Frank Fiore – Novelist & Screenwriter

April 2, 2014

April Fools!

Filed under: Frank Remarks — Frank Fiore @ 8:10 AM

According to a Huffington Post article by Alex Leo a couple of years back…

“The origins of April Fools’ Day are murky, but the likeliest explanation is that it began as a way to mock French people who were slow to switch to the Gregorian Calendar which changed New Year’s from April 1 to January 1. These folks were labeled ‘fools’ and some were sent on ‘fools’ errands.’”

The article further goes on to list some of the greatest April Fool’s pranks of all time.

1) Swiss Spaghetti Harvest

In 1957 the jokesters at BBC, ran a segment on the coming of spring after a mild winter and what that meant for Swiss farmers.

The answer?

An unusually large spaghetti crop.

According to the Museum of Hoaxes, “Huge numbers of viewers were taken in. Many called the BBC wanting to know how they could grow their own spaghetti tree. To this the BBC diplomatically replied, ‘place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.’”

2) The Taco Liberty Bell

In 1996, Taco Bell ran an ad in six major newspapers saying:

“In an effort to help the national debt, Taco Bell is pleased to announce that we have agreed to purchase the Liberty Bell, one of our country’s most historic treasures. It will now be called the ‘Taco Liberty Bell’ and will still be accessible to the American public for viewing. While some may find this controversial, we hope our move will prompt other corporations to take similar action to do their part to reduce the country’s debt.”

Many politicians’ offices were taken in, as the Park Service received phone calls from aides to Sens. Bill Bradley (D-NJ) and J. James Exon (D-Neb).

3) Nixon’s Second Term

In 1992, National Public Radio’s “Talk of the Nation” announced that Richard Nixon was running for a second term as president with the slogan, “I didn’t do anything wrong, and I won’t do it again.”

Listeners were fooled and called in in droves.

Later in the show, the host revealed it was a joke and that Nixon’s voice was impersonated by comedian Rich Little.


March 30, 2014

Scariest Loglines Ever?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frank Fiore @ 10:19 AM

In the movie industry, the logline for a screenplay is a short, brief description of what the story is about. It is similar to the ‘elevator pitch’ that entrepreneurs use to pitch their idea in less that minute – the time of a short elevator ride with a possible investor. It’s meant to grab an investor’s attention and want to hear more – presumably when you leave the elevator with him.

The logline is supposed to grab a producers’ attention and make him want to hear more. Here are some of the scariest loglines ever!

“A girl heard her mom call her name from downstairs, so she got up and started to head down. As she got to the stairs, her mother pulled her into her room and said, ‘I heard that too.’”

“The last thing I saw was my alarm clock flashing 12:07 before she pushed her long rotting nails through my chest, her other hand muffling my screams. I sat bolt upright, relieved it was only a dream, but as I saw my alarm clock read 12:06, I heard my closet door creak open.”

“I begin tucking him into bed and he tells me, ‘Daddy check for monsters under my bed.’ I look underneath for his amusement and see him, another him, under the bed, staring back at me quivering and whispering, ‘Daddy there’s somebody on my bed.’”

Creepy, huh?

Reality Imitates Fiction – or Visa Versa?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frank Fiore @ 10:19 AM

So where do creative minds get their inspiration – or, commonly known – their muse? You’d be surprised.

Lots of crime novels and movies are vaguely based on real-life events — a writer reads about some psychopath with a burned face murdering teenagers and thinks, “What if that guy had knife hands?” But the story of how Thomas Harris, the author of the Hannibal Lecter novels, came up with his most famous character is much creepier … and totally random.

In the 1960s, Harris was writing for a magazine and was sent to a Mexican prison to interview Dykes Askew Simmons, an American inmate on death row for triple murder. Simmons was not the model for Hannibal Lecter — he was nothing like him.

During the interview, Simmons told Harris a story about how he got shot by a prison guard, but a doctor saved his life. Wanting to get more details for his article, Harris asked to be taken to the doctor (“Dr. Salazar”), whom he naturally assumed was the prison’s resident physician. If you’re familiar with any of the Hannibal movies, you have some idea of what happened next.

