Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Word: Chiaroscuro

Chiaroscuro - A monochrome picture made by using several different shades of the same color.


A black-n-white photo or what?

No, not exactly.

The term was originally aimed at paintings.

The word has its origin from Italian. “Chiaro” means light, “scuro” dark. Chiaroscuro – lightdark.

It is a painting working with contrasts, rather than with colors.

A black-n-white photo can be considered as chiaroscuro if the contrasts are part of the composition, like a streetlight leaving part of the sidewalk in darkness.

So among the words I found an art term.

Well, perhaps not a word I will have great use of, but I can always take a walk along the paintings at an art museum and burst our “chiaroscuro” now and then.

Or perhaps join a group studying a painting and say “his chiaroscuro technique is really fabulous”.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

I have settled for a title, at last

My mind has wandered back to the (damn) title over and over again.

I think I have made up my mind. It will be named after the leading character and hero: Kim.

It will be “Kim” pure and simple.

“Forgiveness” had too much drama in it and felt like it limited the mind of the reader and a future viewer of the movie.

“A vicious killer” sort of limited too. It puts a brand on my hero from the start, leaving no option for the readers/viewers to decide for themselves.

“Kim” feels like a movie title I would be interested in.

This title also returns to its origin in a way. In the early drafts the title was a codename that she had. The codename disappeared out of the story and then so did the title.

See also:
The title of the script
The title of the script - continued

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

And they lived happily ever after

As I am rewriting I keep thinking about the ending of my story.

In the first draft, the ending was – and still is – the major problem both when it comes to structure and what happens.

It is too short and too… pink, too much happy balloons floating towards the clear blue sky.

Some parts of the ending must remain. My hero must survive for instance. If she changes, passes all the tests and prove her worthy, she cannot die in the end.

The Detective who arrests her used to be her friend, and it would feel great if they could rebuild that friendship. The B story should carry and explore the theme.

And her love interest, wouldn’t it be great if they reunited? The Final Image would reflect a much more comforting feeling if we saw them together. As the hero has passed her tests, so has their relationship and they should walk away happily towards the sunset.

How to do this, without make it soaking in sentimental feelings?

See also:
Time to prove her worthy
The happy ending

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Me, the great one?

Gee, I’ll get megalomania.

At Blogged this blog’s ranking has been reevaluated from a 6.1 to 8.0. This moves it from the bottom of the list in the screenwriting category, to the top three.

I requested the reevaluation, hoping to move from Good to Very Good.

And I received a Great.


Now I need to dig my feet deep down in the earth, so I don’t float away on delusions of grandeur.

Monday, February 23, 2009

All Is Lost-dialog stays in a shoebox

When my hero is in jail after the All is Lost-moment, she and the detective have an informal talk. This is the turning point for my hero.

The version in my first draft is rewritten.

Have you seen the early Monty Python sketch (before they even were Monty Python) including Marty Feldman were they talk about their miserable childhoods and all try to play the highest trump, and one claims that he and his numerous siblings lived in a shoebox in the middle of the road?

That’s what my scene turned out like.

The detective has had a complicated childhood – just like my hero – and she lost her husband and kids on top of that, so “don’t you dare talk to me about sorrows in life as an excuse”.

I erased line after line and finally I realized my need to rewrite the whole scene.


Also take a look at: Knock everybody out of the chair

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Word: Peregrination

Peregrination – Journey, travel, pilgrimage

It is based on Latin “peregrination” which means “journey”.

“Peregrination” seems to be used for specific journeys, like pilgrimage, crusades and students' travels to their schools. It’s a journey with a destination and a purpose. A journey to gain something.

Me, I think of Peregrin Took, “Pippin”, in J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.

He on the other hand made a peregrination.


Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) in flight
Photo by
Kevin Cole
Used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License
Image edited by the writer

Friday, February 20, 2009

Word Strumpet: Techniques for Writing Flow

Word Strumpet has an article about writing flow that I found interesting.

I have in previous blog entries talked about how to start the creative flow; how to make the inspiration come to me, instead of waiting for it.

This article gives examples of exercises you do every day, no matter if you are in the mood or not.

I have not been very good at this type of exercises myself. I’ve been very successful in finding excuses not to do them right now.

But I have learned in the past year that discipline pays off.

I can’t tell if the exercises in this article make you a star, but at least I will try to get something like that as a daily habit.

