Why I am Motivated to Write

Perhaps, early in my career as a mental health counselor, I couldn’t even see the untold story. During my second job, I worked at a day program that was connected to a 30 day crisis house.

Landing the job gave me the financial power to leave a ghetto apartment in the most murderous city on the East Coast. Since I was only just entering a Master’s Program, I felt extremely privileged. As a result, I aligned myself with my supervisor and other more experienced workers. Without credentials, I was focused on working with people who would get my back.

One day, I received a client and was ready to get to work on housing issues, when I found out that she came attached with a more experienced case manager. Though not very talkative, she did tell me very clearly that she did not want to go to a particular boarding home, the largest such facility in the county. When I talked to the case manager who would later be my supervisor when I got promoted, he was clear about the woman’s future. She had to go to the unwanted boarding home.

“Wow, that girl is really sick!” I heard the coworker who worked the graveyard shift at the crisis house say.

“I don’t get it,” I said, “I don’t see why she can’t live where she wants to. I help other people find housing, why can’t I help her.”

“That girl is very sick, I can just tell by the way her eyes roll to the side” said my co-worker

I deferred to experience. Sure I had been hospitalized for six months myself, but I knew better than to make waves. The woman was shipped away to the very place she most did not want to go. She had been right not to trust any of us. For us, she was just protocol.

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Ooooh, That’s gory

Today’s horror fiction writers owe a great deal to an early stage empresario, Oscar Metenier. Slasher writers and movie makers should thank Oscar for the debt owed to him.

He celebrated gore just down the street from the can-can girls of the Moulin Rouge in late 19th century Paris. This gory celebration was at The Theatre du Grande Guignol – Theatre of the Big Puppet Show – founded in 1897 by Oscar Metenier in a small theatre that had originally been a chapel.

Their original plays showed graphic violence: realistic dramas of murder, rape and disembowelment, throat slashing, eye gouging and acid throwing. It was an extension of what was then called the naturalistic movement. Occasionally actors were badly hurt.

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The 8 Rules for Writing Screen-to-Print

We live a new literary world of 140 character Twitter, personal Facebook dispatches and USA Today snappy prose. The reading audiences of the New York Times who enjoyed reading ‘literature’ has rapidly declined with their subscribers. Or to paraphrase Elmore Leonard, “Literary fiction is when they leave in the boring parts that everybody skips.”

Or to put it another way:

Literary fiction is the fiction of ideas. Its primary purpose is to evoke thought. The writer’s goal is self-expression. Any consideration of the reader—if one exists at all—is purely secondary.

Popular fiction is the fiction of emotion. Its primary purpose is to evoke feelings. The writer’s goal is to entertain the reader. Any consideration of self-expression—if one exists at all—is purely secondary.

One can still hope to write the Great American Novel but if you want to make writing your career – you have to make money. Many experts on writing agree that if revenue is what you seek, then you must write for markets – not for prosperity. Pursue a writing career not so much for fame but for fortune.

I suggest writing stories that are screen-to-print.

So how is that done? What RULES apply?

 To do that we need to talk Hemingway.

After he finished “The Old Man and the Sea,” Hemingway wrote his brother, Leichester, telling him that he did not think there was single wasted word in the book. He may be right. The story is a lean, powerful tale. So lean that it may well be the only book ever written to havevery nearly every scene transposed into the film version.

So here is rule NUMBER ONE – Think movie scenes and not chapters.  Write the story in such a way as how it would look on the big screen. What I am saying is that we can all learn something from Hemingway.

He had some tips for writing well. Use short sentences, use short first paragraphs, (I would add all your paragraphs should be short, sweet and to the point), use vigorous language, say what something is rather than what it isn’t. He learned this style when working as a newspaper reporter.

If you’ve spent any time on the writing discussion boards, you’ll see that the majority of comments about writing style seem to fall into two groups. Those that believe the flowery prose of the literati is real writing and those that feel authors should write to be marketable and choose to eschew obfuscation. Now there are those who believe that paragraphs and even pages of narrative are necessary for successful story telling.

I don’t.

Which brings us to the next set of rules writing Screen-to-Print.

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Ten tips for tackling health issues should be the name of this post, but I liked the play on the letter T and the fact that someone would just have to know what ” things” I meant.

Anyway, in the last week two people have suggested that I write a post about what I have learned from being a professional/permanent patient. Its not something I ever thought of doing, but I’m going to give it a go.