Friday, October 29, 2010

"Make a Scene" by Jordan Rosenfeld - It's About More Than You Think

(Right, the subtitle says it all.)

Okay folks, I've come out of my glorious coma and look what was in my face. Just a good book I want to pass along. A little something that's helping me out of my delusions. Nothing earth-shaking or outrageously hilarious or anything even close to that. Just another book I wish I'd read long ago, that's all. (Woo fuckin hoo. Let's face it, I just thought all this drab grey could use a touch of burgundy.)

Okay, enough of that.

Check out Jordan Rosenfeld's Make A Scene. A whole book about scenes? (Yes, moron. Why do I find that so impossible? Could it be that I've always thought that writing scenes is common sense and not a damn science? Or is this author just trying to cash-in on the obvious? Why should I buy a damn book just about scenes? Hell, all scenes have a beginning, a middle and a godforsaken ending. What else is there to know? Oh... this interior monologue is absurd, but it feels so good to chastise myself!)

I had checked this book out on Amazon long ago and thought at the time it was too basic and that almost all the information was so obvious to most writers, (especially gifted writers like me) but I finally decided to buy it. (An editor recommended a book to me that some people didn't like and they mentioned this one as a better choice. How funny is that? But it gets even better--then someone trashed this one and recommended another book, which I didn't get. I'm telling you, those Amazon reviews are amazing.) I'm wondering what kind of fog I was in the day I searched inside this book and passed on it because I think it has a lot to offer, especially for newcomers to writing. Turns out the author covers a lot of other things such as specific types of scenes, scene intentions, POV, Character Development/Motivation and much more. (That's right, take a look at the TOC.) (Forgive me, I have a thing for acronyms, initials, whatever.)

If you're an experienced writer, you'll still find this book useful as a refresher or you might find Rosenfeld's explanations about plot, for instance, easier to absorb. She breaks writing techniques down into specific modules in such a way that her remarks and insights might seem obvious on the surface, but she delivers the information in a way that resonates and sinks in. If you're brain dead like me, that's definitely a plus.

I've found the book helpful and for me at least, I think I finally "get it" as far as some of my issues about POV, plot, and a few other things. So if you're looking for a well-rounded book that covers other important topics aside from writing great scenes, blah, blah, blah. (Why bore you with the obvious, check it out already. I'm going to slip back into my coma. Do not disturb.)

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BTW, I've managed to read about 100 pages of Kings of the Earth and the story is growing on me but I put it down for this book and hope to get back to it and finish it. I think I cheated and read the last page though. Trust me, it's just as boring and uneventful as the first. What a shame. I don't like to bad-mouth any books but this one is testing me. I'm almost sure that Jon Clinch has written his one and only masterpiece, Finn, but I hope not. He's capable of so much more than Kings. My review is still pending and I plan to redeem myself, and this honest story, all in one.

Oh... did I promise a review of Child of God? Dream on. (How condescending can I get? Keep reading and find out. Nothing personal, it's just business folks.) Just for the record, I thought Child of God was a brilliant take on the underbelly of a society I think still exists in the outskirts of the mountains of Tennessee, and likewise for the Blue Mountains of West Virginia and other places like it, I suspect.

As usual McCarthy manages to thrill and surprise us by the story's end. Another gem. What else can one say about it? It's vintage McCarthy at his very best. Writing reviews for McCarthy books takes a lot out of you. There's just no simple way or any shortcuts you can take and do justice to the book the way it deserves. While his stories (their premises) might be simple, thematically they're complex and require plenty of thought, editing and time (motivation is more like it), which I've been short on lately.

Your moment of Zen:
Life is all about an even balance of all things and through meditation you can experience wellness. (write this down) Seek your balance. Money must solve your needs, but not your wants, because you will always want something you cannot have.