National Screenwriters Day

January 5 we celebrate the folks who write movies, television shows, video games, and other such. Although in one sense a writer is a writer, when you write for the screen, there are different challenges. When you write a novel, everything is done through the power of words and imagination. In writing for the screen, words and visuals work together to make the story. Also, of course, the several media all require something different from the writer. Writing a television show with established characters is very different from a standalone two hour movie, which is very different again from the complexities of a video game. Another difference is that the writer is not writing to please him or herself, but must work closely with others to create a shared vision for what the finished story will look like, and what the budget can handle.

Those who write for the screen face some other challenges. One of them is that the story must fit the rhythm of the show, particularly for television. Each show is put together in a different way. For instance, a particular show may have a few minute teaser before the beginning credits, then each act will be a certain length between commercials. The writer must get the story across in approximately 42 minutes for an hour length show, and approximately 21 minutes for a half hour show and most of that will be dialog. There is also a particular style of putting the story together using particular words and ways of writing. For instance, you may begin a scene with the words INTERIOR SUSIE’S LIVING ROOM.

So next time you watch your favorite movie or television show, give a thought to the talented folks whose imagination created the story that gives us so many hours of enjoyment.

Quotes about screenwriting

To make a great film you need three things – the script, the script and the script.–Alfred Hitchcock

Scripts are what matter. If you get the foundations right and then you get the right ingredients on top, you stand a shot… but if you get those foundations wrong, then you absolutely don’t stand a shot. It’s very rare–almost never–that a good film gets made from a bad screenplay.–Tim Bevan

There’s nothing more important in making movies than the screenplay.–Richard Attenborough

Film’s thought of as a director’s medium because the director creates the end product that appears on the screen. It’s that stupid auteur theory again, that the director is the author of the film. But what does the director shoot—the telephone book? Writers became much more important when sound came in, but they’ve had to put up a valiant fight to get the credit they deserve.–Billy Wilder

Once you crack the script, everything else follows.–Ridley Scott

Give me a good script, and I’ll be a hundred times better as a director.–George Cukor

What has always been at the heart of film making was the value of a script. It was really the writer who could make or break a film.–Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.

There’s no question that a great script is absolutely essential, maybe the essential thing for a movie to succeed.–Sydney Pollack

Screenwriting is the most prized of all the cinematic arts. Actually, it isn’t, but it should be.–Hugh Laurie

I could be just a writer very easily. I am not a writer. I am a screenwriter, which is half a filmmaker. … But it is not an art form, because screenplays are not works of art. They are invitations to others to collaborate on a work of art.–Paul Schrader

You can dress it up, but it comes down to the fact that a movie is only as good as its script.–Curtis Hanson

The script, I always believe, is the foundation of everything.–Ewan McGregor

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National Novel Writing Month

Although it may be a little late to mention, November is National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo as it is sometimes called. Quoting from the official NaNoWriMo Web page: “National Novel Writing Month believes in the transformational power of creativity. We provide the structure, community, and encouragement to help people find their voices, achieve creative goals, and build new worlds—on and off the page.” The idea is, people begin writing a story on the first of the month, and by the end, they have a 50,000-word novel. The site offers what they call “prep,” which are articles about writing, essays by authors, prompts, and links to a local community of writers participating in the event. Writers are encouraged to announce their intention publically and get involved in a group, both of which help to keep one writing.

The sponsors suggest two books to get you started: No Plot, No Problem by Chris Baty, and Ready, Set, Novel by Chris Baty, Lindsey Grant, and Tavia Stewart-Streit, which is a workbook for aspiring writers.

So if this has sparked your creativity, or given the push you need to get a novel or other writing started, may I suggest you start today and aim to finish a month from now. Exercise that creativity and get writing!

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Quotes about writing

Advice? I don’t have advice. Stop aspiring and start writing.–Alan Wilson

All sorrows can be borne if you put them into a story or tell a story about them.–Isak Dinesen

At its best, the sensation of writing is that of any unmerited grace. It is handed to you, but only if you look for it. You search, you break your heart, your back, your brain, and then–and only then–it is handed to you.–Annie Dillard

At its heartmeat core, writing is about exploring the questions of your heart on the assumption that what intrigues you, what inflames or amuses or ennobles you, will have the same effect on someone else. It’s about taking chances, and taking risks, and pushing yourself to be honest in the issues that present themselves.–J. Michael Straczynski

Find out what your hero or heroine wants, and when he or she wakes up in the morning, just follow him or her all day.–Ray Bradbury

For a long time now I have tried simply to write the best I can. Sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can.–Ernest Hemingway

A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.–G. K. Chesterton

The good writer, the great writer, has what I have called the three S’s: the power to see, to sense, and to say. That is, he is perceptive, he is feeling, and he has the power to express in language what he observes and reacts to.–Lawrence Clark Powell

Hard writing makes easy reading.–Wallace Stegner

I was gravely warned by some of my female acquaintances that no woman could expect to be regarded as a lady after she had written a book.–Lydia M. Child

If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it.–Anais Nin

The only difference between a writer and someone who wants to be a writer is discipline.–Ayelet Waldman

The secret of good writing is telling the truth.–Gordon Lish

There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.–William Somerset Maugham

Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.–Gene Fowler

Find more than 9000 inspirational quotes and a link to the Quote of the Day list, as well as quotation related merchandise, at http://www.quotelady.com. Also visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Quote-Lady/133258553807 and on Twitter: https://twitter.com/kloberst (@kloberst)

National Be Kind to Editors and Writers Month

September is National Be Kind to Editors and Writers Month. As a writer myself, I think this is a very good idea!  🙂  Established in 1984 by Lone Star Publishing of San Antonio, Be Kind to Editors and Writers Month honors people without whom the back of the cereal box would be blank. In all seriousness, though, writers do make the world a brighter place, and it is editors who help the writer shine, as I can testify from personal experience.

