Wednesday, November 29, 2023

yes, Jeff Somers IS brilliant (don't tell him I said so)

Jeff Somers has a terrific substack going that uses movies to illustrate points about writing. It's true-to-form Jeff: hilarious, and helpful.

Here's one of his recent points that really hit home for me:

Restraint can be challenging when writing a story, because it sometimes feels like it’s not writing. Depicting something in a realistic fashion sometimes feels like you’re simply describing an experience and not value-adding as a creator, or something¹³. The urge to dress everything up, to make every character “quirky,” every scene emotionally loud, every speech a brilliant soliloquy often has the opposite effect: The scene in question feels over-written, overwrought, and artificial.

13 You know you’ve spent too much time in Corporate America when you casually drop a phrase like “value-add” in everyday footnote conversation.

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  1. I've subscribed to Jeff's newsletter for some time now. I always enjoy them - and often learn something.

  2. I always enjoy Jeff's take on movies and series. It's interesting to examine why something did or didn't work.

  3. Oh wow, I thought I'd already subscribed to Jeff's newsletter YEARS ago. Better late than never I guess...

  4. I must've sent in my subscription with Jennifer, cuz ... what happened?! But I'm in again. Looks like I have a bit of catching up to do. After November and NANO come to a conclusion. (I'm at 48,724 with one day to do and I'm exhuasted but happy.)

  5. I've been following Jeff for ages. I actually put both Jeff and his "Writing Without Rules" in the acknowledgements of my book. Along with Janet and all of you Reiders. I don't think I would have finished without Jeff's book. Or this colorful and talented Reef. I've said as much several times. I definitely would not be publishing without his humor and his wonderful bits on what works and doesn't work in storytelling. He is brilliant at that. At least, his cats are. Maybe it's his cats.

  6. John Davis Frain I'm at 47k myself, and I'm not only bringing a novel to an end, but a trilogy so it's been quite the journey.

  7. I, too, already subscribe. And have his craft book. Both great for any writer. I just wonder how he has the time to watch all that he does and write books?

    And a throwback to the last post (I am just catching up after an unexpected death in the family threw me off kilter for a bit) contribution to the "thwart Forti" list from Australian English (to be used other than meaning):
    - didgeridoo
    - larrikin
    - bikkie
    - ocker
    - bonzer
    - yakker

  8. Cheers to you, Jennifer. I bow in your general direction. Since fiscal November doesn't unofficially end until the sun comes up in December, I crossed the finish line for NANO at 50,470 words.

    If anyone at the Reef wants to do a 500-word-a-day challenge through December, hit me up. We can be accountability cops and shame each other if we don't get our writing in.

    (Apologies, Janet, and remove this if it's inappropriate for the blog. Alternatively, you could ship me off to Carkoon (again), but my computer doesn't run on kale, so I'm not sure I'll have a power source there.)


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