Five Movies That Get Me In The Mood To Write

  I don’t believe in writer’s block, but I do believe in writer’s malaise. Sometimes I just can’t get my ass in gear. When that happens I find that certain movies get the creative juices flowing and I can always rely on these five to get me sprinting to the keyboard. This isn’t a list of my favorite movies. Gun to my head I’d say that honor goes to Miller’s Crossing, but ask me next week and I might say The Great Escape or Chinatown. And this isn’t a list of great movies about writing, of which there are many. This is simply a list of the flicks that get me moving.   Butch Cassidy and the...

5 Films That Influenced Me

As a kid, I have to admit that I was never much of a reader. I didn’t like to read, preferring to watch movies instead. Maybe it was because I was an only child and watching movies with my parents was a way for us to bond somehow. Fortunately for me, my dad had pretty good taste in movies and it helped me appreciate good films from bad. The five movies that changed my life all have something in common because, like a good book, they tell a good story. In no particular order: 1. The Searchers Much has been made in recent years about whether or not this film should rate as high as it does on various lists. I first saw it on TV when I was...

Five Things That Influenced Me

SCREAM (film) — Hilariously, this was my first date. It didn’t go well, because the guy in question thought I needed hand-holding, when I was in fact enthralled with and delighted by Kevin Williamson’s post-postmodern take on how horror had nothing new left to say, and how the fact it had nothing new left to say was something brand-new and exciting to say. At one point, a character named Randy is watching John Carpenter’s Halloween and slurring “He’s behind you!” at Jamie Lee Curtis on his television. All the while, the masked killer in his own home is standing right behind him. Concurrently, a journalist who’s placed a bug in that room is...

My Five (actually Six) Favorite Novels Set In Detr...

My Six Favorite Novels Set in Detroit (or near Detroit) 1. THE DOLLMAKER, Harriet Arnow (1954) an immediate popular and critical success, THE DOLLMAKER tells the devastating story of a Kentucky family that moves north to reap the riches of the factories going up in Detroit. This book is due for another resurrection, which it enjoyed about 25 years ago when Jane Fonda starred in the TV version of it. Gertie Nevells makes a compelling hero. 2. CITY PRIMEVAL, Elmore Leonard. (!980) As with Loren Estleman, there are so many books from which to choose. With his usual flair for dialog and unerring sense of place, Leonard tells the amusing and...

Five Science Fiction & Military Narratives Th...

ALIENS (1986)  Where the first Alien movie was pure SF horror, the second was a straight-up military SF action flick. It was probably the most seminal influence on my teenage brain when it came to storytelling and how to do human drama and action beats. You had a kick-ass protagonist who was unlike any SF hero seen on the screen thus far. The Colonial Marines acted like real grunts—banter, bravado, and spit-in-your-face last stand heroism in battle—and they were all developed characters in their own right, not just cannon fodder. (I have managed to work an ALIENS reference into every Frontlines novel so far. It may be a chapter title, or a...

Five Movies that have Influenced My Writing

Five Movies that have Influenced My Writing Die Hard (1988) – This was the first movie I watched while reading the script. The exercise was assigned as homework for one of the many on-line classes I took in my quest for better writing skills. Immediately establishing character with the opening scene was a difficult concept for me until I watched the first few minutes of this movie. That wasn’t the only lesson I took away, but it remains etched in my brain like no textbook ever. The Wizard of Oz (1939) – The concept of identifying the main character’s problem for a novel was clarified for me by trying to define Dorothy’s goal for the movie....