To cold open or to jump in? That’s the question!

Welcome to this rainy Tuesday in the Hinterlands!

I cannot tell you how much time I have spent on the new opening of the Untitled Cleveland Drama, once known as Cleveland’s Burning.  As is customary for me, I seriously  belabor the first few images of everything I write, whether it’s fiction or a screenplay. As I have pounded into the heads of my writing students over the years: DON’T give your reader a chance to put it down!!

By this I mean, keep your opening seamless, keep it flowing, don’t allow for a single question in your reader’s mind about what is visually happening. Be exceedingly crafty about your punctuation, as well. Anything that could cause a  reader to pause, or to question, or to consider his or her own mind, thus causing a break in the flow, is that dreaded gap wherein the book or script can be set aside for something else, indefinitely.

Because of that, I can’t tell you how much time I’ve spent on the first 60 seconds of my script (also known as page 1).  Then, when I felt I finally could sign off on those first 60 seconds, I labored over the next 20 seconds, because now I can’t decide between: the cold open, or jumping into Act One? And since I cannot make up my mind about this, I go back and forth between how I want to craft those next 20 seconds…

In order to still utilize my time efficiently, I set aside my quandary and did some more background research for my character, Caleb Robinson: I watched  Stanley Nelson Jr’s documentary,  The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution.  I really liked the film and it gave me some critical dates to work with, historically. [However, it does seem that some ex-Black Panthers weren’t happy with the tone of the film, in particular, how it portrayed the dismantling of the Panthers and  Huey Newton’s demise. But there was still a lot of amazing stuff in the film for me to draw on.]

Today, I need to process that from my brain into the script, even though Caleb Robinson won’t become a Black Panther until 1967, and that’s 4 seasons away from the pilot episode. Still, you gotta craft a character from his first scene in order to keep it believable, right?

Well, on that lofty note, I have got to decide, once and for all, if I have a cold open here or am I already into Act One??? I think I will go watch a re-run of Perry Mason and see what hits the page when I’m done doing that!

Thanks for visiting, gang. Have a terrific Tuesday, wherever you are! See ya!

Best TV theme song, EVER!!

 

 

 

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Dare to compare!!

Loyal readers of this lofty blog will no doubt be at least a little familiar with my good friend Val from Brooklyn, who pens the Paws for Thought Comics.

The other day, she did a great tribute to the late Mary Tyler Moore. I love the details of this!

First, the actual shot from the opening credits of the Mary Tyler Moore Show:

Famous hat in the air!
Famous hat in the air!

Next, Val’s Paws for Thought tribute:

Don't you just love the cat's eyes glasses on the cat in the background??
Don’t you just love the cat’s eyes glasses on the cat in the background??

Okay! As always, life goes on around here.  Hard at work on the re-writes for the TV Pilot, once called Cleveland’s Burning, but now called “Untitled Cleveland Drama”. That’s my first attempt at “please give it a new title.” Ha ha.

Do you know how it is when you finally tap into your groove? Kerouac called it “finding your way in” to the piece. Once you find that way in, it’s like it takes on a flow and energy of its own. Hours go by and it simply doesn’t feel like any time has passed because you are so into what you are writing.

That is the longed-for-hoped-for head space of the writer. That’s where I’m at right now. Hopefully that flow will just keep flowing. It’s only 64 pages, after all! Right? So how hard can it be to keep flowing???

[Correct Answer: Don’t ask!! You’ll jinx it!]

All righty, gang. Thanks for visiting me on this snowy Friday in the hinterlands! I hope you have a terrific day, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing out there! See ya!

writersnow

 

 

just saying, “hey!”

I don’t have much time these days to hang out online because I’m ankle-deep in re-writes over here –on several projects at once (!!).

Still, I wanted to swing by with a couple cute photos of my sweeties — because I always have time to take their picture!

Can you tell these guys (& gals) are related???!!!

Tommy, Weenie, & Huckleberry
Tommy, Weenie, & Huckleberry (& Joel Osteen!)

Life is rough for a cat, here in the hinterlands!

Weenie & Huckleberry
Weenie & Huckleberry

As always, if you click on the photos, they enlarge! And, yes, the cats do indeed get off the bed once in awhile, although you’d never know it from all the photos I take of them sleeping on my bed (which is right next to my desk, so I’m always looking at how cute they are!).

