6 August 2009 - 16:17Blake Snyder - Rest in Peace

I was really shocked to hear that Blake Snyder died a couple of days ago of cardiac arrest.

If you don’t know who he is, he wrote a ground-breaking screenwriting book called “Save the Cat”.  That book is the most important writing book (not just screenwriting) that I ever read, because even though it gives you a lot of formulas for plot and how to write a logline and choosing a story structure, it transcends genre as no other screenwriting book ever has. (And I’m including “Story” here.)

What Snyder did was look at story with the kind of perspective you see in psychologists and anthropologists who study folk tale.  Genre, for him, is not about whether the first murder or first kiss appears on page 8, but rather on what kind of hero you have and what’s his journey about.  Genre isn’t just marketing category, and it sure isn’t formula - but it does provide insight into the audience for both the writer and the marketing department to understand.

I’m so sorry to hear he’s gone.

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1 August 2009 - 10:34Another Summer Update - A Happy, If Confused, Writer

I’m getting sloppy.  But it’s a happy sloppy.

I’ve been writing my eyes out all summer, which makes me deliriously happy.  (Sometimes quite literally so, as I find myself working until very very late.)  I haven’t written as much fiction as I would like, but I have been working on lots of articles, blogs and whatnot.

Web publishing is bringing together all the things I’ve loved in my life: design, illustration, food, cats, fiction and movies, and answering questions.  (”Answering questions” is more or less what I do in my day job all day long.)  I’ve been recreating my childhood - writing stories, illustrating them, creating cool layouts.

But I’ve also spread myself pretty thin among many many different efforts.  Which is why I’m getting sloppy.  So I ask you to be indulgent if you take a quick peek at some of my newest efforts:

Mick and Casey Mystery Stories is going to be my first foray into online publishing.  Right now I’ve got the basic design, a rambling blog post, and a couple of reprint stories up.  I figure the actual go live date will be September 1, but people seem to be finding it already, so I might as well mention it here.  I have an interesting business plan for this site, but it will take a long time to roll it out, so I’ll probably post about all of that here.

Catnip Time is just a silly page for my cats.  They have always been the most popular part of my personal website, so I decided to give them their own commercial “microsite”.  I am undecided as to whether I should let them have a blog.  (They can be obnoxious, and they make me do the actual typing, so it takes a lot of time.)

Dim Sum Primer.  What can I say?  I’m a food geek.  This is actually my THIRD food blog, but I get so many hits from all over the world on the dim sum primer posts on my local restaurant blog that I figure I need to set this one up for the good of human kind.  Plus I figure one day I’ll sell flashcards or something, probably in conjunction with my Reading Chinese Menus blog.

There are other projects, too. (Did I mention I was spreading myself too thin?)  My goal is to get all this stuff set up so that in the fall I will be relaxed and ready to shift more seriously to fiction and screenplays, and maybe do more work on illustration.  (The day job has gotten significantly better, and actually will work WITH many of my efforts now rather than against them.)

No Comments | Tags: marketing, productivity