George Saunders On Story

I haven’t read any Saunders yet; been meaning to…more so after watching this:
 


 


I discovered this video at Saunders’ site.

I watched it first at The Atlantic.

You can see it in its original production at the beautiful site of Redglass Pictures.

If there are any Saunders fans or nonfans out there, what are your thoughts about his writing. . .

I wonder.

 
 

Birth of Loglines & Beyond | A Guest Post by Author Ann Kimbrough

Our private Facebook writers and readers group recently held its second WRITE EDIT WRITE Challenge (see the results of the first challenge here). Because my focus is on producing a short film based upon an adaptation of my short story LEAVE, I figured we might as well have a challenge focused on screenwriting. Ergo, we asked the group to submit a 25-word, or less, logline describing a WIP or produced work from a genre of their choosing.

It’s no surprise that the author who submitted the chosen response is a working screenwriter who has some serious writing chops. Author Ann Kimbrough shares her screenwriting expertise in several places on the web, all of which you can reach via her namesake website annkimbrough.com. My favorite medium of Ann’s is her youtube channel where she and other working screenwriters get together to share their knowledge of the industry. Fantastic stuff. We are very fortunate to have Ann as part of our WRITE EDIT WRITE group, and, if I may say, you are very lucky that she has written for us here an excellent post about the mystery and intrigue of writing a logline. You’re welcome. :)

Ann’s logline submission for WEW #2:

In a secret facility, a rookie female FBI analyst struggles to contain a serial killer, but her only hope is trusting a devious bombing suspect.


Birth of Loglines & Beyond
Ann Kimbrough

annkimbrough.com

Loglines are creeping into your life!

Once only used by screenwriters, all kinds of writers find the little buggers useful. The first one I ever saw was in a TV Guide. Remember those? I barely remember newspapers, even though I’ve heard they still exist. For Millennials who can’t write cursive, read clocks or relate to newspapers: a TV Guide was a paper booklet that came with the Sunday paper. It contained a schedule of all the TV shows for a week.

Psst: we’re talkin’ back in ancient times when there were only three major TV stations. I know… it’s Epically Stone Age.

The guides also contained a little blurb about each show. Those blurbs were the birth of loglines.

I imagine TV Guides still exist today, somewhere without Wi-Fi, but they must be the size of phone books. Remember those? Err… we’ll save that lesson for another time.

TV Guide blurbs looked something like this:

Kidnapped in Tasmania, MacGyver uses a banana, a piece of gum and a washing machine to make a robot and save the world.

I doubt that episode of MacGyver ever aired, but maybe it will in the re-vamped show that’s on CBS this season.

Loglines actually do two things:

1. Get your concept across ASAP.

2. Sell your story.

Screenwriters pitch their scripts all the time. In turn, if a producer likes the idea, they have to turn around and pitch it to the principals in their company before an offer to option can be made. When a script is optioned, the production company pitches it to the moneymen for funding – financiers or studios. The better the logline, the better the pitch is all the way up the line.

For novelists, loglines can be used in several ways:

  • Start a query letter
  • On a book’s Amazon page
  • On a book’s back cover
  • On any sales material to build an audience

In an age when our watches are digital instead of sundials and shoes have Velcro instead of laces, no one has time to read a whole marketing pitch. When writers can get their message across fast, they have a better chance of success.

Plenty of rules exist about what makes a logline a good logline, but I’ll keep it simple.

1. Keep it to one sentence, like my MacGuyer example. Some pundits say to make it under 25 words, but don’t go crazy if you’re at 30.

2. Tell the whole story. Protagonist fights what odds to win what battle?

3. Don’t use proper names. Use occupations with a descriptive adjective. Ex.: a wily candy creator, could be used in a logline for Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Or a deformed recluse for The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

4. Write it in present tense.

5. Don’t include sub-plots. Stick to the main storyline of protagonist vs. antagonist.

6. Match the tone of your story. When Stephen King writes a logline, I’m sure it sounds scary.

7. Test the logline on friends. If they ask a bunch of questions and sound confused, then keep working. If they ooh and aah, appearing to get the story, then you may celebrate.

