5 Reasons Writers Should Read.

Keep reading as you write.

As a tutor, I always remind my students of the importance of reading. Whether you are writing novels, blogs, scripts for film, tv radio, game or theatre as well as non-fiction even for work, you should be reading what everyone else is doing. So I’ve put together some writing tips, 5 reasons why reasons is important as a writer.

Reason One.

Book stores know what sell.

It’s give you an idea what is out there. The chances are if you by your book from a store, it is more likely to be from a publishing house. Meaning a team of experts have deemed that this book fitted in with current trends of what the reading public want. If you intend to sell you book, then this is a huge help. Not just in knowing what is fashionable, but where you book could fit in and with which publisher.

Reason Two

Reading helps you to develop you own style. Like when as a child you watched a parent or adult cook, you learn how to do the basics. As an adult in your own kitchen you add your own twist to the recipe. That’s exactly what reading as a writer does.

When you start out writing, you just write what comes into your head. No thought is out into what ingredients you need and the quantity, , you simply throw is all in!

The more you read you will pick up on nuances of dialogue, delve deeper into characters, notice the plot turns and twists and where they start to develop. It improves you grammar and language skills. Never a bad thing!

Each writer has their own Writer’s DNA, it comes from who you are and how you got there, making it pretty unique stuff!

That same DNA, effects our interpretation of books. This is what makes up your writing style, so keeping reading!

Reason Three

This one is my favourite, RESEARCH.

The Long Room,Trinity College Library

For any writer, you SHOULD be researching. It doesn’t matter what you are writing there should be an element of looking stuff up.

Let’s start with location. You decide to set your story in a place you have never been. So how do you it’s suitable for your story? How will the characters react to their environment? How will it help your story progress? Science dictions writers haven’t been to the moon, but they can read about temperatures and conditions, they can read science and technology journals to understand what we can currently achieve and what we hope to achieve, with a writers imagination you can take this further!

I love to read up on psychology, I find it a great way of developing intriguing characters with realistic flaws, such as the habits of a stalker.

Don’t let NOT researching limit what you write!

Reason Four

Expand your horizons.

Reading is one of the best tools for doing this. Whether you want to learn a new skill such as writing for film or learn about Restoration Theatre (my current expansion project), there is always an expert on the subject who has already written the book. Not sure where to start? Your local library can help or try a social media group will probably have lots of recommendations or you.

And finally,

Reason Five.

Question Time.

Reading a novel as a writer should make you want to ask questions.

Did you enjoy the story and why?

Where all the characters believable? Did you empathise with them and their situation?

Where all the loose ends tied up when the story ended?

How did the story make you feel? Were you eager to turn the next page?

Would you recommend this book to someone else and why?

I’m sure you can think of lots more questions, your readers will.

So start thinking like a reader when you write and keep asking questions of your own work.

For more tips on writing visit https://thecoffeehousewriter.com/blogs/

For information on 1-1 mentoring https://thecoffeehousewriter.com/fees/

For interest in writing courses in Beverley or starting one in your local area please get in touch at feedback@thecoffeehousewriter.com

How’s the ‘big plan’ going?i

Woooh we’re halfway there!

Can you believe it’s June already? It seems like it was only last week I was putting the Christmas decorations away and desperately searching for the perfect year planner.

Now it’s halfway through the year.

So how are those targets coming along?

I’m happy to hold my hand up and admit life got in the way. My health took a priority for the first few months, and now I seem to be getting back to my ‘old’ self, I realise that my best laid plans for the year are far behind.

Time to evaluate. I still have my goals that are achievable I just need to re-jig the timeframe a bit, set smaller goals. Chunks are more manageable then big bites after all. Cutting back on extra projects and time doing what I enjoy is always tough. There will never be enough time in five lifetimes for me to achieve and do everything I want to.

Do I feel guilty? Hell yes! But I’m getting better at that too.

My writing is coming along nicely, I’m reaching new daily goals, the podcast will be out next week and I love my writing classes and all the WiP’s and weekly writing prompts.

Plan what you can when you can, be happy, keep it balanced and DON’T feel guilty!

M x

Who? What? Why? When?

Active Questions-  Creswick (2016) Director and Writer Natalie Erika James; Writer – Christian White – Available online at <https://vimeo.com/157958148> Accessed on 1 st May 2018

Creswick is the story of a young woman helping pack up her father’s home, while both have the strange feeling they are not alone. The active questions come soon;

Whose was the art book? Possibly her dad’s

Why is the woman so jumpy? Something has happened/is happening that is making her anxious -moving of items, etc

Who do they think is living in their house? They don’t know.

What happened in the woods? Again, we don’t know.

What will she discover? This questions possibly ties in with the last one.

And finally, what is the black body over her dad’s shoulder? Is this something only she can see, her father certainly can’t ‘feel’ its weight. The body looks charcoaled.  Is it representing something in either of their past or the weight of dementia, or is it plain and simply an unknown being. Lots of questions left unanswered which make for great conversations.

Sneaky Speak.

Sneaky Pete (2015) Directed Seth Gordon; Written by David Shore and Brian Cranston.

This is crime drama that Amazon keeps adding to my time line, so I thought would give in to peer pressure and watch it.

