Shut Up and Write Pitt Meadows 3

Welcome back to SUaW Pitt Meadows Edition!

Thank you for joining us on our mission to increase writing productivity and push through any writing blocks. Shut Up and Write is a free proprietary method and system developed by writers for writers. Below is an inspirational piece from Judith Weston’s The Film Director’s Intuitionand a Writing Prompt if you want a boost of inspiration. 

Enjoy, and see you there! 

Sapha Burnell


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Writing Prompt

"Purple Hakama over a cream Yukata.

Moss & Fungus in the forest. Rain coating skin.

A rustle in the undergrowth."

Writer-Director Correlations?

Today’s choice for an inspirational passage might be considered an odd choice for creative writers. Bear with me, please. There are many things in the creative process which cross over, and the director planning the structure and movement of a scene is one of them. We are directors of our own mythical sets as we write. Just as poor setting in a book can ruin a reader’s experience, so can the staging of actors, or the poor use of set-dec tear someone out of enjoying a film.

Sometimes we can get so bogged in dialogue, or the plot of a scene to avoid the incidentals of how a character (like an actor) performs. It’s also something junior authors (myself included) says often enough for me to remember it: ‘but that’s what the character would do/where the character would go’. If we allow our muse to run rampant without an overarching ‘personal director’ to hold them accountable, our manuscripts can fall into the absurd.

Unless that’s the intent, then by all means.

I hope to see you here, and if you can't make it, I hope to see you're writing! Send me a Tweet, Hit me up on Facebook, let us know what's happening with you. 


Writing Inspiration

This third writing inspiration minute comes from Judith Weston’s The Film Director’s Intuition.

If you have a writing inspiration you'd like to share with the group, please contact me and I'll put it in the rotation. We have such a wealth of experience and wonder in the BC & Yukon Region of The Writers' Union of Canada, I'd love to hear what you all have to say. 

“You have to have come from either live television or the theatre to know how to use [rehearsal] well, because you have to know how to block a scene.” Sidney Lumet

“If I can cast the right people and figure out the things they should be doing in the scene, they don’t have to do anything but show up. Nobody has to act.” Mike Nichols

Scene Shaping

Emotional and Physical Structure

“During script analysis, a director should have come up with a cision of the emotional structure of each scene - its central emotional event, its individual events and beats, and ideas for the through-lines of the characters. She should, in addition, have considered the setting and objects of each scene, and come up with ideas for movement and activities for the actors. These movements and activities - the physical structure of the scene - should be connected to the emotional structure of the scene.

Certain movements, objects and activities are embedded in the script. For example, in the Tender Mercies scene, Rosa Lee speaks of making soup for Mac. If the scene begins with her in the living room or the bedroom, she must move to the kitchen to prepare his soup. Later she mentions a poster which the young musicians left with her.Mac at some point in the scene fetches his sheet music and guitar.

There are still many choices to be made. In connection with the soup preparation, for instance - which drawers or cabinets contain the pan, the spoon, the bowl? And the soup itself - canned or left over home cooked in the fridge? Is the poster laid out on the kitchen table, or folded up in the living room? When and how do the characters handle the objects? Where do they move and why? “ (page 291)

Let's take these weekly sessions to remember the joy of writing. The passion and fortitude of our brethren, who put ink to page and black scratches on blank document screens. We can and will succeed. We can and will create beautiful, poetic, refined works of literature. 

One week at a time, we can Shut Up and Write. 

Sapha Burnell