LB: Some Facebook Writing Finds

Yeah, writing advice and commentary are everywhere. Sometimes it’s valid. Sometimes it’s entertaining. And sometimes you get lucky and find both.

There’s this:

Thanks to Leesa Dean!

Thanks to Leesa Dean!

And this:

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And this:

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Thanks to Elizabeth Cosin!

And this for those of us who also happen to be drummers:

Zitscontent

Oedipal themes in ANGEL

Regular visitors to TVWriter™ know how much we love when people overthink about their favorite TV shows. We’ve even been known to do it now and then ourselves. (The horror!) The other day we found this particular example of overthink on the web, and we love it even more than usual. Cuz we love ANGEL even more than we love so many other shows:

angel and friendsby Juliette

There’s something inherently Oedipal about modern romantic vampire mythology. When Byron’s friend Polidori wrote about a sexy, beautiful ‘vampyre’ who preys on the protagonist’s sister, he paved the way for later stories to depict vampirism as a metaphor for lust and the act of a vampire biting a victim as a metaphor for sex. Once the concept of the vampire sire had been developed, what you end up with in several modern vampire mythologies is a depiction of vampire ‘families’ consisting of ‘parents’ (the sire or sires) and ‘children’ (the vampires they’ve sired) in which the ‘family’ has been created by a process of the ‘parent’ having metaphorical sex with the ‘child’ (often accompanied by literal sex). The entire set-up revolves around the idea that the ‘child’ and ‘parent’ are sexually attracted to each other.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel play up this theme even more than many modern romantic vampire series, partly thanks to the presence of Drusilla in Angel’s vampire ‘family’. Drusilla’s madness is depicted largely as making her child-like, fond of dolls and parties (and, er, children), so while Spike refers to the sire/offspring relationship as ‘you were my Yoda’ early on, implying more of a teacher/protegee relationship, Drusilla always comes across as the child in a twisted ‘family’. She also refers to herself and the others that way more than most, explicitly calling Angelus ‘Daddy’ while cheating on Spike (later revealed to be her ‘son’ rather than, as initially implied, her ‘brother’) with him.

Later, when Drusilla appears on Angel to re-sire Angel’s now human ‘mother’ Darla, Gunn again makes the relationship explicit by commenting on how weird it is that Darla’s ‘grand-daughter’ is becoming her ‘mother’. Meanwhile Drusilla buries Darla in a flower nursery, just to really drive home the mother/daughter point, before they embark on a killing spree so full of sexual tension between the two of them it’s hardly surprising when a later flashback in season five reveals they have had a sexual relationship at least once, when they had a threesome with the Immortal. With season five also implying pretty strongly that Angel and Spike have got it together at least once, the whole ‘family’ is more twisted and incestuous than anything seen on HBO.

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Nathan Bransford Wants to Answer All Your Writing Questions

…And you don’t even have to email and ask them. Mr. Bransford has done what all of us with writerly websites should be doing: He’s made a complete index of the info you can get from his terrific site, blog.nathanbransford.com.Here’s a sample of the index of goodies:

howtowriteanovel (1)

Before You Start

The Writing Process

Revising


Genres and Classification


Staying sane during the writing/publishing process

The complete index with much, much more is HERE.

Go forth and enjoy!

P.S. Yeah, we know that Nathan’s book is about writing a novel – but between us, the problems inherent in writing, and being a writer, are the same no matter what kind of fiction you write.

 

Love & Money Dept – TV Writing Deals for 4/24/14

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

  • Angela Robinson & Alex Kondracke (THE L WORD) are developing a too-be-named drama about “the Golden Age of Hollywood and the intersecting lives of Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich. (Which is sure to be a hit cuz let’s face it, it’s gonna emerge as lesbian porn, am I right?)
  • David M. Stern (THE SIMPSONS) is developing WORMWOOD, an animated comic book adaptation, for IDW Entertainment. (After which it’ll promptly die cuz series that are developed independently of networks almost always do. Tough break for Ben Templesmith, the comic’s creator. Take it from the muncher, Ben: Not even partnering with George Lopez will help unless you’ve got a network on the hook first. Hmm, make that “especially when partnering with George Lopez. And I thought you comic book guyz were smarter than this.)
  • Matt Lopez (RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN) has a new overall deal with Universal TV. (Cuz he’s the “go-to screenwriter for family fare,” and farmily fare is the new buzz genre de jour in the wonderful world of creatively bankrupt TV.)

Syndi Shumer: New Approaches in, um, PARENTHOOD

haddieby Syndi Shumer

I’ve always been a sucker for a music montage, particularly when it settles in at the end of an episode, wrapping up the events of the hour like a sort of warm, cathartic blanket.

In the PARENTHOOD season finale, a cover of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin” provided the soundtrack that took us to the end of season five, a season that has left many of the Braverman clan hanging on the precipice of change, and we, the viewers, cliff-hanging right alongside them.

Will there be a season six? The jury is still out, but I, for one, will be very disappointed if we don’t get a solid resolution to the limbo that we’ve been left in concerning the relationship between Joel and Julia…my favorite couple… the series’ former “rock” of a pair…

Ok, ok, I digress. While I clearly didn’t love the often seemingly out-of-character roller coaster ride of this season’s “Joelia” storyline, there is one thing that I do love about this series overall, and that is its willingness to approach situations from new angles. So that’s what I’ll focus on here. (Joel and Julia, you’ll just have to wait for another post all of your own.)

