Go To

Contrary to popular belief, when energy, motivation, and/or creativity is low in the Writing Cave Keep, I do not resort to singing along with Ms Krall ad infinitum.

If it’s a technical challenge, I turn to the writing library, top most being William Goldman‘s Which Lie Did I Tell?, Alex Epstein‘s Crafty Screenwriting and Stephen King‘s On Writing.

If a project has certain constraints or is more long-form, there’s these classics to crib from:

  • Joss Whedon‘s Buffy the Vampire Slayer — not just a scantily-clad teen-girl who can kick serious demon ass1;
  • Jed Mercurio‘s Bodies — a visceral and heartbreaking look at just how little separates life and death in a maternity ward; and
  • David Simon‘s The Wire — its novelistic approach to presenting a criminal investigation, showing us every shade of grey between the police and their adversaries, as well as the world in which both operate, is something to which I can only dare aspire.

The words "The Wire" in white lettering on a black background. Below it a waveform spectrum in blue.
And if it’s all too much and/or I want to procrastinate for hours I just need a little kick, I never go wrong with any of these:

  • James Cameron‘s Aliens — a war movie in space;
  • Quentin Tarantino‘s Jackie Brown — a small-time crook’s One Final Score;
  • and David Mamet‘s Spartan — a rogue agent’s attempt to Do The Right Thing.

Spartan movie.jpg
It’s not necessarily the story I worry about — it’s how I’m going to make it interesting. I want to grab and hold the reader’s — and, eventually, the paying audience’s — attention, take ’em for a ride, and then afterwards, drop ’em back in their seat, exhilarated, exhausted, and begging for more.

All of the above touchstones do exactly that.

Most times, soon after referring to any of the above, I’m back at the keyboard, writing.


1   But oh how The Goddess rolls her eyes when I talk about superior subtextual story-telling amidst well-choreographed ass-kicking.


Make ‘Em Care

One of my wonderful Imaginary Readers wondered how on earth I could get hooked into a show when they kill off a cool character – was/am I a sick perv for getting hooked so?

Back in the day, I was an occasional watcher of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Thanks to Wiki, I know that I started watching from the middle of season two onwards, and I don’t know whether it was the vampire killer schtick, the witty asides and/or the realistic interactions that kept me tuning in.

And then… a character who seemed established and part of the Scooby Gang freakin’ died. I hadn’t experienced that in serial television in, like, forever.

What. The. Frak?

As I found myself mourning the loss of a character along with the characters on the little screen, I realised a couple of things:

– there’s some serious shit you could do with television drama (and a horror fantasy to boot); and

– they made me freakin’ care.

WTF, indeed.