Showing posts with label O'Neil De Noux. Show all posts
Showing posts with label O'Neil De Noux. Show all posts

26 June 2020

How a Story or Novel is Written


Spent the last two hours going through all the posts I put up here on SleuthSayers to see if there was something about writing I had not posted. I came up with this piece of information from respected editor, writer, historian, poet, and literary critic Malcolm Cowley who explained the four stages in the composition of a piece of fiction.

Cowley explained how a story or novel is written by most writers. It went this way –

1. The Germ of the Story

The writer comes up with an idea for a story. It could be something the writer has experienced, witnessed, felt, heard about, or read about. An inspiration strikes the writer and the process begins.

2. The Conscious Meditation

The writer's imagination takes over and the writer meditates. A mix of conscious and unconscious thoughts perk in the writer's mind. The writer thinks of a way to present the story. Who are the characters? Where is the story set? When? What happens in the story?

Many writers compose an outline, some detailed, some sketchy. The outlines is often revised as the story is written.

3. The First Draft

Written quickly, it is an expansion of the outline. Remember – get it written, then get it right.

4. The Rewrite(s)

After the first draft, the writer takes the time to edit or rewrite the story, often more than once, to polish it until it sparkles.

This sounds simplistic and it may not apply to all. I know Harlan Ellison often skipped #4. He wrote one draft and that was it.

Writing a novel is like construction a building and revision is turning the building into a house a human can live in.

Good luck to everyone in the middle of this pandemic. It ain't easy.

That's all for now.
  
 www.oneildenoux.com


13 March 2020

Go Tigahs!


Go Tigahs!
A football story.

My first memory of LSU football was listening to the LSU-Ole Miss game on All Saints Day, November 1, 1958. I sat with my father at our kitchen table with his transister radio and he explained about the LSU Fighting Tigers and their arch-rival University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) Rebels, how both were undefeated, both in the top ten. Ole Miss had defeated LSU the previous year 14-12. The Tigers scored first but we fretted as Ole Miss was a excellent team. LSU scored again and won 14-0. On New Years we watched LSU play the Clemson Tigers at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans and the Fighting Tigers won 7-0, cementing their first national championship. I was hooked for life.

The next year we sat at the same kitchen table and listened to the same transister as Billy Cannon raced 89-yards with a sizzling punt return in the 4th Quarter, breaking seven tackles, to put #1 LSU ahead of #3 Ole Miss. The Rebels weren't finished, driving to the LSU 4-yard line. First and goal. With 18 seconds left, Billy Cannon and Warren Rabb stopped Ole Miss quarterback Doug Elmore on the 1-yard line on fourth down for a 7-3 win. It was electric. The following week, LSU lost to Tennessee 14-13 and lost a rematch with Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl, 21-0.

Cannon won the Heisman Trophy that year.

Billy Cannon, 1959

It took 45 years for the Fighting Tigers to win another national championship. January 4, 2003, at the Sugar Bowl again. LSU 21 Oklahoma 14. They won the championship again in 2007, at the Sugar Bowl once more. LSU 38 Ohio State 24.

A near-perfect season followed in 2011, only to be dashed in the national championship game with a re-match with Alabama in the Sugar Bowl once more. Alabama 21 LSU 0. Alabama was coached by Nick Saban who was LSU's coach when the Tigers won the championship in 2003.

Few expected what happened last season. Magic. Perfection. Nothing is perfect in sports. With a new Cajun coach Ed Orgeron and a quarterback from Ohio, a new pass-happy air-raid NFL-stye offense, the Fighting Tigers went 15-0 and beat defending national champion Clemson Tigers (again) for the national championship. In the New Orleans, of course. LSU 42 Clemson 25. LSU scored the most points of any team in a single season in NCAA history. An unstoppable force.


A perfect season. In the small town where I live across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans, fireworks echoed after the game. People leaned on their car horns. It was perfect. No season could be better. Quarterback Joe Burrow (who wore a jersey with the French spelling BURREAUX before the SEC championship game) won the Heisman Trophy sixty years after Billy Cannon won.

A magic year:
National Championship
SEC Championship
Coach of the Year Ed Orgeron
Assistant Coach of the year Joe Brady
Heisman Trophy Joe Burrow
Biletnikoff Award for Best Receiver Ja'Marr Chase
Jim Thorpe Award for Best Defensive Back Grant Delpit
Joe Moore Award for Best Offensive Line

Quarterback Joe Burrow's emotional acceptance speech when accepting the Heisman Trophy showed the pride brought to Louisiana and this young man's appreciation of the opportunity. His remarks about growing up in an impoverished area touched many people. As he wiped tears from his eyes, Joe said, "I'm up here for all those kids in Athens and Athens County (Ohio) that go home to not a lot of food on the table, hungry after school. You guys can be up here too." Those impactful words resulted in the food bank in Athens County receiving donations exceeding $500.000.