One more try. Again.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The fun about rewriting the movie script

I know many people who say that rewriting is boring. It’s like the first flow is the fun part, and rewriting is the dull and uninspiring work you have to do to make other people wanting to read it.

Personally, I find rewriting fun and inspiring.

When the first draft has gained it’s “the end” at the last page I am extremely happy. I made it, I succeeded, a big WOW-feeling.

Rewriting does rarely become that divine feeling as producing that first draft may, but it doesn’t need that very much.

From here on, skill is what is needed most.

And it is not such a bad sensation the feeling of being skilled creates either.

I hope I’m not provocative, but the creative flow has always been inside me. I’ve learned a lot about my creative flow the past year, but the flow is as it is. It remains the same. A lovely river that I hope will never stop.

My skill is something else. It is workmanship. Developing the talent.

For me it is extremely pleasing to feel that my skill has improved. To feel that I have learned something. That there is still hope.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Remarkable Communication: SlowBlogging

I have found a new interesting blog in Remarkable Communication. She got my interest at once with the article SlowBlogging.

In the article she addresses the issue of writing for pleasure and time to rewrite.

There is so much rush in the world. We are supposed to communicate constantly over the Internet, it seems.

Sonia Simone on the other hand raises a voice for SlowBlogging. Like the Slow Food movement.

Let writing take it’s time. Don’t rush it.

I think she is right.

If I just write, I will likely lose focus. I want to tie the bag together in the end. Make headline, image and text work together.

This has to take its time.

If someone confronts me with one of my blog entries I don’t want to excuse myself for having too little time to write it better.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A fixed point in Universe

I was thoughtful the other day. My husband asked what was on my mind.
My blog” I said. “It has helped me so much.
Yes, I know” he replied “Your writing has improved. You’ve told me.
I wasn't thinking about that. I just realized that it is the only part of my life where I am in complete and total control. I’m not sure if I would make it without, and stay sane.

All individuals have a need to control their life. Most people need to be pretty flexible and adapt to circumstances beyond their control. Some can handle this well, some don’t.

If I had had a work where I felt I had control over my own doings and enjoyed going to each morning, I probably would have had enough control to handle the quick U-turns in other parts of my life.

Unfortunatly I don’t.

I own little of my time. There are also too much to keep in mind; too much unpredictable happenings to plan too much.

But on my blog, I’m the ruler.

This is my safe little hideout. My fixed point in Universe.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The use of flashbacks

I considered voice overs and flashbacks as some form of cheating when writing a movie script.

When it comes to voice overs I am still of the opinion that if the story needs to be told by speech, there is probably something missing in the visuals. There are good examples where a voice over fit perfectly, but there are many more movies where the storyteller should have been left out.

In my mind, the same used to be true for flashbacks.

But I have changed my opinion.

In my current script my hero’s background is vital. But how to tell what is needed? I thought that I had succeeded in passing the needed info though dialog here and there.

But to look at it with more realistic eyes my hero and her love interest have a two minute dialog. With amusing moments and visuals, sure, but still this is a two minutes dialog.

And more important, something that is told does not have near as much impact as something shown.

We get a much wider understanding if we see what is happening. There is a reason for news on TV to have films taken on location.

“I was a thief.”
“Yeah, sure, absolutely, pass me the pickles.”

So I realized that flashbacks can be a very good.


Well, maybe and maybe not. Like most things, flashbacks can be used too much or in the wrong places.

But by learning it this way I think that maybe I have learned something more than just a good use of flashbacks.

How to take feedback

Complications Ensue: The Crafty TV and Screenwriting Blog has a great article about how to take feedback. Read it here.

Thank you Mystery Man for the tip.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A word: Adumbrate

Adumbrate - to describe roughly or briefly or give the main points or summary of; give to understand; to obscure or overshadow.

This is a new word for me that I try to grasp.

Based on the Latin word “adumbratus”, “represented in outline”. This in turn is based on “adumbrare”, “cast a shadow on” and “umbra” means “shadow”.

What has a brief description or an outline got to do with obscure and shadows?
It sounds like there is a hidden truth behind a rough summary, like somebody deliberately obscured something.

For me this will be a word with concealed secrets. A word that describe a vague indication or an omen.


See also:
The Word Detective
The Acheh Times

Friday, February 13, 2009

Don't let anybody else do your killings

By bitter experience I have learned the importance to listen to my own heart when I rewrite after receiving feedback.

