Warning!! This installment rambles on forever, so quit while you're ahead. Or at least make a nice strong cup of coffee before you dive in.
If wishing (and hard work) made it so
First, I've been hearing whispered details on the internet that the Warner Bros. Television Writers Workshop is taking ten - only ten! - successful applicants. Yeeps. If I'm one of the top ten applicants, this is great news. Imagine all the things I could learn with only nine other people in my workshop. Then again, if I'm, say, number 12 on the list... no, will not think about that. I am going to get in. I am. Definitely. No question. Yessiree Mr Barker. I am.
You can read Jane Espenson for all the pertinent insider details. Not about me getting in. About the workshop.
Writing what I know
My Bones struggle has been long and arduous, but I'm getting there. Crime drama is kinda hard to write. Who knew? There are all those new characters to create, and the hard science that needs to be invented - I mean - researched, and little clues that need laying. Then, once you have all that, you're only half-way there, because you have to make it all emotionally significant to your investigators. If you can do that, then maybe, just maybe, you have something.
My previous storyline was all about people, places, and things I really knew nothing about. It had a great crime scene, a fascinating victim, and a really gruesome way of identifying the body... but that was all. So I am now relying on that old chestnut "Write what you know". No, I've never killed anyone. I've never even hit anyone. But there was that noisy neighbor who gave me severe sleep deprivation and fevered dreams of ways to dispose of her... in the end I just moved, but that's not how the character in my Bones is going to handle it.
Writers faires and panel discussions
One of the good things about living in LA is that there are lots of opportunities to hobnob with real working writers while they dispense their sage advice ("Be an accountant! Be a zoologist! Just don't be a writer!"). You also get to eavesdrop on your fellow struggling writers as they talk about their miserable lives, which can be lots of fun. Sometimes though, I find myself sitting at these events thinking "I should have just stayed home and spent the day writing".
The UCLA Writers Faire was one such event. Yes, there were plenty of pro writers there, who now spend most of their time teaching at UCLA. But they mostly only dispensed wisdom regarding paying hundreds of dollars to take their UCLA courses. I'm sure I'd learn a lot from them, but I'm also pretty sure I could learn most of that stuff from other sources, in a lot less time, for a lot less cash.
Then there was the Writers Guild Sublime Primetime event. The other WGA events I've been to have been great. The Evening with John Wells made me just ache to be in his room (his writers' room, doofus!). Sublime Primetime was entertaining, I suppose, but a good half hour was taken up by a clip reel - hey, I've already seen the shows, don't waste my precious time on clips! The rest of it just felt a bit jumbled and flat. Matthew Weiner was the least confounded by the set-up, and actually managed to scatter some wise pearls around. Matt Selman made a few hilariously inappropriate comments, which kept things lively. The other panelists just seemed a bit uncomfortable, and I really don't blame them, it was just that kind of evening.
I'm starting a new running regime. Four times a week, first thing in the morning. Plus two sessions of weights per week, and ultimate frisbee. How does this leave me time to do anything else you ask? The answer. Volume!
FAST FORWARD REVIEW: Code of Honor
11 months ago