Sunday, August 13, 2017


THE WRITE CONCEPT - Every great story begins the same way. What if? The term high concept is often used incorrectly. It’s not a simplistic concept, explained in a minimum of words. Continue to read a bit more about the elements of high concept fiction. A great hook – A character trait or inciting incident grabs the reader’s attention and carries them through to the end of the novel. Entertainment value – Think of a blockbuster film or your favorite novel, in your preferred genre. Does your concept measure up?  Original ideas – The same way clichés are to be avoided, so are recycled concepts. Do you really think you can do it better? Mass appeal – Returning to your favorite blockbuster, does this concept have wide appeal? Think multiple demographics and marketability. Visual appeal – There is an obvious connection between crafting a novel and screenplay writing. Sure, most of your story will be about the character’s transformational arc. But how can you enhance this visually? How to punch up tension with exciting backgrounds and locales? Emotional resonance – If all of the above elements are portrayed correctly, you will naturally end up with an intense novel with a sense of immediacy. High concept – Here’s how all of this comes together. High concept has a unique, fresh idea, with enough tension to maintain interest and an eye toward the cinematic/ dramatic. Not sure if high concept is right for you? Try to develop several one page length synopses. I refer to these as treatments, one of which is sure to stick in your head. That’s the treatment you should be developing into a short story or novel! What are you waiting for? Get to writing!



Sunday, August 6, 2017


THE EVOLUTION OF FLIGHT - Around the year 1500, Leonardo da Vinci produced sketches, mostly ornithopters, of flying machines and bird flight.  The man-powered helical airscrew might have been able to lift off the ground. Unfortunately the engine wasn’t available at that time to produce a functioning helicopter. Prior to 1700, kite jumping and tower jumping were the earliest forms of human flight. The first manned hot air balloon was piloted in 1783 by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier on the order of King Louis XVI. The design consisted of a fire in an iron basket under a balloon neck, it sustained for 25 minutes at a distance of 5 miles. Gas balloons, blimps, dirigibles and zeppelins came later - relying on the tenants of the original design. Sir George Cayley developed a flying machine concept in 1799, actually built a glider in 1849, which carried a boy on a short flight. He correctly predicted a flying machine wasn’t possible without a powerful engine. After years of experimentation, the Wright brothers made their first flight in 1903 at Kitty Hawk. Orville and Wilbur’s manned/ powered flight measured 120 feet in length and lasted 12 seconds. Biplanes, monoplanes, jets and bombers succeeded one after the other - each one improving on previous designs. The world’s first practical helicopter took flight in 1939, invented by Igor Sikorsky, it was based on a single blade design still in use today. The Soviet Union launched the first human in space, Yuri Gagarin on the Vostok 1, for a single orbit around Earth in 1961. With the Apollo 11 spaceflight in 1969, the United States landed Charles Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon. They spent 2 hours on the surface and collected rocks to bring back to Earth. NASA is planning a human surface expedition to Mars slated for mid-2030. The crew will explore the Martian surface for a year, 6 decades after the first human stood on another celestial body. And the next step into our solar system? The Milky Way … and beyond. 


Sunday, July 30, 2017


SCARIEST OLD TIME RADIO EPISODES? - Before internet, cable and satellite--the network television channels we think of today--began as broadcast radio. The same way good writing employs zero narrative distance, there is something about sitting in a dark room, listening to a scary old time radio play. The following are arguably the best-of-the-best tales of the supernatural from yesteryear.