Saturday, September 06, 2008

Dean Wesley Smith on Heinlein's Rules

Pretty interesting post over at novelist Dean Wesley Smith's blog, where the novelist -- who has written a number of movie adaptations and tie-in books in addition to his own work -- expands on author Robert Heinlein's famous rules for writers.
Follow Heinlein’s Rules every week. His rules are simple.

1) You must write.

2) You must finish what you write.

3) You must not rewrite unless to editorial demand.

4) You must mail your story to an editor who will pay you money.

5) You must keep it in the mail until someone buys it.

Simple rules, very simple rules. Yet I get a ton of comments about how the writer making the comment knows more than Heinlein about writing and needs to change these rules for themselves. And these comments always come from newer writers, mostly unsold writers.

What these writers are saying to me simply is this: My belief system does not allow me to follow Heinlein’s Rules.

Belief Systems. I call them “Myths.” They are very, very powerful things in all of us, especially when it comes to writing and the process around writing and even more the mailing and marketing of stories to editors.

Some of these simple, but wrong belief systems are:

“I need more practice. My work isn’t good enough yet to send to editors.”

“I need to polish my work before I dare send it out.”

“An editor will hate me if I write a bad story.”

Worth checking out the full blog post.

Trailer Trash X: Hell Night (1981)

"Why is this night so special?"
"Because 12 years ago Raymond Garth killed his family here and then committed suicide!"

Very, very by-the-books '80s slasher. Nothing exceptionally new or exciting in this one, but I must have watched it a few dozen times in my early teens. Why? It starred Linda Blair - the little girl from the Exorcist. The little girl from the Exorcist who grew up really hot.

Oh, Linda Blair. However did you go from spitting pea soup to getting arrested for dealing cocaine at the age of 18? Moving in with much-older boyfriend Rick Springfield at the age of 15? All the nude photo shoots? And didn't you date Rick James through the 1980s? And let's not forget Chained Heat, the women-in-prison genre classic. (Note to self: Chained Heat deserves its own post very soon.)

If there were a Perez Hilton three decades ago, Linda Blair would have been his darling. Linda Blair: the Lindsay Lohan before there was Lindsay Lohan.

The plot is pretty much given away 100% in the trailer - bunch of coeds go to a haunted house as part of a fraternity hazing. Note the ridiculous costumes - that's part of the hazing process. So, yeah, they're dressed like Robin Hood and ren faire rejects through the entire movie, except for when they're undressed.

At 1:00 - Wait. I know horror movies LIVE off these cliches, but the killer is still in the house. WTF do they think will happen if they stay the night there?
At 1:10 - "Hey, let's - potty?"
At 1:15 - Yeah, that guy is that much of a tool through the entire movie.
At 1:20 - And yes, you see him in a ridiculous sex scene.

Poster via Wrong Side of the Art.

"Oh, my gosh. This is one radical chick. Alright!"