Pete and Marius are in prison, Marius a ‘confidence’ man is getting parole, while Pete won’t be sleeping in his own bed for some-time, the consequences of holding up a gun range.  From the opening voice over, we immediately know who the ‘real Pete’ is. He is sentimental for outdoors of his youth, loves his family and knew where he belonged. Marius’s tone and his request to Pete to shut up, that his was probably the polar opposite. By the time he is leaving Marius is ready to switch persona, to Pete.

The dialogue throughout this pilot episode is fast paced, yet wordy, it depicts cultural characteristic’s, in concise punchy lines.  But it’s the ease of the switch, the ability to summarise his potential ‘con’ where Pete I at his strongest. Pretending to be Pete, engaging with his long-lost family, Marius uses careful pauses and listening to understand where a conversation is going and how to respond.  The responses ‘Pete’ receives prove he is believed. His con is working.

 

Words can Kill – The use of Dialogue

For this review, time was of an essence, so I watched a short ( and for those who are not aware sign up to http://www.shortoftheweek.com for some amazing short films.

https://www.shortoftheweek.com/2018/04/18/writers-workshop/

Writer’s Workshop (2018) is an 11 minute dark comedy written and directed by Ryan Frances Johnson about Jeremy an aspiring writer attending a writers class.  Having attending many of these, I can relate. Though I have been writing into the decades now, it was only recently at a writer’s workshop was my first piece made ‘public’. Awaiting the response is nail biting it’s your baby, a part of you, that you are putting put there. And it doesn’t matter who comments if they are negative it hurts, and yes despite all the advice you will take it personally and believe you have failed at life! Fact!

At the end of the day write how you want to if it’s for your benefit, writing can be therapeutic, and if you are aiming for loft ‘Rowling’ heights, be aware of what you are writing, take a class of two learn structure, character development, story arc, etc learn to give and take criticism.

FAIL. FAIL AGAIN. FAIL MORE.

Don’t get comfy be knocked back, but use it to learn from and develop, re-read your work whether it’s an aspiring novel or script and ask if the feedback was deserved.

Be critical of your own work,  make a template tick box for what your writing project should contain and tick it off when each part has been achieved.

The best advice given to me, was read it aloud, just to yourself, and if you can record it. Listen. Does it flow?

Have faith, you will get there.

So getting on to my 200 word max review of dialogue (the morning coffee has kicked in); * Spoiler Alert*

Writer’s workshop (2018) is heavily dialogued. Jeremy himself doesn’t have too much to say after reading his words, but just to sit back, grin and bear it.

The realism throughout the dialogue is obviously helped with the actor’s playing it straight.   The opening after Jeremy’s reading is an actual question that will need actual responses from, that are more than one liners. The extended dialogue has been set up with this.

Add drama and dark humour with in each line, and the characters personality is already being developed, Although we get told not to repeat information, it is repeated here and often. It builds a dramatic momentum until Clark is smothered at his own request.

Clarity and context is evident, we know that each critic means it metaphorically (or do they?), and as writer’s we relate, each character has expressed, as requested their viewpoint, the initial question has been answered.

Jeremey nodding and smiling understands when they welcome Clark and his poetry, that it wasn’t personal and that they will all repeat their constructive criticism again.

Sometimes dialogue is just that words, but here they have been used perfectly in keeping with what I remember from writer’s workshops.

 

 

Keep writing! M.

 

Logan (2017) Implied Readership- Who was it for?

Logan (2017)

Director: James Mangold; Screenplay: Scott Frank, James Mangold  & Michael Green.

James Mangold’s adaptation of Logan (2017) from the Marvel comic was heavily anticipated even before the trailer was released, knowing it was the end of a well loved character. For those who had seen the previous X-Men films there was a clear level of expectation from this, and for those who had read the comics, knew the story could have gone in a multitude of directions. It is this question of how will it happen that brings about talk and expands the fandom to those who like action.

From the onset of of the use of ‘Hurt’  as the soundtrack in the trailer and the reveal of new character Laura, someone who was ‘very much’ like Logan, the expectations of what this film would be grew. The scene where Logan takes Laura’s hand is somehow desired throughout the movie, as a symbol of their love and relationship of parent and child.  It’s also a sign that Logan has faced his fear.

But this is by far the only audience that Mangold had in mind, especially when a black and white version was released. This was not just for the fan’s of the genre but of cinematography.

Redefining that Sinking Feeling

Image result for get out

 

Get Out.   Dir. Jordan Peel (2017)

Multiple award-winning film, Get Out is marketed as a horror. Immediately I felt like I knew this film. It had the ring of a 70’s B movie, you knew what was coming, the tone was set.

A black man walking a quiet suburban street in the dark of night, distracted on his phone, looking lost. A classic white sports car kerb creeps alongside him, forcing the man to change directions, the car radio is blasting out ‘run rabbit run’. A signal the game is on.

From there it changed and got confusing, it was light-hearted, romantic, a banter existed with his buddy. This section of the film felt like you should be hearing canned laughter and a sign reading ‘filmed in front of a live audience’. Then you twig, this is a satirical take on the expected horror genre, from then on everything that happens falls firmly into this routine of satire.

From the start I had high expectations of this film, that was collecting awards like Rose Armitage had been collecting black boyfriends. Until you realise the true tone throughout, then you will be the one having that sinking feeling of wasting your time. When the light-bulb moment arrives sit back, ‘Get Out’ of your expectations and enjoy!