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Scott Lax Blog

Congratulations to Jay R. Ferguson and MAD MEN

For those of you who are fans of the TV show, MAD MEN, as Lydia and I are, you met a new character tonight, Stan Rizzo, the fictional firm's new art director. He as played by Jay R. Ferguson.

We cast Jay in the role of Isaac Hoskins in the movie version of my novel, THE YEAR THAT TREMBLED, nine years ago. The story of his casting is that the director/screenwriter, Jay Craven, my producing partner, Tyler Davidson and I saw his video tape audition. Within what couldn't have been more than ten seconds, we all said, "he's got it." And that was it - we cast him, and never did he disappoint. A real pro's pro and passionate about his work. What a pleasure to work with, too.

Jay's that good, and was that perfect for the role and he didn't disappoint. Jay, a true gentleman and good soul, knows how to tap his actorly center - similar to a writerly center - and bring out complex characters, including a rouge FBI agent in TREMBLED, and tonight, in a sterling (pardon the pun, Roger) debut, as an arrogant, brilliant, chauvinistic and ultimately insecure art director who is on the cusp of the free-love and liberation movement in America. What a great actor, and what perfect role for Jay. Congratulations to Jay - one of the good guys in show business - and congratulations to MAD MEN, one of the best shows ever on television, on their awards. It's nice to see excellent writing and acting rewarded.  Read More 

Finding Answers by Asking Different Questions

I think questions can often be more important than answers. What we ask of ourselves as writers - what motivates us to think, research, create - has great value. Here are some of the questions I ask of myself, and of my students. Our answers vary; I share mine with students, but encourage them to find their own answers, as well:

• How do you inhabit a character and a scene, yet maintain your distance?

• How do you lose yourself in the story, yet stay in control?

• How to you write with confidence, yet stay humble?

• How do you evoke emotion in the reader without slathering it on the page?

• How do you take an old story line yet show something new?

If you're blocked, ask yourself questions rather than searching for answers to the same issues that have been bothering you. New questions lead to new answers, or at least, to new journeys.

To put it another way, If you normally take a walk at dawn, try taking a walk at sunset.

Tonight, instead of turning on the fan, we listened to the night sounds. We were rewarded beyond any expectations. For nearly an hour, an owl spoke to his or her world - loudly, passionately, mysteriously.

Turn off the usual noise in your head and listen for different sounds. Ask yourself different questions. And then go at your writing with a new perspective.  Read More 

Ready to Give Birth to a New Column

Please stop back soon for news of a new column I'll be writing for a fantastic new e-zine. I'm excited about this column and eager to get back into essay writing. It'll be about something very near and dear to my heart.

Fall Session of The Chagrin Valley Writers' Workshop is Now Up

The new slate of three fall workshops is now up and we're ready to take registrations. Click Monet's painting to the right, or hit the WORKSHOP button, above. It's going to be a great fall session!

What Does Becoming a First-Time Father Have to Do With Writing?

I'll let you know in late December or early January. Let's just say that Lydia and I anticipate something far more wondrous than any book.