As I was looking for information about this important month, I ran across a list of what you can do for your writer. Some of the ideas are quite practical:

  • Do not interrupt your loved one while they are working. We have lost many ideas this way.
  • Offer to baby-sit for the writer/editor in your life. They might not get any work done, but the kids will be out of their hair for a while!
  • Remember them with a smile, a pat on the back, or better yet, a “death by chocolate” brownie.

Some were pretty useless for this day and age:

  • Sharpen all the pencils in the house.

And one was downright rude!

  • If your writer/editor is blonde, take the initiative to clean the white-out off of the computer screen.

However, as a writer myself here’s what I would suggest:

  • Buy their books . If you buy it from Amazon, leave a review. You can find a list of my books (shameless self-promotion) at my QuoteLady.com Website, or visit my author page on Amazon. (only lists the ones carried by them.)
  • Subscribe to their blog posts (like this one!)
  • On Facebook, like and share their posts.
  • On Twitter, like and retweet their posts.
  • Similar for whatever social media they frequent.

So if you enjoy reading, thank an author or editor during this month. They will appreciate it! (And take them chocolate.)

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Quotes on writing

As a poet and writer, I deeply love and I deeply hate words. I love the infinite evidence and change and requirements and possibilities of language; every human use of words that is joyful, or honest, or new because experience is new. . . . But, as a black poet and writer, I hate words that cancel my name and my history and the freedom of my future: I hate the words that condemn and refuse the language of my people in America.–June Jordan

At its best, the sensation of writing is that of any unmerited grace. It is handed to you, but only if you look for it. You search, you break your heart, your back, your brain, and then–and only then–it is handed to you.–Annie Dillard

At its heartmeat core, writing is about exploring the questions of your heart on the assumption that what intrigues you, what inflames or amuses or ennobles you, will have the same effect on someone else. It’s about taking chances, and taking risks, and pushing yourself to be honest in the issues that present themselves.–J. Michael Straczynski

Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: it’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.–Neil Gaiman

Don’t write merely to be understood. Write so that you cannot possibly be misunderstood.–Robert Louis Stevenson

For a long time now I have tried simply to write the best I can. Sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can.–Ernest Hemingway

For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon the right word.–Catherine Drinker Bowen

Good writers are in the business of leaving signposts saying, Tour my world, see and feel it through my eyes; I am your guide.–Larry L. King

It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer.–E. B. White

Find more than 9000 inspirational quotes and a link to the Quote of the Day list, as well as quotation related merchandise, at http://www.quotelady.com.

On Writers and Writing

I read a quote lately that I have been pondering over. “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” (Thomas Mann, Essays of Three Decades) I’m not sure if I agree with this, but it led me to consider my own writing experience. I have always loved words, and have a poster on the wall of sheep, each of which are labeled with such things as noun or verb. The caption reads “Chief Word Herder,” which is how I think of myself.

I am currently working on what I hope will soon become a new blog on questions asked by Jesus, geared towards people who are willing to take a second look at Jesus the man and teacher, and not the one distorted by years of dogma. Some of it has indeed been challenging, trying to keep from falling into habits of using words bandied about freely by Christians, which are pejorative to those outside the church walls, as well as bringing twentieth first century understanding to the stories.

So I see several things going on as I write. On one shoulder sits my inner Grammar Nazi, correcting me when I use words wrongly. On another sits the Clarity Fairy, trying to tell me when I say things unclearly. A very busy little being. On another (some of these must share shoulders) is the Dogma Imp, pointing out when I slip into church language. On another is the Audience Sprite, reminding who I am writing for. And finally is the Topic Nymph, who reminds me when I drift off into something interesting to me which has nothing to do with the subject at hand. In addition, I have two beings who are always there, one whispering, “Hey, this isn’t bad,” and the other, “This is terrible. No one will want to read it.”

Here are some of my favorite quotes about Writers and Writing

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At its best, the sensation of writing is that of any unmerited grace. It is handed to you, but only if you look for it. You search, you break your heart, your back, your brain, and then–and only then–it is handed to you.–Annie Dillard (The Writing Life)

At its heartmeat core, writing is about exploring the questions of your heart on the assumption that what intrigues you, what inflames or amuses or ennobles you, will have the same effect on someone else. It’s about taking chances, and taking risks, and pushing yourself to be honest in the issues that present themselves.–J. Michael Straczynski

Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: it’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.–Neil Gaiman

The difficulty of literature is not to write, but to write what you mean; not to affect your reader, but to affect him precisely as you wish.–Robert Louis Stevenson

For a long time now I have tried simply to write the best I can. Sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can.–Ernest Hemingway

Hard writing makes easy reading.–Wallace Stegner (Crossing To Safety)

I have always wanted to write in such a way that will make people think, “Why, I’ve always thought that but never found the words for it.”–Pamela Hansford Johnson

The secret of good writing is telling the truth.–Gordon Lish

Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.–Gene Fowler

Find nearly 9000 inspirational quotes and a link to the Quote of the Day list, as well as quotation related merchandise, at http://www.quotelady.com.