Category Archives : Copout


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For my short story 20,000 Yards Across the Frontier, which also forms a segment of my novel Copout, I needed to write a western. I wanted to model it on the spaghetti western trilogy featuring Clint Eastwood’s “Man With No Name”. So I set to work, putting my character Donovan […]

Busting genres and joining a grand tradition


sweet-dreams-melanie-phelps
A large part of Copout’s subject matter is dreams. Half of the book’s text takes place in dreamscapes. So what do I think of dreams, you must surely want to know? Why did I write a book that gives so much time to them? I’ll answer the second question first. […]

Dreams


pilgrims-progress
I carry around ideas. In my head are a number of concepts for books I want to write. Some of these have been with me since childhood, while others are more recent. But all of them I feel I have to write. At some point I must either, commit them to paper/keyboard, […]

The writer’s burden



The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
All fiction is derivative It’s amazing that we as authors can seem to come up with anything original when everything has been done before. After all, there are allegedly only seven stories in all the world, and all the novels, films, short stories, and graphic novels we write are just extensions of these archetypes. […]

We’ve derived


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When I first began writing Copout I set the story in America. I lived in America, so it was only natural. But neither America, nor any other country, plays any part in the story, except inasmuch as the story has to be set somewhere. When I finished writing Copout, I […]

Here or there?


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One thing I was taught in screenwriting class was that you had to hook your audience in ten minutes or less. If they aren’t on your side by then, they probably never will be. Since Copout was originally written as a screenplay, popular movies gave me some inspiration. For instance, […]

Opening with action



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Another of the styles I wanted to write in – cinematic style that is – was the hard-boiled private detective story. My model of these is Humphrey Bogart’s Philip Marlowe from To Have and Have Not, very similar to the character he plays in The Maltese Falcon. Acted to perfection by Bogart, […]

Blanc is the new noir


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Once upon a time I was obsessed with film, so I enrolled in a film program at college. It didn’t take long for me to start thinking like a filmmaker, looking at the world in terms of camera angles and editing. I tried my hand at a variety of styles, […]

Genre hopping


ladder to clouds
To elaborate a bit on this theme raised in my first post, I hate the “it was all just a dream” ending. Risking vilification, I would say that the classic film of “The Wizard of Oz” is trés disappointing. Think about it. Dorothy gets swept away in a tornado and […]

It’s all just a dream



copout-cover
Having completed COPOUT a couple weeks ago, I’m looking back at how it came to be. I think I got the idea in about 1987. I was studying film at college in California, and thinking about endings. The best ending some people could come up with was, “And he woke […]

End of a journey