Hey, Everybody!!!

Yeah, I haven’t posted in a while. But I wanted to let people know about my new biz, GET OFF MY LAWN, through which I’ll be offering Writing Instruction & Editing, Personal Training and Fitness Instruction, and Curated Dungeons & Dragons sessions! Check it out at www.GetOffMyLawn.biz.

Through Get Off My Lawn!, I’ll be offering my class SUSPENSE! HEART-POUNDING LESSONS FROM CLASSIC THRILLERS. It will be starting on October 25, 2021, via Zoom, for 10 weeks, running from 1 PM to 4 PM EST. Class sessions will be conducted virtually, over Zoom. Rates are on a sliding scale. If you think you might be interested, contact me at Mike AT GetOffMyLawn DOT biz

Here’s the class description…

How do you keep your readers in… SUSPENSE?! This class from Mike Marano at Get Off My Lawn Personal Instruction will show you the dark-and-stormy workings of suspense and tension and fear through a nail-biting 10 weeks, during which we’ll read, take apart, and study the mechanics of three brilliant novels: Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca (THE definitive romantic thriller!); Ira Levin’s Rosemary’s Baby (THE definitive supernatural thriller!) and Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon (THE definitive serial killer thriller!). We’ll look at the structuring of plot, characterization, use of Point of View, escalation, pacing and other tools for the building of SUSPENSE! not just as they are used in these three books, but in other classic thrillers so that you can have your own readers sweating bullets as they compulsively turn pages until dawn. The edge-of-your-seat techniques of SUSPENSE! will be studied not just in the context of prose writing, but also screen and TV writing and play writing. The class will entail in-class writing exercises, and there will be workshopping of students’ fiction in each class as well. Recommended for students with previous workshop experience. Starting October 25, 2021, 1-4 PM, and running for 10 weeks. Contact Mike at Mike AT GetOffMyLawn DOT biz for more details and rates.

Let me know if you’re interested!

Thanks!

Mike

I don’t care who knows this. I’m an author. A well-established Culture and Arts critic. An Instructor of Creative Writing. And I love Rose Estes’ Endless Quest/Dungeons & Dragons, “Choose Your Own Adventure” books for kids. I fucking ADORE them. It’s not like I grew up on them, because they first came out when I was already an adult. As of today, I’m the proud owner of all the entries in the series Estes wrote. A small triumph. But one that gives me a bit of joy.

For those who don’t know, Hasbro now owns Dungeons & Dragons. Recently, a document was leaked from Hasbro, the “OGL 1.1”, which will revoke and retroactively limit the rights of third-party vendors to create D&D content, superseding the first OGL (Open Games License) which has been around for decades, and has allowed third-party vendors to create amazing D&D adventures and products.

I’m old enough that when I first played D&D, my very first adventure was the very first commercially available module, Palace of the Vampire Queen by Pete and Judy Kerestan, published by their imprint Wee Warriors. It was a transformative experience, one I’ll never forget. In the early days, the D&D powers that be did not believe in the viability of pre-made modules. Wee Warriors were also the first to create commercially available character sheets. That’s right, you latte-slurping, corporate jerks at Hasbro… the very CONCEPT of pre-made adventures and accessories came from third-party creators. Everything that D&D became, beyond the basic rule books, had its origins from third parties. The OLG 1.1, if it does come to pass, is a slap in the face to the history of the game itself. If it comes to pass, Hasbro won’t get a dime from me, ever again.

I adored Major Matt Mason as a kid… the toys were based on actual NASA blueprints and prototypes. This was back when we were still going to the moon, still using funds from an equitable taxation system to fund space exploration, and vaccination programs were a matter of national pride. That’s the world I was born to. Now, I live in an America in which 216 million of its citizens are scientifically illiterate, in which millions believe in a flat earth, in which 40% of the population don’t believe in evolution, and 20% believe the sun revolves around the Earth. Economically, a line of toys that celebrated American knowledge and engineering and competence would not be feasible today.

Happy Valentine’s Day! I got bored and made a bunch of horror-themed memes. Send them to your Sweeties!!

I don’t care who knows this. I’m an author. A well-established Culture and Arts critic. An Instructor of Creative Writing. And I love Rose Estes’ Endless Quest/Dungeons & Dragons, “Choose Your Own Adventure” books for kids. I fucking ADORE them. It’s not like I grew up on them, because they first came out when I was already an adult. As of today, I’m the proud owner of all the entries in the series Estes wrote. A small triumph. But one that gives me a bit of joy.

