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Genre Essentials: Science Fiction —10 Science Fiction Resources [Blogs, Websites, Journals, Magazines, DVD Commentaries] You Must Track

When you are writing an original screenplay within a specific genre, you really should know the heart, soul and guts of that genre. This will inform every step of your creative and writing process: concept, character development, brainstorming, plotting, tone, style, atmosphere, voice, pace, and so on. There are certain attributes common to each genre, and you need to know as much about them as possible, if you want to follow, reverse or break those conventions.

Obviously you can’t read and watch everything, but isn’t there a way to cover the essentials?

Which led me to a new GITS series: Genre Essentials.

This week: Science Fiction.

Today: 10 Science Fiction Resources [Blogs, Websites, Journals, Magazines, DVD Commentaries] You Must Track.

Please post your suggestions in comments. Let’s do our best to generate quality suggestions for the other categories.

To read your suggestions for 10 Science Fiction Movies You Must See and add to the list of suggestions, go here.

To read your suggestions for 10 Science Fiction Scripts You Must Analyze and add to the list of suggestions, go here.

To read your suggestions for 10 Science Fiction Books [Fiction] You Must Read and add to the list of suggestions, go here.

To read your suggestions for 10 Science Fiction Books [Non-Fiction] You Must Cover and add to the list of suggestions, go here.

Next week: Thriller.

I’m happy to announce that Shaula Evans, who as I’m sure you have noticed has been an active presence in this series and others, has agreed to oversee the flow of resource suggestions for Genre Essentials. My current thinking is whittle down the choices to something on the order of 20 titles [where we have that many], then put them up to a vote of the GITS community to end up with 10 top choices. Meanwhile thanks, Shaula, for the help!

UPDATE: The votes are in for Action, Comedy, and Drama. Suggestions are also in for Family, Fantasy, and Horror. I will be posting those lists for voting soon. Thanks to everyone for participating with their suggestions and votes.

Dispatch from The Quest: Emma Millions

Last week as we did here on GITS, the Quest writers focused on the subject of Scene. Today’s dispatch: Emma Millions finds her inner Hobbit in relation to scenes:

I grew up in a world where you would often hear phrases like ‘Stop making a scene, you’re embarrassing me’ and ‘Oh God, you’re not going to make a scene, are you?’ in hushed, urgent tones anytime someone got a bit agitated in public. But this week, that’s exactly what we had to do – make a scene. And scenes are supposed to have drama and conflict – both the shouty, embarrassing-yourself-in-public kind and the unit of action in a screenplay kind. But, from the words of wisdom imparted to us by ‘Script Gandalf’ Scott Myers this week, we learnt that not only do scenes need conflict and drama, they need to have structural and emotional goals, a three act structure including turning points, micro and macro themes, the right characters involved… and then you should consider what type of scene it is – revelation / action / exposition… and then you shouldn’t forget the subtext and the tone and the pace and the…

No wonder my family were so averse to making scenes. They are pretty complex little buggers. When you start thinking about all this before you get stuck in it can make you a little bit panicky. I felt like a Hobbit being told to take this ring to Mordor, and don’t put it on, or give it to Gollum, or Sean Bean, and watch out for Ring Wraiths, and Orcs and Giant Spiders and Massive Fiery Eyes and when you get to Mordor there’s these huge, impassable gates and an orc army and the fires of Mount Doom and, ooh, I forgot to mention Saruman. My head was spinning and I didn’t know where to start.

So, after a second breakfast, I turned to that old reliable friend – no, not Samwise Gamgee – PROCRASTINATION.

I am so good at procrastination. I’ve honed my skills in this arena over the years. The best act of procrastination I ever did was renovating my bathroom. 6 juicy weeks of procrastination. And at the end of it I had a home sauna and a Jacuzzi bath. This time I decided that my DIY cupboard needed some serious and urgent organization. I couldn’t possibly do any writing before it was fully sorted into sections and sub-sections and maybe even a bit of alphabetical order. So I got stuck in categorizing all the power tools, the old school hand-helds and the fiddly gizmos. Some were for actual building  – trowels, saws, hammers etc – so I put them all together on one shelf. Some were for smoothing and finishing and improving – sanders, plaster trowels, planes, spirit levels – and some were for decorating – brushes, sealants, smoothers. And then I realised that, actually, all the ‘tools’ Wizard Scott had given us could also be organised into similar categories. Some are for building the scene at a structural level, some are for honing, improving, straightening out, and some are for decorating, making pretty and tidying up. Wow, what symmetry.

And then I thought, for Gods sake, Emma, stop talking bollocks, you’re still procrastinating, sort yourself out and go make a scene.

So I did.

To continue with the LOTR metaphor, one things we hit on last week, there is not “one scene that rules them all.” Instead there is an endless variety of scenes and we, as writers, should take advantage of them.

Tomorrow: Another Dispatch from The Quest.

About Emma: British based writer of ‘the funny’. Lover of cats and bad TV. Often found in pyjamas a bit drunk or a bit hungover. Occasionally does burlesque. Twitter: @emmamillions.

Movies You Made: “Liquid Time Machine”

Bob Cosci and cohorts create this funny 5-minute short for a 48 Hour Film Project:

It will be screening as one of 20 finalists. Here are the details:

Date: September 9th, 2012
Time: 4:00pm (doors open at 4, screening starts at 4:45)
Place: Dim Mak Studios, 6356 Hollywood Boulevard Hollywood, CA 90028
Tickets: $11 General Admission, $18 VIP Reserved Seating w/ gift bag. Cash only, get tix at door.

For more information, go here.

Is it time to do another round of Movies You Made? If you have something you wrote, directed, produced, and want to promote it on GITS, email me your information including a link to an embed source.