Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle once again and let me tell you this has been a most distressing week. My novelist has been taking a ten-day screenwriting class and I have had to man the fort. The Maltese has been up to his usual tricks like sleeping behind the couch and barking when he knows its suppertime. At times, I have had to lie by my novelist’s side in the Barcalounger as she holds her head in her hands and makes use of our foot massage machine. But she has been able to turn her work in on time and is getting to the end of the course after which she will prepare the final touches on her new novel Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! for March publication.
As for myself, I have been busy on my own writing project which I am hoping to premiere on this blog soon. It is a glorious tale, and I am excited to share it with you. But for now, I am going to hand the blog back over to my novelist so she can talk a bit about her class. Without further ado, here is my novelist.
For the past week I’ve been taking a ten-day online writing class. The class is designed for writing comedic screenplays. Taking classes as you know are a blessing and a curse. And this one has been no different. Everyday I have a writing assignment due in twenty-four hours. Kind of like Jack Bauer except more daunting. I have a list of over 200 log lines, so I pulled one of the lines and basically built a day-by-day story out of it. The good part is it forced me to come up with a brand-new tale I had never thought of past the log line stage that might be fun to write once I shoot my boss in the back of the head, rescue a child from kidnappers, behead some guy with a saw and find the love of my life bound and dead in a desk chair before the clock runs out.
I have taken more than my share of writing classes over time and am at the point where the only good choice would be to get another degree. But as I write comedic novels (a genre that for some reason doesn’t really exist) I thought this class might be a good refresher. And it does what all classes do which is take me away from my novel writing and turn me into this thing:
I think writers walk on a tightrope between when to block out time to take a class and when to cut the cord and go solo. I prefer solo most of the time. I do think you need both but once one has completed one’s college education the more one focuses on writing and reading instead of classes the better one gets. That said, I in no way regret taking this class. It has forced me to think and act quickly and gave me a couple more things to add to my toolbox, which is the point. As the class is designed to build a scene layer by layer it justifies the tools I have garnered over time and others I naturally work with. I found while taking the course, I had often already put in several of the elements that were eventually taught in upcoming lessons.
That said, one of the items I gained from the class and have added to my toolbox is the specificities of props. I often put props in my stories automatically because of my acting background (I studied both writing and theatre) and so props are often important. However, this class forced me to punch them up a bit so instead of a pencil cup for instance it becomes for example a pencil cup shaped like a rabbit because of the characters obsession with bunnies or springtime or whatever.
I did get a good price on the class which played a large part in my deciding to take it. And I do encourage other seasoned writers to take courses here and there provided they help and not hinder their ability to get their core writing done. It’s good for the mind and adds more concepts you can use going forwards.
You can check out my books Chicane and the first three installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!, Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!, & Musicology :Volume Three, Twist! on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will win Musicology!!!
STREAM OF THE WEEK: STARMAN (1984)-Amazon Prime
This wonderful little Sci-fi gem from the early 1980’s often gets forgotten or overlooked and I thought it would be a great one to feature. Jeff Bridges earned his third Oscar nomination (and he deserved all seven nominations and the one win he has gotten) stars in the title role as an alien who has gotten stuck on earth and has a limited amount of time he can spend here until he dies unless he can meet his spaceship in a few days and catch a ride home. He takes safe harbor in the home of young recently widowed Jenny Hayden (Karen Allen who is fantastic here) and after looking through a photo album while she is sleeping morphs into a human baby and grows into a living embodiment of Jenny’s deceased husband hoping doing so will help convince her to assist him in his quest.
SCREENWRITINGU FREE FRIDAY CLASS: SOLVING THE MYSTERY OF SUBTEXT
You can sign up for the class here. All SCREENWRITINGU classes are teleconferences unless otherwise noted.