Category Archives: elements of writing

Making movies at home

If anyone has ever written a book with background, characters, dialog, editing, they know what I’m talking about.  I was just watching how they make The Hobbit in the youtube – which is thank you! I love you for that! – and a passing by girl snorted “Why watch how movies are made, doesn’t it ruin watching it?”

From my hill, I have very firm look on things – magic explained doesn’t make it mundane. Being big fan of all the artists, craftsmen and writers behind the movie, I can’t even fathom, why would anyone never want to know how something is made? Perhaps because creative minds work the same way – they enjoy the process just as much as the end result. If enjoy is the right word, considering all the stress involved, but in the end it usually is fulfilling joy that remains.

This got me thinking how similar the processes of making a movie and writing a book actually are. How little consumers know of the background of them and how they often never see the work that actually goes into making of the end product.

Let’s take the Hobbit:

Actor is a name until you build fat suit around them and create the character that is then covered with clothing and details. Then the actor pushes air in the character and make them move and act according to the need. When you take up creating the character, it works pretty much the same – including the actor, who is often cast to the role by writers to make the character more vivid.

Background begins with simple ideas at first. You search internet for the right places like director searches right places where to film, then you add what you need to the scenery (houses, flowers, trees, flying mountains – you name it) and finally let the characters run while you film them. Detail adding in literature is kind of like creating mood. First the action and then you add the details where necessary to complete the full picture. So in movie sense it would be the light added in the end to give the entire show the effective mood it needs.

It helps to see how movies are made to get more insight to our own writing process. Sometimes it sparks the imagination that you’ve lived without, sometimes it just relaxes to see someone else put just as much work into their product as we do. With other writers you can only sense it, feel the stress they go through and nod with them that yes, you do understand what they are going through. With movie-makers you can see it visually. Only, if they have the entire crews put together, then you just have to be everything at the same time, taking up the tasks of hairdressers, costume makers, chief artists, background builders, chefs… ok, perhaps you can get away with the latter by simply living on pre-cooked meals for a change.

What I mean is – don’t be afraid to see where the meat grows. Anyone, who is a writer should be able to appreciate the wonderful world of movie making. Already seeing others work just as hard should be inspiring.


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How to choose the right books about writing?

Marcy L. turned to me with this question and though I can only guess answers to most of the questions, I can be confident, when replying to this one. I should – I’ve spent most of the last year reading one “how to write” book after another.

My advice would be this: there is no one book out there to fill you with skills you need as a writer. There really isn’t – one writer prefers one writing style, another seeks help from a different book, but there really isn’t one that would suit them all. This seems quite frustrating answer?

I would suggest instead of reading them all, which in the end gets very confusing, choose one and learn it by heart. By this I don’t mean to go and pick something random, you still need to read a bit to understand what they are about, but instead of getting them all, try finding one that calls out to you and stick with that one.

There are two things beginners love to forget: you do need to learn tricks of the trade in order to go pass “got idea, wrote it, it repeats what I wrote yesterday” phase and one book does give those tricks to you, you just need to actually use it. And I mean use it. Not go on to next one, because it didn’t make sense. Most of the beginners books have the same built and they take you through the all the necessary brick work. The difference is just in the mortal used to build the wall with the bricks.

I’m very fond of Donald Maass and Write Great Fiction series and don’t get me started on Dean Koontz book that came out in 1970s! James Frey and Nancy Kress have same style books, but I couldn’t get myself read them through. Yet I know they are just as good to teach you all the basics. The difference really is in which of the author suits with you and when you’ve found it, stick with the teachings and actually take the time to go through the exercises and try it out.

There is criticism, which I’ve often faced too, that if you have talent, you don’t need to know rules and you don’t need to mess your talent up by learning to push it in boundaries. That’s all very nice and I gladly shake hands with anyone, who is aware they’ve got talent, but it is sad site when such talents write and wait for someone to come and reclaim them, if one could say so. Unless you add work to it and get yourself some firewood for that phoenix, you will only see the ashes.

