March 31, 2019
Another seven days have come and gone, and I hope yours were filled with hair-raising stunts and death-defying adventures. As for myself, I went to the dentist and had a crown rebuilt. Hardly adventurous or death-defying, but it did give me time to think about this week. Been contemplating the art of putting pen to paper to tell a story and thought, why not devote this week’s conversation on books about writing? As the great philosopher once said, “those who can, write. Those who can’t write, create reality television.” Anyway, here are a few books you may find useful.
(All articles and opinions are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Pulp Authors of America, the Bureau of Land Management or the Sunny Valley Skeet Shooting Association. Please consult your librarian to see if books are right for you.)
“The Elements of Style” by William Strunk & E.B. White. These are the same guys who created the iconic and beloved television character “Columbo,” so you know it’s got to be chock full of useful information. Besides, you can’t break the rules if you don’t know what they are. Kidding. Don’t break the rules.
“If you Want to Write” by Brenda Ueland. A charming little book written by a charming little, old woman with a neatly folded Kleenex in her apron and a glass dish of Werther’s hard candy next to her writing desk.
“Making Comics” by Scott McCloud. Thank you, Tadd Galusha.
“On Writing.”Stephen King. The Master of the Macabre breaks it all down for you, going so far as to reveal his own editing process. Just thinking about how good this book is, makes me want to read it again. Full of personal insights, anecdotes and humor. This little book has it all.
“The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. Go take a walk…and then journal about it. 3 pages, single spaced, every damn day. A twelve-step recovery for your inner artist. Make it through the entire course and get a poker chip. I was ordered into the program by a stern State Appellate judge with a cruel sense of humor.
“The Complete Works of Shakespeare.” I forget the author. Get the heaviest one. The one they made us schlep around in college. Take it to the nearest coffee shop to meet women. Look pretentious and pathetic all at the same time. Tweed helps.
“The Devil’s Guide to Hollywood: The Screenwriter as God!”Joe “Showgirls” Eszterhas. Read it for the references to Robert McKee alone. Written in a style that’s best described as Larry King on blow. Admit it. Now you really want to read it.
“Story”by Robert McKee. Unfortunately, no anecdotes about Joe Eszterhas. True story: I took one of Bob’s seminars a decade back (both informative and tax deductible). He’s Irascible and grumpy, and attending a three-day event is like being a cast member in the movie “The Paper Chase.” One of the all-time favorite moments of my life took place during one of his question and answer sessions. McKee had just delivered a stunning oral treatise regarding character arc and story progression when a particularly studious attendee stood and asked, “Which is better for my screenplay? Two or three-hole punch?” I swear, there was murder in that old man’s eyes.
While you’re at it, I’d throw in a good Thesaurus (glossary, language reference book, lexicon, onomasticon, storehouse of words). Buy one from an actual bookstore and don’t use the one from the internet. No one likes a cheapskate. Besides, Mr. Roget could use the money. His Amazon kindle sales are way down.
This list is nowhere near complete, so take my suggestions with a grain of salt. Or, if you’re Joe Eszterhas, with a gram of cocaine.
Next Week, April 7th: Origin of a Henchman. We’re going back to basics and reveal a bit of history considering everyone’s favorite bad-ass from “Son of Savage.”
Oh, and don’t forget to tell all of your friends to stop by this website for a visit and be sure to click contact above and sign the GD form. You might even win an autographed copy of “Son of Ravage” which is now available on Amazon and Kindle. Contest ends April 27th.
In 1981, J.P. Linde co-wrote and appeared in a one-man comedy show titled “Casually Insane.” Shortly after, he joined the ranks of stand-up comedy and performed in clubs and colleges throughout the United States and Canada. In 1989, he made his national television debut on “Showtime’s Comedy Club Network.” He wrote the libretto for the musical comedy “Wild Space A Go Go” and co-wrote and co-produced the feature motion picture, “Axe to Grind.” “Son of Ravage” is his second novel.