Are you writing in the right genre?

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  • #16
    I always thought "write what you know" meant if you have an interesting life story consider making it into a fictional story. If you have a unique POV, use it to think of stories. I never took it as ONLY write what you know vs making crap up -- because most of it is going to be made up even if some is true. I think most writers put themselves in their work, maybe only a little bit, but we are there.

    Funny one of my ideas on the list was WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW about a writer who lived a boring ass life so he hires someone else to do exciting things so he can write about them and things go well until that person does something crazy like kill someone or kidnap them.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Bono View Post
      I always thought "write what you know" meant if you have an interesting life story consider making it into a fictional story. If you have a unique POV, use it to think of stories. I never took it as ONLY write what you know vs making crap up -- because most of it is going to be made up even if some is true. I think most writers put themselves in their work, maybe only a little bit, but we are there.

      Funny one of my ideas on the list was WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW about a writer who lived a boring ass life so he hires someone else to do exciting things so he can write about them and things go well until that person does something crazy like kill someone or kidnap them.
      Another solid movie idea Bono. I dig it.

      I think part of my problem with the advice of "Write what you know" is that it's too open to interpretation, and far too many writers take it literally and end up writing stories that happened to them or their friends or write a story about a character that does their day job.

      I've read my fair share of boring stories written by the type of people that think the time that they went on vacation to a bed and breakfast where the toilet didn't work is worthy of a feature film.

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      • #18
        https://twitter.com/bryanedwardhill/...980214787?s=20 about writing genre movies -- never thought about it like this before. basically he's saying the movie starts like a drama about this or that and then the genre interrupts what would be a normal drama movie.

        Drama about marriage -- terrorists show up -- now it's an action movie. (die hard)

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        • #19
          I know I post too much -- I even took years off and still a top poster -- but I don't quite get how I see 80 guests online and then only like 5 of us are posting at all. You don't have to post all the time, but maybe throw down some knowledge or help? Just a thought.

          I go on twitter and only read -- never tweet anymore because well that's a toxic place to me and no fun mostly.

          But here is a specific forum for writing -- so I don't get how writers can check in -- read my dumb posts -- laugh at my bad advice -- but never participate. What's the point of checking in?

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Bono View Post
            https://twitter.com/bryanedwardhill/...980214787?s=20 about writing genre movies -- never thought about it like this before. basically he's saying the movie starts like a drama about this or that and then the genre interrupts what would be a normal drama movie.

            Drama about marriage -- terrorists show up -- now it's an action movie. (die hard)
            You seem to find better stuff on twitter than I can find and I try to follow as many writers as I can.

            From the above twitter thread I got that it works to set up your conflict within the first act. Genre be damned, the rest will flow that includes comedy. You can't have comedy without conflict as well as drama. I guess anyways.
            Last edited by Mark Somers; 03-03-2021, 12:51 PM. Reason: Misspelled ejaculation


            Hey! You might do it in your house, but in this house we don't lick our butts. -- Mother Teresa

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            • #21
              It's a shame it isn't busier. The nice thing about posting here is that you can have conversations that don't disappear into a twitter thread and they're easy to find later. Lots of good wisdom on this site.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Bono View Post
                I know I post too much -- I even took years off and still a top poster -- but I don't quite get how I see 80 guests online and then only like 5 of us are posting at all. You don't have to post all the time, but maybe throw down some knowledge or help? Just a thought.

                I go on twitter and only read -- never tweet anymore because well that's a toxic place to me and no fun mostly.

                But here is a specific forum for writing -- so I don't get how writers can check in -- read my dumb posts -- laugh at my bad advice -- but never participate. What's the point of checking in?
                True. As I type this there are 79 guests and four members. I'd start a thread asking lurkers why they lurk but I have no idea what forum to put it in.
                Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. "Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.-

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by JeffLowell View Post
                  It's a shame it isn't busier. The nice thing about posting here is that you can have conversations that don't disappear into a twitter thread and they're easy to find later. Lots of good wisdom on this site.
                  Yeah. The thing I like about this place is even the amateurs like me here are serious writers and generally have a clue. Then you have pro writers such as yourself dropping nuggets and answering business questions for people on the outside looking in that don't have access to the same info.

                  I'm a member of a couple screenwriting groups on Facebook, and it's a nightmare. So much bad advice being tossed around by newbies who don't even know the basics. It's the blind leading the blind.

                  What makes it worse is that they ignore or lash out at the more experienced writers like me who try to be helpful.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by sc111 View Post

                    True. As I type this there are 79 guests and four members. I'd start a thread asking lurkers why they lurk but I have no idea what forum to put it in.
                    I think I may show up as "guest" too as I hit some setting like invisible mode -- so sometimes guests are posters like me or you -- I think. So I don't need to see their name on the bottom, I just wish they would chime in every week or so.

