“No story lives unless someone wants to listen.”
– J.K. Rowling
First and most important, if you’re overly concerned about what others will think, don’t try your hand at funny . . . . stay true to your voice and integrity.
Jerry Seinfield wasn’t funny because he could do impersonations, or was overly animated or creative. He was funny because he told the truth about the mundane….
…when there was report after report about the Occupy Movement marching on streets all over the nation, I wrote Occupy Marches on Sesame Street—twentysomething angst taking on the puppets who lied to them first.
Taking cliches to the extreme is the bedrock to satire.
(First, see Commandments 1 and 3.) Metaphors and similes are to funny as Hugh Grant is to romantic comedy.”
To read the entire article by Joe Bunting, click here.
“I’m going to talk about research. No, research is not very fun, and it’s never glamorous, but it matters. A lot.
If you want to be able to make compelling case for something — whether it’s in a book, on a blog, or in a multi-million dollar VC pitch — you need stories that frame your arguments, rich anecdotes to compliment tangible examples, and impressive data so you can empirically crush counter arguments.
But good research doesn’t just magically appear. Stories, anecdotes and data have to be found before you can use them.
You have to hunt them down like a shark, chasing the scent of blood across the vast ocean of information. The bad news is that this is an unenviable task … but the good news is that it’s not impossible.
It’s not even that hard … once you learn what you’re doing — and I’m going to teach you those skills.
By the time I was 21, my research had been used by #1 New York Times Bestselling authors like Robert Greene, Tim Ferriss, and Tucker Max. Was I a slave to study? Did I have to become a library hermit to accomplish this? No, I did it all in my spare time–on the side, with just a few hours of work a week.
Here’s how I did it …
…This is the mark you must aim for as a researcher, to not only have enough material — and to know where the rest of what you haven’t read will be located — on hand to do your work….
…How do you find a needle in haystack? Get rid of the extra hay….
…One of my rules as a reader is to read one book mentioned in or cited in every book that I read. It not only solves the problem of ‘what to read next’ but it sends you on a journey down the rabbit hole….
…The Classics are “classic” for a reason. They’ve survived the test of time….
…a book of quotes, sentences, metaphors and miscellany that he could use at a moment’s notice….”
“Poets in the modern world do not enjoy the elevated social status they did a century or two ago.
Wordsworth, Byron, Keats and Shelley were the rock stars of their time. Their poetic skills earned them adulation, celebrity and even the occasional touch of wealth.
These days, poems and poetry are sadly relegated to sparsely attended coffeehouse readings or the obscure pages of small literary magazines.
On the other side of the proverbial coin, there are wonderful opportunities in today’s music industry for talented poets – at least those who successfully adapt their writing style to song lyric writing.
Songs are the popular lyrical medium of our time. That’s where status and the bigmoney is for today’s poets.
There are many examples of poets who have turned their personal poetry into successful song lyrics.
Most everyone’s heard of lyricist Bernie Taupin, Elton John’s famous co-writer. One of these talented fellows without the other may have labored in the shadows of obscurity.
Yet, by combining their specialized talents, they were able to write hundreds of great songs, and extrmely [sic] popular songs. In the process, they become millionaires!
The lesson is clear: ambitious 21st Century poets who wish to connect with the popular culture and mass audiences will want to learn how to write lyrics.
Which leads to this question: Can poets successfully turn their talents to writing song lyrics?
Answer: For talented poets willing to adapt their writing styles to the craft of lyric writing, the answer is definitely yes!”
“Like like and other filler words, certain adverbs have saturated our speech and our writing, making once-meaningful phrases seem totally vapid. The idea that adverbs are just extraneous fluff has led to a smear campaign against them, and it’s become common to suggest axing the part of speech altogether in order to make writing more powerful. This forceful call for more forceful writing is misguided; adverbs can be phonetically pleasing, can imbue sentences with subtlety, and should not be entirely shunned.
First, a refresher: What does an adverb do? It tells us more about a verb. If a character is running from point A to point B, “he ran” is a description that doesn’t sufficiently set the scene. How did he run? Quickly? Scatteredly? “He ran quickly and scatteredly” is less powerful than “he scampered,” an adverbless sentence that conveys the same point more succinctly. And so, many writers have spoken vehemently against the use of adverbs.
This is unfortunate because when used well, adverbs serve an important purpose, and can enhance writing rather than detract from it.”
[found on thepunctuationguide.com]
“An ellipsis is a set of three periods ( . . . ) indicating an omission. Each period should have a single space on either side, except when adjacent to a quotation mark, in which case there should be no space.”
Notwithstanding its versatility, the em dash is best limited to two appearances per sentence. Otherwise, confusion rather than clarity is likely to result.
“The most flagrant way a writer demonstrates contempt for his readers is by ignoring punctuation altogether. A close second is the abundant use of the exclamation point. Some writers even use three or more exclamation points, lest the reader not fully grasp the significance of what is being said. To be effective, the exclamation point should be used in moderation.”
