Peggy Bechko: Writers Revealing What Characters Don’t Want To Show

secrets

by Peggy Bechko

Oh, come on, you know your characters are just like you. They say one thing and think something else entirely, try to conceal you’re really doing that – and then give it all away with a flick of an eye, a gesture or some muted (or otherwise) sound you make. Yep, that’s reality. Us humans evade, lie and maneuver (just for starters). We do it to protect ourselves, to protect others, out of embarrassment or an assortment of other reasons.

Now, knowing this it becomes a challenge for the writer. In a script for a movie the writer sets the scene, the mood, tweaks details to make things clear and then actors take over to do the subtle little things that portray what’s in the script, the character’s inner monolog.

For novel writers it’s a different kind of challenge.

The writer is dealing with characters who might be suppressing emotion, hiding them from outsiders as well as themselves. And the writer has to telegraph to the reader this is going on. So, just as we telegraph in real life, whether we intend to or not, the character can do the same in the novel. He or she can have something as obvious as a ‘tick’ of the eye when lying, or something as subtle as a lift of the chin. There can be a high-pitched laugh, the recognizable smell of sweat on the air or maybe hands that fiddle with a pencil or each other, or words that come out in a flood when the character normally speaks in a more reserved fashion.

All of these little signals (and oh so many more) telegraph through tension the movement of the story forward; they build up expectation for the reader and empathy from the reader for the struggling characters.

There are so many things that give us and the characters in a novel or movie away, things that let the watcher (or reader) know all is not as it should be.

As writers we need to remember how us human beings work, tap into our own experience. Remember smiling when you didn’t mean it, that stillness that settled over you when you were embarrassed or cornered, making excuses to leave a situation, using gestures that cancel each other out like telling someone no, but then stepping forward and reaching toward them, or the opposite, yes, then stepping away.  Can you recall avoiding eye contact or just flat out ignoring someone? Have you felt your chest tighten as you withdrew from a conversation or literally left a group of people.

All that and more you can attribute to your characters when writing. They are human. You created them. Fortunately for you, as the writer of a novel, if you’re writing the Point Of View character you can let the reader know something of the thoughts going through his or her head. The character can ‘act normal’ while all sorts of thoughts and intentions race through the character’s mind. And it’s a good idea to spice the novel with just such information.

However, to breathe intense life into the writing, you, as the writer, don’t want to depend on that little cheat exclusively. Seeing what’s going on and reaction to it is much more fulfilling and draws the reader or viewer much more deeply into the story.

So do a little people watching. Add to your repertoire, hone your writing skills and let the readers see just how writingly human you make your characters.

Say hi to your favorite WGAW Peeps at Comic-Con

Well, some of ‘em anyway, cuz they/we/they/we et al will be there!

writersguildatcomiccon.tvwriter.net

The Writers Guild of America, West wants to remind you that you’ll need, you know, to actually pay to get into the con on your own.

Damn!

Here are the Fall 2014 Premiere Dates for ABC

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by Team TVWriter™ Press Service

…Cuz we’re sucking up to the Disney Factory:

ABC announced its fall premiere dates for new and returning shows, including “Dancing with the Stars,” “Modern Family,” “Scandal” and Shonda Rhimes’ upcoming series “How to Get Away With Murder.”

The 19th season of “Dancing with the Stars” will debut with a two-hour performance show on September 15 at 8 p.m. ET. “DWTS” will have two special results shows on September 16 and September 23.

Marvel’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” premieres September 23 at 9 p.m. ET, and “Modern Family” returns on September 24 at 9 p.m. ET.

“Scandal” will kick off its fourth season on September 25, the same night “How to Get Away With Murder” will bow. The latter stars Viola Davis, who will play a law professor with a questionable moral compass. While promoting the show at the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills on Tuesday, she compared her new gig to being invited to a “really fabulous party.”

Here’s the complete rundown of ABC’s fall premiere schedule (so far):

Monday, September 15

“Dancing With the Stars”

Monday, September, 22

“Forever” (Special Sneak Preview)

Tuesday, September 23

“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”

Wednesday, September 24

“The Middle”

“The Goldbergs”

“Modern Family”

“Black-ish”

“Nashville”

Thursday, September 25

“Grey’s Anatomy”

“Scandal”

“How to Get Away With Murder”

Friday, September 26

“Shark Tank”

Sunday, September 28

“Once Upon a Time”

“Resurrection”

“Revenge”

Monday, September 29

“Castle”

Tuesday, September 30

“Selfie”

“Manhattan Love Story”

Friday, October 3

“Last Man Standing”

Sunday, October 5

“America’s Funniest Home Videos”

Friday, October 10

“Cristela”

20 Successful Habits I Learned Working For Two Billionaires

A little real-life experience does wonders to further a person’s education. Especially when it’s obtained from two of the planet’s richest people. Universal lessons! Secret keys to success! TVWriter™ lurves ‘em!