This Fighting Tiger team was special.

It was a pleasure watching these young men and women achieve what is nearly unachievable, see the joy in the faces of their families, fell the good vibrations run through our little state. Pride. I said women because when they won the national championship, Joe Burrow reminded everyone it wasn't just the players who won the trophy. It was the coaches, trainers, medical personnel and so many other workers responsible for putting the team on the field, many of them women.

Coach Ed Orgeron, from the small town of Larose in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana, is a fiery leader with a heavy Cajun accent. He ends every interview with the new montra of LSU – "Go Tigahs!"

During games, when they run, they look like streaking tigers, especially at night. Purple, gold and white.




Outside Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

For a little while, it's the best of times.

I know, this is a writer's blog and what does this have to do with writing. Well, a SleuthSayer wrote it.

Thats all for now –
http://www.oneildenoux.com





31 January 2020

What's a Plot?


I was asked about plot often when I taught creative writing classes and put together a lecture from information obtained from too many sources to list – writers, editors, publishers, art directors, couple guys on the street, a drunk woman in a French Quarter bar. More of an explanation than a guideline but some people found it helpful.

What's the structure of a plot?

1. Beginning – initial action of a situation. Often the problem (s) to be solved is introduced.

2. Middle – the part of the story which shows the hero's attempts to solve the problem.

3. Ending – the natural result of what happened in the middle. The hero either succeeds of fails or learn from the effot.

The modern dramatic plot.

INTENT – hero wants to achieve something.

FIRST BARRIER – something stands in the way.

FIRST BARRIER REVERSAL – hero does something to overcome to the first barrier.

HIGH POINT OF ACTION – hero is about to achieve his/her intention. Things look good at this point.

SECOND REVERSAL or RUG-PULLING – something happens to frustrate the hero.

CATASTHOPHE – hero falls to low point, may be permanently thwarted or even killed.

RESOLUTION – hero may get though it all and achieve his/her intent.

Plot is the catalyst to reveal character.

Start by answering the plot key:

"It is the story of _______________________ who wants to _____________________.

This is revealed through the character's external actions and internal thoughts.

Harry Whittington, in the introduction to his noir mystery FIRES THAT DESTROY, put it like this, "Once I have worked out a plot key, which will unlock the mystery, I know where I'm going, even if I don't know how I will get there."

from the cover of FIRES THAT DESTROY by Harrt Whittington

Writer-Editor Algis Budrys put it in his Seven elements of plot structure:

BEGINNING
1. A character(s)
2. in a situation
3. with a problem(s)

MIDDLE
4. character(s) makes an intelligent effort to solve the problem(s)
and
5. fails (repeat as necessary)

END
6. character(s) finally succeeds in solving the problem(s)
7. validation quickly follows
edited by Algis Budrys

There are so many ways to put it.

A Plot needs:

1. Forward Movement. Move character along his/her course.

2. Twists and Surprises. Conflict, problems that must be overcome. The unexpected should be there, yet it shoiuld be logical.

3. Darkest Hour. Just before the climax, where all seems lost for the hero.

4. Climax. The high point where the quest ends.

5. Character Change. Story usually has an effect on the hero and he/she evolves.

Do these guidelines work all the time? No. There are no rules to writing, just suggestions.

Thats all for now –
http://www.oneildenoux.com

29 November 2019

Good Movies of the early 1950s


After criticizing some of the popular music of the early 1950s, here are some of the good movies of the early 1950s. Listening to the radio might have been painful but we had a lot of great movies to choose from at theaters. Here are some:

Released in 1950:

Sunset Boulevard (Paramount) William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim, Nancy Olsen



Harvey (Universal) James Stewart, Victoria Horne, Cecil Kellaway, Josephine Hull

The Asphalt Jungle (MGM) Sterling Hayden, Louis Calhern, Sam Jaffee, John McIntire, Marilyn Monroe



D.O.A. (Harry Popkin Productions) Edmund O'Brien, Pamela Britton, Luther Adler, Beverly Garland

Winchester '73 (Universal) James Stewart, Shelly Winters, Dan Duryea, Stephen McNally

Father of the Bride (MGM) Spencer Tracy, Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Bennett

Cinderella (Disney) Ilene Woods, Eleanor Audley, Verna Felton, Mike Douglas, William Phipps

Released in 1951: A banner year for good movies

A Streetcar Named Desire (Warner Brothers) Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter, Karl Malden

Strangers on a Train (Warner Brothers) Farley Granger, Robert Walker, Ruth Roman, Leo G. Carroll