Once I thought that somebody else knew my story better than myself and one morning I found I was writing on somebody else’s script.

If a suggestion feels wrong, it is wrong.

I listen to all feedback. But I only keep the comments that trigged my imagination and made seeds grow.

In my current script I have a scene where my hero and her love interest sit in a slope watching the sunset, while he tries to explain his beliefs. A reviewer on thought that this ought to be removed, since it was long and sentimental.

I considered the reviewer's opinion. Although the scene might be a little too pink, it is not long. And what is more important: I feel that the scene is needed.

“Kill your darlings” an expression goes, and that is true, but don’t kill just because somebody tells you to do so.

In this case, I believe the scene not only adds to the story, but also carries the theme of this story.

If other readers don’t see this, then the error is elsewhere than in this particular scene.

Another thing that was pointed out to me was that my villain was too one-dimensional and that he is religious maniac is both cliché and offensive.

This sparkled by imagination and a rework of the bad guy started.

To listen to feedback I have to be open-minded and aware that what I have written is not perfect as it is.

When I have a scene that one says should be removed and I think not, I must ask myself if it is me that is blind and narrow-minded, or if I “correctly” disagree with the reviewer.

But I never implant a suggestion if my heart feels otherwise. My heart may be wrong in the end, but if I change without her approval, I will one day writing somebody else’s story.


The Rouge Wave: The Entertaining Question

A great article about theme is found here on The Rouge Wave. Have a look.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Let's be Friends reward

I'm honored to have received the Let's be Friends reward from Khaye at Melting Chocolate.

As part of this reward I have to pass this on to eight other friends.

Now, as I consider these rewards as a way to link readers to interesting blogs they never been to before, I will not give this reward to the blogs I have linked to in my two previous awards, although there are great friends behind some of those blogs, so no offense intended.

1. Karin at Beyond Words
2. Shasha at Ako...I...Io
3. Drew at Learning the Art of English Conversation
4. Louise at A View from Carmine Superiore
5. Teleni at The Dirty Ground
6. The English Teacher
7. Wonder Woman at Disjointed Intellegence
8. Robin Kelly at Writing for Performance

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

They don’t want to play with you, little retard

For about a year of my childhood, me and my family stayed in an area where lots of immigrants lived.

I went to preschool and there where two groups: one with children that spoke Swedish as their native language and one where they didn’t. Today, they would have mixed the groups, but not then. We didn’t even play at the yard at the same time.

One girl in my group did not, however, speak Swedish as her native.

She was considered as a retard.

If she had a psychical handicap or not, I don’t know. But she was treated as she had one, by us kids as well as the teacher.

We didn’t want her with us in our plays.

Once there was an argument because she didn’t want to leave. The teacher came to our aid and said to the girl:

“Do you understand what they are saying? They don’t want to play with you.”

How could she?!

How could she be so careless with that girl’s feelings?

How could she favor our bad behavior? She should have told us that everyone was welcome.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Match a description with a photo

This is my latest thinking-out-of-the-box exercise.

Can you match the descriptions with the “right” images?

1. It was a world of doubt and treason, a world of invisible powers working against mankind.

2. It was a world with a peculiar balance. They did not agree with each other and they never mixed, but there they lived, side by side without aggression.

3. It was a land of great beauty, but the harmony was no longer present. Danger lurked beyond its borders and came closer for each day.

4. It was a land where innovation gave birth to gadgets that was meant to save mankind. The smog, for instance, was taken care of by a giant vacuum cleaner, leaving the sky clear and blue.

The “correct” answer will appear later.

Photos Ronny Ilvemo

Here you can read more about my Exercises

Monday, February 9, 2009

How to start writing a movie script

There is of course various ways to translate that great idea you have into a movie script. I do not intend to tell you there is only one way to do it. But there are certain things that are very important to understand if your movie script is going to work.

Focus and structure are among these things.

Who’s story do you want to tell? Who’s point of view? This is focus.

This does not exclude the possibility of secondary stories, but they should all in the end concern the fate of the main character. A supporting character does not enter a diner and meet with an old friend from school she has not seen in fifteen years, unless this meeting affects the main character one way or another.

Focus does also mean that the audience should find their main interest in the main character. If they wonder about the fate of a supporting character, the focus is lost. The supporting characters should be dimensional and interesting by all means, but they support the main character, not steal his/hers ray of sunshine.