“For a truly effective screenplay, you must know your characters backwards and forward. In screenwriting, the moment you begin to imagine character relationships – how your character deals with his parents, his siblings, his coworkers, and all that – you start to explore the world of your story, and suddenly scenes begin to emerge.
As you research your character (context, culture, occupation), creating details (attitudes, values, emotions), developing backstory (physiology, sociology, psychology), and establishing personality and behavior, you start putting the character in different situations in your mind, and you begin to imagine him or her in the most mundane and most exciting moments of his life.
The courage to deal with the trivial and banalities is something you should develop. Because often the best stories in screenwriting, are made from the most commonplace material, and if you don’t know how your character cooks dinner, does laundry, brushes his teeth, or what his little vexations are, his petty likes and dislikes, a dynamic, a full story will never happen.
Frank Daniel, the former chair of the Film Division at Columbia University and past dean of the School of Cinema-Television at USC, echos the point in five simple words: “A story starts with character.”
So if character is the key, and stories are only as good as the characters within them, you better create some damn, fine, outstanding characters.”
For more tips on writing screenplays from , click HERE.
David Rich is a most intrepid writer—braving blizzards, monsoons, desert heat, and State Department travel advisories—to visit the world’s most out-of-the-way places, primarily by RV, from the Karakoram Mountains in Pakistan to the wilds of Borneo.
David retired in his forties to become a full-time international traveler, an occupation he found preferable to former professions of law professor and trial lawyer with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office (from which he says he’s now mostly recovered). He pursued freelance travel writing and exotic full-time international travel for eighteen years, living in almost every country on the planet. Until buying a home near Deer Valley Airport, AZ in 2009 (where he later obtained his private pilot’s license in 2011), he and his wife Mary had sold everything and were classically homeless.
Travel highlights include: climbing Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and Roraima Tepui—where Brazil, Guyana and Venezuela intersect; the Annapurna and Everest Base Camp treks in Nepal; the Karakorum’s in NW Pakistan, hosting six of the world’s 14 highest peaks; the exotic Stans (particularly Tajikistan and Uzbekistan); Mali and Ethiopia; the national parks of Patagonia, and Petra in Jordan. The highlights comprise hundreds of incredible sights and far-reaching adventures, including a minor hostage situation in Serbia.
David and Mary RVed Europe, Scandinavia, Northern Africa, and the Middle East for three years; they RVed Australia for over a year, New Zealand during two visits totaling a year, and South America for two years. Along with the extensive RV and other independent travel throughout Africa and Asia, they interspersed sailing trips all over the globe from Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines to Venezuela, Panama and Columbia.
Travel, philosophy, economics, government, religion, and ethics
“An addiction to travel has taken me around the world many times. I inherited the passion from my parents, who traveled every available moment. My travels have ranged from sailboats and Cessnas to RVs and backpacks—all over the world. We understand that you can’t know a place, country, people, or culture until you go experience them firsthand. My curiosity and thirst for knowledge of other places, peoples, and cultures have—with a few exceptions—found me living in every country on the planet. I love to travel, a passion reflected in my books, stories, and photos. I also write books on philosophy, specifically economics, government, ethics, and religion and have two works in process for completion by the end of 2014.”
“Traveling the world by RV is the least expensive, most interesting and convenient means to see the world in its entirety, up close and cosy. Anyone can do it. RV the World explains how, and takes the reader on a three-year RV trip through Europe, North Africa, Scandinavia, and the Middle East.”
“The easiest, most comfortable, safest and least expensive way to see the entire world is by RV, which the author has done on every continent save Antarctica. When people learn the author and his wife have traveled the world continuously for 18 years, living in 147 countries, everyone is curious. The questions are always the same: Does it cost a lot to travel full time all over the world? How much? How are you able to navigate all those foreign countries? What’s the best way to do it? Then comes, I wish I could do that, to which the author always says, Anyone can do it if they really want to. It’s easy and inexpensive.
The book answers all these questions and takes the reader on a tour of Europe, Scandinavia, North Africa and the Middle East, further answering where to go, what to do and exactly how to do it. The sights include all the Seven Wonders and much more, from fantastic cities, national parks, sprawling antiquities and incredible mountains to exotic shopping, fine dining and pristine beaches. Here’s how to ship your own RV all over the world or go wherever you’d like and buy an RV there, obtain insurance, deal with foreign languages, the requirements of the proper RV and how to sell it locally before moving onto the next continent. Full-time international travel is easy when you know how to deal with the necessary details from mail, inoculations, documents, weather, costs, airfare, investments and healthcare.“
“The relationships among government, economics, ethics, and religion are explored in Myths of the Tribe: When Religion, Ethics, Government and Economics Converge. The relationships are many, recognition of which, would improve the efficacy of all four.”
“David Rich examines the pervasive influence of organized religion on three vital areas of human behavior — ethics, government, and economics — and argues that the belief systems of all major religions have become a detriment to clear thinking, rational conduct, and wise public policy.
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