Autism, for instance, is a condition that viewers have grown used to seeing, as the show has been effectively exploring this subject over the past five seasons through the character of school-aged Max Braverman (Max Burkholder), diagnosed early on with Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of high-functioning autism.

However, this season the writers put a fresh spin on the subject through the role of “Hank” (recurring guest star Ray Romano), a man in his forties who is just now for the first time coming to terms with the fact that he, too, may have Asperger’s. Watching late-bloomer Hank grapple with self-realizations about his own long-standing behaviors and personal challenges, has added new dimension to his character while lending a whole new outlook on the condition itself.

I can’t help but root for him. While it’s too early to know whether or not his challenges will hinder his ability to make a relationship work with Sarah (Lauren Graham), this fresh approach by the writers certainly keeps me wanting to find out what’s going to happen next.

Another issue being explored from an angle that’s different than the “norm” is the definition of what it means to grow older. Traditionally on family-centered shows, too often the patriarch and/or matriarch characters seem to be relegated to minimal roles, portrayed as being more a means of support for their adult offspring and grandkids rather than as exciting individuals in their own right.

But in this series, both parenthood and personhood are valued and celebrated, regardless of whether or not such characters are the parents of infants or of thirty-somethings. From the beginning of the series, Camille (Bonnie Bedelia) and Zeek (Craig T. Nelson), the matriarch and patriarch of the Braverman clan (characters who, I’m guessing, are both in their sixties), have dealt with their own challenging circumstances: spousal infidelity, the need for independence, and the weighty consequences of clinging to tradition vs. breaking free from it.

Prompted by free-spirited Camille’s desire to live out their golden years in a manner which would afford them the ability to travel and explore their personal interests, she and Zeek make the tough decision to sell the house they had called home for over thirty years and raised their four children in.

I love that Camille isn’t comfortable with the idea of becoming a complacent housewife as she ages — she wants to thrive! And I love that Zeek, a character very rooted in tradition, took it upon himself to dig down deep and find the means within to meet her on this. I look forward to discovering how the brand new life of this gently time-worn couple will unfold and take shape.

Finally, the show has just embarked on a storyline involving homosexuality; not a new subject for a television series to tackle by any means, but the lens through which it’s being approached here is refreshing. When Haddie Braverman (Sarah Ramos) returns home from college for the summer with her new “best friend” Lauren in tow, she briefly wrestles with how to tell her parents that Lauren is more than just her friend, even though she does trust that they will be supportive.

I’ve personally never seen the subject of homosexuality introduced in a family series while being presented as acceptable from the get-go. There are no worries about disappointed parents, no dark internal struggles, no hard-won battles. It’s just simply a matter of how to say it for the first time; other than that, it’s a non-issue. And it’s a wonderful thing to witness.

In fact, all of these fresh approaches are wonderful to see. Why? It’s not simply because the show’s writers are coming up with newly interesting ways of exploring topics and characters, but because, with these examples, those who have been traditionally positioned in society as outcasts for being “different” (the mentally ill, the aging, the gay/lesbian) are here, at last, being presented in ways which show off their sameness.

These characters and their situations are not shunned, they’re celebrated with normalcy. Hank gets the girl. Camille and Zeek embark on a new, exciting life. Haddie is accepted without question. In many ways, these thoughtful new approaches are a reflection of the times. And thankfully, indeed they are a-changin’.

Yo, Canucks! There’s now room for you at the top of the U.S. TV writing tree!

Yeah, that’s a bullshit, condescending headline. We apologize for the ‘tude, but our parent company is heavily into that sort of thing and made us do it.

Oh, wait, we don’t have a parent company. How about this: The headline’s a placeholder. We’re coming back to change it before this article is published. Absolutely. We swear–

BITTEN

BITTEN is an interesting series idea, no?

TV shows like Orphan Black signal rise of the Canadian showrunner
by Tony Wong

One summer morning, Mark Ellis and Stephanie Morgenstern woke up abruptly to their clock radio blaring news about a hostage taking at Toronto’s Union Station.

They went downstairs to watch the drama unfold on television. After a tense standoff, and much to the horror of bystanders, the assailant was shot by an emergency task force officer.

“It was really a shock seeing this in real time. And one question that went through our minds was, what was it like for the police officer who took that shot? What’s the rest of his day going to be like?” Ellis says in an interview.

That moment translated into one of Canada’s most successful TV exports, Flashpoint. The show ran for five seasons on CTV and was licensed in more than 100 territories globally.

It also kick-started a new-found confidence from Canadian TV producers that their stories could not only have broad appeal but also make a pile of money. Finally, Canada could offer the kind of slick, pyrotechnic police procedural that was on par or better than its Hollywood counterparts. Perhaps more importantly, Ellis and Morgenstern helped to birth a new generation of screenwriters who wanted to produce their own stories, also known as “showrunners.”

The new “golden age” of television is due in large part to the increasing prominence of the writer as the creative executive on television shows; the person ultimately responsible for that singular, passionate vision.

Already 2014 has been shaping up to be something of a breakout year for Canadian TV.

The lineup includes Vancouverite Daegan Fryklind’s Bitten, the Toronto-shot werewolf thriller starring Laura Vandervoort (Smallville’s Supergirl) on Space channel. It is joined by Greg Spottiswood’s well-received hospital drama Remedy on Global. And Season 2 of Graeme Manson’s Toronto-produced science fiction thriller Orphan Blackpremiered Saturday after winning 10 Canadian Screen Awards for the first season.

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