The short stuff

I don’t like promoting my own work. That’s the way I am. I like doing the writing and would leave the marketing to others. So, I’ve been published in magazines, websites and newspapers that don’t require me to promote my work.

Back in the day when I was doing writing jobs, someone said to me that I should write a book. I was friendly towards such suggestions because in my mind that was what I was going to do. So I explored my fiction writing first before seeking out publishers and found out my ability at that stage.

When I got a grasp of the big picture of what is entailed in publishing I realized that I don’t like doing self-promotion. As I said, that’s how I am. If I was a professional sports player in another life, I would play the game, not promote myself.

This leaves me where a blog of mine a few years back started off. That blog was following my movements on writing short stuff, the articles, the items, the one paragraph devotions, and the short stories. In this pursuit, I may aim in vein, but writing the short stuff is who I am as a writer.

Choices

What one needs to remember, and that includes myself, is that film producers usually require “spec scripts” or scripts written with the intent of soliciting work.

That may come as a shock.

I’d sooner have my original story made for the big screen, but it does not work that way I come to find out.

What this means for the independent-minded writer is that he or she has to work for a producer if their spec script is approved of.

This means a writer writes what the producer needs as the producer has certain products they will produce. Not everyone does horror and science fiction. Not everyone is your thing, but some may be more up your ally.

This may leave any writer asking the same question: should one go ahead and write film and television scripts for that producer? These are choices one has to make.

 

Foundations

In terms of my writing projects, in contrast to writing jobs, they are pretty much in limbo, but are finding their way into the light slowly.

I can come up with a zillion ideas, but being confident with my foundations is what my fiction and writing should be about.

Foundations is what I call my truths. My personal truth, spiritual truth, emotional truth and human truth and my writing can be based on these. These truths are for the purposes of writing. They are not universal truths, but what makes this writer tick.

Not always usable, though, because good inspiration can strike and become an article or blog post, irrespective of personal truths.  But in terms of writing projects, writing from the foundation up is where I’m at.  Foundations can even go deeper–to the deep core material of a writer.

Repudiate

The word repudiate means to deny, refuse to recognize.

On the news, repudiating often comes in the context of politics and goes like this.

A politician is on the defensive when asked about some controversial matter. “I repudiate that!” the politician says. No, it’s more like, “No comment” or “I deny that.”

The media seems to love politicians using repudiate in terms of “I deny that” or “I refute that”. But no politician actually says “I repudiate that!”. It is too much of a mouth full.

Why is repudiate even in the English language if most people refuse to use it? I think repudiate is mainly used by lawyers in their defense of a client. “He repudiates that!”

But there was a guy I saw on television who used it when being asked by a reporter, “Do you accept the charges against you?”

He said quietly, “I repudiate the charges.”

His comment went viral. Repudiate became a sensation for fifteen minutes. Its fifteen minutes of fame. That’s because hardly no one used the word, but he did.

I guess people still love that underused word very much. Repudiate has that exotic appeal in the right context.

 

 

 

A Passage to India

A Passage to India is a grand and lavish epic, produced handsomely, and is based on the E.M. Forster novel, published in 1924 during the days of colonial England.

The values of East and West meet romantically, but also comes with a hefty dose of realism where East and West clash. British daughter-in-law and mother-in-law travel to India to with be with her fiancé and explore this exotic country. But she is caught up in a scandal and claims an Indian doctor, who was her escort on a day trip, violated her. Controversy erupts and the locals stand by the doctor, saying he is innocent and the British are unjust.

The larger meaning is the relationship between England and colonial India. The human meaning is prejudice and fear of the unknown.

Beautifully filmed, wonderfully acted, it is also a personal story of life-like characters engaged vividly and vitally.

A Passage to India, Director: David Lean, Genre: Drama, Year: 1984, Rating: 10/10

12 Years a Slave

I expected 12 Years a Slave  to be handsomely mounted and richly literate, reminiscent of films in the 1980’s. But now that I’ve seen it I realize it’s already  a classic.

As well as being strikingly produced, it shows the painful plight of African American slaves in white-owned plantations in the South before the American Civil War and the success of the abolition movement.

The film starts by telling us this is a true story.

The buying and selling slaves is then shown as business-as-usual.

Paul Giamatti has a small but prominent role as a seller, costumed finely like many other Southern men in the 1840s.

The dubious economics of the endeavor are revealed as the story unfolds, while the class system is starkly depicted along with the slave owners’ depravity.

All the cruelty occurs in the context of Solomon Northup’s (Chiwetel Ejiofor) descent from a comfortable life in New York state where he lived as a free black man.

