Conquering Writer’s Block

Dorin Rufer is in her second year of her Creative Writing MFA. She is an avid reader, writer, movie-goer and tea drinker. She is part of a podcast/blog adaptationpodcast.com about film adaptations and the original formats they are based on. She is also starting up her own blog: dogaru20.wordpress.com. Check her and her Chai Latte addiction out.

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There has been a long debate about whether or not writers block exists. The thing is, that it doesn’t matter. If you feel creatively blocked, what can you do?

It is something that I, personally have had to deal with for quite a few months. Whether stress, other obligations, personal troubles, or other are the cause of it doesn’t matter. Everyday distractions won’t go away. I used to say, “Oh, let me just do x, y, and z and then I will sit down and write” but another A-Z set of tasks was always right behind it.

Once I fell out of the habit of writing, it just seemed that I could not put the habit back in. The problem was, at least for me, that I was thinking too hard about it. I forced myself to sit in front of a notebook or computer and expected myself to write gold right away.

Now, I have allowed myself a regiment of journal pages. I write about three pages a day on anything. Mostly, at first, it was mostly venting about recent events, but more and more the subjects have become more profound and thoughtful. The date or something that just happened may put me in a state of memory or daydreaming, and I write it down.

This has inspired many short stories, bits of novels I have started, and even made me consider a memoir! It has built my confidence back up, and reminded me just to put one word in front of the other. Now, I probably still have a long road ahead before I feel the dam will break and I feel more free to sit down and write exactly what I want to, but I also consider myself a severe case of creative block. Because I am seeking to publish my work people always seem to ask me what market it is for? Who will read my book? Is it marketable? It feeds the little nay-saying voice in my head and makes it say “why bother?” like I am not good enough and no matter what I write it will be seen as junk and I am a failure.

I always just need to remind myself that my writing is valuable because I am the only one who can write it – told to me by author and tutor Rachel Cusk, and that all the things the others say or ask, including that horrible little voice in my head, are things to worry about later! I cannot let my fears about things to come allow the voice in my head to automatically be right, nor can I let all that stop my real voice from being heard! If you are like me, I hope you can do the same.

Now, I cannot exactly take credit for these journal pages, because they were set upon me through a book, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, which was recommended to me by a good friend. I can say, however, that this is my testimony that writing, no matter what kind, is still writing and puts the brain in the right mode to continue. So, my advice is, to myself and others, don’t worry about what you write, just write!

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Annual MFA Anthology, Writings…, Goes to Print, Launch Scheduled

Cover by Hannes Pasqualini, www.papernoise.net

Cover by Hannes Pasqualini, http://www.papernoise.net

 

We are excited to announce that the annual Kingston University MFA anthology, Writings…, goes to print this week. The official launch will be next week and we hope you’ll join us for a reading, drinks and a celebration of the achievements of all out MFAs. This event is free and open to the public so please join our Facebook event and invite your friends. You’ll even get a free copy of the publication!

 

 

Writings… Launch

Thursday, 30 May 2013

7pm

Waggon & Horses Pub

Surbiton, KT6 4TW

Adaptation

Dorin Rufer is in her second year of her Creative Writing MFA. She is an avid reader, writer, movie-goer and tea drinker. She is part of a podcast/blog adaptationpodcast.com about film adaptations and the original formats they are based on. She is also starting up her own blog: dogaru20.wordpress.com. Check her and her Chai Latte addiction out

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Ever feel that the films adapted of your favourite stories are just someone playing a joke on you? As if someone read the back summary of a book and then wrote their script based on that, rather than reading the book? We have all been there, but why does it happen? Someone put their heart down on the page and then some screen writer, director, producer, or something took that and tore it apart?

