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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Next, Please Introduce Yourself » New Member Quakes At Keyboard

   
Author Topic: New Member Quakes At Keyboard
Bruchar
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Hello Kathleen & HRWW Members,

Reading your posts and critiques has been very helpful so far, and I look forward to eventually having the confidence to be a constructive part of the group!

My background is in fine art (painting and cinema) MFA School of the Art Institute of Chicago, way back in the '70's. Over the years I've created lots of paintings, many short films, and most recently two feature-length screenplays. One of them was produced and is available on video (but for anonymity here I'll let you guess the title) and I'm working on developing the second one into a novel.

The novel project has been interesting to me, in that I've discovered that my cinematic writing skills do not translate into engaging prose. The quest to self-educate is what led me to your pages.

The genre I'm most interested in has been labeled Magical Realism, but I prefer to call it Supernatural Mystery.

I'm looking forward to getting to know you better.

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Meredith
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Welcome to the treehouse.
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MattLeo
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I will guess "Cassadaga"...

I'm interested in Magical Realism too, mainly because I like fantasy but there are so many "me too" fantasy novels out there the commonplace fantasy tropes are starting to feel restrictive.

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Grumpy old guy
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Welcome, jump write in, the water's fine. Personally, I'll leave giving my stories a genre tag until after I've written them. Oh, btw, the grumpy old guy doesn't bite.

Phil.

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History
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Shalom and welcome!

Being able to visualize your stories cinematically may be a plus. Have fun with it. Do you also have examples of your art on line?

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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Bruchar
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Thanks for the welcomes!

Meredith, I'll try not to fall out of the treehouse.

MattLeo, yes I'm doing my best to avoid being part of the copycat crowd.

Phil, I was surprised to find out how genre tags in literature are much narrower than in cinema. For example, my first feature was dubbed a Thriller by movie critics, but the same story in book form was categorized as Magical Realism. I think I'll ask you to pigeonhole my next one. (Don't be cruel.)

Dr. Bob, Yep, experience editing and writing films is a huge plus when outlining a story. We just never get too deeply into description, since that's the realm of actors and directors. I'm having a bit of trouble turning each picture into a thousand words!

I'll add a link to my art site on my profile, but darn, there goes the anonymity!

Bruchar

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History
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Look forward to your contributions and your link.
Anonymity?
I thought about that, being a professional person myself, but then I realized as new writers the goal is to draw attention. [Wink]

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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LDWriter2
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Finally saying hi...sorry for the lateness


Interesting background you have and as been stated already it will no doubt help except in the writing part as you seemed to have found out. As I understand it scripts are written in a different style than Prose.

But you can learn a lot here, as you seem to know already also.

But do be careful of this treehouse, there's a unicorn that wonders about and she can be dangerous if you let her.

Oh yes, I write Urban Fantasy which seems to be very closely related to if not a twin to Magic Realism. Sometimes I get a wee bit confused on the difference.

A lot of them I read are Mysteries also so you're in good company there.

And I also write Space Opera and ordinary SF as well as other types of Fantasies. Even some that are a combo or fusion of more than two and more of those. No epic fantasies yet but I want to someday.

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Bruchar
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Hi LDWriter2, Thanks for the welcome.

A unicorn? You guys have a lot of fun in the special effects department!

One big difference with scripts is that they are always present-tense. Another is the standard length for features (120 pages @ a page-a-minute onscreen).

It seems to be a lot easier to start with a novel and strip the details out of it while adapting for the screen, rather than puffing up a screenplay to hit 70,000 words. I'm wearing out my keyboard!

Urban Fantasy, Space Opera and SF, what a great world we have here at Hatrack! Well keep my eyes peeled for your posts.

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Bruchar, it would be interesting to know if the storyboarding approach to filming a script can be made to work like an outline for a novel, and if that adaptation would help with novel writing.
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LDWriter2
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quote:
Originally posted by Bruchar:
Hi LDWriter2, Thanks for the welcome.

A unicorn? You guys have a lot of fun in the special effects department!

One big difference with scripts is that they are always present-tense. Another is the standard length for features (120 pages @ a page-a-minute onscreen).

It seems to be a lot easier to start with a novel and strip the details out of it while adapting for the screen, rather than puffing up a screenplay to hit 70,000 words. I'm wearing out my keyboard!

Urban Fantasy, Space Opera and SF, what a great world we have here at Hatrack! Well keep my eyes peeled for your posts.

And that's not all [Wink]

Some people here like horror, mysteries. I've forgotten if anyone does Hard SF but I don't think so, nor cyberpunk but you can find about everything else.

Oh, I tried to do a cyberpunk story but it fell out of the punkness after the first page. I have another idea I may try.

Sounds like it would be easier to start from scratch on that novel but this can be a learning experience for you. Sometimes those can be fun even if frustrating.

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Bruchar
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quote:
Originally posted by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury:
Bruchar, it would be interesting to know if the storyboarding approach to filming a script can be made to work like an outline for a novel, and if that adaptation would help with novel writing.

Kathleen,

Great question! Makes me think.

I've stayed away from storyboarding until right before production. Use it only to visualize sets, characters and action, and to let others (camera, set designers, etc) know how I'm expecting the sequences to look on the screen.

That's all done after all the writing is finalized.

In developing a story, I'm still relying on index cards for brief descriptions of each action/scene, and shuffling the cards to find the best overall structure.

So, I think that most fiction writers really don't need storyboards, since their craft is to describe with words what's in their minds.

On the other hand, if they're stuck on a scene, storyboarding might help work out action sequences or prod writers to define their ideas.

