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COLUMNS
Write On!
January, 2008


Greek Ghosts

Colour Your World
The devil's in the details
By  Ken Robinson

I
'm watching a real, live, honest-to-God, Native American pow-wow.

The indigenous outfits have a kaleidoscopic array of designs, colors and materials. The materials include everything from the ubiquitous eagle and turkey feathers and beads to turtle shells to tin cans. Iíve even seen compact discs being used.

There are different categories: fancy, grass, straight, buckskin, and traditional, among others. Within each category, each tribe has a specific look and then each individual outfit is unique. They can cost the dancer thousands to assemble and take years to put together your own look. All of the patterns and symbols are from a particular tribes heritage have meanings even if the person wearing it doesn't know it.

The outfit is just as important in the competition as the dance itself. If the judge sees something that doesnít fit with the category they count it off the overall score. Watching the competition, I have no idea how the judges decide between the contestants. But then again theyíve been doing this for years as well and know what to look for.

As they say, the devil is in the details. The same goes for writing. And it doesn't really matter what type of writing. To me it becomes a matter of efficiency.

The most economical writing is of course; poetry. No wasted words allowed there. Short stories have to remain short; so no excess words are allowed. Even in screenplays, every word counts. If you've ever seen a screenplay its pages are mostly white space.

Although the reader likes to be taken on a good yarn, they donít like to be taken down the bunny trail, into the bunny hole, and left groping around in the darkness.

Words work together to pass along information. This information has to be moving the story forward in some manner. Even if the information is to lead the reader astray, it has to make sense in the overall story or character evolution.

With your words, you've got to weave a tapestry. The different strands of storyline have to intertwine together to pull together the story until they are no longer required. If a strand is cut prematurely, the picture becomes incomplete and or incoherent.

And today's reader picks up very quickly if loose threads are waving all over the place leading nowhere. Even in a large work such as a novel, it's important not to make disappearing bunny trails.

Unnecessary words will strike in the reader's face like a duelistís glove slapping a knight. Just like the dance judge has spent years involved in the dance, an editor has spent endless hours reading seemingly endless submissions.

When youíve read as much material as they have, you become very good at catching someone smearing a perfectly good piece of paper with bull doo-doo. And when they see it, the page inevitably ends up in the cylindrical file next to their desk.

I have to confess that I've been known to skip a paragraph or two in a novel if it looks like it's just description. I know it's blasphemy, but I've been trained by today's culture to get down to it and not waste time. Even when relaxing your supposed to be multi-tasking and focused on making sure you finish your relaxing on time while planning your next vacation.

Although sometimes it's just that the book is so good I can't wait to get to the end. But trying to get to the end as fast as possible has become a bad of habit of way too many people.

So to make sure that you keep the paragraph skippers reading and your project from ending up in the round filing cabinet, youíve got to make every word count.

Write on!


Regular IN columnist Ken Robinson grew up and lives in Oklahoma. After five years in Ireland, he's been writing screenplays for three and a half years. Four of his scripts have been optioned by Woofenil Works, two low-budget projects now in preproduction, as well as West Law. His email address is: Krobinson104@hotmail.com

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© Freelance Writing Organization - International 1999-2049

Write On!
IN This Issue
LA Bound
Part II: Secret Origins Of A Screenwriter
Part I: Secret Origins Of A Screenwriter
Time Management
The Well Of Creativity
Flogged By A Rooster
Write Form
Why Be A Writer?
Hoping For Rock Bottom
Strong Characters

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Bald Ego
Mouse Over To Pause

Writerís Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails weíve known;
Each writerís block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
Itís how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Donít plant your poem on the page
As though youíre hanging drapes;
Itís shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their ďthemes.Ē

Double Vision
A writerís life is paradox,
Itís more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

Poetry
The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

Letter Perfect
Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

The Write of Passage
The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know youíll never quit.

Pegasus
It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

Re-Verse
The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poemís through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

Read All Of Charles Ghigna's Poetry at FatherGoose.com


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