Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Here in the Blogosphere, the vast majority of bloggers I am familiar with dispense writing tips to would-be novelists on nearly a daily basis. It seems to me that "blogging" is just a shorter way of saying "Writing about writing". Personally, I feel these people ought to be "writing about writing" less and just freakin' WRITING more!

[Think how much work you would get done on your latest "WIP" if the time you spent telling us all about it you actually devoted to the "WIP" itself! Stop yakkin' about it and just DO IT! What, are you afraid of success, man?]

Frank Zappa said, "Shut Up 'N' Play Yer Guitar". I say, "Shut up 'n' write!" I mean, I really don't think we need any more blog bits from unpublished or self-published writers discussing the finer points of writing with other wannabe writers. When you've made the New York Times Bestseller Fiction list (and also, preferably not before Hollywood has adapted your bestseller to the silver screen) you should be sure to get back to us and tell us how ya did it. But until then . . . just shut up 'n' WRITE!

However, since no one pays the least bit of attention to what I say, and since I know y'all are going to go right on writing about writing, I figure I might as well join you.

Below is a review I wrote a number of years ago for the Syd Field book 'SCREENPLAY: The Foundations Of Screenwriting'. Hopefully you'll find this helpful as you continue on your hopeful path to stardom via the helpful process of "writing about writing":


I red SCREENPLAY many years ago before righting my own movie, BILLY 'N' BILLIE. Iliked the book. It was reel good at showing you what elimints are needed in construkting a movie that will cell.

There was only one thing that buged me and that was he says that all good movies follow a certin pairadime. But then on page 118 he says "What about NASHVILLE? Is that an exception?" He then shows how it doesnt seem like it but NASHVILLE reely does follow the pattern. Then he winds it up by saying "Robert Altman... films may look randomly composed but in reality they are executed with sculpted finesse. NASHVILLE fits the paradigm to a tee." (It seems I mispelled paradigm earlyer but you knew what I ment right?)

But what bugs me is that NASHVILLE reely doesnt fit the paradigm to a tee at all and SYD FIELD didnt have the curage of his conviktions to come out and say so. and ferthermore NASHVILLE is not a good movie at all. I tryed to watch it three times and never made it. But the rest of this book is good.

My movie BILLY 'N' BILLIE nobody bought but even tho that happened to me I still think this book is good and I wreckamend it. My copy is totaly dogeared! I still dont no why my movie didnt cell but I might re-right it today on my lunch brake and try it again.

Goodluck everyone!!!

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.


Arlee Bird said...

Uh....did you say something?

Seriously, I know kind of sort of what you're saying, but you shouldn't be too hard on writers trying to attain their goals. It's kind of like writing or many other college courses that folks will take to get a degree of dubious value.

I kind of enjoy reading some things about writing because it sometimes open new doors in my mind that allow me to see things from a different perspective. I'll admit that a lot of the tips and "scholarly" advice we read is redundant, but doesn't that go for any topic that we might be interested in? I'll bet you pursue lines of study at times that gets repetitious.

I think a writing philosophy that holds true is give 'em what they expect to read, tell the same old story but in a new way, and treat your writing topic as though it's being read by someone who's never read about the topic before. That's just a general thought that I have and something that seemed to hold true in my years with the stage productions I was with.

I enjoyed your review. It goes deep into the reality of writing if someone thinks about it enough.
I know you were having fun with it, but that approach with actually work for some and perhaps offend others. That's the way writing is in my opinion.

Tossing It Out

Jessica Bell said...

LOL! You are a case! Can you believe that Syd's book was my bible during my Screenplay course at Uni? I love that book. And it's actually on the shelf on my blog (the photograph at the top of my blog below the banner thingy) :o)

I just have to say, that we all write about writing because us writers like to learn from each other. The writers that blog are very cliquy, I find. They stick together and feed off each other's writing posts. I know I'm guilty of this too, but to tell you the truth, I've met so many great people through it (including you, yo!) and if writers want to read about writing, then so be it. They can have it! :o)

I'm chuffed we have this book in common. I really am. ha!

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Gee, BOID, that was a lot of "writing about writing" that you submitted here.

If I'd known that my post would inspire more "writing about writing" I would have posted about my favorite sports movies instead. I thought this blog bit might curtail some of the "writing about writing".

Nah. I'm just kidding! ;o)
I know there's nothing I can say or do that will put a stop to the "writing about writing", and that's why I finally surrendered with this blog bit and joined in myself.

But I'll close with this:

Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan and The Beatles and Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis and Benny Goodman and Charlie Parker did not spend their early years writing about songwriting or music composition. They just practiced their craft until the excelled at it.

I sometimes wonder if many of these bloggers "writing about writing" are doing so in order to avoid the really hard work of "writing for publication".

I mean, a little "writing about writing" wouldn't be so bad because people naturally like to discuss their interests with others who share them, but the Blogosphere is just infested with this sillyness... in my opinion.

But say, this is getting way too serious here. I meant this blog bit as lighthearted amusement, not as a legitimate complaint.

To each his own (and me, I prefer a little entertainment), but if people want to spend most of their blogging time "writing about writing" that's their business and it's fine with me, but they ought not be surprised then if I seldom come a-visiting their blogs.

[Thank goodness for your 'April A To Z Blogfest' - it actually FORCES some of these people to add a little variety to their blogsites.]

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

AlliAllo ~
Ha!-Ha! Too funny!...

You rarely visit this blog, but - boy-oh-boy! - you saw the words "Writing Advice" pop up on your Blogger Dashboard and you got over here QUICK!

Yes, I'm definitely teasing you, but NOT in a "mean way". And I'm telling you quite honestly that just thinking about this situation gave me a good laugh. I mean, REALLY, a good 'out loud' laugh!

Now I know how to get you to visit my site pronto in the future: just put something related to "writing" or "fiction" in the title. To you that's like catnip is to a cat, isn't it? (Yes! Yes! I'm STILL laughing as I type this. Your speedy visit made this blog bit SO WORTHWHILE!)

>>.....I'm chuffed we have this book in common. I really am. ha!

Please don't use that kind of language over here. Mine is a family-oriented blog.

THANKS for - Ha!-Ha! - your IMMEDIATE visit (and comment). It really made my day. Really!

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Jessica Bell said...

LOL! That's so not why I visited! I knew you'd think that. hahaha!!!! I don't normally read blogs at this time of day, but S was watching soccer and I was bored! It was coincedence. REALLY. Oh, man, I know you don't believe me. but it's true! I swear! LOLOLOL!!!! :o)

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Oh, c'mon! Of course I believe you, ALLIALLO. Sure! Sure I do!


~ D-FensDogg
[Fresh off-a-da Turnip Truck]

DiscConnected said...


You are one of three people including myself who I have ever seen use the word "chuffed."


Speling and grammer cheks are wundrfil tuhls. U mite wand tu kinsidur yewzing thim.

El Cee

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

>>....."Speling and grammer cheks are wundrfil tuhls. U mite wand tu kinsidur yewzing thim."

Watt langwige is that? Dont you no how to right English right?
You no, spelling and gramur chex are wundurfull tuwls and you shuld make them werk for you! Its better than imbareassing yerself in publick like that!

By the way... winever Im "chuffed" I put salve on it and cover it with a bandige for a few days and it allways heels!

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyil Americkin Undurground'