I hope that helps!

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Hmm. I would think that the index cards would be analogous to story boards (working in an idea capacity as opposed to a visual capacity), but that would require the actual writing to be analogous to the actual filming, I suppose.

The ease of shuffling and rearranging for structure in a written story makes sense, certainly. (I wonder if the ease of shuffling and grouping story boards for efficiency in filming might be a factor in their use after the writing is finalized.)

I guess I conflated them because I'm an advocate of the idea of writing scenes in the order in which they "gel" in the writer's mind, and not, necessarily, in the order in which they will be read.

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Bruchar
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quote:
Originally posted by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury:

I guess I conflated them because I'm an advocate of the idea of writing scenes in the order in which they "gel" in the writer's mind, and not, necessarily, in the order in which they will be read.

Yes, I'm all for going with the flow to get the first draft done and finding the order for their appearance later. I guess this comes from a belief that storytelling, in film or written, is a form of entertainment. That's where the index cards and shuffling comes in handy. It quickly helps find a structure that'll enhance drama, comedy or whatever.

Storyboarding can act the same way, but I'm old-school and still do that by hand. That means that there's several drawings on a single sheet of paper. It's kind-of a commitment to structure right there. Even so, I've been known to get out the scissors and tape every once in a while. [Smile]

Also, drawing all those pictures is a bit of a chore. If I didn't have to get visual ideas across to the crew, I'd skip it all together.

Do you know if there are any writing workshops teaching storyboard techniques? (aside from the obvious: graphic novels and comics)

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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I'm not aware of any storyboarding techniques workshops, sorry.

Maybe I'm just not being clear enough, but while I know that storyboards are visual (similar to what you see in a graphic novel or comic) and are used to help the crew "frame" a scene, I'm not thinking about them in that way.

So maybe I'm asking you to think about them in too much of an "out of the box" (or frame?) way. To me, a storyboard represents an idea (as in "a picture is worth a 1000 words" perhaps?) about a scene, but not so someone else can place a camera and put out the props and so on. It's an idea about a scene that I visualize in my mind, not as a sketch on paper. And as a writer, I have to figure out how to "frame" that scene with words instead of lights and cameras and action.

I have seen presentations at writers conferences in which the index cards with ideas written on them have been compared to storyboards, hence my own use of the term.

Apparently, to someone coming from your background, they are not all that similar.

Thanks for clarifying, Bruchar.

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extrinsic
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I've workshopped with prose writers and screenplay writers who use different methods of storyboarding. The prose writers use large index cards for laying out scenes in prose and experimenting with them for intuitive sequencing. What if this scene works best at this time? That scene here? What if this scene is set aside? And so on. One of the writers in one workshop produced a novel from that method that published and was later made into a film.

The screenplay writers I've workshopped with used the visual form as you know it. They too intuitively selected seguencing. Both methods required rewriting in order to build in scene transitions and smooth out story and plot flow.

Translating from one medium to another involves expanding upon the strengths or de minimizing the shortcomings of each.

The idiom, or metaphor, "A picture is worth a thousand words" originated in printing vernacular centuries before photography, by the way. Serial publications back in the day, before photographic mass printing techniques evolved, photo-engraving and halftone, paid illustrators to etch engavings depicting visual representations of newsworthy scenes. An illustrator was paid per illustration the rate a writer was paid for a thousand words. A full folio-sized newspaper page's body text counted a thousand words measured in column inches. A full-sized illustration worth a thousand words, though, occupied half the page, usually above the fold and below the masthead.

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Bruchar
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Extrinsic-
Thanks for the explanation of where "A picture is worth a thousand words" came from! I love that kind of trivia. Makes great cocktail conversation.

Kathleen-
Maybe this really is just a bit of definition-confusion on my part. What I do with index cards is exactly what you and Extrinsic have described, and is indeed a form of storyboarding. And sometimes, for example, when writing descriptions of action within an interior, I'll sketch out the room to see better how the characters move through it.

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extrinsic
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How about the original origin of "Cut to the chase"? A chase is the frame a page or galley of type is locked into for production printing. The usual process: set type, proof print the loosely bound block of type on a proof press, review of and correction typos by proofreader, and final approval of content by customer, then production printing. If the job's a rush, then the printing shop master says "Skip galley printing, to 'heck' with proofreading, cut to the chase."

And "Out of sorts": cold lead type cases contain a limited supply of type matrices; lowercase letters, uppercase letters, punctuation marks, etc., proportional to conventional frequency of useage. For example, more commas than exclamation marks, and more lowercase E's than capital Q's. A typesetter's term for the lead type matrices is "sorts," because once printing is done, the matrices are sorted back into the type case. Oh the cruel tedium!

When setting type, though, and running out of a sort supply, like motherloving exclamation marks, "bangs" in the vernacular, and stopping typesetting from the case to go find errant exclamation marks from galleys not yet sorted, the typesetter's temper tantrum is said to be "out of sorts."

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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quote:
Originally posted by Bruchar:
And sometimes, for example, when writing descriptions of action within an interior, I'll sketch out the room to see better how the characters move through it.

That's a great suggestion, Bruchar. Anything that helps is worth doing, and it's always nice to be able to learn about new ways that can help.
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Bruchar
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Extrinsic,

Fascinating stuff!
In the film world "cut to the chase" is usually understood as editing (cutting) out dull scenes and getting to the action (the chase scene.)
I owe you a beer.

Kathleen,
You're welcome. Glad I could add to all the bits of knowledge in these forums!

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