Search Results: Report From the Trenches
Okay, it’s done. Today I wrap Draft #14 of the project that’s been kicking my butt and send it in to Shawn. Will it fly? We’ll see. But for the moment (a short moment), my job becomes about self-validation, i.e. giving myself some props. These “Reports from the Trenches” have been going on now for five and a half months. That means I’ve been rewriting a crashed-and-burned manuscript for that long. Good job, Steve! Whatever happens, you have risen to the occasion. You have performed like a pro. You did not crap out (okay, maybe you whined and…Read More
The theme of the past months’ “Reports from the Trenches” has been How can we resuscitate our story after it crashes? This is no easy issue, as all of us know. It feels to me, being in the middle of the process right now, like I’m grabbing my story by the belt, turning it upside-down and shaking it till all the loose change tumbles out of its pockets. We’re trying to get our story to give up its secrets. To spill its guts. To sing like a canary. Here’s a trick that sometimes works:…Read More
I was having dinner a few nights ago with a young screenwriter and a big-time Hollywood literary agent. The writer was joking that her career had stalled on the “C” list. “If I had you for a year,” the agent said, “I’d get you high on the ‘A’ list.” The agent was serious, and a serious discussion followed. Most of the talk centered on the politics of career advancement. When I got home, though, I found my thoughts migrating to the craft aspects. How would a true, knowledgeable mentor elevate a talented writer’s career? How would he advance it…Read More
For part of my time in Hollywood, I worked with a partner. I called him “Stanley” in Nobody Wants To Read Your Sh*t so I’ll continue that protocol here. Stanley was an established writer. He had been the force behind two big hits. I was the junior member of the team. Stanley was also a major sci-fi enthusiast. He had read all the magazines, the short stories, the novels, the collections. One of the ways Stanley developed movie projects (he was a producer too) was to option a short story or novella by, say, Philip K. Dick and then…Read More
Continuing our “reports from the trenches,” let me flash back briefly to last week’s post with the aim of setting today’s piece—Report #2—in a relatable time context. The plot so far: April 28, 2017. Shawn sends me his editorial notes on my new manuscript (my Draft #10.) Same day: I go into shock. Two weeks later: I summon the courage to read Shawn’s notes again. I succumb to shock a second time (though not quite as badly.) Three days later: I read ’em one more time. Shock is receding. Two days after that: I begin to actually grasp what…Read More
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