Sunday, November 13, 2005

West Side Story & Writing List

West Side Story

West Side Story was wonderful. Barbara did a superb job, as I expected she would. I wonder if the cast loses 10 pounds during the show's run. It's a very physical show with about half of it dance numbers. They hired one of the runnerups from one of the American Idol contests to be the lead. Bernstein's music was so over her head. She had awful pitch problems and was obviously hired more for her publicity value than for her ability. The demanding score is really not suited to a pop vocalist. It's very, very sad when the understudy has the best voice in the whole show. She sang "Somewhere" from offstage and she rocks. My other complaint is more that I'd forgotten that it had a very 50s "forced to be not quite so tragic" ending. They wimped out and Maria didn't shoot herself. She should have. Her suicide would have meant they could have made their point without the long, moralistic speech at the end. Which brings me to my writer's list.

The Writer's List

The writer's list is from Sheila's blog--PBW's "How Not To" post about good writing. In honor of Sheila's fondness for "tens", I've come up with a list of ten.

1. Wimp out at every opportunity. Back off from the emotional scenes because you don't want to feel bad when you write.

2. Use every dialogue tag you can think of, except "said", and modify them all with appropriate adverbs..

3. Add tons of description, using at least two Thesauruses* to find better words than the ones you normally use.

4. Make sure every sentence is grammatically perfect, especially in the dialogue.

5. Do not use contractions or slang.

6. Make sure your main characters are as sweet as pie and your villains completely evil. That way your readers know which is which.

7. Be sure the murderer is the minor character you introduced in chapter one and never showed or talked about again until the climax where that character is pointing a gun at your detective and everything gets explained and the detective brilliantly avoids being shot.

8. Be sure you put your character through every torture you can think of, without regard to whether they fit the story or not. Just pile in tons of action and fights because you need conflict.

9. While you're at it, be sure to include lots of graphic sex. It sells books.

10. Don't give your characters anything to do while they're talking. The dialogue is too important to have other stuff get in the way.

*Note: Please don't correct my Latin. I have no idea what the plural of Thesaurus is and I doubt I'll use it often enough to make looking it up worth the time.

Other Stuff

We should hear about the job tomorrow or Tuesday. Continued prayers, lit candles, good vibes, etc. are appreciated. It would be a great birthday gift if he gets a job before then. I have a meeting about getting some training to help me be more hireable. I haven't worked since 1999 due to health issues. I hope to be able to get that taken care of by the time I finish whatever training I end up doing. That will depend, of course, on whether Paul finds a job with benefits before then. Everything in life is like a line of dominoes. One thing can topple the whole thing and until you get all those dominoes back in place, you can't put your life back together.

I notice I haven't been posting as regularly as I like to. We haven't been home and my computer time is a bit more limited these days, what with my son and husband using it for Civ IV and Roller Coaster Tycoon 3, now that we discovered that Chris can only play that one on our computer, too.