A busy but fun November

December 1, 2014

National Novel Writing Month logo

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

November has been a very busy month for me. My studies are in full swing and I took part in a writing event in November called NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo is a time where writers do their best to write a novel. You have to write every day for a month so that you can reach your word count goal or, better still, you have a novel by the end of the month.

With university in full swing, it was definitely not easy to try and juggle NaNoWriMo and studies at the same time. Of course, my studies were my priority. I could only write once I completed homework and the revision that I wanted to complete for the day.

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Are You A Writer?

June 18, 2013

Pen and paperI am quoting Salman Rushdie from the back of my memory, so maybe it’s a paraphrase, but here is the wisdom: ‘A lot of people start writing books but authors finish them.’  For me, that is a really big statement. It begs the question why? Not ‘why do people start writing books,’ but why don’t they finish writing them? I think this is a very important question for students because it places a spotlight on the real issue of developing an idea, an argument, and communicating it through writing. It really does not matter if it is creative writing or not. The problem of developing and articulating an argument in a lengthy document means a lot of ideas fizzle anywhere after page one.

Why does an idea fizzle? In our screenwriting classes at Pittsburgh Filmmakers we talk about this a lot.  Like any other effective facilitation or decision-making process the first step is to identify the problem. The problem behind  fizzling ideas is that the thesis is not sufficiently developed.  There is not enough material to develop into an argument, err, a feature film or novel length text.  There might not even be enough for a short story or digital short length script. Without fully exploring the thesis, or the story we want to tell, it is easy to end up with vignettes that stall in terms of story-telling, no matter how artfully they are articulated.

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