The Screenplay-novel Manifestos
Less is more vivid
"If you write a novel alone you sit and you weave a little narrative. And it's OK, but it's of no account. If you're a romantic writer, you write novels about men and women falling in love, et cetera, give a little narrative here and there. But again, it's of no account."
"If you cook a dinner for yourself you weave a little recipe. And it's OK, but it's of no account. If you're a really good cook, you throw a dinner party. And people have a good time, etc., etc. But again, it's of no account."
"If you have a wonderful relationship -- I mean, a really stupendous relationship ... one that changes your entire life and gives it meaning -- it's OK, but it's of no account. If you have a romantic personality, these experiences are like heaven for you. They're of such raw, ecstatic force that they race up and down your spine, they cause the very marrow of your bones to shudder. They alter your essence, your being, and are virtually beyond description. Et cetera. But again, it's of no account."
The exhaustion of the how-it-is
The crippling exhaustion that overtakes the writer -- both the new and the established writer -- is nothing new in quality, but it is new in quantity. For even though "writing fiction" should be a reasonably straightforward exercise, it has become something terribly, almost insupportably, complex. And that's not because writing is difficult. And it's not because reading is difficult, either. Instead, the two actions have become difficult in relation to each other ... especially if one harbors ambitions of -- well, of making it ... not just someone who writers for him- or herself, but someone who Wants To Be Known ... who wants a small slice of the professional pie.Because the problem is this: a writer is not only obligated to write well, he or she is obligated to read well; read conscientiously, and in the manner in which other writers expect to be read: in their entirety. There is a movement afoot (see, for example, recent postings in The Reading Experience and The Anatomy of Melancholy) to emphasize the importance of this. And, of course, the argument that writers do have this obligation is perfectly logical. It is decent. It is civilized. And, on the level of the ethics, it is a form of integrity. I also support this movement.But this crazy-making truth is that those in the world of letter who possess most power -- editors and agents -- do not themselves read this way. We don't have time, they say. An interesting fragment, but not quite right for us, they encourage, as they shake us off with the politest of rejection letters. And they are behaving appropriately, too ... that is, appropriately for people whose ultimate obligation is to the bottom line. And if it happens that good work is tossed by the wayside -- if it turns out that good manuscripts are discarded according to an inaccurate perception of what they're about by page 20 -- well, that's just how it is. That's the world of publishing and agenting.Apart from the literal handful of fiction writers who are lionized throughout their entire careers, the writer of fiction is placed in an impossible situation. And this situation has only become more impossible with the new millennium.And this is why we need to be more open-minded about new forms.
해미 읍성, 여름에 Haemi Fortress, in Summer (an ultra-short)
EXT. A SMALL KOREAN VILLAGE. AN EARLY SUMMER EVENING, MID-WEEK.
A WESTERN MAN is walking down the city's main street. To his left is the historic site of Haemi Fortress. He has a peaceful expression on his face, but from his body language we can tell he's lonely.
VO: Those were the days before I met you.
SFX: A light breeze.
EXT. THE INNER COURTYARD OF THE FORTRESS. MOMENTS LATER.
The Western man sees a group of CHILDREN. They are giggling and playing with each other. Then one of them spots the man.
CHILD: 의국인! [Foreigner]
SECOND CHILD: [sing-songy] Hello!
MAN: [smiling] Hello.
ALL CHILDREN: [gleefully] Hello! Hello!
MAN: [speaking slowly] Can you speak English?
The CHILDREN suddenly start to giggle uproariously. But their amusement is more a symptom of shyness than desire to carry the game any further. They run away, still laughing.
INT. AN EVANGELICAL CHURCH. TEN MINUTES LATER.
The MAN enters. He is somewhat surprised to see a CROWD OF WORSHIPPERS. They are very involved in their prayers.
The MAN walks cautiously forward.
A MIDDLE-AGED KOREAN MAN spots him.
CUT TO: CLOSE UP of MIDDLE-AGED KOREAN MAN.
MIDDLE-AGED KOREAN MAN: 하느님! 하느님이 자를 사랑하습니다! [God! God loves you!]
EXT. A STREET. MOMENTS LATER.
The MAN is walking by himself again. He looks even sadder than before. A DIFFERENT CHILD spots him.
DIFFERENT CHILD: [especially enthusiastically] Hello!