Thursday, February 14, 2013

Advice for writers.

There's an obituary in today's "New York Times" that has a couple pieces in it I really like. The Times' headline reads "Alan Sharpe, Writer of Dark Screenplays, Dies at 79." Usually if something is dark, from comedy to chocolate, I'm apt to like it. Here's a link to the obit.

The first thing I liked was this quotation. Which I think provides a pretty good example of what I mean by "dark."

It's from a 1975 Gene Hackman movie called "Night Moves," about a private eye who cannot "figure out the whodunit of his own crumbling marriage."

Hackman is watching a football game on television. His wife asks him who's winning.

"Nobody," Hackman answers. "One side's just losing more slowly than the other."

The part that's helpful advice comes at the end of the obit. The Times' obituary writers do a good job writing these things. They don't just mail it in. And there's a lot of value in the conclusion of this one.
"In a 2009 interview for the online journal Writer’s Room, Mr. Sharp was asked his advice for writers starting out. 'If there’s a story you like, just write it up and see how it feels,' he replied. 'It’s not illegal until you do something with it.' To that he added a coda, the tough, existential frame around his mordant picture of life:

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