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E.C. Henry

Is there anyway I could get Richard Curtis to float me Emma Freud on loan?

I have 2 projects I could use her on right now, and should have a third ready by next weekend.

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

karen from mentor

Billy, I just told Stephen Jay Schwartz this over at Murderati. He was asking about who edits our stuff and asked who our best or hardest critic is....
(lazy me, I just cut and pasted my answer to him here for you for your edification)[but I was thinking about YOU the whole time, I swear]

I recently had five readers of my WIP. I got feedback, really great feedback from all five of them. The first four said that they loved it and that it was a great read and a page turner,(and the only guy said the same things plus that he had to take a cold shower)
Each had some small thing to offer that I hadn't thought of.

I went back through with an eye to the comments of the first four and found a lot of things that I could make better, clearer, stronger.

The fifth said that after 1/2 hour of reading that she was out of her comfort zone and stopped reading. (I'm assuming it was the sex, I didn't ask)

I told her to put the mss back into an envelope and mail it back to me and not think another thing about it. And LET IT GO.

That told me more than anything else that I have learned so far as a writer. That I can accept criticism of my work, use what I can from it, and not obsess about what I can't change.

So I seem ready to face the harder challenge of publishing houses and the myriad rejections that I will inevevitably receive.

The fruit of my womb is my hardest critic. She WOKE ME UP recently to tell me that one of my characters couldn't be a forensic pathologist because he was two years too young to have had enough schooling. That was GREAT. That she cared that much to research a detail like that......oh, and by the way? She's impatiently waiting for the rewrite. The crowd says AWWWWWWWWWWW
But as a P.S. I DID have to staple two pages of a six page sex scene together and ask her not to read it until either A)I'm dead, or B) she's the same age I am now.
(she's 20)
Great post today sir, I always learn something new.
Karen :)

PPS..I sent you an email...check your inbox.

Eric C

Another great post. To me, writing is more like sculpture, or old style painters who painted and repainted the canvas until it was perfect. I love that Hemingway quote.

Also, I can't stand when people give feedback on typos in an early draft. I'm going to re-read the thing a million times before it is finished, I want to know structure, character and understandability issues in the beginning.

Chris

This reminds me of Michael Chabon's experience before writing Wonder Boys. It was his second novel and he felt an overwhelming pressure to write something that wouldn't let down what everyone was saying about him, that he was this great new author on the scene.

I'm pretty sure the whole story is in the intro to Wonder Boys so check it out. Yeah, helpful, I know.

Christian H

Great follow-up. I always agreed that getting through a draft is hard and you should do it anyway if you're stuck just to get to the end.

I just don't recommend that after a few FADE OUTs though because you should be studying what you did and what you were thinking and as you said "trying to achieve."

At that point you know that "blockage happens" and sometimes it's better to let it rest and work on something else. Or better yet, re-"view" your outline, trying to visualize it. I just changed a location that was blocking the thriller I'm working on.

Even though I've had a few reads I haven't made any money yet but I can say that I use readers to get a consensus of issues. I have learned to direct my requests as I know what I want to see, I just need to know if I pulled it off.

I can honestly say though that I won't change anything individually noted unless the person is paying for the service.

I only say that because if you change it before it gets to the "money" you will more than likely have to change it again. I just don't want to change something that I read as good - after the requisite cooling off period - because someone saw something else.

A good example is a script I got reviewed on TriggerStreet. It actually hearkened back to a post you made about studio notes where the exec said "it's a comedy not a look at the human condition." Hell I wrapped the protag, antag and support together pretty neatly, but all in all it was just meant to be funny. I have a set piece at McDonald's with a kidnap victim - which is ludicrously funny (unless you've been trapped in a van on a stakeout all day) - and let me get in some really funny lines. (Happy Meal? I don't want no stinking Happy Meal - you know the badges, the badges).

And by good I mean that appeals to the viewer in me. I've read many a script that were "reader" scripts (read:unique wording that has no bearing on the filming) and I only write "viewer" scripts.

And hey I've stolen stuff from the best movies out there.

Forgive my total rant but I just love talking about this. (I could probably start a riot with my Sex in Cinema post).

I just hate it when people think this can't be cataloged, directed and - well a technical profession.

That's why I come here - well blogs like this. I've had some serious discourse and it has improved my writing. Though admittedly I tried to start out with just good characters in a "small" situation (not:stakes but breadth).

Now since I'm on what I consider my Master's thesis script, I look for ways to twist the story, double-cross the audience (not too much), etc.

Well back to the day job.

Kudos!

Judith Duncan

Hey Billy,
As usual I loved the posts,always so relevant especially at the moment.I recently entered two scripts I have written into a competition.I worked them both up in a class,the second one in 10 weeks.The first one I wrote and re-wrote and even hired a script analyst to help me whip it into shape.With the second one I had time for a second draft but no money left for the analyst.

I found out last week that the second one got into the quarter finals but the first one,the one I spent so much time on didn't.

Is it Murphy's Law?The arbitrary nature of the business and screenwriting competitions?

I'm so bloody confused.???????

mernitman

EC: Dude, get in line.

Karen, I'm looking for something to cut and paste to reply with.

Eric C: The Typo People. Sounds like a bad disco band in a Samuel J. Arkoff movie.

Actually yes: helpful, Chris - gives me an excuse to go back and look at a book I loved.

Master on, Christian.

Judith: No. It's just the "anything's possible" of it all in the biz.

thesis writing

Extremely long but very useful and informative article. How i wish i can do all of that in a short period of time. But for sure doing those will produce results. I will try to spread your words through my blog and link it back to you. Thanks a lot for those tips.

Ben

Definitely. Last night's me is a horrible writer that this morning's me thinks is a jerk. "Hand in hand with a certain kind of bravery -- the courage to do it, do it, do it until you're satisfied -- comes a willingness to accept change." That line was really insightful. I liked it a lot.

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