mad As Hell...

Why can't all TV news talking heads be more like this:

MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski refused to lead the news segment with the Paris Hilton jail release story. I completely agree with her statement and here's hoping more journalists (as well as those who think they're journalists) follow her lead.

Here's her explanation of what happened: