Check back here every Wednesday for a few thoughts on the craft. Here are today's:
Wednesday's Writing on Writing...
No, not that Tom Sawyer. Thomas B. Sawyer was head writer and producer of the hit TV series, Murder, She Wrote. He has written nine network series pilots, a hundred episode scripts, and has worked on fifteen series.
He’s been nominated for both an Edgar and an Emmy and was co-creator of Plots Unlimited software and its successor, Storybase. But for now let me exult about Tom’s book, Fiction Writing Demystified: Techniques That Will Make You a More Successful Writer.
I read every writing book I can find, and this is easily the best I’ve seen since Dean Koontz’s How to Write Bestselling Fiction in 1981. My enthusiasm for Koontz’s book has been corroborated by the fact that it is now selling for several hundred dollars per first edition at used-book stores and on line.
On vacation shortly before tackling a deadline, I took Fiction Writing Demystified with me and nearly beat it to death. The cover is curled; chlorine from the pool stains the pages whose dog-eared corners mark many aha! moments.
I let Tom know how thrilled I was with his book and that I would be urging writers at every stage of their careers to check it out. [Caution: it contains some earthy language.]
Digest these gems from Tom Sawyer’s book:
Perhaps, like Tom, you’ll find that you seem to instinctively know more than you thought you did “… the result, I suspect, of an almost universal, close-to-saturation exposure — by the time we reach adulthood — to stories, of our having read or viewed or otherwise absorbed hundreds or even thousands of them — from the classic children’s tales to countless episodes of I Love Lucy and other shows, to movies, novels, and so on.”
Do you need to be reminded, as I do, that as writers we are entertainers?
“… no matter how lofty our literary intentions, [we] want an audience, or we hope to find one … and we want to hold its attention. Strike that: we must hold its attention. To accomplish that, we must entertain. It’s an obligation. This is true whether we’re poets, peddlers, or preachers.”
Never forget that your novel needs what Sawyer calls “the money scene,” which he describes as “the facedown on the dusty Western street, the big emotional moment between two of your characters, the climactic battle, or the solitary protagonist’s instant of revelation.”
More from Sawyer next week.
REVered - John Stott Died Today
5 years ago