Category: Video

An Exercise Inspired by Eric Gamalinda, author of The Descartes Highlands

Friends, I had the honor of doing this interview with Eric Gamalinda, whose novel The Descartes Highlands is available from Akashic Books.

Mr. Gamalinda is a fantastic writer of prose, but he is also a film scholar who enjoys working cinematic images into his work.  Film and prose are, of course, wildly different media.  They are, however, quite similar in that they both allow you to tell a story and to describe characters and their surroundings.

Approximately halfway through The Descartes Highlands, Mr. Gamalinda made use of an image from Andrei Tarkovsky’s Nostalghia.  The following passage of the book reminded me of a still from another important film:

descartes excerptDoesn’t the description of the mother’s eyes remind you of Janet Leigh’s last scene in Psycho?

psycho

Filmmakers borrow from writers and vice versa all the time.  Why not grab a pen and notebook?

1) What imagery might you steal from one of these scenes?  How can you use language to match the power of the audio/visual representation of the same moment in time?

2) What would it look like if you adapted one of these scenes?  How can letters, words, punctuation and white space be arranged in such a way that your paragraphs communicate the same emotions and plot as the film does?

The Omaha Beach invasion scene from Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan:

The cringeworthy, needleriffic scene from Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction:

The mind-blowing one-take Steadicam scene from Scorsese’s Goodfellas:

Oh my, I loved this movie.  The fight scene from Blue is the Warmest Color/La Vie d’Adele:

The touching scene between two powerful women from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon:

The heartbreaking final scene of Lean’s Brief Encounter:

 

Which powerful scenes have I failed to include?  Want to share the poetry and/or prose that results from this exercise?  The comments are right there waiting for you.

 

The Great Writers Steal Podcast: Eric Gamalinda, author of The Descartes Highlands

Show Notes:

Enjoy this interview with Eric Gamalinda, author of The Descartes Highlands, a novel published by Akashic Books.

Find out more about Eric Gamalinda at his web site.
http://www.ericgamalinda.com/

Order your copy of his book from the publisher:
http://www.akashicbooks.com/catalog/the-descartes-highlands/

Mr. Gamalinda mentioned that he borrowed an image from Andrei Tarkovsky’s Nostalghia.  Here is the trailer for the film; why not check it out?

Here is the passage from page 79 that I mentioned:

descartes excerpt

Here is the image from Psycho that the passage brought to my mind:

psycho

Visit my website: http://www.greatwriterssteal.com
Like me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GreatWritersSteal
Follow me on Twitter: @GreatWritersSte

Music: “BugaBlue,” Live At Blues Alley by U.S. Army Blues is licensed under a Public Domain Mark 1.0 License.

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/US_Army_Blues/Live_At_Blues_Alley/

Many thanks to the Library of Congress for their beautiful public domain image:

http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/fsa2000055832/PP/

The Great Writers Steal Podcast: Sarah Tregay, author of Fan Art

Show Notes:

Enjoy this interview with Sarah Tregay, author of Fan Art, a young adult novel published by Katherine Teger Books.

Find out more about Sarah Tregay at her web site.  You will also find links to retailers that will be happy to sell you her book:
http://www.sarahtregay.com/

You may also follow my example and purchase Fan Art from an independent bookseller.  I got my copy from the river’s end bookstore in Oswego, NY.

http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780062243157

Keep up with Sarah Tregay on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/sarahtregaybooks

Young Adult Books Central is a great resource if you want to learn more about YA books:
https://www.facebook.com/YABooksCentral

If you are a YA yourself and you want to learn more about writing, check out Go Teen Writers:
http://goteenwriters.blogspot.com/

I have also written several essays that will help YA writers hone their craft:
http://www.greatwriterssteal.com/tag/young-adult/

Visit my website: http://www.greatwriterssteal.com
Like me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GreatWritersSteal
Follow me on Twitter: @GreatWritersSte

Music: “BugaBlue,” Live At Blues Alley by U.S. Army Blues is licensed under a Public Domain Mark 1.0 License.

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/US_Army_Blues/Live_At_Blues_Alley/

The Great Writers Steal Experience: Wendy J. Fox, author of The Seven Stages of Anger

 

Show Notes:

Enjoy this interview with Wendy J. Fox, author of The Seven Stages of Anger, a short story collection published by Press 53.

Purchase The Seven Stages of Anger:
http://www.press53.com/bioWendyJFox.html

Find out more about Wendy J. Fox:
http://www.wendyjfox.com/

Visit the web site of BookBar:
http://www.bookbardenver.com/

Like the bookstore on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/BookBarDenver

Book You Should Buy: Backswing by Aaron Burch
http://www.queensferrypress.com/books/backswing.html

Find out more about Aaron Burch:
http://aaronburch.tumblr.com/

Better Know a Buckeye: Allison Davis
http://www.allisondavispoetry.com/

http://www.greatwriterssteal.com/2013/09/04/gws-essay-how-to-and-how-not-to-steal-writing-about-animals-by-allison-davis/

Purchase Ms. Davis’s book:
http://www.kentstateuniversitypress.com/2012/poppy-seeds/

Website: http://www.greatwriterssteal.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GreatWritersSteal
Twitter: @GreatWritersSte

Music: “BugaBlue,” Live At Blues Alley by U.S. Army Blues is licensed under a Public Domain Mark 1.0 License.

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/US_Army_Blues/Live_At_Blues_Alley/

The Great Writers Steal Experience: An Interview with Jac Jemc, author of A Different Bed Every Time

Enjoy this interview with Jac Jemc, author of A Different Bed Every Time, a short story collection published by Dzanc Books.

Purchase A Different Bed Every Time:
http://www.dzancbooks.org/our-books/a-different-bad-everytime-by-jac-jemc

Find out more about Jac Jemc:
http://jacjemc.com/

 

Show Notes:
Visit the web site of Women & Children First:
http://www.womenandchildrenfirst.com

Like the bookstore on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Women-Children-First-Bookstore/8326741337

Book You Should Buy: Fobbit by David Abrams
http://www.davidabramsbooks.com/

Buy the book here:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fobbit-david-abrams/1109170055?ean=9780802120328&itm=1&usri=fobbit

http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780802120328/david-abrams/fobbit

Better Know a Buckeye: Erin McGraw
http://www.erinmcgraw.com/

http://www.greatwriterssteal.com/2013/01/26/what-can-we-steal-from-erin-mcgraws-punchline/

Purchase Erin’s books:
http://www.amazon.com/Erin-McGraw/e/B001ITRD0W/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Website: http://www.greatwriterssteal.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GreatWritersSteal
Twitter: @GreatWritersSte

Music: “BugaBlue,” Live At Blues Alley by U.S. Army Blues is licensed under a Public Domain Mark 1.0 License.

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/US_Army_Blues/Live_At_Blues_Alley/

GWS Video: Laurel Gilbert’s “Cave-In” On the Couch

GWS Video: So You’re Taking a Creative Writing Class

GWS Video: What We Can Steal From Great Opening Passages? (Best American Short Stories 2012 Edition)

Starting a story can be very difficult, but it’s equally important to craft an opening passage that captures your reader’s attention and gets the narrative humming along.  In this video, I examine how some of the authors whose stories are immortalized in The Best American Short Stories 2012 fulfilled their responsibilities in their opening sentences.

GWS Video: Shifting the MFA Debate with Okla Elliott’s Ideas

My plan for total domination of all media is taking FOREVER.  I am making strides, however, by making more videos.

The MFA debate has been raging for a very long time.  Should you get one?  Should you not?  Well, those Okla Elliott offered an interesting new take on the discussion that I thought merited an audio/video discussion: