Sunday, January 27, 2008

Purging Cache

One of the problems with having both a blog and a life is you tend to accumulate all sorts of bits and ideas that would probably be worth writing about, if you just had a little more time to develop the idea. But right at this exact moment you don't have the time to do the idea justice, so you push it onto the stack — and push something else onto the stack — and then push something else onto the stack — and pretty soon you've got this huge, unstable backlog of ideas looming up over you, demanding that you do something with it before it falls over and breaks something or hurts somebody. But the time to properly develop the ideas still doesn't exist, so at times like this, I usually find what's called for is a quick & dirty cache purge.

Here's what I have not been writing about in recent days.

Recommended Reading: Splatter Flicks - How to Make Low-Budget Horror Films, by Sara Caldwell       Publisher's Site | Amazon link

I know quite a few of you have an interest in filmmaking. Heck, even I have a more than modest interest in the subject. If nothing else, over the past three years we've kept coming back to the question of why movies based on books differ so greatly the books, and just what it is that makes writing for screen so different from writing for print.

As part of my ongoing search for answers to this mystery, I've just finished reading Caldwell's book. It is specifically, as the title states, a how-to guide for amateurs and low-budget independents working in the horror genre. But if you're looking for a very readable and entertaining high-level view of the filmmaking process, from start to finish and then some, and an understanding of just why there are so many names on the credits, what exactly a "gaffer" does, and how the finished script is only the start of the process, this book makes a good introduction.

Recommended Reading: Atlantic Monthly Flashbacks

For 150 years, The Atlantic (aka Atlantic Monthly) has been publishing some of the most thought-provoking contemporary writing to be found. For most of this time, you had to buy the magazine to read it; even when they did finally launch a web site, their treasure trove of old material remained inaccessible.

Until now. While their full archives are reserved for subscribers only, they've recently launched Flashbacks, which makes an enormous amount of selected material available for free. Want to read some of the articles that Mark Twain wrote for The Atlantic? They're here. Want a century and a half of advice for writers cooked down to one short article? It's here. Want to see what else is available? Start here.

Me, I could spend hours wandering around this site, just tracking down gems like this little short-story that some 26-year-old guy named Rudyard Kipling sold to The Atlantic in 1891.

Minnesota Book Awards Finalists Announced

The shortlist for the 20th Annual Minnesota Book Awards has been announced. As someone who's been a finalist for said award in the past, I am available to all current finalists for one-on-one coaching sessions. (Repeat after me: "It's an honor just to be nominated." And remember to smile!)

Otherwise, I don't have a lot to say about this one. I'm interested to see that one ibook has made the list; discouraged to see that so many foundation-funded books have made the list. But before I go all Adam Smith on you, let me just throw out the question: are there any books on this list that you've read and would recommend?

And last but not least, it's time for a blogroll update

As was recently made clear to me, my blogroll of friends is way out of date and needs to be revised. If you'd like me to post a link to your site, let me know.

Th- th- th- that's all, folks!