How I Am Going to Make Real $$$
Did you ever see a publication at a bookstore or newsstand that jumped out at you, one that seemed to say, "Buy me. It'll be the best investment you'll ever make?"I bought one such publication last week. It's called "Write On! You Can Make Real $$$ as a Writer," by S. Charalambous. It's not glossy or fancy; indeed, it's really just a pamphlet. But its very simplicity implied great treasures within. While I do make some "$money" (as it is always referred to in this pamphlet) as a writer, I see no reason not to make more. There are countless $moneymaking tips in "Write On!, " mostly found in the sensational section "The Craft of Writing," a conveniently alphabetized collection of crafts you need to learn as a writer. This stuff is "nuclear."Here's one of the first: BODY PARTS: "Except in the bedroom, body parts should not act on their own. Eg. 'Her fingers fumbled with the doorknob.' No! Instead 'She fumbled with the doorknob.'Yes!The character is doing the action." I understand -- if the action is in the bedroom, you "can" say "His penis fumbled with the doorknob." Man, this is like giving me a license to print $money.The section on DIALOGUE is extremely compelling. S. Charalambous defines dialogue as "What characters speak." She adds that "real snappy dialogue needs no tag lines and no action preceding it. Eg.:'What do you mean?''You heard me.''Bast...'"S. Charalambous is a genius. Three lines of dialogue and I'm on the edge of my seat. As a reader, I'm dying to know exactly what the character is about to launch into with "Bast..." Is he or she about to say, "Bastille Day is just around the corner"? Perhaps it's a foreigner remarking, "Bast ting I ever ate." Or "Bast is, as you know, the inner bark of the linden tree." What a $cash cow.I do differ with S. Charalambous in the SHOW DON'T TELL section. She uses as an example "Sara was always busy as a bee." Then she hollers, "No! This is telling!" and goes into a long description of Sara cleaning her living room, finishing up with "A moment later she unplugged the vacuum, twisted the cord around the handle and paused, admiring her handy work." She adds, "Yes! This is showing! ... You have shown heroine is busy as a bee by her actions."Now, as a professional writer, I see no need to go into such detail, which I find, frankly, boring. I'm the writer; I'm in charge here. If I say Sara is busy then the reader better damn well believe it. Now I may want to "emphasize" her busyness, eg. "Sara was busy. Oh, was she ever busy. Busy busy busy. She was about as busy as you could get without being a bee." But I'm sure as hell not going to describe Sara's every move using Comet or Windex or what have you.The same fallacy may be found in POINT OF VIEW. S Charalambous tells us to "avoid author's point of view. Eg. 'The childwoman entered the whorehouse.' No! This is author intrusion. The author is seeing the character enter. Instead, 'Lisa bit her lip and entered the whorehouse.' Yes! Character is doing the action (entering the whorehouse).Yet how do we know from this that Lisa is a childwoman? Because she "bit her lip"? Perhaps if you wrote, "Eating a bowl of Froot Loops, Lisa entered the whorehouse," I could see it, but I say just call her a childwoman and be done with it.Yet S. Charalambous redeems herself spectacularly in HOOKS, "Dynamite Chapter opening sentence(s) that 'grip' the reader and keep him turning pages." And here's her example of a hook: "A little young to be whorin' for ya, ain't she?""Wow. Who wouldn't read on? You got sex, you got bad language ... wow. S. Charalambous' incredible "handy work" inspired me to try my own hand at hooks:"Tricia was a young whore. A little too young.""Lisa was a childwoman and a lip-biter who would often enter whorehouses.""He fumbled with the doorknob of the whorehouse as cries of 'Bast...' tore at his ears.""Sara was as busy as a bee until she went into whorin'."From here on in, you can just forward my mail to Easy Street. And all $cash, for that matter.