Friday, July 13, 2007

Thoughts On Length

My mini-review on the movie version of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Awesome!

David Yates, director, and Michael Goldenberg, screen writer, not only have taken the longest book and turned it into the shortest of the movies so far (which you've probably already read somewhere else if you're a fan), but they've heightened the tension and action. I loved the book because it showed the characters becoming the people they would be. They made the choices that would impact them in the final two installments. But a lot of the internal struggles were--how to say it?--pounded home.

So how did the movie deal shorten the book so much but maintain the key elements?

By using the medium. We can see the character's reactions on screen. It helps that the actors are older and have become decent actors. But by using what's on the screen, a scene near the end in Dumbledore's office that goes on for pages in the book is handled in a couple lines in the movie. Another big part of the book is also handled in a few carefully constructed scenes or lines within scenes that focus on something else. The issue (and this isn't a spoiler) in the book is Mrs. Weasley thinking that Siruis is confusing Harry with James, Harry's father and Siruis's best friend. It is brought up several times in the book. Not so in the book. But you get it anyway.

What does all this mean to me as a writer? That I need to work on writing in such a way that it doesn't take pages to convey an emotion. To pick the right words to make my point without beating people over the head. I'm not saying Rowling does that, but Books 4 & 5 could be tighter. And I say that with love, to quote Jenny.

Maybe I do need to write some more short stories. I struggle with the format. I always try to cram in too many characters (a recurring issue with my writing) and too many plot points for the words allotted. I've avoided flash fiction like the plague. It might be just what I need.

Is there something you other writers do to help you hone that skill of conveying a lot with just a few words? I'd love to hear about it. And then steal it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

It's Close

I need to warn anyone going to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix with me that the scene shown here will cause loud and prolonged blubbering in Yours Truly. I tear up just thinking about it.

On Sunday morning some friends and I will be seeing the moving. However, I realized today that I am infected with the Immediate Gratification germ and must see the movie tomorrow. So I'm going right after work.

I guess I could say it's an Artist's Date. So I will. It's an Artist's Date.

This also means that I have about 100 pages to read between now and then if I want to finish the book before the movie. It's not a requirement, but would be nice.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Time Off

I took a week after my feedback to be away from my writing. No working on MMG or on TNN or, as you may have noticed, the blog. I thought it would be hard, but it was fabulous. I must have needed it.

So what did I do?

I read, a lot. I watched the special edition Long Way Round DVDs. And then I read some more.

And after a week of forced distance from my writing in all its forms, I'm raring to go. You've gotta love that. So what are the goals for this month?

---Revise MMG after receiving feedback (Jenny, I acknowledge your opinion and, respectfully, diagree)
--Submit to at least 12 agents
--Write editorial for PPW NewsMag
--Complete Writer's Life for PPW NewsMag
--Write up mini-bio for PPW NewsMag
--Stay current on submissions to Apollo's Lyre

I detect a trend. I knew becoming editor of the NewsMag would impact my time, but that looks a little scary. I do, however, think it looks worse than it will be to execute. Look to future posts.