Rather than talk about the shooting, Salazar seemed more interested in manipulating Harris into psychoanalyzing Simmons, questioning the writer about Simmons’ physical disfigurements, his victims, and “the nature of torment,” a topic that rarely comes up outside of chats with murderers and truly disastrous first dates. Despite that, Harris admitted that the man had a “certain elegance” about him. After the meeting, Harris asked the prison warden how long Salazar had been working there, only to be told that the man was in fact an inmate — one deemed too insane to ever leave. Salazar had been a surgeon who had used his skills to “package his victim in a surprisingly small box.”

As often happens in real life, Salazar’s actual story doesn’t involve a spectacular escape that includes flaying guards alive. Yes, Salazar actually did end up getting out of jail, but he dedicated himself to providing medical assistance to the elderly until he died in 2009.


Absurd Movie Premises That Actually Happened

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frank Fiore @ 10:17 AM

Sometimes you just have to scratch your chin and wonder. Does life imitate fiction?

Well, they do in these movies. Here are some absurd movie premises that actually happened!

The 1977 hockey movie Slap Shot starring Paul Newman (best known for his fantastic salsa) told the story of a ramshackle minor league hockey team, the Charlestown Chiefs. When Newman’s player/coach character, Reggie Dunlop, learns that the team will soon fold due to the town’s problems, he hatches a crazy plan: He plants a false story that the Chiefs are soon packing up and moving south. It inspires the team to the playoffs and an eventual championship, which they win by playing what Dunlop calls “old-time hockey.”

You see, 11 years after Slap Shot debuted, another real hockey team was founded in the same city as a tribute to the film: the Johnstown Chiefs. They played in the same arena as the other Chiefs, used the same colors on their jerseys, and remained connected to the movie world by appearing in Van Damme’s Sudden Death (playing the Pittsburgh Penguins).

Another thing they had in common with their celluloid counterparts: they lost a lot. Team owner/coach Neil Smith tried to keep the team engaged with the locals’ love for old-time hockey, but the losses kept piling up, and the finances kept falling into the red. In 2010, a rumor came up claiming that the Chiefs were moving south. If it was a ruse by Smith to boost the team’s morale, it backfired, because they lost their final game and moved 500 miles south to Greenville, South Carolina. Yeah, that’s the difference between real life and sports movies, we suppose.

To recap, the Johnstown Chiefs hockey team, which was based on a movie hockey team that falsely stated it was moving south and was itself based on a real Johnstown minor league hockey team that folded the year the movie came out, ended up moving south for real, due to the same problems shown in the movie. Man, someone should make a movie out of that.

Then we have this tearjerker:

In the film K-9, Jim Belushi plays a San Diego cop who’s got a bunch of underworld drug dealers out for his blood, so naturally they partner him up with a drug-sniffing German shepherd to watch his back. The unlikely pair get off to a bad start (the dog poops on Belushi’s carpet, Belushi sleeps with the dog’s wife, etc.), but during the final act of the film, the canine officer takes a bullet for his human partner, saving his life.

The dog lives, J-Bloosh is unharmed, and the movie ends — or at least it did for Belushi, because the dog continued living pretty much the same plot in real life. K-9′s most talented actor was a true police K-9 before he went after the glitz and glory of Hollywood. His name was Koton.

Just like in the movie, Koton helped bust big-shot drug dealers: In October of ’91, he found 10 kilos of cocaine, worth approximately $1.2 million. Koton did not have much of a chance to revel in this success, because he’s a dog, and dogs forget things almost instantly, and also because tragedy struck a month later. Once again, he was shot in the line of duty — however, because this is the real world and heroic officers don’t always pull off miraculous recoveries, Koton sadly did not make it. But hey, at least he didn’t have to appear in the sequels.

Great Movies That Were Turned into Terrible Books

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frank Fiore @ 10:16 AM

We all know of great books that have been turned into great movies. But what about great movies that have been turned into terrible books?

Here are a couple.

Steven Spielberg’s beloved E.T. has remained a wholesome pop culture icon despite appearing in exactly one movie 30 years ago (the Amblin logo doesn’t count). The character truly encapsulates the feeling of childlike wonder. Who wouldn’t want E.T. to be their best friend as a kid? Answer: You wouldn’t. Not after reading the novelization.