                    Just saw 103 online users (3 members, 100 guests) and below it says 102 active users.
                    Last edited by Bono; 03-03-2021, 03:30 PM.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by JeffLowell View Post
                      It's a shame it isn't busier. The nice thing about posting here is that you can have conversations that don't disappear into a twitter thread and they're easy to find later. Lots of good wisdom on this site.
                      Exactly. Some great advice being lost. And often I click on old threads to find that advice. Maybe that is what all the guests are doing. Reading posts from 2007.

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                      • #26
                        I was lurking on here months before I ever started posting. And yeah, I was just pretty much searching old threads for targeted info. It wasn't until I was having logline trouble for a script I thought was good enough to go out with that I decided to create a profile.

                        That thread was kind of a disaster, but it did help me become a better logline writer, and I've been able to get help with some other issues since. It's also nice to just talk to other writers as well instead of people that just nod their heads and go "uh huh" when I talk about writerly things.

                        If there are any lurkers reading this post, it really is worth creating a profile and posting from time to time.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Bono View Post
                          https://twitter.com/bryanedwardhill/...980214787?s=20 about writing genre movies -- never thought about it like this before. basically he's saying the movie starts like a drama about this or that and then the genre interrupts what would be a normal drama movie.

                          Drama about marriage -- terrorists show up -- now it's an action movie. (die hard)
                          I think this is true. I got started and got some attention writing true story dramas. Then I wrote a woodsy thriller. Then grounded horror. Then SciFi. I don't really approach it any differently. It's all character and relationships. The only bridge too far for me is comedy. That's a whole different animal.

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                          • #28
                            I never thought about it much before like that (all movies are dramas and then the genre happens).

                            However, on the same lines -- I think John August said this -- not sure if he was quoting someone else -- but why Alien works is that the characters think they are in a movie called Truckers and it's just about this crew doing their job in space. They don't realize they are in a horror movie.

                            And that's true for comedy and horror my two favorite genres. If you notice a lot of the time -- why most of them aren't very good -- is that reason. The characters are way too aware they are in a movie. Crazy things can happen and still feel real -- it all depends. But in a horror movie for instance -- the worse thing to me is when characters don't even have a second to react to what is happening and just accept it. Like of course there is an evil monster chasing me -- it's Wednesday afterall.

                            My favorite horror movie is Halloween 1978 and what makes him scary is Dr. Loomis, the music of course and how scared Laurie is of him. Cut to Freddy vs Jason and characters are throwing insults at Freddy like they are just friends. It's weird.

                            Just watched a comedy trailer and it's not funny because it's one of those comedies where the people making it are 100% that we are making a funny movie and forgot to add the human aspect, real characters for us to have something to hang our head on. They keep getting to make comedies too -- they are just not for me. I mean the ideas are fine, but the movies just don't make me laugh at all. And they have huge talent. It's weird.

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                            • #29
                              Bono, I think you're hitting on another key piece of genre writing, and that's authenticity of character. Whatever the characters do, you have to believe them as people.

                              However, that doesn't mean they have to be like real people in any way. They just have to have a personality that fits the story and tone in a way that you can accept this person occupies the story world.

                              Since I'm a comedy guy, I'll use some comedy examples.

                              I hate "The Big Bang Theory". The reason I hate it is the characters. They don't feel like real people at all even though their lives are pretty mundane. They all feel like actors thinking, "It's my turn to be the funny one". And since the characters seem like they're trying to be funny for an audience that shouldn't exist in their world, it comes off as painfully unfunny.

                              Then you have a show like "Archer". All the characters are insane in ways that most real people would never be, but it also feels like that's just who they are. Thus, when they say and do crazy things no real person would do, it's funny because because it doesn't feel like they're trying to fulfill some role constructed for them by the comedy genre.

                              The point I'm making if I haven't been clear up to this point is that to write in any genre effectively, you need to introduce characters whose actions will naturally fuel the genre as determined by the core of their personalities instead of the genre dictating their actions.

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                              • #30
                                TV comedy is a whole different animal to me. I was talking comedy movies. But I get your point and think it still works in both mediums.

                                However, to me there is more room to in TV to do some of the things that fail in a movie. For instance, many sitcoms are just joke a ramas. Big Bang and other shows by Chuck Lorre are just that. But the first one he worked on Roseanne -- is one of my all time favorites. It was the rare comedy "sitcom" that was funny, but felt like I was watching real people. It wasn't just joke, joke, joke -- but funny real life stuff. It was more All in The Family than anything. And I tend to love those more.

                                But yes it's all about caring about the characters even if they are insane. I love Married with Children. I love 30 Rock. I love Cheers. Most of these are not real people you'll find in real life -- but they feel human in their world and we cheer for them.

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