"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Writing Tip of the Week

(subtitle - What I learned from "The Simpsons")

I remember years ago (insert - when I used to be an AVID TV watcher), a friend and I discussing how hilarious "The Simpsons" was. The friend made the comment - "It's all about the details."
How true this small little comment is. The particular episode was when Mr. Burns gave the Simpsons family some large monolithic statue of a head, and it was shown in the background WITH THE CAT SLEEPING ON TOP OF IT. This minor little detail added so much to the scene. It stated more than any words could have done. Just showing the statue wouldn't have hardly even been funny, but the fact that the cat was on top ... well, you get the idea.
I have to give another example, this time from the big screen. Has anyone ever seen the movie "Monsters Inc."? No? Then go rent it immediately. I've seen this peripherally probably 100 times. And of kid's movies, it's the best when it comes to small details. Things like the sticky note inside Mike's locker which reads "file paperwork."
I have to say - The people who make this stuff are the cream of the crop. They are creative, and I strive for anything nearing this level of creativity.

There's a cool description of this when it comes to writing. I'm sure you've heard it before, but this post wouldn't be complete without me saying it.
"Cool things per page"
I keep this posted in my office, and think about it as I revise. What extra can be added without overloading or detracting. Where can I put sticky notes in my books?


Jim D said...

Good tip to remember! I also agree about being careful not to overload. We need to include just enough of those cool things to capture the reader's mind, but not clutter it up (like a desk).

HipWriterMama said...

Very nice tip. Monsters, Inc. That movie was just too fun!

Cheryl said...

Your "cool things per page" idea reminds me of something I heard about writers for TV shows--apparently, they aim for a certain number of laughs per page of telescript. (I think two.) It's what started me thinking about how many "cool things" per page I had written.