Sold into slavery and passing from master to master, he at first wants revenge. This turns to helplessness, then  the urge to survive even when facing indignities and institutional savagery.

Powerful scenes will sober and stir any viewer.

Of course, we are not meant to enjoy such brutality, but it has a way of highlighting the unfairness of slavery.

The rape of a slave is not about sex. It’s more about control, power and hate.

And if it weren’t for Brad Pitt’s small but important role, the story would be bleak and incomplete.

Central to a string of powerful performances is Michael Fassbender – a Bible mis-quoting, proud, senseless, shameless, and ruthless master of Northup.

And when his cotton crops fail, he blames his slaves for bringing God’s punishment.

We expect something better to happen, but we don’t know how when the odds are heavily stacked against it.

Perhaps the central question of 12 Years a Slave  is how do we maintain our dignity in the face of cruelty and injustice?

Northup plays games, fights back, and faces getting killed.

Slavery has almost broken his will to live, and yet he remains human.

This is a powerful film, a must-see, but it is grim and not for every taste

12 Years a Slave, Director: Steve McQueen, Genre: Drama, Year: 2013, Rating: 10/10

Week in

This week: The beginning of the week started with a rejection slip. Enough said, but it started the week with a bang. Then, it got quiet because I’m in a phase of writing that is quietly pondering. So while I blog a film review, a poem here or there, other things are on my radar that I’m silently working on slowly but surely. The quiet voice of the “muse” as they call inspiration stirs in the sounds of silence.

The final one

Today I received a form rejection letter by email. It was about the thirtieth rejection from the same publisher, but three years ago they published two devotions of mine. Naturally, one thinks, that they will publish more of yours again, and again. So I kept on submitting. The pieces were short and sweet, but to no avail. The lesson is simple: it’s not easy to get your foot in the door and once your in, it may be hard to keep on repeating that initial success.

The initial success was really luster. It was inspired writing. I tried a bit harder next time to repeat the acceptances of my work. Didn’t work. Lesson: don’t try so hard. But if I didn’t put grist to the mill I wouldn’t have material.

After all these rejections, would the initial acceptances be enough for me? If not, is there a different way of doing it?

There is a different way of doing something. I was going to say that today’s rejection from this publisher would be the final one. Whatever their reasons for rejecting my work, my first two acceptances was all I was supposed to do, thirty rejections later. But plan B is to try it another way.

The print media

Fine Print (1)

The printing press is struggling so it seems. This affects every freelancer who ever was and every will be. It’s harder to get your work in print now than it used to be. Your work has to be tailored made, specific, and top notch. It is all geared towards what the newspaper requires, for their audience, but even more tailored made then before, because there is more competition. So a freelancer had better be on top of it if they are to get into print.

I was reminded of what seems to be a smaller media now–this being the print media, as they are competing with digital–when a postcard arrived in the post.

The postcard in my letter box, “To the householder”, had a promotional code. I could get a free four week trial of the newspaper if I entered the code on their website. Then they would discuss with me whether I wanted a subscription–which I would have to pay for.

It sounds desperate, but I kind of got it. The printing press is finding ways to hook people into their print products, in a digital age. They must find ways to compete or be obsolete in the foreseeable future. I understand.

It all starts with something free. Then you’ll have to pay at a discount. And later on you’ll pay the full price and they hope you will stay with them through the long haul.

People so often get their news from the internet, but if you are one of the ones who would take up their offer, what would persuade you?

The free trial may. But that’s only for four weeks, then it’s over. Not much of an incentive over the long haul. But if the newspaper is free for twelve months then that would be different, a real deal. Someone may take up that offer. However, what newspaper can afford it? They are trying to compete in the digital marketplace, not drown themselves.

If you seriously considered taking up their offer, then you would take up the free trial to assess the product. Is it good? Is it worthwhile? More importantly, do you need it? This last question is pivotal, because there are so many competitors out there. What are your media needs?

You have to decide if this product fills your media news needs. This is the risk the newspaper takes. They already have an internet presence, but they want you to buy their newspaper which has been around longer. If they lose sales, they will have to think about another model–using the internet and go completely website based.

Then they are competing with other media outlets on the internet while the survivors in the print media battle it out between themselves. It’s a vicious cycle.

In today’s print media world, some will die, and a few will survive. The product that the newspaper is offering had better be bigger and better in order to stay afloat, but there are ways of delivering a media product for cheaper overheads. But that may not be bigger and better. It’s a dog eat dog newspaper world out there.

I’m not going to take up the free trial. Then, I’ll be in their system. They don’t let go easily. But if a writer would research the market by taking up the trial, to submit their work, they’d be competing with writers already there and they are competing with each other. Why die striving?

Onto the next thing…