One caveat: a common logline error is writing a logline that you think fits your story, but makes people see a different story. Such an error will turn any reader sour when your book (or script) takes a turn they didn’t expect.

Ex. 1: A long-haired princess trapped in a tower awaits a dashing prince.

Do you sense a Rapunzel story?

What if the logline should have really been:

Ex. 2: A long-haired princess trapped in a tower awaits a dashing prince to sacrifice for her freedom.

Whoa! That’s a completely different story. An agent, producer or reader might want one version of that story, but not the other. Misleading them, even by accident, will hurt in the long run. Loglines that pitch the whole story lead to more success once the manuscript is read.

Avoid this mistake by testing your logline on your Beta Readers. Or on complete strangers, who know nothing about your writing. (I’ve been told grocery and bank lines are great places to do this.) You pitch them your logline, then ask what kind of story they’d expect to read. If it’s close to the story your wrote, you’re good to go.

Like all kinds of writing, creating loglines gets better with practice. So, get going!

###

Ann Kimbrough’s imagination comes from growing up as an Air Force brat, which entertained her childhood with foreign lands and amazing characters. They tend to pop-up in all her writing, whether screenplay or novel. The magic continued after college, when she worked in Hollywood and became a member of the Screen Actors Guild. Ann hosts YouTube show Screenwriters Beat, and spends the rest of her time writing contained, thrilling screenplays and cozy mystery novels under pen name Ann Audree, as well as romance under pen names Pippa Minx and Ann McGinnis. Ann is an optioned and produced screenwriter.

annkimbrough.com

 
 

I and Me Confusing You and Yours

Still confused about the whole “me” or “I” thing, I see.

Listen, just slapping “I” in every sentence where there is a need for a pronoun for you isn’t going to make you seem smarter, my friend.

It will make you seem just the opposite to those who know the rules…

So what is the rule when it comes to “me” versus “I” usage?

Grammatically speaking, when you are the subject of a sentence, use “I.” When you are the object of a sentence, use “me.”

Yeah, I know… so what that means for you and me in plain English/American:

Simply take out the other name(s), noun(s), or pronoun(s) listed in the sentence with you and use whichever pronoun for you (I or me) you would normally use in the same sentence without them.

For instance:

A copy was given to Rick, Steve, and (me/I).

Copy is the subject. The people are the objects.

Without Rick and Steve in the sentence we would easily know to say:

A copy was given to me.

So, the correct sentence would read:

A copy was given to Rick, Steve, and me.

Another example:

Betty, Jane, and (me/I) are going to the library.

The three people are the subjects.

Without Betty and Jane, we of course would say:

I am going to the library.

So, the correct sentence would read:

Betty, Jane, and I are going to the library.

Piece of cake, right?

Of course it is. But that means you’ll have think (to do the grammar math) first before you speak so that may continue to cause you/us some problems.

Anyway…

Follow this simple grammar hack and you and me will get along just fine, my friend.

;)

 
 

me

IF NOTHING’S WRONG

…then something ain’t right

 

#notetoself
#questioneverything
#alifeofcontinuousprocessimprovement
#yesiusedtobeabusinessmanagementconsultantsorry
#ifeverythingisperfectthenwhatistheretowrite/artabout
#perfectionisfoundonlyintheeyesoftheonetryingtocontrolyou

 
 

FOR MORE LIKE THIS >> CLICK CLICK

“PRO” TIP: HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR WRITING RESOURCES — GUARANTEED! (QUICK TIP #3)

pen-and-magnifying-glass

If you include more than a combined fifteen (15) categories and tags in a post, the post will not show up in the WordPress Reader.

(Which is (or should be) every blogger’s worst nightmare since it essentially means the post is cast without regard unto the inescapable dark demented depths of the Place of the Unknown.)

 

BOOM!

QUICK TIP, PROPER!

And I bet you thought I couldn’t do it.

Am I right?

Yeah…

PEACE OUT

 

FOR MORE LIKE THIS >> CLICK CLICK

 

What are you looking for?

