A fascinating interview with Vince Gilligan, showrunner of Breaking Bad.
The questions are as excellent as the answers.
This points to that quality of improvisation with the work you’re doing. In a traditional crime show, like “CSI,” if it were a big band, it’s a big band working off charts. The arrangements are very tightly controlled. And what I sense with “Breaking Bad” is a sense of, I don’t know, “John Coltrane on acid.” You have this sense of improvisation where you go with things you know, where you tell the story the length it needs to be told. You’re inspired collectively by a moment and you decide to go deeper into that moment. You’re in essence leading a parallel life with your characters and letting those characters take you where they want to go — not necessarily where the dictates of commercial convention say they have to go.
Meanwhile, Alan Sepinwall asks actors Bryan Cranston (2)
and Aaron Paul
about some of their most iconic moments on the show. [more inside]
posted by Rory Marinich
on Jul 25, 2012 -
To Use and Use Not: [NYTimes.com]
"In an interview in The Paris Review in 1958
Ernest Hemingway made an admission that has inspired frustrated novelists ever since: The final words of “A Farewell to Arms
,” his wartime masterpiece, were rewritten “39 times before I was satisfied.” A new edition of “A Farewell to Arms,” which was originally published in 1929, will be released next week, including all the alternate endings, along with early drafts of other passages in the book."
posted by Fizz
on Jul 8, 2012 -
In 1891 author and lecturer ”Max O’Rell
” (being the pen name of one Léon Paul Blouet) published an amusing account of his travels through the States and Eastern Canada - "A Frenchman In America
" - that, along with the charming illustrations, reflect on then popular national stereotypes and character and is presented on Project Gutenberg in its entirely. (via
posted by The Whelk
on Jul 7, 2012 -
"I had these clubs when I was a young bachelor, hair down to my shoulders, tearing up the town in a 1990 Volvo 740 SEL with the sunroof open and the road before me like some great American Dream ready to be snatched, the way candy is from a baby, or a kiss from an easy and drunk woman."
Writer Marc Lewis
is selling his awful golf clubs.
posted by mattdidthat
on Jun 29, 2012 -
“[...] it took more than a dozen calls to work out the details of her zombie contagion. “After about the 17th time,” says McGuire, “I called and said, ‘If I did this, this, this, this, this, this and this, could I raise the dead?’ And got, ‘Don’t … don’t do that.’ And at that point, I knew I had a viable virus
posted by batmonkey
on Jun 27, 2012 -
1,143,839,622,748,050,000,000,000,000 Sonnet Anagrams
and oodles of other oddities
from Mike Keith involving constrained writing, mathematics, music, and the number π.
posted by Wolfdog
on Jun 26, 2012 -
is a simple tool for telling stories
, and a public library of human experience
, incorporating text
, and characters
. These are the Sagas so far.
posted by Potomac Avenue
on Jun 13, 2012 -
The Hemingway Papers:
The legendary writer’s reporting from the Toronto Star archives, featuring historical annotations by William McGeary, a former editor who researched Hemingway’s columns extensively for the newspaper, along with new insight and analysis from the Star’s team of Hemingway experts.
posted by Fizz
on May 28, 2012 -
The game that you fell in love with as a child will seem lost; a thump on the floorboard of your new Mercedes, swerved at high speeds to avoid a shadow in the night. The sights and sounds and smells of football, sensual memories that stir the passions in the soul, will be reconceived and recategorized, buried behind newer, odorless versions.
Former Bronco Nate Jackson offers wisdom on the trappings of stardom to two young draftees
posted by swift
on May 1, 2012 -
Earth, 2147. The legacy of the Metal Wars, where man fought machines—and machines won. Bio-Dreads — monstrous creations that hunt down human survivors... and digitize them!
In 1987, before he created Babylon 5, J. Michael Straczynski was a writer for Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future
, a live-action sci-fi show for kids. 24 episodes were produced. Straczynski wrote or co-wrote 14 of them, including multi-episode plot arcs. A line of interactive toys
brought the battle into kids’ living rooms, and Captain Power
was also one of the very first shows on television to feature computer animation in every episode. But in an attempt to appeal to both children and the adults who watched with them, the campy show included some concepts and scenes critics deemed too violent for children and lasted only a single season in syndication. The full run of the show has now been uploaded to Youtube. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Apr 1, 2012 -
"I get up every morning at 5, go for a half-hour walk in the desert, come home and have a cup of coffee, sit down at the desk and ask myself what I would say if I were him, and what I would do if I were her. I think curiosity is actually a moral virtue. I think a person who is curious is slightly more moral than one who is not curious, because sometimes he enters into the skin of another. I think a curious person is even a better lover than one who is not curious. Even my political approach to the Palestinian question, for example, sprang from curiosity. I am not a Middle East expert or a historian or a strategist. I simply asked myself, at a very young age, what it would be like if I were one of them. So, that’s what I do − get up in the morning and ask myself: What if?"
- Israeli writer Amos Oz reflects on his life, on Israel, on writing, and discusses his newest work [more inside]
posted by beisny
on Mar 29, 2012 -
In June 1979, I left Paris, returning home to San Francisco without saying farewell to Barthes. Why advertise my failure? I left Paris without fulfilling my reason for coming. His letter arrived in October. Barthes explained that he was retiring from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes at the end of the year. If I wished to complete my thesis under his direction, then I would have to have it written and in his hands by the 15th of December. No extension was possible. The date was a deadline. "A vous de jouer," he wrote. "Your move."
- Deadline [pdf]
by Stewart Lindh, Roland Barthes' last doctoral student, is an account of how he wrote his Ph.D. thesis.
posted by Kattullus
on Mar 18, 2012 -
Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Don’t even go there! You know as well as I do, I’ve literally been there, done that, bought the t-shirt and to be honest with you at the end of the day when push comes to shove and it all boils down to it if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Know what I mean? Basically, what I’m trying to say is with all due respect between you and me screenwriting is not rocket science, it’s about breaking the mold, thinking outside the box, giving it 110% 24/7. And I think we can all agree clichés suck but, hey, it’s a job. You gotta do what you gotta do. Just remember you’re writing for an audience and there’s no “I” in . . . you get the picture.
Definitive List of Cliched Dialogue
, Go Into The Story
posted by ob1quixote
on Mar 11, 2012 -
Paypal is coming down hard
on online erotica retailers. The service has sent demands
to such ebook self-publishing sites as Smashwords, AllRomanceEbooks and Bookstrand, demanding that they remove all titles containing bestiality, rape-for-titillation, and incest- including the popular 'pseudo-incest' category of stepparent or stepsibling sex. [more inside]
posted by showbiz_liz
on Feb 28, 2012 -
As you can see, the [Chinese] typewriter is extremely complicated and cumbersome. The main tray — which is like a typesetter's font of lead type — has about two thousand of the most frequent characters. Two thousand characters are not nearly enough for literary and scholarly purposes, so there are also a number of supplementary trays from which less frequent characters may be retrieved when necessary. What is even more intimidating about a Chinese typewriter is that the characters as seen by the typist are backwards and upside down! [more inside]
posted by Trurl
on Feb 27, 2012 -
If you use Americanisms
just to show you know them, people may find you a tad tiresome, so be discriminating.
You may have to think harder if you are not to use jargon
, but you can still be precise.
Use all metaphors
, dead or alive, sparingly, otherwise you will make trouble for yourself.
Some words add nothing but length
to your prose.
(Notes from The Economist
's style guide
posted by Joey Bagels
on Feb 24, 2012 -