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Showing posts from 2007

Can We Learn From Screenwriters? The Extreme Value of The Log

By Michael Neff

Believe it or not, most fiction writers (as opposed to screenwriters) don't know the definition of a log line, much less how to craft it. But the value of this knowledge can not only make a query letter MUCH more punchy and direct, but also give the writer a means to reality-check the "high concept" of their novel-in-progress. And what do we mean by high concept? Basically, a story line or premise that sounds sufficiently unique and commercially viable at the same time--in other words, not like one the agent or editor has already heard 5000 times in the past month!

Back to logs ... The best article on the subject of writing loglines can be found at Screenwriting On The Net. From the article:

All well-written stories consist of two stories--the "objective storyline" and "subjective storyline"--[which] consists of the following: A hero with a flaw that keeps her from achieving a worthwhile goal, is forced to respond to a lifechanging event …

Fiction Tips Via Kovach Via Larson

By Michael Neff

Here is some matter by Ron Kovach of WriterMag that I found helpful for Writer's Edge. He's talking about Erik Larson and making fiction points in the context of Larson's historical bestseller, THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY. A little Q&A worth posting:

You're clearly fond of foreshadowing. How would you describe its storytelling value?

I think foreshadowing is a fundamental element of suspense. I think that if you can somehow hint--and the more obliquely you can hint, the better--that something bad is going to happen, no reader is going to leave you until he or she finds out what that thing was. It's like Chekhov said: If you show a revolver in the first act, you have to shoot it by the last act. People come to a work with a sense of unity in their minds, and if you tell them that something black is going to happen, they want to know what that black thing is and will stay with you to find out--provided it's not too far down the line, and provided…