Sunday, July 08, 2007


Waffling & Writing

I'm waffling. Waffling, waffling. There's something I want to blog about, but I'm trying to decide if I want to put up with the potential ramifications. Therefore, I must think on it some more.

How's that for leaving you hanging?

So, here's what I'll talk about instead. I'm reading Sol Stein's "Stein on Writing" book, flipping through and randomly reading chapters. I've read plenty of how-to writing books during my existence on earth, yet no matter how many I read, each one teaches me a new trick or two. Sol's book is no different.

Chapter 7 - a short chapter - is called "The Actors Studio Method for Developing Drama in Plots." In short, when writing, pretend that each of your characters got a different script for the story and have them "act" from the script they've been given. This is actually the way life works. We're all running around with our own mental scripts that have been built from our personalities, life events, and etc., and conflict comes when our script doesn't mesh with someone else's.

In Sol's chapter on writing love scenes (chapter 18), he says, "It's the author's job to keep [lovers] apart as long as possible." (pg. 169) This creates tension in the story for the reader. Don't make the love scene inevitable, or straight-forward, or mechanical. That's boring. Shoot for arousing the head rather than the genitals (especially for your female readers).

An exercise that Sol suggest, which is more lengthy in the book than I'll present here, is the shouting from the rooftop exercise. (pg. 210-211) Pretend you're on a rooftop and you've got enough time to say only one thing to the rest of the world. What would you say? It can only be one sentence. Sol continues the exercise by having writers rework their original statement, but I'm not going to do that. Instead, I'll tell you what I wrote:

"Do not forget to wonder."

Now it's your turn. What would you say? What would your last words be in shouting from a rooftop?

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