February 15th, 2006

The plot thickens--or is that my head?

I will finish the first draft of my new adult romantic comedy, Playing Dirty, on April 8. (Yes, really.) Now that I am writing novel #12, I see a pattern to my writing process.

1. Get idea.

2. Type 150 pages of notes.

3. Despair.

4. E-mail victoria_dahl six times a day, whining that I have Lost It, and peruse how-to-write books.

5. See the light.

6. Finish writing book, cackling gleefully.

Because I am currently (and very unhappily) in stage 4, I'm reading lots of books on plotting and so forth, and finding better answers than I gave to the questions Ellen's class asked me a few weeks ago. Here, in The Plot Thickens: 8 Ways to Bring Fiction to Life, Noah Lukeman discusses why it's helpful for a character in your book to have a specific destination. But it's also a great answer to the question, "How does genre open up possibilities for you as a writer?"

"If you tell an actor to just get onstage and improvise, with no rules and no guidelines, he will likely be at a loss. But if you tell him he has only three minutes and by its end he must steal something, he can set to work without a pause and will likely be much more fluid and creative. Nearly always, the more rules, the more structure, the better the improvisation--the more confines he's given, the less he has to worry about everything else and the more he can focus on the moment. Indeed, what most people don't realize about improvisation is that it is extraordinarily structured. Actors are often given very strict rules about who they are, where they are, what they are doing, how to begin and how to end.

"The same holds true for your character on the page. When you have a destination in mind, you can stop worrying where he'll end up and exert more energy on his getting there creatively. The journey will become richer. Knowing what to expect, you can even begin to play against the destination, perhaps with an unexpected route."
  • Current Mood
    optimistic optimistic

More great publicity for Alabama!

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

Starring: Will Ferrell, Sacha Baron Cohen, John C. Reilly, Amy Adams

Director: Adam McKay

Opens: August 4, 2006

What the Movie Is About: NASCAR star Ricky Bobby (Ferrell) has it all -- a slew of victories, adoring boob-flashing fans, a "red-hot smokin' wife." But when a French driver (Cohen) challenges his dominance, Bobby must confront his inner demons and prove that he's the best.

What the Buzz Is About: Rumor has it the entire pitch for this movie was "Will Ferrell. NASCAR comedy." And Sony greenlit it. That kind of faith is rare these days, but with Ferrell in the driver's seat, the director of 'Anchorman' calling the shots and a strong supporting cast in the pit, this should be one helluva hilarious pedal-to-the-metal ride.
  • Current Mood
    frustrated frustrated