Mastermind

Taking a break from the fight series to talk about process a bit—partly because process fascinates me, partly because I had a bit of an epiphany today, but mostly because I’m bogged down on my fight entry this week. Stephanie Kong and I have been exchanging “Mastermind” emails since January (her terminology, I’m not sure […]

Writing the Fight: Breaking Symmetry

This is the fifth entry in a series about writing fight scenes from the perspective of a fight director. Note: I’m trying to work down from very high level concerns—stakes and consequences—toward lower-level details—individual fight moves and language. This week’s topic cuts across levels.  Imagine a duel between two identical fighters, equipped with the same […]

Writing the Fight: Filling in the Structure

Let’s take another look at the final fight from Romeo and Juliet—Romeo versus Paris, which has no built-in story—and try to build it up from storytelling beats. Here’s the context: Paris spies Romeo in the tomb and is convinced he’s come to “do some villainous shame to the dead bodies.” He attempts to arrest him. […]

Writing the Fight: Storytelling Toolkit

This is part three in a series on writing fight scenes, from the perspective of a stage fight director. Last time, I talked about the story of the fight. This time I’ll be introducing you to a number of tools you can use to create storytelling moments in your fight scenes, plus a framework for […]

Writing the Fight: The Story of the Fight

This is part two in a series on writing fight scenes, from the perspective of a stage fight director. So you’ve got great characters squaring off against each other in a confrontation that will have epic consequences (see part one). Next, you’ll want to ensure that your fight has a story—a beginning, middle and end; […]

Writing the Fight: Violence vs. Action

This is the first in a series of articles I’ll be posting about writing an effective fight scene, based on my graduate presentation for the Stonecoast MFA program in Creative Writing. Though I’m aiming at folks writing prose, a lot of the examples will be drawn from stage and film. I’ll be writing from the […]

Describing Dogs

I’ve been rereading [1] Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens in advance of the mini-series dropping on Amazon Prime, and I ran across a wonderful bit of description, which I’ll share in just a bit. Description has always been a challenge for me. I’m strong on dialog—that probably comes from my theatre background—and I […]

Three Rules for Driving in the Desert

Over Thanksgiving, I treated myself to a white-knuckle drive through the Mojave because I got complacent and didn’t follow the rules for driving in the desert: have a map, fill your tank and bring water. More succinctly: don’t get lost, don’t get stuck and don’t die. Even more succinctly: be prepared. [1] Now, I enjoy […]

Resource management

Over on her Blog of Doom, my Stonecoast friend and classmate Shawna Borman was sharing her time management strategy and asking for others to share theirs. The comment I was going to leave got a little long, so I’m posting it here: Time Management I find time management relatively easy. I’ve set myself the goal […]

Meta-writing

I’ve been experimenting recently with a technique I call “meta-writing,” by which I mean shifting to another level of writing while I continue to write in order to break through logjams, overcome resistance and maintain momentum. (I specifically don’t mean the sort of pre-writing, or para-writing, of notes, outlines, character bios and so on.) When […]