We seem to be going through a screenwriting/script thing at the moment on the WLW site. To continue that trend here is a discussion on how to write fight scene from John August who has written films like Charlie’s Angels and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
His advice when writing any situation which involves running around or doing things is:
- Always remember that you’re writing a movie, not a screenplay. Even though you only have words at your disposal, you’re trying to create the experience of watching a movie
- Keep sentences short. Use sluglines to break things up. Keep our attention so we’re not tempted to skim.
- When you have two characters fighting, you’re not going to write every punch. Rather, you need to get specific on how this fight feels different than every other movie fight. What is it about the style, the environment, the stakes and the story that makes this battle unique to this movie and this moment?
In the article he goes onto explain these points with explains from the first Charlie’s Angels film.
The original article appeared on johnaugust.com on the 19th of July 2011.
Over at Movieline, the screenwriting duo Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely offer up eight tips on how to write a comic book movie. They are:
- Be a fan of your source material — but don’t be too beholden to it, because you have to adapt for a new audience.
- In order to write a superhero movie, don’t write a superhero movie.
- Treat the fantastic realistically.
- Be smart about the references you slip in for the super fans.
- Treat the love interest (and other supporting characters) as their own fully formed character, with decisions to make and stakes of their own.
- Don’t be afraid to ditch supporting characters if they don’t serve the story — or, find alternate ways to make them essential.
- When laying groundwork within a greater franchise it helps to work well with others (though not necessarily in the same room as others).
- Don’t be afraid to work for next to nothing in the beginning, as Markus and McFeely did with their still-unproduced first script, Screenland. It might all work out in the end.
To find out more information about each ‘tip’ visit the original article
. However, as one of the comments underneath says, “Why don’t we all see how good the film is before we start taking advice?
“ You have been warned!
The next meeting of WLW is not at our usual venue. For this week only we are meeting at the Howden Park Centre to take part in a work shop organised by West Lothian Council’s Arts Services Team.
The workshop will consist of Alistair Rutherford (writer of The Garden) talk about everything from what it is like being a writer across mediums as diverse as radio, theatre and interactive games to how he gets his plays produced. AlsoPhilip Kingscott (producer of The Garden) will perform some of his sketches – alongside Alistair – as well as discussing his role in the writing process.
Directions to the Howden Park Centre can be found on their website.
Remember to attend this workshop you need to book a place by Friday the 22nd of July. To do so please contact Fiona MacFarlane by email or call her on 01506 773873.
On Tuesday the 26th of July HarperCollins have teamed up with Marie Claire and Malmaison to offer a workshop on ‘How to Get Published’. Featuring one of HarperCollins’ top women’s fiction authors, Lindsey Kelk, and a panel of experts including a literary agent, publishing director and a member of the Marie Claire features team, you will discover what it really takes to get your own book published.
The workshop will take place between 6.30-8pm and tickets cost £35. This price includes drinks, canapés and a fabulous goodie bag worth more than£55.
This was originally posted on the Voyager Books Website on the 24th of June 2011.
While on Twitter last night I came across the follow ‘tweet’ and responses from Duncan Jones – writer of the 2009 film Moon.
“The most painful thing about writing a first draft is accepting how little of what you write is likely to survive revisions. Has to be done.”
The post generator a number of responses including the following pieces of advice:
“just get it done! Don’t try to get it right the first time. Seeing whats working & whats not much more efficient” from Jake Lane
“if I’m in love with it, I cut and paste it aside. But generally I write on top of the previous draft” From Anne-Marie G
And finally my favourite post, “Rewrites are like cutting off your arm, but then seeing it regrow with a machine gun attached” from Alistair Canlin.
So remember next time you are struggling with multi-drafts of a piece that those at the top of their game have the same problems. Plus you never know what might grow to replace to that idea you have just cut!
Ever wanted to name a building after your favourite crime writer? Well the University of Dundee are now offering you that very chance. For a donation of a £1 you can decide which author gets their name on the side of the University’s new morgue!
So far Val McDermid, Stuart MacBride, Tess Gerritsen and Lee Child have joined the campaign with more joining shortly!
For more information or to vote please visit the Million for a Morgue website. So now the only question is who do you vote for?
Also if you sign up to the website before the 31st of August 2011 you will be entered into a prize draw to win a signed first edition of Val McDermid’s new book A Place of Execution.
