U=University (Feb 22)

. . . and a lesson on more or less Part of learning is unlearning. As lessons confront experience, and experience increases ability, lessons must adapt or they will hold us back. This is the “exnovation” that clears the ground for “innovation”. When I was in journalism school, learning how to write for newspapers, ourContinue reading “U=University (Feb 22)”

S=Structures of Language (Feb 20)

It takes a certain amount of hubris (and the craft mentioned in books like BURROWAY) to write on anything.  In doing so, certain truths become inescapable.  The most paramount truth is this: you don’t know much. To write, you are trying to capture life as you know it.  Then you recreate it for someone else. Continue reading “S=Structures of Language (Feb 20)”

Q=Question-Based Writing (Feb 18)

Good art centers around questions. The pursuit of an answer is never-ending.  In that answer, there is revelation, or discovery, or a truth that can be emotional or empirical.  Good writing is art – and good writing is the same.  I will go one more step: good writing is only good because it answers aContinue reading “Q=Question-Based Writing (Feb 18)”

O=Oedipus The King (and Structure)(Feb 16)

Sophocles wrote Oedipus the King in 430 B.C. Aristotle cited it as being in many ways the perfect model of a tragedy. The play unfolds with great power as the hero’s flaw exposes his fate, even though his motive is pure: to save his city from a rampant disease. At the same time, the playContinue reading “O=Oedipus The King (and Structure)(Feb 16)”

N=No Second Cousins (Feb 15)

Sometimes you can’t find the right word and it would make all the difference. It’s like having the wrong size battery in your flashlight: what doesn’t fit will not illuminate. Mark Twain, in the midst of an essay deploring the stories of James Fenimore Cooper, offered a series of rules for writing that include: “UseContinue reading “N=No Second Cousins (Feb 15)”

M=McKee on Screenwriting (Feb 14)

The most famous thing a screenwriter ever said about Hollywood came from William Goldman: “Nobody knows anything. Not one person in the entire motion picture field knows for a certainty what’s going to work. Every time out it’s a guess and, if you’re lucky, an educated one …” Often this is reduced to “Nobody knowsContinue reading “M=McKee on Screenwriting (Feb 14)”