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Rules For Writing + One Non-Rule Rule

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1: Write regularly. Daily might be extreme, but try to be extreme.
2: When in doubt / take it out.
3: At the end of your writing day, do not complete the action/description/dialogue – but know what it is. Start with this known at your next writing time. 90% of the time you will slide right back into the work.

4: Eschew, Ignore and Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here, the notion that there are no rules. There are rules to everything. Artistic Creation demands rules.

5: Follow your characters.
6: Follow your characters.
7: Follow your characters.

 

(image) https:/c1.staticflickr.com/5/4252/34743456922_7b4deab196_b.jpg

Louie-the-Dog Dines Well After A Day With NATO

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An excerpt from: The Bonner Prediction

05:14:31 ZULU Time

“I’ll sweep the house.” Bonner puts the keys on the dining room table.

“That’s fastidious.” Bess looks at her watch. “It’s a quarter past one in the morning. Who’s going to visit?”

Bonner gives her a closer than usual look to make sure she is kidding. She winks and sets out to find dishes. He stops her with a hand on her arm.

“Are you familiar with NATO safe houses?”

“Nope – never been in one.”

“Don’t try to use the back door.” Bonner points through the kitchen. “It’s wired with explosives.”

“You call this a ‘safe’ house?’

“Makes it safer for us.” He removes his hand. “It will explode if someone aggressively attempts to break it down.” He smiles. “We can also detonate if from here, if necessary,”

“But this wasn’t your idea?”

“No – alas.” He starts away with his handheld. “But I approve.”

The house is conventional in its layout, ready for a family. She wonders if there are families any more. If these buildings have been relegated as guest accommodations, she doubts either diplomats or military travel with a family.

She removes the food from the containers and places it on dishes. As she puts them in the microwave Bonner passes with his electronic handheld. She thought he might give only a cursory search (no one can possibly know they are staying here) but – no. The walls, the light fixtures, the electrical outlets, the appliances, the taps, the windows, the doors are all given a sweep for tell tale signs of transmission. The doors are closed and their locks are tested. As with any place of sanctuary, every room can become a ‘safe’ room. If this dwelling is like others she has experienced, the windows can even withstand an RPG.

When Bonner is finished, he goes to the cupboards and removes napkins. On his way past the fridge he takes out a bottle of wine. He shakes his head disapprovingly.

“Screw top.” Bonner carries the wine and napkins to the table.  “Not the usual standards of NATO.”

“I was planning on Sprite.” She looks toward the kitchen as the microwave beeps. “NATO lives it up while we Swiss live in parsimony.”

“If NATO inclined towards having us live it up, they would have put us in more graceful accommodations.” Bonner twists off the cap. “At least it’s white.”

“Where’s the dog food?”

“They’re a tidy group. I bet food will be in the kitchen.”

As Bess takes the food from the microwave and hunts for plates, Bonner searches for dog food. Not only does he find a bag in the corner, together with a foil pack of dog treats, but there are two shiny, new, metal dog bowls – one for food, one for water. Bonner guesses that a member of the supply personnel is a dog lover and raided the stores of the guard dogs.

“How much?”

“Two scoops.” Bess is putting the salad into a bowl.

“What about treats?”

After.” She looks at him. “I bet you don’t have kids, either.”

“Nope.” Bonner puts two generous handfuls of food into the dish. “I’d make a lousy father.” He runs water from the tap then fills the other bowl. “There’s time.”

“Not that much time.” Bess takes their food to the dining table.

“Ouch.” Bonner has little interest pursuing this thread. He opens a cupboard and takes out two wine glasses. “Louie is fed and watered.” He carries the glasses to the table. “And now, soon to be us.”

Bess looks over to Louie. He is attentive to her, but also has side glances to the kitchen.  She waits until he is only looking at her, and then makes a hand gesture.

“Go.”

Louie is out of the room before Bonner can pick up the wine bottle. His claws clatter across the kitchen floor, quickly followed by crunching and the scrape of the dog bowl on wood.

“He’s not going to savour, is he?”

“Nope.” Bess takes her wine glass. She is about to take a drink but stops. She extends the glass toward Bonner. “It’s been a night.”

“But our wee family is safe to home.” Bonner clinks her glass. “Though Louie’s table manners could be more refined.”

