Mark Hayes’ Passing Place: Location Relative

I read Hayes’ “The Strange and the Wonderful” in Harvey Duckman Presents V7 and was (am still) amazed by it (I reviewed it in Why It Works for Me – Mark Hayes’ “The Strange and the Wonderful”). I reached out to Hayes and learned “The Strange and the Wonderful” is part of the Passing Place mythos, so asked for an autographed copy of Passing Place.

It took a week to read the book because 1) I’m a slow reader and 2) I was savoring it. Passing Place is a fine meal, an elegant respite from the world’s chaos. I’m leaving the following review in several places and the baseline take-away is READ THIS BOOK!
Continue reading “Mark Hayes’ Passing Place: Location Relative

Great Opening Lines – and Why! (Oct 2021’s Great Opening Lines)

I wrote in Great Opening Lines – and Why! (Part 3 – Some Great Opening Lines) that I’d share more great opening lines as I found them.

It’s been eight months since I posted some great opening lines. It’s been a while and it was worth it to find this gem; Mark Hayes’ Passing Place.

“The Greyhound pulled away into the thunderous summer storm, leaving in its wake a dishevelled, world-weary figure in the dark, deserted bus station.” – Mark Hayes’ Passing Place

Scene, tone, atmosphere, mood, setting, and character in twenty-four words.

Whoa!

I don’t know how he did it and Hayes put me smack in the American midwest. I’ve been in hellacious thunderstorms on several continents and tying the storm to the Greyhound bus nails it. Anybody who’s traveled America by bus has had these experiences.

The Greyhound pulled away… – Isolation, loneliness, being left behind

…into the thunderous summer storm,… – Beautifully rhythmic and alliterative, the storm is thunderous. It is loud. Banging. Crushing.

…leaving in its wake… – again we’re being left behind, isolated, alone.

…a dishevelled, world-weary figure… – The leaving bus and the storm are already deserting and crushing the spirit of this (as yet) unknown character and here it is stated to prove our sense of him or her.

…in the dark, deserted bus station. – Everything from the above and more so. If you as reader aren’t collapsing under the weight this poor character is carrying, stop reading because you’re not getting it and you should. Beautiful, beautiful, and beautiful. I wrote in my complete review of Hayes’ Passing Place how impressed I am by this book, here’s a sample of its power.

Read it. You’ll be better for it.

Do you have any great opening lines you’d like to share?
I’d love to know them. There’s a catch, though. You have to explain in context why a line is great. Saying a line is great because it comes from some great literature doesn’t cut it. Quoting from archaic and/or little known works doesn’t cut it.

Feel free to quote from archaic and/or little know works, just make sure you give reasons why something is great. I stated the Great Opening Lines criteria back in Great Opening Lines – and Why! (Part 2 -What Makes a Great Opening Line?).

So by all means, make the claim. Just make sure you provide the proof according to the guidelines given. If not, your comment won’t get published.

Linda Seger’s “Making a Good Script Great”

Linda Seger’s Making a Good Script Great is one of two books I recently picked up on scriptwriting/screenwriting because…well, basically because I like to learn, and learn I did. There are more pages dogeared, highlighted, and marked up than there are pages untouched.

 
Begin with the concept that storytelling is storytelling is storytelling and it doesn’t matter the medium because regardless of medium you want a strong, visceral reaction from your audience/reader.

Now recognize that any medium will touch on all aspects of getting that strong, visceral reaction to some degree; a character is a character is a character, a scene is a scene is a scene, dialogue is dialogue is dialogue.

Go one more to specific mediums emphasize specific aspects more than others due to that medium’s limitations. Literature can handle 1st Person POV handily, script/screenwriting not so much.

Recognize that and the next item is to learn ways to fake 1st Person POV in a medium designed for 3rd Person Limited/Omniscient POV.

And if you stop there and say to yourself, “But I don’t have to do that when I write a book” you’re missing out on an incredible learning opportunity. Sure, you may never have to do that in a book but learning how to do it and – more importantly – how to work with such a constraint gives you the flexibility to use that technique, parts of that techniques, concepts from that technique, modify it, et cetera, to make your own non-script/screenwriting work sing.


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Sunset at the Red Arrow Grille

Let me know what you think about this one. I share a first reader’s comments at the end of the piece.


Sunset at the Red Arrow Grille

Angie watched the old couple take booth 7. They sat on either side of the table, reached across and held hands.

She smiled. Limited income. Probably just got their checks. This is their big time out this month. Make ‘em smile. “Hi. I’m Angie. I’ll be helping you today. What can I start you with?”

The old couple smiled. They kept one hand out to each other.

The old man looked up, nodded. “Coffee. Extra cream, please.”

The old woman’s eyes smiled as she looked up. “Do you have ice tea?”

“Sweetened or unsweetened?”

“Unsweetened. I’ve got my own sugar right here.” The old woman patted the old man’s hand.

“Aw,” he said.

“Aw,” she said.

Angie returned with their drinks. The menus remained unopened on the table.

The old woman tipped a sugar packet into her tea and swirled it with her straw. “We know what we want.”

“Go ahead.”

“I’d like some homemade macaroni-and-cheese. Do you have that?”

Angie nodded, wrote the woman’s order, and looked at the old man.

“A meatloaf plate. Got one?”

“Sure do.”

The old man dumped two creamers in his coffee. “Met in a diner. Years ago. Saw your sign, stopped in.”

The old woman squeezed his hand. “Yes. Diners always have good, simple, stick to the ribs food. We have a long way ahead of us and don’t want to stop until we get there. That’s why we pulled in here.”

“Where you folks going?”

He sipped his coffee. “Reservoir. One town over.”

Angie drove a mental map. “That’s not far, is it?”

The old woman pointed out the window. “We want to be there at sunset, when the sun’s going over those mountains. All the colors of the mountains and setting sun reflect off the water.”


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Recovery Triptych: The Stone in God’s Sling

Recap from Recovery Triptych: The EchoRecovery Triptych took shape 9 Feb 1990. Originally I conceived only the first section, The Echo. I shared it with a critique group and was told I shouldn’t submit anything to the group containing such vulgarity and violence (see Writers Groups – Critiquing Methods – Ruled to Death, third bullet). I remember thinking at the time, “You think this has vulgarity and violence? You’ve had a protected life, huh?”

The triptych’s three parts are:

  1. The Echo
  2. Welcome to My Sandbox
  3. The Stone in God’s Sling

Here for the first time in slightly over thirty years, starting two Mondays ago and concluding here, Recovery Triptych.

It is precisely because a child’s feelings are so strong that they cannot be repressed without serious consequences. The stronger a prisoner is, the thicker the prison walls have to be, which impede or completely prevent later emotional growth.
– Alice Miller, The Drama of the Gifted Child

The Stone in God’s Sling

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