E.T. the Extra Terrestrial in His Adventures on Earth by William Kotzwinkle adds details not seen in the movie, starting with the fact that E.T. is 10 million years old. And, as a fully developed adult, he of course gets sexually frustrated.

E.T. the Extra Terrestrial in His Adventures on Earth by William Kotzwinkle adds details not seen in the movie, starting with the fact that E.T. is 10 million years old. And, as a fully developed adult, he of course gets sexually frustrated.

But the worst part is that E.T. himself is not above being corrupted by this novel — Kotzwinkle conveys the alien’s inner monologue, and guess what — he has the hots for Elliott’s mom. He writes:

“How ironic it was that the willow-creature, the lovely Mary, pined for her vanished husband while in a closet, close at hand, dwelt one of the finest minds in the cosmos.”

When Elliott puts an ailing E.T. in the shower, we get the most horrifying revelation of all:

“The water came on, soaking Elliott and E.T. The aged voyager shook his head as the water hit. Ah, yes, the shower, where the willow-creature dances.”

Good thing Spielberg didn’t create a sequel with this guy.

And this one:

Halloween is a 10-movie franchise based solely on how creepy Michael Myers was in that first 1978 film by John Carpenter. For the first time, here was a movie killer who didn’t murder people because he wanted money or due to chronically untreated mommy issues, but simply because he was pure evil. He was the perfect boogeyman for the modern era.

So naturally, the novelization’s author decided to go ahead and ruin all that.

Young Michael complains of voices that “tell me to say I hate people,” and it’s heavily implied that he’s actually possessed by the dead boy from the prologue. Turns out Enda’s soul was cursed to relive the events of Samhain for all eternity, and now he’s slowly taking over Michael’s brain:

“It was the voice. The voice stirred up the hatred. It had done so in his dreams, and now it was doing so in real life. It had begun with the strange pictures in his head at night, pictures of people he had never seen — oh, maybe in comic books or on television, but never in real life.”

So basically, sweet innocent Michael Myers is just the victim of some ancient Celtic curse/demon thing.

The serial killer as victim. Where have we heard that before?

Quotes By, For, and About the Writer

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frank Fiore @ 10:15 AM

Rob Loughran has written a book called 906 Quotes, For, and About the Writer. He has graciously given me permission to quote some of them here. If these wet your palette, then check out his entire book here.

There are no rules to writing, but if there were,
caring would be right up there. Or, as we intellectuals
are fond of saying, you had better give a shit.
-William Goldman

A real writer learns from earlier writers the way a
boy learns from an apple orchard-by stealing what he
has a taste for and can carry off.
–Archibald MacLeish

Words are loaded pistols.
-Jean-Paul Sartre

As far as I’m concerned “whom” is a word that was
invented to make everyone sound like a butler.
-Calvin Trilling

Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
-Samuel Beckett

I love being a writer. What I can’t stand is the
-Peter DeVries

The most important advice I would suggest to
beginning writers: Try to leave out the parts that readers
-Elmore Leonard

Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: do not
use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites
representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show
you’ve been to college.
-Kurt Vonnegut

There is only one way to make money at writing,
and that is to marry a publisher’s daughter.
-George Orwell

The reward for conformity was that everyone liked
you except yourself.
-Rita Mae Brown

To write a novel, you begin with what you can see
and then you add what came before and what came
-Thomas Harris

The best time for planning a book is while you’re
doing the dishes.
-Agatha Christie

It takes twenty years to make an overnight success.
-Eddie Cantor

My play was a complete success. The audience was
a failure.
-Ashleigh Brilliant

I couldn’t wait for success, so I went ahead without
-Jonathan Winters

Some More Best Quotes About Writing

Filed under: Frank Remarks,On Writing — Frank Fiore @ 10:13 AM

Here are some more of the Best Quotes about writing from Writer’s Digest.

