You Have Been Radicalized (Why Write Like A Pussy?)

advice, novels, pilots, screenwriting, T.V. writing

How do I know you’ve been radicalized? Because you’ve got something to say. Speech radicalizes you.

Don’t neuter your words. If you’ve got something to say, say it. Say it bold. Don’t fear conflict: cause it. Tension and anxiety rise as you near the heart of your subject. Trouble creates story. You are dangerous now. You find dangerous places, and you stay there, despite discomfort. You do it because your audience turns to you to do it for them.

Remove weakening language. We weaken our words because we feel uncertain. If it’s worth saying, it’s worth writing, and if it’s worth writing, it’s worth writing with conviction — brave, confident, stripped to its most radical core.

Weakening language weakens you. Write the weakening language because it allows you to write at all. Padding comforts you enough to venture out onto the field or into the arena or down the dark alley. Once there, remove it. Leaving it implies you don’t deserve to be radical, that you must pad your self against the world seeing you. But you do not need to speak if you’re not going to be heard. You diminish your authority — in your own mind and in the mind of the world — and make it harder to be radical next time.

Everything you say and write prints on a boldface sign the world sees. The world takes you seriously, and we consider every act of speech you make to be a billboard on which you speak to the world. So make it bold, make it clear, and make it count.

Following are weakening words. To experiment, take a current writing project and save it as a new file. Run a search for these words and remove all of them. Yes, you’ll have to go back and replace some of them. But say goodbye to most of them for good — they were the incompetent employees whose absence you celebrate. The draft emerges tighter, cleaner, leaner, less burdened. It stands as a sign blasting your good ideas rather than a manifesto burying them.

WEAKENING WORDS:

well, sure, you know, seems, much, in, bit, I, you, [first names], here, and, then, once, [-ing], when, suddenly, now, appears, to, that, right, okay, [repeated words/phrases/ideas], is, little, might, maybe, first, probably, well, so, among, all, the, but, hi, how, are, try, start, begin, which, about, why, continue, slowly, for, what, it, it’s, actually, totally, very, [adjectives], [adverbs], almost, [cliches], pretty, [anything ending in -ly], however, [anything ending or sounding like -ish], oh, own, ?, [comma clauses], just, really,

Anyone have anything to add?

Be Charmed Rather Than Charming

advice

Famous art collector, advertising guru and Nigella Lawson-husband Charles Saatchi has a new book coming out in September —My Name is Charles Saatchi and I Am an Artoholic (Phaidon) — and a reality show on BBC2 called “Best of British,” in which he plucks 6 artists from obscurity and puts them through his own art school for three months.

In this interview, Saatchi reveals his mother-in-law’s advice: better to be charmed rather than charming. This is an important concept for storytelling. No one wants to listen to someone who goes on boorishly, delighting at the sound of their own voice. And no one wants to watch a story that confidently powers on in complete indifference to the existence of its audience in the darkened theater or living room beyond the screen.

As we craft our stories our goal should be to be charmed, both by the people set to enjoy them and the characters that inhabit them. Let the audience be the charming ones, the interesting ones, the funny ones; let them shine, and that spirit of fresh eyes, humility, openness and generosity will live in the characters. The other way is assuming that we’re the most interesting ones in the room, and that everyone wants to listen just because we’re the ones speaking the loudest. Charming the loudest isn’t charming at all.

What advice do you and your wife give your children?

Nigella’s mum gave her an invaluable insight into nice behaviour. According to Nigella her advice went something like this: “It is better to be charmed than to charm.” By this she meant that what makes people feel good about themselves is feeling as if they have been charming, interesting; in short, have been listened to. For her, the notion that one should oneself be riveting or aim to be quite the most fascinating person in the room was a vulgarity and just sheer, misplaced vanity. Trying to be charming is self-indulgent; allowing oneself to be charmed is simply good manners.

via 30 things about art and life, as explained by Charles Saatchi | Art and design | The Observer .