Kathy Fuller: What Writers Can Learn from My Mad Fat Diary

It’s not what you think…or maybe it is.

by Kathy Fuller

I LOVE BBC television. I’m a big fan of their short seasons, clever writing, tight plotting, and real characters. But I’m also envious of BBC. The writers seem to have much more freedom to be honest, messy, and politically incorrect. They take chances. My Mad Fat Diary is one of them.

The story premise (based very loosely on the published diary of Rae Earl) is straightforward: set in 1996, an overweight teen with self-esteem issues re-enters the world after a stint in a mental hospital. Rae’s issues have issues–she’s fat, her mother is self-centered, her father is absent, her best friend is often her worst enemy…the list goes on. To deal, she overeats, cuts herself, and is suicidal. Pretty much your standard angst-ridden coming-of-age story.

Except when it’s not. There’s an excellent balance between melodrama and humor. The pacing is slightly askew and impulsive, just like teenage life. Basic writing formula is present, but it’s often turned on it’s head. So what can writers learn from this show? read article

Kathy Fuller: 5 Ways You’re Accidentally Making Everyone Hate You

So what does the above title have to do with writing?

1) The article is written by David Wong, a writer/novelist/my-book-is-now-a-movie-guy that I could easily hate, but because of this article I understand why I don’t have to.

2) The writing biz, whether you’re slaving in Hollywood or slaving in Ismay, Montana, (pop. 19) is filled with EGOS. The only way to avoid dealing with EGOS is to never let your writing see the light of day, and of course that’s not what you’re going to do. So navigating those EGOS while you pitch, produce, refine, get rejected, wallow in self-pity, then do it all over again is key to survival. read article

Kathy Fuller: Check Your Attitude at the Door

by Kathy Fuller

Attitude

I just finished reading Herbie J. Pilato’s post: Kindness Trumps Talent, which is a great piece about how passion and attitude can often overcome a lack of talent. Mr. P. was talking about actors and acting, but this also applies to writing.

Writing is, for the most part, a solitary endeavor. Sure you can interact with other people through brainstorming, critiquing, and liquid lunches bemoaning the state of publishing/television/movies/society in general. But putting words on paper and then editing those words until they become a literary masterpiece requires only one person. Writing can be done by committee, but the physical act still rests on a single person’s shoulders. Or should I say fingertips. read article

Kathy Sees AMERICA IN PRIMETIME

Hello, stereotypical American family.
Hello, stereotypical American family.

by Kathy Fuller

Netflix–the gift that keeps on giving. This week I watched America in Primetime, a four-part series about…television. Combining interviews with showrunners, actors, and archival footage from the 50s through the current decade, this documentary is definitely worth six hours of your life (I suck at math so maybe its a little more than six or a little less, who cares).

The first episode, “Man of the House”, is about how male characters and viewpoints have evolved on television and in America. The second ep, “Independent Woman”…I’ll let you guess. Those were interesting enough but it’s the third and fourth eps, “The Misfit” and “The Crusader” that were really interesting to me, because there’s a lot of discussion about writing and characterization and why people identify with certain shows and characters who exist outside the norm. I found the discussion about Dexter to be particularly interesting (and it’s at the very end of the series, so watch the whole thing folks) because this character and series are so polarizing that David Simon won’t watch the show. To find out why, you’ll have to see this documentary.

It’s all pretty thought provoking and provides great insight into writing and development. Since it’s a documentary and tries to cover many different eras, there’s a lot of skimming the surface here–an entire episode could have centered around the nuances of The Wire, for example–but IMO it’s a must watch for writers, whether you’re planning to go into television or not. read article

TVWriter™ Contribs See MAN OF STEEL Pt. 1 – Kathy

For reasons we aren’t certain of, MAN OF STEEL has become the most-discussed film of the year among TVWriter™ visitors/staff/students/fans. Here’s the first of two passionate viewpoints:

by Kathy Fuller

Oh, Henry.
Oh, Henry.

Continuing onward with my #1 summer activity, I went to the movies again and saw Man of Steel. Now, I love me some superhero movies. I don’t care if they’re from DC or Marvel, I enjoy them all. So Man of Steel would have to literally be unwatchable for me not to enjoy it. And enjoy it I did. But it’s not without its problems.

First, the good. I loved the story concept. The CGI was very cool–I kinda wish I hadn’t made a vow for eternity not to watch another 3D movie, because I think this one would have been excellent in that format. The casting was spot on. And I’m not afraid to swim in the shallow end and say Henry Cavill is so easy on the eyes it’s hard to believe he’s real. Despite all that, there were two main problems with the movie. read article