Friday, January 25, 2013

Still Kickin'

Not Dead Yet

January is almost over: how can this be? I am looking at my calendar right now and refusing to believe the evidence, because New Year's was, like, yesterday. Wasn't it?

I think our hiatus did us all good; we come back to the table with our li'l writing batteries recharged. We'll resume our normal schedule-ish, beginning in February. I say "ish" because we are going to try a few new things ... starting with a Story Review on the final week of every month. As writers, we figure, we are also naturally reviewers: not everyone reads a book or watches a movie with an eye toward reversals, archetypes, tropes, and dialogue. Sometimes we can't even turn that stuff off when we want to.

Stories don't just live in books, so we'll be reviewing more than books: movies are written, too. As are plays, television series, and musicals. If it was written and it has a story, we might review it ... with an eye toward the craft. To this end, we'd love to take suggestions: what great stories do you want us to review in 2013? Homeland? Lincoln? Gone Girl? The Book of Mormon? Well, we may not be able to review the latter (much as I'd love to) unless someone wins a ticket to New York, but you get the idea. Let us know what you'd like to discuss, and we'll try to add it to the review list.

To kick-start that process, I plan to review a buzzy novel I read recently: "The Dog Stars," by Peter Heller. Published in 2012, the novel is a little bit Cormac McCarthy, a little bit Old Yeller. OK, not really Old Yeller; but it does feature a dog, and you know what that means.

I'm planning to post that review at the end of February, so if you want to discuss it with me — please do! — snag that book from the library or the bookstore now.

Between reviews, we'll resume our normal weekly posts: explorations of All Things Writing. We hope our wonderful community here continues to support us and jump into the comments section: we don't mind lurkers, but we sure love your comments.

See you next week!


  1. Movies are indeed written! Some of the best writing books I've read are for screenplays. Have you read Save the Cat by Blake Snyder?

  2. You're right, Charlie, there are some excellent writing guides that focus on screenplays like The Moral Premise or 20 Master Plots and How to Build Them. I haven't read Save the Cat but I've heard really good things about it.

  3. Looking forward to the review, and all the other great things you'll have going on here!

  4. Thank you, Shallee! Charlie, I have not read that one. I have "The Screenwriter's Bible" which has some excellent all-around writing tips. And I look at book like "Of Mice & Men," which clearly started off as a script ... it's more immediate and faster-moving than, say, Grapes of Wrath. I think writers have a ton to learn from screenwriting! I will have to check out Save the Cat.

    1. Sister Steph, I love your new profile picture! hahaha!

    2. I love it too! Is the kid scared, on the toilet, or just plain excited?

  5. Replies
    1. Moi. Wrote a few pages of the worst prose you can imagine in preparation. It should be fun trying to wrangle it into something passable.

  6. My profile pic: in one iteration of this meme, there's a caption. It reads: "Birds are scary as shit!" And that pretty much explains everything.

    Once I was attacked by angry blackbirds. It was in my reporter years, when everything interesting happened to me. The birds (Brewer's blackbirds, horribly aggressive creatures) were nesting near the police station, where I went every morning to get the police beat info. After a few days of having my head attacked, I started asking around. Said blackbirds were actually drawing blood from the skulls of cops and clerks who moved from one building to another past the nesting site. Hello, Hitchcock? Naturally, I had to turn this into a story. Small towns are nice that way: you can make anything into a story.


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