I said I was done.

Done like the setting sun…

“PRO” TIP: HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR WRITING RESOURCES — GUARANTEED! (QUICK TIP #2)

arrow-pro-tip

EXHIBIT #A - Click to Enlarge
EXHIBIT #A – Click to Enlarge

 

FOR MORE LIKE THIS >> CLICK CLICK

 

Um…excuse me, but, before you leave there’s just one more thing I need to say…

I know, I know…I said I was done, but I just remembered something that, well, it’s kinda important and relevant to the above QUICK TIP…

In fact, it just might make it obsolete soon…

Because it seems to me that we are right smack dab in the middle of some evil apocalyptic transition from the wonderful and stylish and user friendly “old” format, the one I described in the exceedingly quick QUICK TIP above.

No, no, we’re done with that tip so the rambling that’s going on now shouldn’t count against it.

Right?

Well, okay, you have a point. You’re right, regardless how we attribute this time we’re having together, it is, right now, right as your eyes warily flow over these rant-like words, eating hungrily away at the time you have remaining on this rock of a roll of a planet.

I got it.

Let me just say this final bit and I’ll let you go…

Great.

So like I was saying, it seems that the WP team, the team that I thought loved us so dearly, is in the slow painful process of migrating us to a new layout, a not-so-pretty geeky looking layout that is clunky, and un-user friendly, and, as far as I can tell, has no handy dandy universal Search Bar, which, of course, if you’re anything like me, leaves us frustrated and a little panicky from having to figure out where the heck the Search Bar is for each site we visit.

Evil.

Pure evil.

I present to you EXHIBIT #2:

EXHIBIT #2 - Click to Enlarge
EXHIBIT #2 – Click to Enlarge

That exhibit of an oncoming disaster should really be curdling your wheys right about now…if you’re anything like me.

And don’t even get me started on WP’s There’s now an easier way to create on WordPress.com! Switch to the improved posting experience garbage.

What the heck is that mess?

I tried using that and it made me so mad I broke three brand new, hadn’t even been sharpened yet, pencils over my knee! At once!!

I don’t know what’s going on over at WP’s Automattic team.

I really did believe that they loved us.

Or…maybe Google is behind this…

You know, ever since they abandoned their “Do No Evil” slogan after making their first grazillion, I wouldn’t put anything past them…

Never know…

Anyway…

Okay…

I’m done…

Thank you for letting me release that.

I feel much better now.

The only problem is…

I’m not sure how to end this…what?

QUICK TIP addendum?

I don’t know how to do what all the crafty writers do…

You know…bring everything full circle and leave us all with a witty, call to action, inspiration of a conclusion.

Hmm…

(thinking)

Nothing…

So, I guess I’ll just say…so long?

So long then…

Oh yeah!

One last thing before you go…

I just gotta say, I don’t know who it was who raided my account and sprayed the anarchic graffiti all over the place, but I’m more than a little miffed about it!

And, I tell ya, that is definitely not my facial hair!

And I tell you what, again…

I think I have a pretty good idea just who might have been behind this violation of both the sanctity and purity of my site, as well as my artistic sensibilities and integrity…

Yeah…

I’m pretty sure it’s the disgruntled smoker who unbelievably (and, I’ll be honest, quite awesomely) trolled my innocent little ol’ poem for the children. No, really…dude trolled my “Filthy, Nasty Butts” poem. I encourage you to witness for your own pleasure and bewilderment his magical troll-like advice for me by clicking right here. (and while there, give him some Love by clicking the “Like” star for his comment…I pretty sure he needs some)
[“PRO” TIP #2 IS GERMANE…]

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

“PRO” TIP: HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR WRITING RESOURCES — GUARANTEED! (Quick Tip #1)

typewriter-1

Looking for a way to stay socially engaged with your desperate fans (i.e., family and friends) without having to tab out of your WordPress edit box for fear of losing your poetic mojo?

Well…how about using your Site Title’s tagline as a status update?