Structure is the skeleton of a good movie. It does not give it life, but it keeps things in place and makes all the other things possible. A bad structure limits and can even dispirit a great concept.

This calls for planning before writing. There are few things more devastating than a written script that needs a complete reconstruction because bad structure.

A beat sheet is one way to have control over the structure. Not only do you keep control over where turning points should appear, you also know from the start what setups are needed in the first act.

It may be boring to plan, but it does pay off in the end.

Image by Nevit Dilmen
Image used under GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Image edited by the writer

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Word: Onomatopoeia

Onomatopoeia - using words that imitate the sound they denote, like “miaou” or “hiss”.

Onomatopoetic was one of the first “complicated” words I remember learning as a kid (in Swedish of course, but it’s almost the same word).

I almost had onomatomania about it.

Onoma - name
Poeia – to make, to create

Onomatopoeia – to create a name. That is a good word. You make a sound imitating a cat – Miaaaoooou – and you have created a name for that sound.

I think of my two-year-old who says “wooom” every time he sees a bus.

What I find interesting with this word is that it is not a word you use in common language. You don’t write “He used an onomatopoeia as he waited for the bus”. It is simply a word to name a group of words.

It’s not a word that really adds something to a description, because that’s not where it is used. It’s a word for language nerds.


Painting "A Black Cat" by Jahn Henne
Used under
GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Image edited by the writer

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Passionate Blogger Reward

I have received the Passionate Blogger Reward from Richard at the Dreamworks blog.

The rules says I have to tell what I am passionate about and then pass the reward on to another blogger I consider passionate.

Passionate - Having or expressing strong emotions; Given to strong feeling, sometimes romantic and/or sexual; Fired with intense feeling; ardent, blazing, burning.

This according to WordWeb and Wiktionary.

Strong emotions… Fired with intense feeling… Burning…

What is in the word "passionate"? Is it love for my family? I love my family. I would die for them. They make me happy. Is that passion?

For me, passion is a peak of emotions; something that does not last. It may return, but it is something you not have on a constant level.

When I hug my husband I feel passion.

When I write I feel passion.

When I drive a car in a computer game I also feel that ardent, blazing sensation.

I'll give this reward to Robert A Vollrath at Endangered Truth in whom I find a passionate and inspired blogger.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I have been interviewed

I have been interviewed by the sweet and kind woman behind the blog Melting Chocolate.

Read the interview here.

Eastern Star
watercolor painting by
Shahrzad Shirazi
used under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.5 License

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Rouge Wave: 100 most beautiful words

The Rouge Wave has a list with the 100 most beautiful words in the English language.

This list did not include those simple words as “cat” or “house”. It was full of those fancy, less used words as “onomatopoeia” and “loquacious”. But also words that I’m familiar with like “porcelain”, “lithe” and “laughter”.

Is it just me who find “hymeneal” an unknown word? Is the list full of familiar words to native English speaking people?

Well, it does not hurt to widen the vocabulary.

And the list got me thinking.

I have had a Saturday theme for 20 weeks now. I’m running out of music from YouTube. If I’m going to keep the theme, then I want it to really be music that has meant something to me. Isn’t 20 a good number to end this story at?

Maybe I should have a word each Saturday instead?

Will I make a fool of myself? Do I have to be a professor to pull that off?

I cannot allow myself to be afraid to use my tool – written language.

Monday, February 2, 2009

One page = one minute

In a movie script one page is supposed to match one minute of film.

It can be very useful to remember this when writing the action.

A fast scene, a scene with much rush, can’t pay attention to details. The text must match the speed of the final movie.

There is a difference in pace between

He gets out of bed, dresses and leaves.


He gets out of bed.


Finally he leaves.

The first example has fast pace. Not necessarily in a rush, but we don’t need to see it all. On the final film the guy’s doings will be cut in a way that we will see him doing it, but only because we need know how the guy got from his bed to the bus.

In the second example we will see the guy sitting on his bed, tumble about with his hand in his hair, searching for his clothes on the floor, and see him walk to the door. A moment to show character.

(But we don’t need to write much more than this. Don’t clutter with details unless they are needed. Let the actor do his job.)

We paint an image with our words but also with the pace.

The setting sun colors the sea and the sky.

The silence is broken by oars dipping into the water.

A bird’s cry in the sky.

The sun lowers itself below the horizon.

If you are looking for short scripts take a look here