Sunday, October 05, 2008

Pulp Notes:

Sullivan has a post here regarding one of the better examples of tension in television - the BATTLESTAR GALCTICA episode "33." This picks up the mantle from a question posted by The Mystery Man regarding the best thrills and tension from film.

What brought me to this meme is the idea of finding ways to create tension in your (screen)writing. Certainly there are many ways to do so -

Saying one thing and meaning something else entirely (also works for comedy)

The ticking clock

Unexplained narrative information (you have to figure it out)

The objective POV of the camera (which shows peril that the characters don't know about)

Lies/Deception and the threat of discovery

The Near Death experience (The shots from the gun get closer and closer...)

and many others...

I have a little notebook - a Moleskine in fact - that I keep little pulp notes in. I then transfer those titles, notes, snatches of dialogue, roughly formed ideas onto a word document and file it away. if I get stuck with writing something, I go to that document titled "Pulp Notes" and do a word search down through the (now 20 +) pages looking for little tidbits of ideas that will help me write a really tense scene, or fill out a character by giving him a cool flaw, or finding a new location to stage a fight.

Once I use it - I delete it from the document.

Here are some examples of dialogue/etc from Pulp Notes:

"The clock is at 28 minutes 20 seconds to rebound."

"Rebound is imminent."


"Hide it in your ass. [pause] No? Would you prefer I hide it in your ass?!"

His skin cracks and withers like old parchment as the water and fat is drawn out of it. His skin pulls tight across his face yanking his jaw open in a rictus grin as it splits. Veins...

(note the purply color of the prose....)

Enjoy your weekend.

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