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The Most Riveting Movie Moment Ever

February 13, 2016 | Tags: , , | No Comments

I heard someone speak of this as the scene in The Great Dictator where Chaplin as Hitler makes sport with the globe of the world. And I’m sure you have an opinion, which I’m anxious to hear about. Mind you, I’m not looking for movie quotes like “Make my day” or “We’re in for a […]

Using the Holidays in Your Plot

January 8, 2016 | 1 Comment

Let’s assume the topic relates to the grand nexus of fall/winter holidays, Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year’s. That said, I think other holidays have a use as seasonal markers that can be employed as transitional devices (“It was Memorial Day, and the beaches were open.”). While some non-holiday but widely-observed days such as Halloween, Valentine’s Day and Easter […]

What Does It Take for a Book to Be a Thriller?

November 11, 2015 | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Like all fiction, a thriller starts with story and character. To broadly paraphrase Henry James* (an unlikely source for thriller wisdom) “Characters drive the story; the story reveals the characters.” This tight fusion between story and character is especially important in a thriller. But what kind of story? What kind of character? I’ll concentrate on […]

Novel vs. Movie — Deadlier Than the Male

November 2, 2015 | No Comments

Deadlier Than the Male (1942) by James Gunn. James Gunn (no relation to the sci-fi writer) was a 21-year old senior at Stanford when he wrote Deadlier Than the Male as a creative writing assignment. It was his only novel. He spent the next twenty-some years in Hollywood as a writer for movies and television […]