Happy 2021, from Wally Brando:

“My family, my friend, I’ve criss-crossed this great land of ours countless times. I hold the map of it here, in my heart, next to the joyful memories of the carefree days I spent, as a young boy, here in your beautiful town of Twin Peaks.”

Hey, All! Here is a link to the Duo Circus Hoop act that my dear friend Lianne Ratzersdorfer and I cooked up for the Esh Circus Arts Fall Student Showcase entitled “I WASTE IT WITH MY CROSSBOW! A Tale of Teen Angst and D&D”. More thanks than can be expressed must go to Shane Bushey, for agreeing to be our Dungeon Master/Narrator on incredibly short notice and becoming a full-blown third collaborator. And still more thanks must go to our coaches for the act, Elise Sipos and Johnny Blazes for nurturing our nutty ideas, despite our getting a late start on our choreo. A shoutout has to go to Rachael Chapin Longo for accommodating our last-minute point rental requests. But above all, Lianne deserves gratitude for being willing to share this journey, the first step of which was taken when we were trying to think of what we could create for this Showcase that was themed around “True Stories”, and our shared nerdy teen biographies and experiences with Fantasy Role-Playing Games crossed.
Video credit: Beren Jones

Used to see Ric Ocasek on Newbury Street, back when it had actual culture to offer. Couldn’t miss him, all 6′ 5″ and maybe 140 pounds of him. In the Avenue Victor Hugo Bookstore, with his ’80s hair teased up, it looked like he’d brush the ceiling. Truthfully, I was never a big fan of The Cars. I liked their stuff as catchy pop tunes, and that’s it. But I knew that Ric was fighting the good fight, giving _scores_ of Boston bands a leg up, with free studio time so they could cut demos (and maybe actual albums, not sure). He gave back, big time, to the scene that made him, and an argument could be made that without his help, the Boston scene in the ’80s might not have existed, or been much, much different. Never spoke to him. Never shook his hand to thank him for it. And tonight, I wish I had.

 

'Hairspray' Premiere - 16 Feb 1988

Hey, Folks!

So, did you have a moment or two, or three, this Holiday Season that was full of drama, good or bad, that you’d LOVE to put into a work of prose you’re writing?

You ever look at works by playwrights, screenwriters, and TV writers and how they can take moments from real life and make them dynamic and compelling and say to yourself, “Damn! I wish I could put things like that in my short story or novel?”

Well, whether your idea of a Holiday story is Die Hard or Hallmark Channel movies, multi-award-winning novelist and nationally syndicated film critic Michael Marano’s class at Boston’s Grub Street, SCREEN & STAGE TO THE PAGE: What Drama, Movies & TV Can Teach Prose Writers (starting January 10, 2019) will let boost your prose, giving you access to the incredible storytelling tools stage and visual media writers have been using for decades in the creation of Tony, Oscar, and Emmy-Award-winning narratives!

What kinds of tools are we talking about?

Well, chances are you’ve just had, or maybe had last year, an exchange around the Holiday Dinner Table that’d make for an awesome chapter in a novel, or a scene in a story. Take a look at this scene from Judd Apatow’s classic show, Freaks & Geeks (play from the 15:40 mark to 19:30)…

 

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/58193659″>Episode 4 – Kim Kelly Is My Friend</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/smokinrobocop”>smokinrobocop</a&gt; on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

 

In SCREEN & STAGE TO THE PAGE: What Drama, Movies & TV Can Teach Prose Writers, we will dissect the ways in which all the highs and lows and escalation of that scene are concentrated for maximum emotional impact.

What other kinds of tools will we learn to use?

Think about it. Is there a scene more clichéd than the police interrogation scene? 99% of them can be summed up to: “Hello, Detectives. Here’s the exposition you need to go to the next act, where you’ll get more exposition.” But with True Detective, novelist and short-story writer Nic Pizzolatto re-invented the interrogation scene so it became riveting drama in and of itself:

 

 

We’ll dissect exactly how Pizzolatto did it, so that what in TV format is binge-worthy can, for your prose, be page-turning!

Screen & Stage to the Page will meet for 10 weeks on Thursday mornings from 10:30 AM to 1:30 PM at Grub Street HQ in Downtown Boston, 162 Boylston Street, 5th Floor by Park Street Station near the Common.  Click on this link to enroll!!!

Hope to see you all in January!