About the author...

MWhere I’ll be:M

Birch Bay Public Market

Friday, May 10 through the end of summer, Cathy and I will be selling her hand-made soaps, lotions, and toiletries, along with my photography, note cards, calenders, books, etc.

Come see us!

Across the street from the C Shop

4825 Alderson Road, Birch Bay, Washington 98230


I had an automated blogroll here, powered by Google Reader, but Google, in its near-infinite lack of wisdom, killed Google Reader. Prior to this murder, all I had to do to put a blog on my blogroll (or to take it off) was to place it in a Reader folder called, appropriately enough, "blogroll" (or, of course, to remove it). I use The Old Reader now for following blogs, but it seems to have no way to something similar regarding the blogroll. If you know of a way to do this, please let me know.

Can’t See the Scene? Watch the Movie

You know the feeling.

You think you have the scene blocked out in your mind. You know your scene goals and your character motivations. You know what you’ve set up in preceding scenes, and you know where this one is supposed to lead. But the characters won’t behave themselves.

They stumble through their blocking, looking down at the floor to be sure they hit the tapes. They deliver their lines like they’re reading them. Their arms either hang dead at their sides or, perhaps even worse, flail through gestures and motions nobody makes. You want them to laugh. They chuckle. You berate them. “Come on,” you say. “That’s not a laugh.”

“Ha, ha, ha,” they say.

Perhaps it’s not the actors. Perhaps it’s the director.

That would be, uh, you. Right. Maybe it’s too early to write this scene. So get away from the computer, or put down the pen and paper, or whatever you use to get the stories out of your mind. (Yes, you, with the chisel and hammer – lay them down and step away from that stone slab!)

Do not read, do not go play Tetris, do not get on Twitter. Sit still and listen to the characters. Close your eyes, if you have to, but listen to them.

Be the director. Let them act the scene. They have a rough outline of where they’re supposed to go and what they’re supposed to say, but they have no script. That’s what you’re listening for. Move them through the scene, listen to what they say. There’s no magic involved here, by the way. They don’t live in any meaningful way. They came from the same mind that blocked out that awful scene you can’t get written. You’re still in charge. If they go off on some wild goose chase, bring them back. But until you’ve seen the scene correctly played through in your mind, there’s not much chance you’re going to get it written correctly, either.

This also works while driving, but please don’t close your eyes!


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