The Screenplay-novel Manifestos

Less is more vivid

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Script Mechanics -- one

What works in narrative is an endlessly interesting question for people who write. The qualities that pull a reader in and create a fully receptive state of mind are much harder to define than qualities that simply make writing technically good. Furthermore, writing -- as is the case with any form of artistic expression -- exists in a much larger cultural-technological context. So it is, for example, that the writing of song lyrics has effectively become a popular form of poetry: people memorize lyrics, and reflect upon them, and are moved by them, because music itself is particularly adaptable to electronic and image-based media. In turn, the Internet has helped fuel a resurgence in the popularity of poetry itself, because poems are usually fairly short, and the Internet tends to be read quickly by people.

As I mention in my bio sidebar, I'm currently working on a screenplay-novel. I've thought about posting it online. There are risks to doing this: theft of intellectual property, the fact that posting online is a form of self-publishing and therefore viewed as a desperation move, etc. But the benefits outweigh the risks. The screenplay novel idea is only as good as its productions, and, as I've written previously, I think that if a critical mass of writers and publishers publish screenplay novels, a new and vibrant form will result. Ultimately, however, the biggest risk in posting online is simply this: people won't read it. Or, even if they do, they won't read it with interest.

There are a variety of ways to create interest around one's work: one way is to pour a lot of energy into self-promotion. This can go a long way. But it's a bit of a mug's game, since it turns off as many people as it turns on, and it doesn't really improve the work; it only improves the publicity surrounding the work. And our culture is already awash in highly refined publicity. One might even say that publicity is the genius of the age.

But good writing -- in whatever form -- needs to be good writing that connects with an audience. And that should come from an author's own instinct of what is interesting; a writer with integrity may not write for him or herself exclusively, but he writes with himself in mind. And since what interests me here at this blog-site is the interconnection between screenplay (imagined movie) and prose narrative, I am going to start posting my screenplay novel "The Runner" in its chronological sequence along with commentary. [Note: I posted an excerpt from the same screenplay-novel a while ago, so I will re-post it later so it fits into the sequence.]

Of course, any narrative form should be able to stand on its own two feet without external assistance. And ultimately, I hope to publish screenplay novels simply "as is", in the same way I hope to publish other work of mine (I'm also working on a memoir).
In other words, this series of posts will not be intended as a giveaway, but as a method of illustrating the screenplay-novel idea. Since my ultimate goal is to publish this work commercially, my motives are practical, not utopian.

However, the blogosphere works best when it includes commentary. And so as I slowly post the complete script to "The Runner", I will do so along with commentary -- either my own, or that directed at me by people who have constructive criticism to make.


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