It’s All in the Reflexes

I’ve been reading The Official Making of Big Trouble in Little China and finding it tremendously comforting. I bought the book because it’s about my favorite movie of all time, but I’m finding it comforting because it’s reminding me to swing as wide as I can while telling the best story I can, and then let go and let the Girls in the Basement take it from there.

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In Praise of Lawyers

If you know a lawyer who rushed to an airport near you to help those Steve Bannon decided did not belong in a country they had a legal right to enter, give him or her a big kiss from me. This is insanely wrong.

And please, give to the ACLU, please. They were always important but now they’re crucial.

Now would also be a good time to contact your reps in Congress and suggest that you’d like a government that’s not unAmerican. Find your House rep here. Find your senator here. E-mails are evidently being ignored, so it’s back to snail mail. Bury them in it.

I had a much longer post here, but it was angry and not helpful. Action is helpful. Participation is essential. And supporting the organizations that defend our constitution and everything it means to be America is crucial. If our government won’t defend the ideals that make us who we are, we must.

Edited to Add Monday, Janurary 30, from 538.com:

While public officials were sorting out their reactions to the executive order, the ACLU sent attorneys to people who were being detained in U.S. airports as a result. The ACLU said it raised more than $24 million in online donations over the weekend, compared with its annual average of about $3 million to $4 million. [Dustin Volz, ACLU]

Expectation and Reversal: A Video Explanation

We’ve talked about setting up expectations and then reversing them in a way that makes the reader/viewer see things in a different way so they feel engaged and delighted instead of swindled (the infamous Gotcha). I love this video because it’s a great short visual for that concept:

My fave is the lightbulb that lights up instead of breaking; not just a reversal but a delightful surprise.

Originally on Vimeo.

Setting and Placeholders

Sooner or later, I need pictures of my settings. This can be difficult because I’m making stuff up, so I end up doing really sloppy photoshop work. As with all the collages I use, the setting pictures aren’t art work, they’re brainstorming exercises (while I’m working on them) and touchstones (while I’m writing.) The best thing about them is the process: searching for things that feel like the setting (instead of look like the setting), thinking about what the picture needs, the details that my characters would see, the way the environment around it looks . . . all of that helps me get past “It’s a bar on a rainy cobblestone street.”

The book got far enough this week that I really needed the exterior of Hell Bar. Continue reading

Hostile Architecture

For somebody who hates to describe things in her writing, I’m a big fan of setting. I think of setting as another character, as context that changes the conflict in a scene, as barriers and enablers, as a huge carrier of theme, so I keep Pinterest boards of pictures I find that evoke setting in the same way that I keep pictures of people that evoke character. That is, just as I’ll have multiple placeholders for a single character because I’m trying to evoke a mood/personality instead of the way somebody actually looks, I’ll have multiple pictures of different places to represent the same setting because I want to evoke what it feels like to be there.

Which brings us to hostile architecture.

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