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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