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Avia S-199 in Israeli Air Force Service

My brunch with Robert

In the interest of truth, we only really had espressos.

Robert liked “Sheep’s End”, and he had kind words for my writing. His favourite parts were Bren – everybody’s favourite part – and the way that I can evoke a scene in words and make the pictures appear in a reader’s head. That’s writing, and I am good at it.

What I need to work on is what I know I need to work on, so I felt his criticisms validated my self-evaluations – a critical skill, pun intended. I have enough emotion, but it’s the characters that need work. With the exception of Bren, Robert says, the characters are too cardboard, too cliche. I need to give them more facets, more twists and flaws, higher stakes. They are too honest and safe at the moment.

To Robert, the story was too plot-by-numbers. He understood when I told him that the script started as scenes written for a screenwriting course. That’s something I can fix in a rewrite – keep in mind, this is a first draft.

Lastly, Robert said I need to move some story from dialogue to visual. I understand what he means – a variation on “show, don’t tell”. I had been mulling over this for a while, and have a new beginning that will replace a mid-script scene. Robert liked the idea. It’s just not on paper yet.

It was a valuable morning. Robert thinks I should forge ahead with the character-driven “By the Book” rather than rework “Sheep’s End”. So I will.

Bonus weather report:

Snow. Lots of snow. Schools across the city cancelled classes. We’re supposed to get 40 cm (16″) today.

Bonus observation:

Denis McGrath yesterday changed the name of his blog from “Dead Things on a Stick” to “Dead Things on Sticks”. His paychecks must have fattened.

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