Life is good here. The re-writes on the TV Pilot are going well, but I am still aiming for 110% better… Also, final, final, FINAL re-writes for the one-woman musical I’m working on with the actress in NYC are nearly complete.

I still try to take one day at a time around here, but I also still keep thinking that a year from now, life is going to  be really, really different. Not sure, though, in what way.

Hope all is well where all of you are at! Thanks for visiting, gang! See ya’ real soon!

Life in the hinterlands continues

One thing I can say about life in the hinterlands of Ohio, is that the weather never stops!

Good lord.

Tonight, we’re expecting yet another ice storm.  A few nights ago, we had no ice or snow but winds of over 45 mph and it took off a piece of my car! I have no idea where the piece sailed off to. The same wind, with a little whipped-up rain, caused the power to go out for 5 hours… You can always tell which neighbor is smart enough to buy a generator because their well-lit house is the only light you can see for miles… When the power goes out late at night in the hinterlands, it is really, really dark outside.

I don’t plan on buying an expensive generator, for gosh sakes, because I’m not planning on living here that long. However, I don’t have any clue anymore what “for that long” means. All I know is that I wake up every morning and I’m still here and I don’t know for how long I’m staying and time goes rushing away from me.

But back to the topic of weather….

Late one night, a few weeks back, I was out on Highway 16, only 10 minutes from my house, when dense fog suddenly fell all around the highway. Really and truly, seriously dense fog. All you could see were headlights coming right at you. Then, within the fog, torrential rain started. I didn’t think it could rain when you were inside of a dense fog, but apparently weather is not my strong suit. Then the torrential rain turned to sleet, then hail (!!), then back to sleet, back to rain, then just dense fog again… and by the time I reached my street, everything — fog, rain, sleet, and hail — had cleared.

Perhaps the most uproariest ten minutes of my life.

I am really, really, really getting tired of driving in so much weather!

That said, some of my roommates seem particularly unfazed by the weather here in the hinterlands:

Huckleberry sleeping with Weenie's paw on her head.
Huckleberry sleeping with Weenie’s paw on her head.

If you click the photo it will enlarge and you will no doubt see that Huckleberry has a really rough life… hahaha

All right! On that happy note, I’m going to study some Biblical Hebrew around here and then maybe contemplate life before the ice storm arrives. Have a great Friday, wherever you are and whatever the weather brings your way. Thanks for visiting, gang! See ya.

A most perfect day!

Yes, not only is it snowing here today (yay!), but all I have to do today is sit at my desk and write!!

I also have a wonderful photo of Tommy to share! It is extremely difficult to get good photos of Tommy, because she is incredibly timid and the trauma of the recent move lasted longer for her than it did with the other cats in her colony.

Tommy on the bed yesterday
Tommy on the bed yesterday

If you click on the picture, it will enlarge. And then you will see that the table lamp next to my bed is, indeed, nearly 60 years old!!

Like all the other cats in Tommy’s colony (as well as my two tame cats who recently died), Tommy is a character in my upcoming book, The Miracle Cats and the Case of the Purloined Passport, illustrated by Valerie Wares.

In the book, Tommy is “Sister Thomasina” and she worries a lot.  She often says things like, “oh dear,” and “dear me.” And, of course, she wears a nun’s habit because, in the book, she’s a church cat….

"Sister Thomasina" by Val -- but without the habit
“Sister Thomasina” by Val — but without the habit

On the “very fun” front — I needed to come up with a pen name for another book I’m writing and decided to use the Wu Tang Clan nickname generator this morning and it gave me the most AWESOME nickname EVER!! The irony screams out on several levels. It is too good to be believed. Honestly, it could not be more perfect for me, it felt like it came straight from God, and it set the tone for my whole morning. Sadly, I cannot share the name with you here because then it would no longer be a “pseudonym” in the strictest sense of the word… (If you have never used the Wu Tang Clan nickname generator, do it today!)

All right, on that note, I’ve got to go to the kitchen and grab another cup of coffee and then get some more writing done here! As we enjoy our snowy day, I leave you with the song that’s been in my head for several days running (it’s even been in my dreams! What’s that about??). Enjoy, gang!

Okay. See ya! Thanks for visiting.