Keith MacKenzie 26 letters. A million and more words. No limit to stories.

What’s playing at the cinema in your head?

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted here. But I have an excuse – we were moving. We packed up all our shit and we moved across the continent, across the mighty Canada-U.S. border, and landed right smack in Woburn, Massachusetts. I feel like I’ve walked into a Ben Affleck movie. Well, no, not really, but you get the idea.

But that does not mean that my writing aspirations have changed. In fact, I’m making a lot more progress these days, now that I’ve quit my day job as a newspaper editor and am a full-time stay-at-home poppa.

It’s great.

Especially for my book about an illegal face transplant. I’m making more progress on this damn thing than I have in many years and – every writer knows this feeling – I am getting a strong sense that I am actually nearly done. I can see the finish line. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and gosh darn it, it’s not an oncoming train. I can actually see it coming together and it feels like a movie with living, breathing characters.

Anyhow, you may or may not know this, but I’m a big fan of the razor-tongued, foul-mouthed Chuck Wendig and his sage scribe advice. He’ll throw F-bombs into there that make Scottish writer James Kelman blush. Yes, I’m talking about the man who wrote How Late It Was, How Late, known as that Booker Prize winner with an estimated 4,000 mentions of the word “fuck”.

But I digress. Wendig has a recent blog post about how to read like a writer. I was reading it and nodding my head, but at the same time feeling like one of those eedjits who watch movies and ruthlessly and obsessively dissect them for their plot points, characterizations, story arcs and so on and so forth. But I don’t do that with books.

Then Wendig revealed this little morsel:

Watch television. Films. Games. Get scripts. Read those. You’ll learn a lot about dialogue and description. You’ll learn the architecture of story.

via How To Read Like A Writer « terribleminds: chuck wendig.

Right fuckin’ on. I was thrilled that he wrote that. It’s so very true. When I write, I feel like I’m making a movie in my head, describing what’s going on for my character. I can see my characters, I can hear them, I can even smell them.

So if you’re watching a movie sometime soon, think about this lovely little fact: The movie started with some angry writer putting words on paper. And then the script was sold to some happy-go-lucky Hollywood producers, and then the movie was made. But it always, always, always starts as a script.

So think about writing that way – as if you’re writing a movie. Who knows, it may become a movie one day if it’s that popular. Go to it!

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Four books in the fire. Dozens of short stories fluttering about. Mission: To get the word out.

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