“I don’t believe in being serious about anything. I think life is too serious to be taken seriously.”
-Ray Bradbury, WD

“It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write
. Let them think you were born that way.”
-Ernest Hemingway

“Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards.”
-Robert A. Heinlein

“There is only one plot-things are not what they seem.”
-Jim Thompson

“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”
-Elmore Leonard

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is … the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”
-Mark Twain

“You don’t actually have to write anything until you’ve thought it out. This is an enormous relief, and you can sit there searching for the point at which the story becomes a toboggan and starts to slide.”
-Marie de Nervaud, WD

“Writers live twice.”
-Natalie Goldberg

January 22, 2014

“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” – W. Somerset Maugham

Filed under: Frank Remarks,How to Write a Novel — Frank Fiore @ 12:35 PM

Maugham was tongue in cheek but sometimes a writer needs to wonder what they might be. For my money, here are the ones I believe them to be.

  • Plot
  • Character
  • Motivation

I keep these rules in mind when writing a novel. And these rules don’t just apply to books. They apply to any story whether it be a movie, TV show, novel or short story. For example, a natural disaster like an earthquake of hurricane can easily act as an antagonist. We’ve seen a lot of these in movies and novels.

No matter what kind of plot you have, the characters in the story drive it. And the characters are driven by motivation. Events just don’t happen in a story. Events happen to motivate characters based on who and what they are.

I always start with a plot idea. Usually with answering the question “What if….”

My first novel, Cyberkill, asked what if an artificial intelligence decided to take revenge on the programmer that created it? The why, where, and how started me plotting the story.

The first book in the Chronicles of Jeremy Nash series asked what if Jesus didn’t dies on the cross and was buried somewhere on earth? What kind of events would that spark?

My latest novel now in production at my publisher, MURRAN, asked what if a young gang member in New York went to a Massai village in Africa and learned what a real warrior was?

These ‘What if’ questions were the genesis of those stories.

Now, the latest novel I am writing, GAIGIN, answers the question what if an American teen comes of age in Japan against the backdrop of WWII?

For any of you writers out there, I hope this helps in starting to write your story.

Winds of War – GAIJIN Style

Filed under: GAIGIN,How to Write a Novel — Frank Fiore @ 12:33 PM

GAIJIN, my new novel currently in progress, can be described as Winds of War with a twist. Like the novel by Herman Wouk, it follows a family and their experiences before and through the end of World War Two.

The twist is two fold.

First, the family and other characters are Japanese. And second, it’s a coming of age story of an American teen living with the family and growing up against the backdrop of the war in Japan.

I recently fired up my Netflix online account and viewed the series to refresh my mind on the plot structure and the details of how the war impacted a family. Now, writing historical fiction is a challenge. The biggest one is to not fall into the trap of making the story sound like a history text.

As the history of the war flows, the events must personally affect the characters in some way. There must be tension in almost every scene – that is, some kind of conflict whether it be physical, psychological or emotional relating to pre-war and wartime Japan. And all pf this – the war events and the experiences of his adopted Japanese family – must reflect on the American teen’s personal development and be the driver towards his emotional and psychological growth. This is how I need to connect the two parts of the twist.

So far, I have laid down the background of the American teen called Connor, his adopted father Fujiyama, Yoshihara Koga, the Japanese-American narrator of the story, and Kenta Hiyakawa, the moderate diplomat. What happens to these characters is the main plot of the story. You might say they are the planets that the story revolves around.

Well, back to writing the story – the rape of Nanking and a secret conspiracy involving the Prince of the Royal Family who is the antagonist in my story.

The History Of New Years Resolutions

Filed under: Frank Remarks — Frank Fiore @ 12:32 PM

I’m a history nut as readers of my novels know. There’s always an historical element in my stories. So here’ something out of our history.

Ever wonder where the idea of the New Years Resolution came from? Think it’s a secular tradition and the idea is fairly new?


The idea really has religious origins.

  • Ancient Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year.
  • The Romans began each year making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named.
  • In the Medieval Era, the knights took the “peacock vow” at the end of the Christmas season each year to re-affirm their commitment to chivalry.
  • At “watchnight services”, many Christians prepare for the year ahead by praying and making resolutions.

So, the concept of the ‘resolution’ or to reflect upon self-improvement annually, has a long religious tradition.

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