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13 OCTOBER 2011

The Shape of A Story: writing tips from Kurt Vonnegut

"A few years ago, Open Culture readers listed Slaughterhouse Five as one of your top life–changing books. But Kurt Vonnegut was not only a great author. He was also an inspiration for anyone who aspires to write fiction – see for example his 8 rules for writing fiction, which starts with the so–obvious–it's–often–forgotten reminder never to waste your reader's time.

In this video, Vonnegut follows his own advice and sketches some brilliant blueprints for envisioning the 'shape' of a story, all in less than 4 minutes and 37 seconds."

(Open Culture, 4 April 2011)

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8 rules for writing fiction • authorblueprintcausally related narrative eventscurvefiction • good fortune • ill fortune • Kurt Vonnegutnarrativeplotscreenwritingshape • Shape of A Story • Slaughterhouse 5story • story beginning • story ending • story shapetipswriting tips

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
12 MARCH 2011

Drew's Script-O-Rama: free film and TV screenplays since 1995

"It was eons before I discovered that 'lauded' was a good thing.

Anyway, I'm more like that slack–assed buddy who doesn't return your phone calls, has owed you twenty bucks for the last 14 years and flirts with your wife when it comes to updating the site at times. For that I feel shame. Shame, I feel. But hey, it's 2010 now, and I'm a changed man. Besides, don't I get some slack since I've had this site up since 1995? Val Kilmer used to be Batman back then! And Mr. Showbiz left you high and dry, but your friend Drew, he sticks with you while simultaneously referring to himself in the third person!"

(Drew, 2010)

[Note that this site includes a large number of inelegant ads.]

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1995artistic practiceauthorauthorshipBatmancharactercharacterisationculture • draft • dramafeature filmfictionfilm genrefilm scriptsfilmmakerfreegenregift cultureHollywoodHollywood movieslinks worklistliterature • Mr. Showbiz • narrative fictionplotprecedencerepositoryresourcescreen culturescreenplay • screenwriter • screenwritingscript • Script-O-Rama • televisiontranscript • Val Kilmer • writing process

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
02 MARCH 2010

Reading ban on leaked Harry Potter

"Fourteen fans bought Harry Potter and the Half–Blood Prince from The Real Canadian Superstore in Coquitlam on the west coast of Canada before managers realised their mistake [selling books that were under embargo]. But readers will be unable to share their knowledge after Raincoast Books, the book's Canadian publisher, was granted a 'John Doe' injunction prohibiting the buyers from even reading their copies before the publication date.

The supreme court of British Columbia issued a court order preventing anyone from 'displaying, reading, offering for sale, selling or exhibiting in public' their books. J. K. Rowling's legal advisers said that the author was entitled to prevent buyers from reading their own books even though they had not broken the law.

'The fact is that this is property that should not have been in their possession,' said Neil Blair, a legal specialist for Christopher Little, the author's literary agent. 'Copyright holders are entitled to protect their work. If the content of the book is confidential until July 16, which it is, why shouldn't someone who has the physical book be prevented from reading it and thereby obtaining the confidential information? How they came to have access to the book is immaterial'."

(The Times Online)

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added valuearts and innovationarts fundingauthorbookBritish ColumbiaCanadacommercialismconfidentialcopyright • Coquitlam • creative capitalcreative entrepreneurshipcreative industries • embargo • entrepreneurfundingHarry Potter • Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince • JK Rowlingmarket failuremarketspatron • Raincoast Books • social gainsponsorship • The Real Canadian Superstore • value of art

CONTRIBUTOR

David Rogerson
14 FEBRUARY 2009

Duck Amuck: classic cartoon meta-subject

"There's an authorial consciousness and meta narrative that's noticeably at play in many of the Bugs Bunny cartoons. In fact, the opening of this film started out with the well–known ending, "That's All Folks!" which was then corrected by Bugs to say, "That's Not All Folks!"––a phrase that included copyediting marks. So we know from the start that the narrative is all a game, that beginnings and endings (or any traditional narrative arc) shouldn't be taken seriously, and that Bugs will always toy with our expectations.

One episode stood out spectacularly. In Duck Amuck (created in 1953), Daffy Duck is exquisitely tortured by his creator. In the course of the film the animator messes with and changes the scenery, interchanges props, replaces the soundtrack, mutes Daffy, and even erases and physically alters Daffy himself. For example, as Daffy strolls with a ukulele, singing a lazy, tropical song, he's tossed into a variety of climates, ending up in the snow (you can almost hear the animator laughing––at Daffy and in celebration of his artistic, cruel freedom). Daffy keeps trying to live––and entertain––but he can't maintain any constancy or control of his surroundings, or even his body."
(Lit Matters , 15 December 2007)

[Duck Amuck can be interpreted as a (playful) allegory to Christian mythology where Daffy Duck represents humanity and Bugs Bunny (his creator) represents 'God'.]

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
09 NOVEMBER 2004

Iannis Xenakis: Renaissance Figure

Iannis Xenakis is one of the most important composers of the 20th century. His works span every media and numerous approaches, electronic and acoustical, from orchestral to electroacoustic to multi–media. Also a mathematician, experimental engineer and architect, theoretician, educator, and author, Xenakis is a true renaissance figure.

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acousticarchitectauthorcomposereducatorelectronicengineeringexperimentalIannis Xenakis • mathematician • music composer • theoretician
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