agoodwinsmith: (Default)

Recently I took an 8 week screenplay writing course (continuing studies - which means no mark, no credits).  I took it because I am a good poet, but my short stories suck.  Which is not to say that the writing is bad - people say they find the people and situations interesting, but I don't use the structure properly and people are left with that slightly dissatisfied feeling that you get when you are given a piece of lemon meringue pie at a dinner party - and it's not your Mom's pie.  I took the course because I believed that movies are very structured.

The course was excellent, and if you get the chance to take a course from Ty Haller, you just do it.

And movies are as structured as I suspected - in fact they make sonnets look loosey-goosey - and I think that explains why I don't like a lot of movies.  Many movies have the opposite problem from mine - lots of structure and either no interesting people or no interesting things for them to do.  Hmmm.  That doesn't really explain what I mean.  I have noticed this in some novels lately - the author has this cast of characters, and shuttles them from event to event, and follows the structure faithfully (they were down last scene, now they are up, which means next scene they have to be down), but there is no intrinsic reason for these particular events to happen to these particular people except that the author is writing about them and they have to do something - and the structure says it needs to be a reversal of what went before.  I find action without reason annoying.

I'm not talking about character motivation here - except peripherally.  When the only reason your heroine is opening the door to the basement, where we know that any sane person would not go for love or money, is because you have to get her into the basement somehow or another or there is no movie - I am so not interested.  I stopped being able to hack that kind of movie with Terms of Endearment.  That was one long button-pushing fest and I couldn't wait for the daughter to die.  When that movie won the best Oscar, I stopped watching the Oscars.

Now that I've taken the course, I see that since the Academy is composed of people who make/act/direct/etc movies, and that the specialists (more of less) in each area vote on the category, it is highly likely that their criteria might be different from mine.  I suspect Terms of Endearment was properly structured - and I do know that I enjoyed the individual performances of each of the actors - but it made me crazy.

So now I have a different problem.  While I recognize that a screenplay structure is different from a short-story structure, I suspect that I am not interested in perfectly structured stories - but I don't yet have something equally satisfying to offer as a reward for reading my stories. I need to think about that.


May. 14th, 2008 11:11 pm
agoodwinsmith: (Default)

I've been transferring files of my writing from obscure places to my new thumb drive.  I know it is more fashionable to call them zip drives or flash drives, but I find thumb drive very appealling.

I was rereading some of my poems and hey - I'm good.  I had forgotten this feeling.  I am just posting one of them here because it still feels a little risky, but this one is the least personally revealing.  Also, I am aware that it is flawed, but I think the poet's obliviousness to that is part of the fun, sort of like Marty Feldman's hump.

agoodwinsmith: (Default)
So, the purpose for this bloggy/public journalness is to get my writing back on track.  Yes, I go through fallow periods, and I've done this before, but it has been 12 years, and if the field ain't fertile now, it'll never be.  I was checking on a friend's writing (& then totally forgot that I was planning to check and see if there was a livejournal account), and I re-discovered RSVP's website - and my chapbook has sold out.   (!!!!)  

These emoticon mood thingies are, hmm, limited.  There is not one for "learning", and the one I have chosen I think looks more like "constipation" than "restless" - okay, when you are constipated, you are likely to be restless, yes.  I suppose someone will be along now to tell me I can create my own icons - which is nice, but only if the person then also includes detailed instructions on how to do so.


agoodwinsmith: (Default)

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