Tag Archives: Interviews with Writers

Albuquerque Comic Expo and Some Links

I was at the first ever 3-day Albuquerque Comic Expo (aka ACE), and so this week’s post is going to be brief because I want to take time to mull over everything I learned there. All I will say for now is that even if one doesn’t have an interest in screenwriting or writing for comic books and video games, go to one of these major conventions that are film, gaming, and comic book focused.  I came away from the convention with a fresh perspective on storytelling and what is happening in entertainment outside of the publishing industry.

Plus, they are also a terrific way to meet various artists, actors, and filmmakers, and pick up a lot of gossip about what is going on in the entertainment industry.  It also is a great way to learn how to act like a pro if in the future you get invited to a convention–as an anonymous attendee, you’ll learn what you like and what pisses you off in the behavior of celebrity guests.

Links

Many have probably already heard about it, but Kickstarter is an amazing resource for raising funds for a major project in the arts. I heard excited comments from filmmakers and comic book artists about this website.

There’s an interesting article by Robin Sullivan on The New Midlist: Self-Published E-book Authors Who Make a Living. One of the things I love about Robin Sullivan is she always tries to include hard data when she can.

Bronnie Ware, who has worked in palliative care for those who wish to die at home, has written a list of the top 5 Regrets of the Dying.

Last night I saw a fascinating documentary called Nerdcore Rising on a rapper, MC Frontalot, who raps about the nerdy stuff he loves. The documentary starts as he begins his first ever national road tour as a musician and follows him until his triumphant end playing for thousands at Penny Arcade Expo. The film made me think about how the internet has made the “1000 True Fans” to support an artist possible. Also, a reminder of how hard artists need to work to get good enough to entertain a large crowd. If MC Frontalot had been lazy and just gone direct from his home town to the Expo gig without putting in all those long hours on the road to get better, he might have bombed.

The Passive Guy has had a terrific series of blog posts on the J. K. Rowling announcement of Pottermore, as well as a continuing series of brilliant posts on publishing contracts.  He’s a former lawyer, so you definitely don’t want to miss his lawyerly insights on contracts.

An Interview With Tyler Perry

Whatever your opinion may be about playwright/director/actor Tyler Perry’s work, consider reading the interview he did with Oprah for the December 2010 issue of her magazine.

When he started out, Mr. Perry’s plays failed six times in a row over six years (one play failure each year, and then he’d have to work odd jobs to scrounge up the money to start over the following year). It wasn’t until the seventh attempt that he wrote and produced a play that succeeded.

During those six years when he was trying to make it, there were times he was sleeping in his car to put together the funds for the next play production attempt.

Too often there’s a belief that one must be successful with the first short story, novel, screenplay, or play written. And that if one fails, that means one has no talent and should just give up.

It takes time to learn a craft and reach a professional level. An important lesson to take away from Tyler Perry’s story is that one must be willing to learn from failure.

An interview with Jane Yolen

No major post this Sunday. I’ve got a looming writing deadline this week that must come first.

However, check out this interview with Jane Yolen at School Library Journal as she celebrates her 300th published book.   She has valuable advice to give on how to be productive and happy as a writer.

Doses of Reality: TALES FROM THE SCRIPT, and a blog post from Scott William Carter

Peter Hanson and Paul Robert Herman have gone and interviewed 50 screenwriters to create the best (as well as the most brutally realistic) documentary on screenwriting I’ve ever seen, TALES FROM THE SCRIPT.   Even if one doesn’t write screenplays, this documentary is worth seeing as a way to understand the joys and hardships of writing stories for a living.

Here’s their description of the documentary:

Screenwriters ranging from newcomers to living legends share their triumphs and hardships in this probing, insightful, and often hilarious odyssey through the world of movie storytelling. Celebrated scribes reveal the fascinating creative adventures that gave birth to beloved classics (and notorious flops). By analyzing their triumphs and recalling their failures, the participants explain how successful writers develop the skills necessary for toughing out careers in Hollywood. Candid and unafraid to name names, they also describe their collaborations with stars including Tim Burton, Harrison Ford, Morgan Freeman, Stanley Kubrick, Adam Sandler, Joel Silver, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and Bryan Singer.

Also, Scott William Carter has written a realistic thoughtful blog post on “10 Reasons There’s Never Been a Better Time to Be a Fiction Writer.” Here’s a very small taste:

When I replied that actually they’ve got it dead wrong, there’s never been a better time to be a fiction writer, that if I had a time traveling machine and could pick only one time to be a novelist, I’d pick now without question, I’m pretty sure he thought I was smoking something.
But it’s the truth. Seriously.
Don’t believe me? Here’s ten reasons why.

Go read this long post of his.  It’s better than many articles on “changing technology and the impact on writers” that I’ve seen in Writer’s Digest or Publisher’s Weekly.

SCBWI Master Class DVD Series on Writing and Illustrating Children’s Books

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) has released two DVDs in their Master Class series.  I’ve found that people often have the misconception that writing for children is easier than for adults.  It’s the opposite.  Kids won’t put up with confusing or boring writing.   And the shorter the book, the more every word counts, just like in poetry.

Each Master Class DVD involves an in-depth interview on a topic about writing and/or illustrating children’s books with a foremost artist in the field. So, for the topic of “On Creating the Picture Book,” illustrator & writer Tomie dePaola is interviewed. For “On Writing the Novel for Young Readers,” writer Richard Peck is interviewed.

The interviewer is SCBWI Executive Director  Lin Oliver, and her professional experience as a writer herself makes listening in on her talks with dePaola and Peck fascinating.  She asks questions that artists often long to ask other artists.

These DVDs are called “Master Class” for a reason, for they are in-depth interviews about craft.  If you don’t already know the basic craft terminology like point-of-view and plot arc, you may find yourself confused at points.  The interviews go quickly and cover a lot of ground.

For those who don’t know, Tomie dePaola has over 200 books to his credit as illustrator and/or writer.  He has earned both Newbery and Caldecott Honor Awards.  During the interview he and Oliver get into a wonderful discussion about how to develop and harness one’s creativity, and the dangers of ignoring a creative gift.

Richard Peck is a writer who has been awarded a Newbery Honor and Newbery Medal.  He has also been the first writer for young readers given a National Humanities Medal.   His interview includes an intense discussion on characterization and setting and their importance in the novel.

So if you want to write for children, I highly recommend these two DVDs.