If you don’t know where to begin, I’d suggest Donald Maass “Writing the breakout novel” or anything from Write Great Fiction series. Nancy Kress series are also good to understand the tools. One thing is sure – most of us don’t have good courses to take or clubs to join, but this doesn’t mean you must parish without good teachings. It’s just about finding a good book and after that a library.

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Silly or joke – neither of them

Here I sit, with glass of nice wine just close by (yes, I’m drinking wine, ladies – if you’re faintish, the smelling salt is on your right) and taking together this week’s most extraordinary learning marathon on topic “how to write about two humped animal in your book without feeling silly or making it into a joke”.

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Did I mention I had solid characters?

What if they turn out to be solid person? I am seriously thinking on sending the internet to hell for ruin my ideas all the time. Not so much ruin, but forcing me in depression over non-existing characters. But this time I don’t think I want to change him.

 Saul-Erik (33), Caucasian, male, who was born on the east side of Montfort, in a suburban city, fating itself up after 20 year crises. He was born in the end of Hippie era in a middle class family he was named after Kings of kings. Never fitting in, he ran from home at the age of 12. After 2 years on streets, he is picked up by a tall man, who offers him both a place and work. He takes him in a nice family in a neighboring city and learns there about the Hidden and sees firsthand what they go through. At the age of 15, he ends up in a middle of a riot and witnesses what changes his life forever. At the age of 17, he is reunited with his family, but is never really the same. Neither does he really return to his family, preferring his new one and after that he visits them, but never goes home again. During this time he witnesses another set of events that steadies his plans further, turning his plans into solid rock. He studies economics in university while preparing himself for the task ahead and after Rasmus gives him the leading position for the Hidden, he takes over with plans of giving the Hidden back the life before fear and heartache, restore the paradise, where one can walk their dog in daylight. But building a paradise and filling it with angels is never easy…

 My problem? It turns out there is one man in the monstrous world, who apparently has the same steady goal. Perhaps without the background, but the duty, the purpose, the… Yeah…

A friend once said, there is no same description on anybody. It’s just the sinking shock that the imagined man is real – I can’t seem to make up my mind if I ought to be flattered or cry.

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What to do if your idea is asking for a lawsuit?

I am now part of the Merry Go Round Blog Tour! I am the 20th on the line so all I can hope for is you have enough patience to reach my blog.

 But today’s topic itself for me would be – what to do when your idea is surprisingly similar to some already existing story or show or movie or series?

Last time I faced this problem was, when I wished to create a secret serial killer service. I spent 3 long days on building flesh on the bones, when I decided to see what has existed in real life and started strolling around in the Wikipedia for ideas. “This looks similar,” I noted soon, “and this here,” I felt better – meaning I wasn’t very far from reality, which was good – “and this one!” and I got slightly worried. Then I reached Mossad. Thank you, fine! Good bye my so caringly built idea!

Now, over a year later I face the same issue. With my sanctuary idea. This time I believed I had done the research and found out all the possible similar ideas out there. And yet, when I inserted the search term, I winded up on a page that described the same idea. I knew it wasn’t original or anything, but to find something that’s like one-on-one, it still comes as a shock.

But I’m not willing to put it aside again.

What can I do to make it less likely to lawsuit? Or to have less similar lines to the show?

I guess I first need to determine exactly what I’m planning.

Secondly, refocus my impact character.

Thirdly, change the reasons and whatnot why the sanctuary is built.


I know this looks like an odd post, but I’m slightly off today, watching my idea get volcano ripping it in two.

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Krussis paberinutsu

…ehk kuidas mulle selgitati, millist lugu oleks hea lugeda.

“Sa võtad pika pabeririba, kirjutad selle servadesse kõik asjad, mis loost välja tulevad ja kortsutad kokku. Kui sa selle paberi uuesti lahti võtad, näed, kus jooksevad jooned ja kus asjad omavahel kattuvad. Nii lihtne see ongi – nagu krussis pabernutsu.”


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