mbarker: (Fireworks Delight)
Writing Excuses Season Five Episode Four: Creating Suspense


Key Points: Put a bomb under the table. If it goes off, that's action. If it doesn't go off, that's suspense. Mystery is when you can't see what's under the table. Mystery is about ideas that we don't understand, while suspense is about characters we don't understand. Both create tension. Think hard about killing a character just to create tension -- it may come across to readers as a cheap trick. Make sure that there are good reasons for them to die, or use some alternate significant loss. Consider ticking time bombs and other tricks for introducing a sense of progress, too.
Watch for the bomb under the tablecloth! )
[Brandon] Excellent. All right. We have a very special writing prompt for you this week. Producer Jordo was sent a very touching piece of mail by someone in the Netherlands. It was just delightful. We're going to read just one line from this. You have to take this and make a story out of it.
[Howard] I have coated my left hand with magical ink.
[Brandon] There you go. You're totally out of excuses. This has been Writing Excuses, and I can't talk. Now go write!
mbarker: (Burp)
a.k.a. it's not all about me?

Kitamura, the Shonen Land assistant, looked at the draft of the new Devil Boy comic. He said, "Wow, this is great. Very powerful." Shigeru smiled. "I think it's good. And the idea that only one in 10,000 children will be tempted..." Kitamura nodded. "That's good. And Mephisto is really scary." Kitamura shuffled the pages, showing an old thin man in a black suit and tophat. Shigeru said, "Having him tempting the boy puts a human face on the devil." Kitamura said, "Toyokawa has been really excited about this. He asked me who was doing it?"
soup for me? )
Toyokawa, the Shonen Land editor-in-chief, and Funayama, the TV producer, ran down the street together to Shigeru's house. They crowded into the entryway. "Fumie!" She rushed out. "What's wrong?" Toyokawa said, "It came!" Funayama panted, then said, "Devil Boy... they're doing it!" After a moment, Fumie turned and yelled, "Shigeru!" He came out, and looked at them. "What is all the noise?" Toyokawa said, "Devil Boy is going to be on television." Shigeru looked at him and said, "Really?" Funayama said, "Yes!" They all pounded on each other in excitement.

<to be continued>
mbarker: (BrainUnderRepair)
Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 27: Major Overhauls to Broken Stories


Key Points: If you are a new writer, just keep writing! Writing group, editor, agent, your own judgment will usually tell you when a book needs work. Identifying that something is wrong and learning writing triage to pick the right thing to fix take lots of practice. Some possible solutions: rearranging things, adding characters or scenes, removing characters or scenes, changing the setting... You can't do everything in one draft -- focus on fixing certain things.
Leave some breadcrumbs... )
[Brandon] Okay, before this goes any further, I'm going to end it and give you your writing prompt. Writing prompt this week is to take a story that you have written before and take one throwaway comment or throwaway concept somewhere in that story... find something that you didn't mean to be important at all. I want you to instead read write that scene, rewrite that chapter, so that that idea becomes the major focus of it, and see what happens.
[Dan] Cool.
[Brandon] All right. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
mbarker: (Me typing?)
Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 25: Mating Plumage


Key points: mating plumage -- book covers, titles, first lines. Marketing people are the ones who think of books as products. Covers mean a lot, but you may not have much control. Titles need to grab readers, make them wonder what it's about and guess at it. A title should make people want to find out more. First lines, too, should draw the reader in, make them wonder. Zingers, conflict, question, character, tone...
What's under here? )
[Dan] James, give us a writing prompt?
[James] Brandon and Julie go on a safari and get attacked by monkeys.
[Dan] All right. There you go. You are out of excuses. Now go write.
mbarker: (BrainUnderRepair)
Just an odd review of a Japanese TV show...

Mr. Brain -- it's a new television show, Saturday nights, Mainichi TV -- channel 4 in this area. And it's a very odd show.

The season opener last week started with a close-up of a box under a car. And a digital display ticking down. Then it backed up to show us a downtown area. And kaboom! The box exploded, sending a burning wreck flying up to flip and land in an intersection nearby. Where four or five cars proceeded to run into it.
Plot Spoilers! )
My rating -- I found it really hard to maintain a proper suspension of disbelief. Mr. Brain -- the character -- is just too quirky for me. The bits and pieces of brain research are kind of fun, but they didn't seem to be particularly relevant to the story, either. I think maybe they're trying too hard? I mean, I think it could be a workable format, but I'd make the mysteries the story, not so much the quirkiness of Mr. Brain and the bits of brain research.

May 2017

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