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Sunday, October 14, 2012

"You're Not an Author...You're a Screenwriter..." (plus Phantom, Rocker & Slick, Pete Townshend and other subjects...)

Well, greetings once more, fellow bloggers, blurkers and the like...it has been some time since I have been here.  Suffice to say I've been extremely busy, and I am now seeking the thoughts of certain individuals...to whit, YOU.

To prepare myself, I'm at the Office and cranking the Phantom, Rocker & Slick limited edition CD I got the other day.  Post-Stray Cats mid-80's roots rock.  Powerful stuff, and memories of my college radio days.  Awesome stuff.  Considering the Stray Cats rockabilly revival, and Lee Rocker's move into his own solo career, all very good indeed.  Not to mention Brian Setzer's career since then.

I have been keeping myself busy, in this time of little employment.  No word on my sojourn to the Midwest, but I have a feeling things are not going to go the way I wish; other irons in the fire there.

The Hershey Bears opened the AHL season last night, and I produced the game; I'll have that, plus public radio stuff, but I need more.  Don't we all...and I still work with my alter ego, DJ`Riff on www.radio-airwaves.co.uk -- usually Monday afternoons.  Had some issues with the software, so hopefully we'll get that fixed.

Writing wise, I have been very much into editing mode.  I finished edits of "Time the Healer," "Parasite Girls" and "Out Among the Stars."  In leading up to what I will talk to you about, I had an inspiration to do something different:

About three years ago or whenever it was, I wrote a manuscript called "The Beauty Way."  The title is ripped from a song by Eliza Gilkyson, but my first hearing of it was a cover by Ray Wylie Hubbard.  I love what Ray did with it, and it's an excellent story song.

The story is forgettable, and is about me, a stab at autobiography of one specific point in my life.  It was essentially a three-day rant, and I tried to write it in the style of Larry McMurtry.  

I put it aside after awhile because it just did not go anywhere.  Then about a year or so ago, I began writing a series of songs, which turned into a cycle, and began to look like a radio concept album.

Some of the songs were done by my old band, Ahltyrra, but most were new, plus a cover song that fit.  I resumed looking at these recently; most of the songs are composed (guitar, anyway).

Then I thought:  COMBINE THE TWO ELEMENTS.  I suddenly realized they had a connection, and the characters of "Beauty Way" are almost the same as those in the concept.  

So I am slowly putting it together...that's where I got a very interesting assessment of my writing, and my writing style.

My friend Alice (Edgar Alice Croe in the blogosphere) has provided a perspective...I toyed with a screenplay style for the rewrite.  Haven't done more than two or three pages.  

Alice looked at it, and said it was good.  She then said, based on the bits she has read, that my writing style is NOT suited for books.

She basically said, "You're not an author, you're a screenwriter."

Her point is that I often paint too big a picture in a book in order to take you there; too much detail, too much information.  Not so much needed.  But in a screenplay, you kind of need that.

Here is the next point she makes, for my Sweet Dreams Series project:  make them, and the others as independent films.

The SDS and a lot of my other writings are anime/manga related anyway; a filmic version is a better template for producers to use.

Hmmm...

Now, one of my stories is still on this blog, in a serialized chapter by chapter method, "Take Another Road."  Is Alice off the mark, or not?

I think she's hit on a fair amount of it...I wonder....

My aim now is to take "The Beauty Way" into a screenplay, and see how it works...most of my songs will be in it, and there's others that arrive in my head as incidental music.  I think it will be interesting to say the least.

I have not written a screenplay since college, but I know the format alright.  So, if indie filmmakers are interested, this might be a cool project down the road...

No matter where I end up this year, I'll still be on it.  I wonder if the SDS and older writings suffer from this, I really do wonder.

That being said:

Last Monday, Pete Townshend's autobio, "Who I Am" dropped.  Townshend and the Who have been huge inspirations to me, and Pete (it was confirmed in the book) found the way to say what we all wanted to say, but could not put into words.  He had that gift.

The book is just over 500 pages long; it took me three days to read, but it was a fast read.  Pete is honest, forward, unafraid and unpretentious in his writing.  This may make you uncomfortable at times, but not for me.

Townshend reveals secrets about his first guitar smash, what "A Quick One" is really about, and the horrific abuse he suffered as a child.  His opinions about his bandmates, those around him, his family, all of it are fair game, and Pete writes in a very honest, sometimes affectionate and other times pointed manner about them.  

There are questions he's asked of himself all his life, and may still be, at 67.  We all still are, and Pete realizes one thing most of us forgot:  you can never stop searching for "who I am," and as I often say, you never stop learning.  You must never stop learning.

It bothers me when I see people around me I've known for many, many years whose intellectual development clearly stopped either in high school or their freshman year in college.  Some never leave; we become inflexible in our views and feelings, and look where it gets us.

I admit, I sometimes don't stretch out like I should.  The Townshend book reminds me of that; and this project now reminds me that I should try something new, something other.

So we'll see where it goes...I'm getting my brain stretched, whether I want it or not!

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