In a recent Twitter exchange, the person with whom I was conversing mentioned, “You’ve covered a lot of ground with your blog.”
I never really thought of it that way. I just try to write about stuff I consider both appealing and applicable for writers. Sounds like others might share the same opinions, which is always nice to hear.
Since I’ve been doing this for a good number of years, the catalog of posts goes back quite a ways, covering a wide spectrum of topics. Despite their age and the occasional outdated writing update, the intended content of many of them remains relevant.
With that being said, here are a few posts from the past couple of years I think still make for informative and entertaining reads.
That’s it. I’m stumped. I honestly have no idea what to write about today.
It’s not necessarily writer’s block; more of a “want to try something new, but not sure what.”
Sure, I could once again bore you to tears with the latest update on how the pulp spec is going, but that implies a lack of originality (along with feeling stuck in a bit of a rut), and I definitely don’t want that.
Or I could regale you with a written account of my latest encounter, virtual or face-to-face, and the events that transpired, followed by the lessons learned. But my social calendar on both fronts has been on the quiet side lately, which subsequently has given me more time to write, so there is that.
Yet another alternative is to share the latest developments for that ongoing goal/dream of “someday I’m gonna be a working writer”. Not exactly a tired old chestnut, but there’s no denying it’s provided me with a lot of material over the years. One might even go so far as to say it’s inspired others to forge their own path. But then again, that’s not for me to say. I’m too busy trying to come up with an interesting topic.
I’ve been working on this blog for quite a while now, so thinking of new material can occasionally be a challenge. There are admittedly times I feel like I’ve covered as much as I can, and I don’t want to bore anybody with a dip into the pool of well-trod screenwriting topics. Seriously, how many times can you read me extolling the values of networking, analyzing the elements of a logline, or discussing what should and shouldn’t go in a query letter?
But counter to all of that, there are days where inspiration comes in and whacks me upside the head, resulting in a few paragraphs of pleasing prose/advice/assorted folderol about something affiliated with screenwriting, or at least how I stumbled onto the point I’m trying to make. That’s when the words flow like you wouldn’t believe. Before I know it, I’ve cranked out a post that could inexplicably be helpful to somebody. Without sounding too egotistical, even I’m impressed when I can pull that off.
While there are numerous other bloggers with significantly more experience than me, it’s rather surprising to see so many readers take a look at my latest offering, possibly make a comment or send me an email, and then keep coming back for more. I can’t possibly imagine what it is about me and/or my writing that would motivate anybody to read something here and then, of their own free will, return for more. Especially on a regular basis.
And then to take it one step further, they enjoy a particular post or two to the point of being so motivated as to then dig through the years of archived material in the hopes of finding anything else I’ve written that they’d consider worth reading.
Dare I even suggest that coming up with new material for this blog is in itself comparable to screenwriting? The ability to create some original material that would be considered professional, informative, and entertaining using nothing but the thoughts in my head and a moderately decent typing speed?
I don’t know if I’d go that far. But since you’re here, you can probably relate to my frustration of trying to write something when you can’t think of what to write.
That can be tough when it happens, but somehow we find it within ourselves to rise to the challenge we’ve given ourselves and actually figure out a way to come up with something and put some words down on the page.
Seeing as how I post links to this blog on a few social media and networking sites, it’s inevitable that word about it will continue to spread across the globe (even more than it already has, apparently).
So along with global recognition (which is always nice), this also attracts attention from those with an idea for a story, a dream of hitting it big, and pure, unbridled ambition.
Those that have all of the above seem to be actively seeking me out, as I have once again received an out-of-the-blue request/plea for some screenwriting assistance.
A writer asked if I would take a look at their script, adding that English wasn’t their first language, so that part might still need some work. Even though this was their first script, they felt it was ready to go and if I liked it enough, they’d be willing to share the rights or even give full ownership to me.
They also included the logline and a few personal details about really, really wanting to move to the US so they can make it in the film industry.
One of my guiding tenets is to never insult or belittle somebody, nor do I have any desire to ridicule somebody for pursuing their dream. Tough as it was, I felt I had to explain a few hard truths to them.
-First, about the script itself. “Everybody’s first script is always bad. Always. I say this not to be discouraging, but from experience (both mine and from others). DO NOT expect me to read it and say it’s perfect, because it won’t be. When you’re starting out, you have to realize what you don’t know and be willing to learn from your mistakes.”
-About wanting to move to the US. “It takes a VERY long time to have anything happen. Focus on studying and improving your craft. Fortunately, that’s something you can do at home. Join some online writing groups. Network. Be friendly. Don’t just start with “Hi. Can you help me?” Nobody likes that.”
This was their response:
“Thanks for getting back to me. I really appreciate your advise. I know that everything you said is true. So I understand. I know you are trying to help me. I know it’s bad to ask help at the first moment I get to know someone. So I won’t do that again. I’m really grateful that I got to know you. Thanks again for your support.”
If you’re like me, you totally get where this person is coming from. They want it so bad it hurts. And that this is something that takes an excrutiatingly long time for anything to even happen just makes it that much harder to endure.
We all know this is not an easy or overnight process; there are no short cuts or quick fixes. It takes time to learn how to this right, so patience is an absolute necessity. But if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, then you’ll eventually start to see results.
Lots and lots of activity going on for the hard-working staff at Maximum Z HQ. Writing of pages, giving of notes, assisting with development of outside projects, and assembling material for future posts, just to name a few.
So what does this mean in regards to today’s post?
While our number one priority remains, as always, to provide you with entertaining content, sometimes the producing of original material runs into a bit of snag, resulting in a lack thereof.
But never fear. All is not lost.
Thanks to having just over 8 years’ worth of material to pick from, there are plenty of opportunities to occasionally run a classic (i.e. old) post.
And today is one of those times.
Here’s a post from April 11, 2012, and the subject matter is still relevant. Plus, it features one of my favorite titles and photo captions.
Vamoose! Amscray! Skedaddle! Rampaging thesaurus on the loose!
It’s too easy to rely on everyday verbs while you’re putting a script together. The more picturesque a word, the more visual it becomes. It makes the script that much more exciting and interesting to read.
I usually have two minimized windows running while I’m writing. Pandora for creativity-inducing background music and Thesaurus.com for when I just can’t think of a solid alternate verb. It might take a little effort to find the one that fits, but oh the satisfaction when you do.
Not sure if a verb works? Follow the example in the quote and read the sentence aloud. Try it with different verbs. Which one sounds spot-on? Does it not only convey action but mood as well? If somebody storms into a room, you can probably guess how they feel. Compare it to somebody who slinks, sashays or (always a favorite) moseys in.
The writer’s job is to paint a picture of the story in the reader’s mind. And you want to hold their attention by using words that will do just that. A compelling story with fleshed-out characters helps too, but dull writing makes for boring reading.
I can’t remember the exact wording or who said it, but there’s this great quote that says something like “There are a million words in the English language. Use them.”