I know, right…

For example, while I was writing this post I also had one eye on the television — it’s Tuesday, which of course means, The Voice.

But I really really wanted to get this “Pro” Tip out to my desperate fans (yes, yes, you’re right…i.e., my family and friends).

And I really really also wanted to remind my mother (who, no lie*, refreshes this site at least once every 5 minutes to see if I’ve released yet another Nobel Prize-worthy post (which to her, of course, is everything I write, which, of course, also means this post that you’re now reading is serious literary genius…to Mom) to watch The Voice because she missed it last week, which meant she had to facebook me like crazy to find out in excruciating detail exactly what silly antics silly Adam and silly Blake were up. Which meant, of course, I had to tab out to facebook to give her the lengthy lowdown in excruciating lengthy lowdown detail via facebook’s less-than-user-friendly messenger chat thingy.

Which, of course, meant…I wasn’t writing.

Well…I was writing to Mom, but you know what I mean…

I wasn’t writing writing.

But tonight…

No worries whatsoever.

Because tonight, I simply updated my Site Title’s tagline to read: Busy watching The Voice…Mom!

And life was good…

Mom saw my tagline status update right upon the completion of her 20:00 hour page refresh of my site and was able to watch for herself all the silly antics silly Adam and silly Blake were up to.

And I got to keep one eye on the television (okay, I admit it…I kinda have a bit of man crush on those guys just like everyone else) while my fingers were busy plucking the literary magic (at least by Mom’s measure) out of the keyboard.

Everyone’s happy…

I’m happy…

All my desperate fan’s are happy…

And, most importantly, Mom is happy (with visions of silly Adam and silly Blake dancing in her head (yeah, I better not take that illustration any further)).

So if you want to keep both the Writing Gods and your Desperate Fans happy at the same time…

Go to your Dashboard, click on Appearance, then click on Customize. You then will see a blue bar with a set of options take over the extreme right side of your screen. You’ll need to plow your cursor on over to the options in blue and click on Site Title. A black window will swing out where you can input both your Site Title and a Tagline. All you have to do now is fill that Tagline in with your current status (recommend keeping it both witty and pithy), click Save, and then click X and…

Just like that, you have your very own WordPress Status Update.

All without every having to tab away from your poetic mojo.

I know, right…

(Yes, I know there are other, potentially simpler, ways to update the tagline, but I wanted to leave us something to discuss in the Comments afterwards.)

And now all your desperate fans will always know what their most favorite Author in the world is doing.

And they will all love you forever*.

And they will all flock to Amazon to buy all of your books*.

Even that bizarre manifesto that started out as an email chain letter*.

And for each book they buy they all will write multitudes of raving five-star reviews*.

And all this magic will come about all because of the humble yet oh so versatile friendly little Tagline.

Thank you, Tagline.

Thank you, indeed.

 

*it’s a lie

 

What’s in your tagline?

TO FIND OUT WHAT’S IN KURT’S AND FOR MORE LIKE THIS >> CLICK CLICK

“PRO” TIP: FOLLOW THIS SIMPLE ADVICE AND YOU, TOO, WILL HAVE ALL THE INFORMATION YOU NEED TO WRITE AND PUBLISH LIKE AN INDIE AUTHOR SUPER PRO – GUARANTEED!

book-store-fine-books
My advice is for you is to read, study, and, for best results, memorize word for word everything that Hugh Howey and JA Konrath have ever written and spoken and (if you can find a hack into their brain) thought about regarding the art and business of Indie Writing and Publishing. There are other worthy experts out there, but you might as well focus on and learn from the road-tested best. And that would be these two Super Pro Indie Authors.

That’s it.

See, I told you the advice was simple.

Now the follow through…yeah, well, not so much.

But no one ever said all this stuff was easy.

And if it were…then what fun would that be?

Write On, Writer!

(Coming Up: “Pro” Tip: NEVER EVER USE LONG TITLES AS HOOKS FOR YOUR POSTS! WELL, UNLESS IT ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY GUARANTEES IT WILL MAKE SOMEONE MONEY…OR BACON!)