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Home » Archives » January 2008 » Sending In All the Ninjas
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01/09/2008: Sending In All the Ninjas

Vegas mission complete! All the leafleting that needs to be done is done. Thanks to those who came out and apologies for any missed connections.

And now... the mailbag! I haven't gone through the accumulated letters for a while, so if you're waiting for me to post, referencing something you sent, you might have to hang on as I work my way through the pile. First off, I'm tickled to see so many letters of strike support mixed in with the holiday greetings. Loyal Reader Ingrid checks in, as does Paul in Surrey and Maribeth in San Francisco. Maribeth urges me not to worry that frivolity on the picket line sends the wrong message. That's good to know, since I'm hearing that delightfully frivolous plans are being made by the "Women of Sci Fi" group with whom I sometimes guest-picket.

Michael in Connecticut points out that labor unions are the reason we have weekends off. Ooh. Is that true? I suppose it must be. Nice. Now I have something to say to all those people who go read articles about the strike and then post comments saying "unions are bad for America." Is that right? Have a good weekend, Dude?

And... finally... actual writing advice! Man, it's been a while!

I was thinking today about a certain temptation of writing. Sometimes you make things easier for your protagonist, when what you're actually doing is trying to make your own writing job easier.

Sometimes two crises come to a head at the same time in a script. Maybe an A and a B story both require action from the hero. Maybe an emotional crisis and a professional one happen at the same time. It can be tempting to arrange events so that the protagonist can deal with one crisis and then move onto the other one. You can even rationalize it by thinking of it as a "one-two punch." She's still reeling from being dumped by her boyfriend when the monster attacks... that kind of thing. And sure, that might work fine. But it might also come across like one of those fight scenes where the ninjas wait and attack the good guy one at a time for the apparent convenience of the good guy.

So try letting your hero deal with everything at once. It can be tricky writing this kind of scene, but it has tremendous potential to be a stunner, full of energy and humor and action.

If one of the crises requires a quiet, private moment, you can let the character -- instead of the writer -- be the one to say, "hang on, let me kill this thing first." Having a character arrange this instead of circumstance, helps you, as the writer, be invisible. When things get too neat by your design, that when the reader of the script sees your giant hand reaching down and moving the checkers around.

Lunch: the buffet at Bellagio. Amazing. I had pasta and yams and noodle-salad and ceviche and sushi and cucumber-salad and pickled stuff and fish and flan.


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