Let’s look into what goes into an adaptation? First, we all have to remember that words can always do more than pictures. There is a beautiful subtlety in well-done film, but it is still impossible to get all the detail one has put in their story onto the screen. Especially in the cases of budget and how wild the effects would need to be. The difference between a novel and screenplay is vast. Screenplays are written for the visual and auditory, driven by dialogue. Inner thoughts are always troublesome for an adaptation considering that voice-overs are hard to do well. As in Playwriting, a Screenplay page is a minute of screen time, where a novel, depending on the genre and age group, can be anywhere from 40,000 to, well, they can get really long. All the literary prose and background and descriptions have to be condensed and even sometimes watered down.

But what about the story itself? Because of these differences, most of the novel will be cut out. However, many people, including myself, say that the adaptation can be considered a success if the movie still gives the same general feeling, idea, theme, etc. The things one should consider if they are trying to adapt their book is as follows: 1) The pivotal scenes, 2) The seven or so most important characters, 3) The dialogue that fuels the plot.

However, with that said there are still questions that bother me about adaptations: why do they feel the need to change characters names? Whether it is the full or just the surname? I figure it is an attempt to try to separate the film from the original piece, especially when the film diverges from the original story, but is it necessary? Does it bother anyone else?

My biggest issue with it all is that in many cases I can see how a film could capitalise or enhance the story that people already know. In many cases, when an author overwrites slightly or puts things in that are repetitive or unnecessary, a film can pare that down into the best parts of the story. It isn’t easy, but it can be done.

The greatest aspect of stories as well as its greatest downfall is the investment its readers feel. We can’t help but feel attached to a really well written piece of work, and when someone messes with it, we feel hurt by those who didn’t do the work justice. Sometimes, we just have trouble separating ourselves while watching the film, but after all the work people put into the adaptation we do need to try to give them some credit; we don’t have to completely like the adaptation. Your opinion is your opinion and you are going to have it whether they like it or not, but we can take them all with a grain of salt.  (Except perhaps for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Seth Grahame-Smith, did you hate your own novel so much that you had to turn it into that action movie schlock? Be proud of your book, it is good!)

Most of the time it may be a case of “the book was better”! But at the same time, if you look back at the long catalogue of films, you may be surprised at how some of your favourite movies were originally books. Did you know that the film Pitch Perfect (2012) was based on a book?

Here is a website listing the 50 best book to movie adaptations… do you agree?

These are what are considered the worst adaptations.

And a fun one for those who hope to have a story of yours adapted in the future: Authors who have hated movie versions of their books.

A New Year Marks a New Era of Sci Fi

Dorin Rufer is in her second year of her Creative Writing MFA. She is an avid reader, writer, movie-goer and tea drinker. She is part of a podcast/blog adaptationpodcast.com about film adaptations and the original formats they are based on. She is also starting up her own blog: dogaru20.wordpress.com. Check her and her Chai Latte addiction out.

Here she contemplates how surviving the Mayan apocalypse can lead to better, different science fiction in novels and films.

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Happy New Year! We made it to 2013 even though some people didn’t think we would.

Take that Mayans!

As 2012 came to an end, I noticed that many of the trailers in the cinema are about apocalypse scenarios or post-apocalyptic worlds. I wonder if people out there are sick of hearing about the apocalypse yet. I already was sick of it at the end of 2011. Not to say that these movies won’t always do well, even if I think they shouldn’t. However, re-hashing this again and again, especially after the film ‘2012’ was released, just won’t cut it anymore. C’mon screenwriters, you can do better!

Although we can’t control, per se, what is produced or published, we can at least pick and choose what we watch and read. I have a strong feeling that after all this apocalypse talk that at least books about post-apocalyptic worlds will most likely be pushed to the side in favour of stories of happier new beginnings and looks towards the future. I would not be shocked at all to see Sci-Fi novels come in with higher sales as well as new Sci-fi novels being written. Now that we have ‘survived’ the apocalypse, it will be time for us to want better of ourselves and our world, to want so much of science fiction to become science fact.

Novels in a similar vein to Isaac Asimov’s The Foundation Series, Stephen Donaldson’s The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant and even something like C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters.

A fun consequence of this, of course, will be the choice of book adaptations for the film industry to choose from.

Now that the apocalypse is over, we actually do have all the time in the world. Write on!

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