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Showing posts from April, 2016

Writer's Rules Revisited #17

Back in 2011, I put together a list of rules I'd been collecting over the decade prior to that as a writer. It was a list of 50 things I'd put together to remind myself to keep in mind as I wrote. You can check out that original list here. Over the last five years, I've slowly been breaking out each "rule" into a more detailed essay for me to explain just what the hell it was I meant.

Before we start, I want to remind you that "rules" of writing are largely guidelines to help you figure out what to do and what works for you. If something I said doesn't work for you, it doesn't mean I'm wrong or you're wrong, per se, it means that didn't work out for you. So, take all of these with a grain of salt.

If you want to catch up on the series: You can read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 herePart 4 herePart 5 here, Part 6 herePart 7 herePart 8 herePart 9 herePart 10 herePart 11 herePart 12 herePart 13 herePart 14 hereP…

Diversity for Diversity's Sake

Over the weekend, I got to teach a class for the League of Utah Writers about "Better Diversity" in writing. I'm not sure why I was selected for the particular class, but I was grateful it was offered with me teaching, rather than not at all.

It was a great class and the attendees and I had a great conversation about it, but I wanted to bring some piece of that lesson here to you on the blog.

"I am fine with diversity, I just don't want diversity for diversity's sake."

I hear this a lot, and I'll be honest: I have no idea what the hell it means. I think the charge implies that you shouldn't just insist on diversity because diversity is something that's supposed to be good. I also think it's supposed to mean that there are only certain permissible situations where diversity is welcome, otherwise it should be left alone.

I've also heard that calling for more diversity in writing is sticking a needless political agenda in genres of wri…

Anatomy of a Scene: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid might be one of the most meticulously well-written movies ever made.  William Goldman scripts are almost always something special. He's a master of creating something that's interesting, every scene has a kinetic energy to it that keeps you moving. He's a talented prose novelist as well. His novel of The Princess Bride might be even better than the screenplay and the film.

But today I want to talk about a scene in particular for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid:



This scene comes early in the movie and we're still working to understand the relationship between Butch and Sundance, as well as Butch and his gang.

Goldman does something amazing as he's able to mix humor, character building, excitement, suspense, and an advancement of the story into the scene. There are so many building blocks at play here, and because the scene is so entertaining we hardly notice.

And the dialogue is so sharp I can't even stand it.

One of the mos…