An American in Paris (MGM) Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, Oscar Levant, Nina Foch

A Place in the Sun (Paramount) Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth, Taylor, Shelly Winters, Raymond Burr

Detective Story (Paramount) Kirk Douglas, Eleanor Parker, William Bendix


The African Queen (Horizon Pictures) Humphrey Bogart, Katherine Hepburn, Robert Morley

Ace in the Hole (Paramount) Kirk Douglas, Jan Sterling, Richard Benedict


When Worlds Collide (Paramount) Barbara Rush, Richard Derr, Peter Hansen, Rachel Ames

The Thing from Another World (RKO) Kenneth Tobey, Margaret Sheridan, James Arness

The Day the Earth Stood Still (29th Century Fox) Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, Hugh Marlowe, Sam Jaffe



Alice in Wonderland (Disney) Kathryn Beaumont, Ed Wynn, Sterling Holloway, Jerry Colonna

Released in 1952: Another banner year

High Noon (Stanley Kramer Productions) Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly, Lloyd Bridges, Lon Chaney, Jr.

The Snows of Kilimarjaro (20th Century Fox) Gregory Peck, Susan Hayward, Ava Gardner

Carrie (Paramount) Jennifer Jones, Laurence Olivier, Eddie Albert)


Against All Flags (Universal International) Errol Flynn, Maureen O'Hara, Anthony Quinn

The Crimson Pirate (Warner Brothers) Burt Lancaster, Nick Cravat, Eva Bartok, Dana Winter


Deadline – USA (20th Century Fox) Humphrey Bogart, Ethel Barrymore, Kim Hunter

Singin' in the Rain (MGM) Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Jean Hagen

Viva Zapata! (20th Century Fox) Marlon Brando, Jean Peters, Anthony Quinn

Released in 1952: Now this was a year for movies

From Here to Eternity (Columbia) Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr, Montgomery Clift, Donna Reed, Frank Sinatra, Ernest Borgnine



Shane (Paramount) Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur, Van Heflin, Brandon De Wilde, Jack Palance

How To Marry a Millionaire (20th Century Fox) Lauren Bacall, Betty Grable, Marilyn Monroe

House of Wax (Warner Brothers) Vincent Price, Frank Lovejoy, Sue Allen, Carolyn Jones, Charles Bronson

Mogambo (MGM) Clark Gable, Ava Gardner, Grace Kelly



The Robe (20th Century Fox) Richard Burton, Jean Simmons, Victor Mature, Michael Rennie

Roman Holiday (Paramount) Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck, Eddie Albert

Stalag 17 (Paramount) William Holden, Don Taylor, Otto Preminger, Robert Strauss

The War of the Worlds (Paramount) Gene Barry, Ann Robinson, Les Tremayne, Cedric Hardwicke

The Wild One (Stanley Kramer Productions) Marlon Brando, Mary Murphy, Robert Keith,  Lee Marvin

Peter Pan (Disney) Bobby Driscoll, Kathryn Beaumont, Hans Conried

This is a subjective list. There were many other good movies I did not list.

That's all for now.
http://www.oneildenoux.com

26 July 2019

Movies 1960-1963


My father, an army CID Agent, was stationed at Camp Passalaqua, SETAF, Verona, Italy, from 1960 to 1963. We lived off base in the city of Verona –  one of the great experiences of my life. I was 10 when we arrived in Italy and was immediately disappointed there was no American television. No TV for three years. It wound up being one of the best things that happened to me because I read and read and read – children's books, adult fiction, non-fiction. Fell in love with the school library and the post library. I attended Verona American School, Borgo Milano, Verona, and spoke fluent Italian by the time we returned to the states.

I also fell in love with movies. The post theater changed movies every other day and we saw nearly every movie released between mid-1960 and mid-1963. I still think of them as Verona movies. There was no motion picture codes back then - no PG and PG13 ratings. Parents figured out what we could watch, which meant I was not allowed to watch any Alfred Hitchcock movie (Psycho came out in 1960) and any James Bond movie because of the naked women. My father came back from seeing Dr. No and said we could have gone with him, assuring my mother there were no naked women in the film. Just a woman in a bikini. I did get to see some movies with mature themes.

Verona movies. Viewed now, some were good, some bad but we kids loved seeing them all.

I remember ...