Oprah-Enver-1024x512by Paul C. Brunson

I have spent decades “being educated” –  in college, graduate school, numerous professional certifications, and now a PhD program. All of that schooling and training helped shape the person I am today, but at no point in my life  has there been a more profound education than my time working for Enver Yucel and Oprah Winfrey.

Enver and Oprah are two extraordinary people. And on top of that, they’re both billionaires. On the surface, they appear to be totally different people. They are in different industries, have different family structures, practice different religions, and speak different languages. However, once you get past their written biographies and dig deeper, you will notice they possess many of the same successful habits.

I had the opportunity to work with both Oprah and Enver for 6 years collectively and those were, hands down, the best professional experiences of my life. I worked my ass off for them and in doing so absorbed everything I could.

It’s my honor to share with you what I learned from them. Here is Part 1 of the 20 successful habits I learned working for two billionaires:

1) Invest in Yourself

This is a very simple concept, but something you would think someone who has “made it” would stop doing. Not at all for these two. I saw them both spend a significant amount of time dedicating their resources to self-development  (whether it be a new language, exercise, social media classes, etc). The moment you stop investing in yourself is the moment you have written off future dividends in life. 

2) Be Curious…About Everything

What the average person sees as mundane or overly complicated is not viewed the same way with a billionaire mindset. I once had a 30 minute conversation with Enver about the height of the curbs in Washington DC versus Istanbul, Turkey.  Billionaires are incredibly curious; what the rest of the world thinks is a problem and complains about — that’s what these people go and work on.

3) Surround Yourself With “Better” People

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BALANCING WRITING AND LIFE

Good advice for writers and creatives of all kinds, courtesy of Rita Karnopp’s and Ginger Simpson’s fine blog:

by Rita Karnopp

When we hear the word ‘balance’ then add writing and life, an author could almost laugh.  It’s a bit of a facetious statement.now later

When I started writing my children were very young, five and three.  So I scheduled my writing time after they went to bed around nine and wrote until two or three in the morning.  But, that’s not to say I never wrote during the day – because I did.  My office space was in our front living room (because we never used it, we always used the huge family room to the back of the house facing the mountains) and my desk faced the hallway toward the bedrooms.  The kids, and their friends, came in and out of that front door – past me –  how many times a day?

I set rules and explained they could wave at me, but if they didn’t have anything really important to ask or say, they could just walk on by and not interrupt.  It’s called respect when someone is busy working on something that is important to them.  It took some time, but they actually got it.  I think my husband became the biggest offender of interrupting for ‘non-important’ things.

I’ve said in other articles, my kids now laugh about falling asleep to the clicking of my keyboard . . . and of course there are the hilarious stories of them listening to my printer’s endless buzzing and snapping back and forth . . . and how they waited for it to stop so they could go back to sleep.

Writing time should be designated, planned, and a habit.  When we steal more time to write we have to fit it into the whirlwind around us.  I find I can now write just about anywhere, with just about anything happening around me.  I’ve come a long way from the days when I used to say, “Unless it’s completely quiet – I can’t concentrate to write.”

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Love & Money Dept – TV Writing Deals for 7/20/14

Latest News About Writers Who Are Doing Better Than We Are
by munchman

  • Ed Bernero (CRIMINAL MINDS) is the showrunner for NBC’s upcoming spy drama STATE OF AFFAIRS. (Which means that if you’re looking for a gig, time to call your ole buddy and let me know how available you are. Unless he isn’t your ole buddy, in which case, have your agent peeps call him instead.)
  • Mike Sikowitz (THE McCarthys) & Mike O’Malley (SHAMELESS) are writing the pilot for Bill Cosby’s new NBC series called HOW BILL COSBY SINGLE-HANDEDLY SAVED NETWORK TV…or not, who the hell knows?(One thing we do know: Cosby has the reputation for being the worst boss in TV, a tyrant who makes Roseanne look like a sweetheart, so lotsa like and long life from the munchman to Mike and Mike!)
  • Maya Ilsoe (no credits in the press release cuz the jerks were too busy talking up the producer) has sold THE LEGACY, a Danish series about – well, it doesn’t really matter what this is about cuz it’s a soap opera) to Universal Cable which hopes to make it an “event series” as though changing the name will change the animal itself. ‘Scuse me while I yawn, my friends.)
  • Steve Esmail (COMET) has sold the drama MR.ROBOT, about a computer hacker who protects people without ever having to deal with them personally, to USA Network. (Yeppers, that’s gonna be a good one: An anti-social hipster sitting at a PC all day. going from house to coffee shop to parking lot…whoa, Yer Friendly Neighborhood Munchman simply cannot wait for this baby!)