During August 2011 Scottish Poetry Library are offering poetry readings in their Courtyard between 2:00pm and 3:00pm. The readings, hosted by the School of Poets, are an annual event held at the Scottish Poetry Library. It is a public event where folk can come along and read or listen to poetry. Please be aware that the readings take place outside so lets hope for good weather.
All performers are members of the School of Poets who host the event and monitor the readings as numbers vary.
- Monday 15th August – Angela Blacklock Brown
- Tuesday 16th August – Christine De Luca
- Wednesday 17th August – Patricia McCaw
- Thursday 18th August – Tony Lawrence
- Friday 19th August – Colin Will
- Saturday 20th August – Jennifer Alderston
- Monday 22nd August – Anne Connolly
- Tuesday 23rd August – Dave Forbes
- Wednesday 24th August – Dave Purdie
- Thursday 25th August – Irene Brown
- Friday 26th August – Anna Dickie & Shampa Ray
- Saturday 27th August – Anne Connolly
For more information please contact the Scottish Poetry Library by phoning 0131 557 2876 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
After a discussion at this week’s meeting I did a bit of research and found this article on the use of numbers and numerals in writing. It helpfully splits the advice into ten which are:
- Number versus numeral. A number is an abstract concept while a numeral is a symbol used to express that number.
- Spell small numbers out. The small numbers, such as whole numbers smaller than ten, should be spelled out. That’s one rule you can count on.
- No other standard rule: Experts don’t agree on other rules.
- Using the comma. In English, the comma is used as a thousands separator (and the full stop as a decimal separator), to make large numbers easier to read while in Continental Europe the opposite is true.
- Don’t start a sentence with a numeral. Make it “Fourscore and seven years ago,” not “4 score and 7 years ago.”
- Centuries and decades should be spelled out. Use the Eighties or nineteenth century.
- Percentages and recipes. In everyday writing and recipes you can use digits, like “4% of the children” but in formal writing you should spell the percentage out like “12 percent of the players”
- If the number is rounded or estimated, spell it out. Rounded numbers over a million are written as a numeral plus a word. For example “About 400 million people speak Spanish natively.” If you’re using the exact number, you’d write it out, of course.
- Two numbers next to each other. It can be confusing if you write “7 13-year-olds”, so write one of them as a numeral, like “seven 13-year-olds”.
- Ordinal numbers and consistency. Don’t say “He was my 1st true love,” but rather “He was my first true love.” Also remember to be consistent within the same sentence.
Let us know below what you think? Do you agree with all ten points?
Maggie Elliot is a creative writing tutor based in the Scottish Borders. She has been teaching creative writing for the past ten years with her most project combining primary six pupils and adult learners to produce six pages of creative writing, journalese and cartoons for the current St. Ronan’s Festival magazine.
She runs creative writing groups which are aimed at beginners though more experienced writers may enjoy a “refresher” and can often learning new techniques. American writer/poet Natalie Goldberg has been my inspiration for many years and I hope you will find that these groups offer something new – a stimulating and enjoyable way to learn to write creatively.
The writing groups run for six weeks and start at the end of this month (sorry for the short notice!) and costs £60/£48 conc. for the whole six weeks (payable in advance):
- 10.30 am to 12 Tuesday 26 July to 30 August
- 6.30 pm – 8 pm Thursday 28 July to 1 September
The venue is:
If you have any questions please either email Maggie on email@example.com or call her on 01835 822857 or 07763 192938.
As part of their Homegrown Season, West Lothian Council’s Arts Services Team are offering a free writing workshop being presented by the team behind The Garden on Tuesday the 26th of July between 7pm and 8.30pm.
The workshop will consist of Alistair Rutherford (writer of The Garden) talk about everything from what it is like being a writer across mediums as diverse as radio, theatre and interactive games to how he gets his plays produced. Also Philip Kingscott (producer of The Garden) will perform some of his sketches – alongside Alistair – as well as discussing his role in the writing process.
The workshop is suitable for anyone aged 16+ and will be held in the Howden Park Centre.
To book your place please contact Fiona MacFarlane by email or call her on 01506 773873 by Friday 22nd of July.
The Garden will be performed on Saturday the 6th of August also at the Howden Park Centre. Fore more information or to book tickets please visit the Howden Park Centre Website
Directions to the Howden Park Centre can be found on their website.