This great adventure –




Young, hot Jane Fonda –



Another great war story. Jane Fonda? No. Great beauty Dana Wynter. Smart. Sharp. Kenneth More was dynamite in a subdued role. The scene in the claustrophobic room when they learned HMS HOOD had blown up was riveting –



OK. I was 11 years old and loved this one –



I thought this was the best movie ever made when I saw it as a kid. Still think it's great –



I looked for Sidney Poitier in all subsequent movies. Saw A RAISIN IN THE SUN in 1961 too –



Wow. Great flick. Lee Marvin was such a great bad guy –



Didn't realize I liked musicals until I saw this one –



Scariest werewolf movie I've ever seen. This werewolf was awesome –



Fun. Fun. Fun. Even had Fabian –



The song sold me but hard to take my eyes off Capucine. What? Fabian again?



Did not realize the genius of David Lean yet. The panoramas. Peter O'Toole was fantastic. Omar Sharif was the coolest –



Still don't know what all the fuss was about with this one. Never thought Ann-Margaret was the "young Marilyn Monroe." Wasn't bad but ... I mean the hero was Bobby Rydell –




My parents did not realize the content of this one. It was about our home town. A movie about a "stylish New Orleans brothel" may have been a bit much for kids. Capucine and young Jane Fonda together in this one –



When you're a kid there was JERRY LEWIS. We also saw CINDERFELLA  –



Another mature movie. Natalie Wood was wonderful. Wasn't crazy about pretty boy Warren Beatty –



They kept this one around a while –



Several Elvis movies came around, this was the best. We also had GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS! and BLUE HAWAII –



Glad I saw this when I was a kid. It left a big impression on me –



OK. Had a crush on Hayley Mills after this one –



Love this movie. Great songs. James Dean was the smoothest and got a crush on Deborah Walley.



So many other good movies came to the theater. Others I remember – THE LAST VOYAGE, THE LOST WORD (the one with Claude Rains), WHERE THE BOYS ARE, THE WACKIEST SHIP IN THE ARMY, THE MIRACLE WORKER, THE DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS, THE HORIZONTAL LIEUTENANT, MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY (Marlon Brando version), THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (Herbert Lom version), IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD, ZOTZ!

That's all for now.
http://www.oneildenoux.com

24 May 2019

Audiobooks


Started listening to audiobooks the last few years of my commute to work as a police investigator at Southeastern Louisiana University. Found a couple clunkers but found more good ones. I often did not want to get out of the car.

Mysteries, historical novels, science fiction, classics I'd read as a kid like THE ILIAD and THE ODYSSEY, Daphne du Maurier's REBECCA, Vera Caspary's LAURA, Jack London's WHITE FANG even Bram Stoker's DRACULA. All narrated by professional narrators. The mysteries gave me reads of books by Dasheill Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Ian Fleming, Donald E. Westlake, Dorothy Sayers, Marcia Muller, Bill Pronzini. Even cool mysteries I never came across before – THE COCKTAIL WAITRESS by James M. Cain, NIGHT HAS A THOUSAND EYES by Cornell Woolrich, RIVER GIRL by Charles Williams.


I got lost in big books – NEW YORK by Edward Rutherfurd, Ken Follett's Century trilogy – FALL OF GIANTS, WINTER OF THE WORLD and EDGE OF ETERNITY.


It brought me to THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah and the excellent books of Adriana Trigiani (THE SHOEMAKER'S WIFE, ALL THE STARS IN THE HEAVENS and LUCIA, LUCIA).


I listened to other great books like Isaac Asimov's brilliant Foundation trilogy – FOUNDATION, FOUNDATION AND EMPIRE, SECOND FOUNDATION. I listened to Harlan Ellison narrating his own stories – I HAVE NO MOUTH AND I MUST SCREAM, JEFFTY IS FIVE, DEATHBIRD STORIES which includes his Edgar Award winning THE WHIMPER OF WHIPPED DOGS.


Many readers have asked if I had any audiobooks available. I had to tell them no until Amazon linked up with Audible to create ACX. I now have fourteen audiobooks available read by professional narrators. They manage to enhance my writing, adding nuances I was unaware in my books and short stories.

It is a good deal for writers and narrators. The book must be available on Amazon Kindle. The writer retains the full copyright and puts the book up on ACX and asks for auditions. Narrators record a few pages of the book the writer puts up and if the writer likes the narration, the writer offers the narrator a deal. The writer can pay the narrator (this is pricey) or simply split the audiobook royalties. When the deal is struck, the writer gives the narrator a deadline and the narrator records a narration. After the first 15 minutes of narration is complete the writer gets to hear it and ask for corrections. When the entire narration is done the writer needs to listen and approve the entire book. The writer controls the process. The deal lasts for seven years and can be automatically renewed. The audiobook becomes available on Amazon.com and Audible web sites.


Here is a link to ACX: https://www.acx.com/help/about-acx/200484860

LINK to list of my audiobooks: http://www.oneildenoux.com/audio-books.html


ACX is another way to sell your books and short stories.
http://www.oneildenoux.com