DE

(image) http://www.madrivercanecorso.com/wp-content/uploads/Smiles6-2-1.jpg

Second Bananas And Also-Rans Complete The Picture

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My onion novel, CHINA LILY, spans decades. My main family, the Cannaras, travel the globe (of their time, which is the Fourteen hundreds). Lots of time on ships. Lots of time on horseback.

In their distant locations over their diverse times they meet different people. These people fill the chapters they are in, but then they are gone. They are really secondary characters to the novel, but nothing could be accomplished without them. In their own time frame they are front-and-center.

This same situation happened in my *thriller*. The time frame was much different (squeezed into a few days). And the location was one city until near the end. But the nature of the immediacy and the surprising twists of plot and the intense action called upon the use of many secondary characters. They were figuratively press-ganged into action. They did their bit and were not called upon again. Louie-the-dog was to be a secondary character with a ‘walk on’ part. He stayed.

I am having a growing fascination for these secondary characters. They have to be developed within paragraphs instead of chapters. Their dialogue and thoughts have to be concise and unique from the start. They possess a freedom of action the main characters do not have. They are not loaded down with baggage. They are a challenge to write and difficult to rein in. They are generally saucy and rarely ponder their lot. Yet they must be real and not just plot devices. They have to be taken at face value and accepted quickly. They must stand out in the background.

A novel of only secondary characters – hmmmm . . .

DE

[image] https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-vZSuKHVPTpI/VsNpi-m3ekI/AAAAAAAAU7I/8JA_0K9LM_g/s1600/2015%2Bcollage.jpg

Adapt A Novel Manuscript To A Movie Script

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It will take a whole host of other people to tell me how successful I will be. I’ve done it twice, and realize I must not only ignore my usual method of writing, but often go exactly against it.

I  have attempted to “learn” how to write for film, with many instruction books, and classes, and workshops, and meetings with people. I read many film scripts, which did help me accept the (to my eye) arcane format. But the one thing which turned me visual was the comment of a writer/editor friend who said, after reading my attempt, “I can’t see it.” That is, it did not cause visual action in her mind. And I understood.

Perhaps the biggest hurdle to get over is to accept that a movie is not a book  Changes, additions, and omissions will be necessary. As with a stage play, there is a finite time limit that generally clocks in under two hours. The threads and plot points of a movie are different. And the characters (I swear) feel this freedom, and choose to accentuate other aspects of themselves than are revealed in a novel.

The very fact their paragraphs of dialogue must be reduced to two or three lines makes them uppity. And because they can, in mere seconds, be in diverse locations, performing radically different actions, they become exact without apology. They don’t have to fill in the spaces.

The writer has to fill in the spaces however, and do so with visual stimulation. The transitions have to be swift. Their descriptions exact.

The road is always the fast lane, and the characters kick the tires with gusto.

DE

 

Not Ready for Prime Time Characters / Spear Carriers

My onion novel, CHINA LILY, spans decades. My main family, the Cannaras, travel the globe (of their time, which is the Fourteen hundreds). Lots of time on ships. Lots of time on horseback.

In their distant locations, over their diverse times, they meet different people. These people fill the chapters they are in, but then they are gone. They are really secondary characters to the novel, but nothing could be accomplished without them. In their own time frame, they are front-and-center.

This same situation happened in my *thriller*. The time frame was much different (squeezed into a few days). And the location was in the same city, until near the end. But the nature of the immediacy, the surprising twists of plot, and the intense action called upon the use of many secondary characters. They were figuratively press-ganged into action. They did their bit and were not called upon again. Louie-the-dog was to be a secondary character with a ‘walk on’ part. He stayed.

 I am having a growing fascination for these secondary characters. They have to be developed within paragraphs instead of chapters. Their dialogue and thoughts have to be concise and unique from the start. They possess a freedom of action the main characters do not have. They are not loaded down with baggage. They are a challenge to write and difficult to rein in. They are generally saucy, and rarely ponder their lot. Yet they must be real and not just plot devices. They have to be taken at face value and accepted quickly. They must stand out in the background.

Secondary characters are a challenge to write and a thrill to create. Each and every one of them excite me.

Hmmmm …  a novel of only secondary characters  … hmmmm…

DE

“Fifth Business” by Robertson Davis

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