Writer’s Burden Crushes Chair

Desk chair collapseMy daily companion for many years collapsed yesterday under the weight of writing three books: HOTEL CONSTELLATION: Notes from America’s Secret War in Laos; The Mark of the Spider; and most recently, Beware the Spider.

That’s right. My desk chair died.

I was not injured, but the sound of the left arm giving way under the strain of tens of thousands of typed words startled me from my day dreams. I mean, it interrupted my plotting of a new story for readers.

Fortunately, one of the office supply stores is having a sale on chairs (ending tomorrow), and I got a new one for less than what the old one cost.

You served me well, chair. RIP.


12 Common Writing Mistakes

I came across this post from BookBub that identifies twelve writing mistakes that even old hands and best-sellers make.

Reading it was like being at my monthly writers group meeting. So, yeah, everyone makes these mistakes. I have, my colleagues have, and now I’m told that so do the best of us.
My Three Biggest Mistakes In Prepping For The GMAT Exam

It’s written by Ricardo Fayet, co-founder of Reedsy, which sells editing, design and marketing services to authors. Here’s the start:

Have you ever bought a New York Times bestseller and found a typo or a glaring mistake? It’s happened to most of us. Writing mistakes can detract from the overall impression of quality readers expect of a published book. This can lead to negative reviews and low ratings, which can have an undesirable impact on sales.

The occasional error is practically inevitable in a finished manuscript, but striving for perfection is still a worthy aim. Understanding the most common mistakes can help authors approach their work and editing process with more clarity — and keep them from stumbling on common pitfalls.

At Reedsy, we work with experienced developmental editors, copy editors, and proofreaders. I asked them a simple question: “What’s the most common writing mistake you see even bestselling authors making?” You’ll find their answers below, from big-picture mistakes down to the nitty-gritty of grammar and punctuation.

Read the entire post at BookBub.

And while you’re at it, get a copy of my new novel, The Mark of the Spider, which is available from Amazon.

Buy the print copy and get the email copy free!

Still not convinced? Here’s what some readers say about it.

Scripts and Screenplays

You like to read?

Of course, you do.

You like movies? Got a favorite movie? Or a favorite book that was made into a movie that you refuse to see because it can’t possibly be as good as the original?

You want to learn to write a screenplay?

I answered “yes” to all of those and hied myself up to Bethesda, Md., recently to the Writing Center to see if I am educable. (Results are still not in on that.)

I had dabbled in writing TV scripts when I worked for public TV (NPACT) more than a lifetime ago so I figured I pretty much knew my way around screenplays. Wrong.

Movie and TV scripts are an entirely different beast.

Sample screenplay pageIn producing non-fiction TV, we used a two-column format — audio in one column, video descriptions in the other, side by side — which I continued to use when I wrote video scripts for marketing and advertising clients more recently.

Screenplay formatting is entirely different. Fortunately someone by the name of Matt Carless at the BBC Writer’s Room posted a PDF file of a document formatted for writing TV scripts. I’m told it can be used for movie screenplays as well.

(BTW, a screenplay is a type of script written for film or the movies, as opposed to a play or other visual medium. So they are not precisely synonymous.)

Mr. Carless’ work was very useful, but I learn best by watching experts do their best. I like to see finished products.

My fellow aspiring writers at The Writer’s Center pointed me to three online sites that provide actual movie and TV scripts free in a variety of formats (.pdf, .txt, .html and the odd one or two others). What I could not find in one, I was able to locate in another.

So if you would like to see a real scripts for a real movie or TV program, try these links: