Frank Fiore – Novelist & Screenwriter

February 18, 2015

New COOL Research Tool for Writers

Filed under: On Writing — Frank Fiore @ 9:02 AM
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I don’t know how many times I have been asked “How do you write your novels? How do you do the research?”

I begin by telling them that I graze the web using key words – that lead me to other sites with similar key words – then keep the tabs open or copy the web address to a file – then go back find those URLs and copy the facts I need – then repeat the process over and over again with a slew of tabs and confusing bookmarks staring me in the face.

If you are a writer, you know what I mean.

But now there is new tool in beta that will be and immense help in doing research on the web. It’s called Trailblazer by Twingl. Now you can say, “I’ll send you everything I know about this”- and you can!

I’ll let Twingl speak for itself.

Trailblazer will follow you down the rabbit hole. As you click links and run searches, it builds up a map of your journey.

Trailblazer shows you what’s open, where you’ve been, and what was good.

Feel free to close all of your tabs. The map makes it super easy to pick up where you left off. 3 minutes or 3 months later.

Got a friend or co-worker researching something similar? Give them a head start by sharing them your trail.

More here.

They are open to beta users. Give it a try.

February 6, 2015

Showing, Telling – Now – Making

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frank Fiore @ 12:16 PM
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I’ve been harping on ‘Show Don’t Tell’ in some of my post here. A few days ago I received my regular newsletter from Dave Farland. His newsletters always have gems of writing tips.

In his latest, he adds to rule of ‘Show Don’t Tell’ – Make.

New writers are often told, “Show, don’t tell.” Normally this piece of advice is given when a writer gives a vague description. He might say, “Rhonda looked tired.” A good reader will wonder about that. There are varying degrees of tiredness. Does the writer mean that the character had a blank expression on her face, or does he mean that she is staggering blindly and ready to fall?

So the adage “Show, don’t tell” is used to beg for more information. Yet I’ve always felt that that advice is . . . imprecise.

Farland goes on to say that when some writers try to adherer to the ‘show don’t tell’ rule, they tend to write cinematically.

Now there is nothing wrong writing your story using screenwriting rules. Writing a screenplay, you have to ‘show don’t tell’. Ninety percent of a screenplay is dialogue. The problem comes when you overdo it.

Farland says one must have ‘Make’ in the story, too.

When a Maker tells a tale, he doesn’t just explain what emotions a character feels. He’s not satisfied with just “showing” the emotion by describing it accurately. His goal is to make you experience the tale. His goal is to bring you into the tale so forcefully, that you live through it.

But be careful. Very few of us are James Joyce’s. In other words, in my parlance, you end up writing wordy literature and not a modern story.

February 5, 2015

My Latest Press Release: Black History Month – Celebrating Life, History and Culture with Yours Truely

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frank Fiore @ 1:24 PM
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F.F. Fiore’s critically acclaimed novel “Murran” is the perfect read for Black History Month. The 2015 Theme of Black Culture, is something author Fiore feels today’s African-American inner-city neighborhoods have abandoned for an ill-fitting substitute of gangs, drugs and the warfare caused by it all.

Scottsdale, Arizona (PRWEB) February 05, 2015

“If we don’t initiate the young, they will burn down the village to feel the heat.”

F.F. Fiore’s critically acclaimed novel “Murran” which means ‘warrior’ in the Maasai language, is indeed the perfect read for Black History Month. Each year beginning on February 1, an entire month of events is planned nationwide honoring the history and contributions of African-Americans. The 2015 theme is “A Century of Black Life, and Culture.” Author F.F. Fiore hopes “Murran” starts a movement leading young African-Americans back toward that proud Black History and Culture.

Critics rave about the style and theme of “Murran”. Terry Irving, the Emmy-winning journalist, producer (ABC, CNN, FOX, MSNBC) and author says it best.

“MURRAN held my attention. The writing was strong and the message clear. This book is not really about race in my opinion; it’s about where, what and how you grow up. It’s about that moment when you realize you need to find something extra if you want to be a man. I loved it. The gang descriptions were great, and the whole book felt very real to me.”

Fiore adds his motivation to the culture theme. “I wanted the book “Murran” to show that I felt Black America once had a true unique culture that was abandoned in the mid 20th century for what is now claimed to be the African-American culture today. African-Americans had a unique Black culture. It was called the Black Renaissance and it took place in the early part of the 20th century. A Renaissance steeped in values and a culture unique to Blacks. The music, literature, way of life and culture of that period were a big draw to the ‘swells’ in Manhattan … Drawing well-to-do individuals to Harlem at night to enjoy and revel in it.”

A majority of Fiore’s research of this era of Black culture for “Murran” was based on the book “Black Lies, White Lies” by Tony Brown. Brown attacks white racism, black self-victimization, and the whole concept of integration, which he feels has been disastrous for blacks and the country as a whole. Fiore gathered from his probing that the core fabric of the African-American community was torn apart when middle-class Blacks moved away from the core neighborhoods leaving it open to devastation and drugs. Fiore said that he experienced some of the tearing apart as a youth while going to night school at CCNY in Harlem.

Fiore feels the story of “Murran” led him to the African-American culture and it also gave him the vehicle to pursue an alienation theme for the book. Fiore states that if any ethnic group in our country has been alienated the most, it’s the Africa-Americans because of the manner that they arrived to America.

“When asked what tribe are you from of an African-American,” Fiore says, “there is no answer.” “But almost every other ethnic and European culture in our society can point to a ‘tribe’ they came from.”

Fiore believes that his book “Murran” allows for the opportunity to open discussions and also perhaps provide a way for the threatened culture of the African Maasai tribe – a proud and brave culture with a strong rite of passage for their youth – to be introduced and hopefully embraced by today’s African-Americans who seem to want to live a true African culture. And, maybe some of the traits of Black Renaissance could return to inner cities and an improvement of opportunities for Black youth could happen.

Black History Month began in 1926 as part of an initiative by writer and educator Dr. Carter G. Woodson who launched Negro History Week in 1926.Woodson proclaimed that Negro History Week should always occur in the second week of February —between the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. Since 1976, every American president has proclaimed February as Black History Month. Today, other countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom also devote an entire month to celebrating black history.

About F. F. Fiore
Frank Fiore, a bestselling author of non-fiction books, has also penned 5-star rated stirring thrillers and action/adventures. During his college years, Frank co-founded, wrote, and edited the New Times newspaper, now a multi-state operation, which recently purchased The Village Voice.

His writing hooks you from the start and continues to draw you into the plot till the end. Always exploring new genres, “Murran” is his first urban crime drama with an added coming-of-age twist.

Frank has designed and taught courses and seminars on the future of society, technology, and business. Frank has a B.A. in Liberal Arts and General Systems Theory from Stockton State College and a Masters Degree in Education at the University of Phoenix. He currently lives in Paradise Valley, Arizona, with his wife Lynne and their dogs named Sebastian – a big Newfoundland, and Duffy – a little Scotty.

Synopsis “Murran”

Trey wanted to belong. He wanted respect. He wanted to be a man.

With his father dead and his mother a drug addict, Trey and his sister Nichelle are forced to go live with their grandmother in Brooklyn. Surrounded by inner-city crime and conflicting ideologies, Trey seeks security and recognition by becoming a member of a small street crew.

When he’s framed for a crime and facing prison, Trey flees to a Maasai village in Kenya with his English teacher and mentor, Mr. Jackson. Though initially repulsed by the Maasai customs, Trey slowly comes to value their traditions and morals. As he goes through the Maasai warriors’ rite of passage becoming one of their own, he learns what Black African culture is truly about. Only after confronting lions, disapproving Maasai elders, and his own fears does Trey begin to understand that men are made and not born.

Honest and unafraid, Murran is a tale of a young African-American teen coming of age amidst the pitfalls and threats of 1980s Brooklyn. What he learns along the way could possibly lead his community toward a cultural revival.

January 30, 2015

First Writing Rule of Thrillers

Filed under: On Writing — Frank Fiore @ 8:38 AM
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“Make everyone fall out of the plane first, and then explain who they were and why they were in the plane to begin with.”

-Nancy Ann Dibble

Because I write thrillers and action/adventures, I receive requests once in a while to read author’s thrillers. More often then not, they break this first rule of writing thrillers.

It took me almost 10 years to write my first thriller. I had to learn the hard way, berated by editors who kept saying ‘A thriller is a page turner. No time to dwell on long narrative passages.’

As writers are told, I would create the necessary character sheet in full detail then begin to read that off when a character is introduced.

BUZZ WRONG!

As Dibble said, set the thrilling scene first and don’t read off an FBI file of the characters before getting into the action. I return to how movies are written. Check the thrillers out for yourself. There is little time in movies to spend endless minutes describing a character’s background in a thrilling movie. Their ACTIONS and DIALOGUE have to carry that load.

Same with novel thrillers. Let the character backgrounds come out as scenes permit in the flow of the action.  SHOW don’t TELL is the rule here. SHOW the character’s background – not TELL it.

Start your scene in the MIDDLE of action or start with a dialogue. Sure. There are times where several paragraphs of narrative are necessary to get the story out but always ask yourself first, “Can I SHOW this information instead of TELLING it.

Here’s a recent post of mine that gives an example.

https://frankfiore.wordpress.com/2015/01/10/narrative-vs-dialogue-when-writing-stories/

If you want to write literature and win that Nobel Prize – fine. But if you break the first rule you will not have a thriller.

January 28, 2015

Wine, Beer and Books! Join Author Me for an Evening Book Signing of MURRAN

Filed under: MURRAN — Frank Fiore @ 3:19 PM
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Cheers!

I’m buying your first beer or glass of wine at my book signing of MURRAN being held at the newest Changing Hands Bookstore, located at 300 West Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ 85013 on Friday, February 20, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Get a $25 Gift Card! When you purchase MURRAN the night of the signing, post a review of the book, and you will earn a $25 Changing Hands Gift Card.

Murran_V19What: Book Signing and Discussion with author F.F. Fiore – MURRAN – a YA Urban Crime novel that adults will find meaningful. In today’s racial charged climate MURRAN raises important issues about how America is raising its youth.

When: Friday, February 20, 2015

Time: 7 PM to 8:30 PM

Where: Changing Hands, 300 West Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ 85013

Why: A portion of the book sales of MURRAN is donated to The FEED Foundation – the non-profit founded by Lauren Bush Lauren that supports programs and organizations that are effectively working to fight hunger around the world, including Africa.

A recent review by Arizonan author-reviewer Alan Black, says, “MURRAN is a startlingly accurate portrayal of the slim options offered urban African-American youths in the 1980s and even today. It is often politically incorrect and in-your-face real, yet it is so compelling and well written that a reader will continue to eat and digest page after page of this indictment of America’s failure to nurture our own young.”

“If you don’t initiate the young, they will burn down the village to feel the heat.”  – African Proverb

Questions? Visit http://www.changinghands.com/event/2015/02/23/month/all/all/1

Or Call 602-274-0067

About FEED Foundation: http://www.thefeedfoundation.org/content.asp?tid=299

January 22, 2015

Shakespeare’s Insults

Filed under: Frank Remarks,On Writing — Frank Fiore @ 8:26 AM
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Insults in Literature? Shakespeare knew how to toss them.  Here’s some quips from the Bard himself.

I do desire we may be better strangers.
As You Like It (3.2.248)

He is deformed, crooked, old and sere,
Ill-faced, worse bodied, shapeless everywhere;
Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind;
Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.
The Comedy of Errors (4.2.22-5)

You abilities are too infant-like for doing much alone.
Coriolanus (2.1.36)

They lie deadly that tell you you have good faces .
Coriolanus (2.1.59)

More of your conversation would infect my brain.
Coriolanus (2.1.91)

The tartness of his face sours ripe grapes.
Coriolanus (5.4.18)

There is no more mercy in him than there is milk in a male tiger.
Coriolanus (5.4.30)

Frailty, thy name is woman!
Hamlet (1.2.147)

They have a plentiful lack of wit.
Hamlet (2.2.198)

There’s no more faith in thee than in a stewed prune.
1 Henry IV (3.3.40)

Thou mis-shapen dick!
3 Henry VI (5.5.35)

No man’s pie is freed
From his ambitious finger.
Henry VIII (1.1.94)

Some report a sea-maid spawn’d him; some that he was begot between two stock-fishes. But it is certain that when he makes water his urine is congealed ice.
Measure for Measure (3.2.56)

Thou art a Castilian King urinal!
The Merry Wives of Windsor (2.3.21)

You juggler! you canker-blossom!
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (3.2.293)

Thy food is such
As hath been belch’d on by infected lungs.
Pericles (4.6.156)

Out of my sight! thou dost infect my eyes.
Richard III (1.2.159)

A knot you are of damned bloodsuckers.
Richard III (3.3.6)

You peasant swain! You whoreson malt-horse drudge!
The Taming of the Shrew(4.1.116)

Best Shakespearean Comeback

I shall cut out your tongue.
‘Tis no matter, I shall speak as much wit as thou afterwards.
Troilus and Cressida (2.1.106)

January 19, 2015

Latest 5 Star Review of my New Novel MURRAN

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frank Fiore @ 10:26 AM
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Murran is the story of fifteen year-old Trey Davis in the 1980s. He and his teenaged sister move to Brooklyn to live with their stern grandmother after their father is murdered and their mother, a drug abuser, is largely absent. Vulnerable, with no stability or mentor, Trey desperately seeks respect and a sense of belonging from being valued. But his morals have been compromised by a lack of guidance.

Years earlier, Trey’s father had shared a picture of a Massai warrior that captivated Trey’s interest. Seeking approval from his new friends in Brooklyn, Trey joins a street gang called the Warriors. Caught in a life of crime, Trey is in a downward spiral. His judgment is poor and mistakes follow.

After he receives bad grades, Trey’s grandmother forces him into tutoring with one of his teachers, Mr. Jackson. Jackson, who grew up as part of the Massai tribe in Africa, shows Trey a picture of a Massai warrior just as his father had done years earlier. Trey is fascinated. To escape the fear of going to juvenile prison, Trey agrees to go with Jackson to his tribe in Africa. The night he is to leave, Trey is involved in a gang shootout and framed for murder. He goes to Africa to escape justice.

With the Massai tribe in Kenya, Trey learns another kind of fear. Each day carries the chance of being attacked by a wild animals or other tribes; or to die of thirst from drought. Trey also learns the real meaning of trust, responsibility and ethical behavior. He falls in love, learns to be a constructive member of the tribe and to accept accountability for his actions. After killing a lion in self-defense, Trey becomes a Murran – a warrior and member of the Massai.

From the dark, grimy delinquency of Brooklyn to the hot grasslands of the African savannah, Fiore’s exhilarating story and unforgettable characters sweep the reader onward. Trey must grow up very fast with the Massai and Fiore shows his reader how important responsibility is to any mature person. The bond of obligation to the welfare of others marks the quality of the true Murran.

Author Frank Fiore delivers rich characters, well-researched events, convincing dialog and haunting narrative. Trey’s life and death struggles are captivating; well-supported with plot and tempo. The story is energetic and it flows smoothly with clever use of tension and release. The spellbinding scenes are colorful and memorable. The book is well-edited and is certainly suitable for all adult and young adult readers.

Reviewer Charles Weinblatt was born in Toledo, Ohio, in 1952. He is a retired university administrator. Mr. Weinblatt is the author of published fiction and nonfiction. His biography appears in the Marquis Who’s Who in America and Wikipedia. He is a reviewer for The New York Journal of Books.

January 17, 2015

“Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of fifteen”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frank Fiore @ 9:27 AM

When I read that quote by famous author Willa Cather I wondered if it were true. Then I thought back over my writing experience and realized – she just might be right.

Now, she said ‘acquired material’ and not ‘how to write’ by that age. That comes later as one hones his or her craft. ‘Material’ in the sense of not only genre or subject matter but also one’s experiences as a child and adolescence.

I was born into the Cold War and the ever-present threat of devastating nuclear war. So, it was no surprise that the first story I ever wrote while in elementary school was about a small tin truck owned by a little boy and given to the tin drive in World War Two. That little truck was melted down into a series of weapons – rifles, mortars, and artillery pieces – and finally wound up in the Enola Gay – the B-29 that dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan. When I handed in my little story assignment entitled “I Made History”, my teacher gave me a very odd look.

I’ve been getting that same odd look for my writing ever since.

This was followed in high school by an uncompleted story of Russians invading New York and high school students fighting them off. The theme was very similar to the movie Red Dawn that came out many years later. If I knew of the WGA back then I would have registered the idea and probably made a lot of money.

Let that be a lesson to all you writers. Register your ideas!

I didn’t write again until after the service and was in college. This was a completed SyFy novel in the vein of the Golden Age of Science Fiction Writers. It had an alienation theme where I tapped my earlier years growing up as a nerdy kid.

So, I guess Willa had some pretty good insight.

You go girl!

January 13, 2015

The Message of MURRAN to Black Leadership

Filed under: MURRAN — Frank Fiore @ 8:59 AM
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Our young teens are at risk – and it will get a lot worse if we don’t recognize the underlining problem.

The path from boys to men is littered with ruined lives of young teens – black teens being hit the most. Young Blacks attracted to gangs as a substitute for being a man or teens scoring high in ‘Grand Theft Auto’ are NOT rites of passage to manhood.

Compounding the problem for Black teens is the lack of Black leadership from the likes of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson who see Selma in everything from books to restaurant menus and would rather blame the problems of Black youth on racism instead of the core problem and the core values needed by today’s youth.

In MURRAN, Trey – a young Black teen – after being framed for the murder of a gang leader – flees to Africa with his schoolteacher who happens to be a Maasai warrior – a Murran. Though initially repulsed by the Maasai customs, Trey slowly comes to value their traditions and morals. As he goes through the Maasai warriors’ rite of passage becoming one of their own, he learns what Black African culture is truly about. Only after confronting lions, disapproving Maasai elders, and his own fears does Trey begin to understand that men are made and not born.

He also learns the true meaning of a warrior and the core values that the Maasai hold. The 3Rs – Respect, Responsibility, and the celebration of Ritual.

  • Respect for oneself and others in their community.
  • Taking responsibility for one’s actions and responsibility for their community.
  • And the celebration of their ritual.

There’s an African proverb that goes: “If you don’t initiate the young, they will burn down the village to feel the heat”. How appropriate for today’s news re: Ferguson.

Today’s society fails our youth by not providing a proper rite of passage from boys to men.

“We tend to think in this society when a male reaches 18 or 21, graduates high school or college, has that first drink or sexual experience, drives a car or joins the army, or worse, robs or steals, rapes a woman or takes a daredevil risk, beats up a “sissy” or shoots someone, that he is now miraculously a man.  These and related notions are some of the most pernicious yet commonplace in our society today.  The repercussions of this ignorance could not be more far reaching.  They are everywhere to behold. 

We live in an age where suspended adolescence seems to be the norm for all too many men. Indigenous cultures knew better.  For them there was no such thing as adolescence.  You were either a child or an adult.  To mark that threshold, to perform and accomplish that transformation, was a function of the village itself.  It was a cultural obligation. Biology alone would not do it.  Village elders, both men and women, accepted the responsibility their ancestors entrusted them with.”

We must properly initiate the young.

Sharpton, Jackson, Rangel and all the other self-appointed Black leaders in this country who promote an agenda of racial hate and irresponsible behavior are doing a great disservice to Black youth by not facing the core problem– the need for a rite of passage – and instilling a set of core values – the 3Rs.

January 10, 2015

Narrative vs Dialogue When Writing Stories

Filed under: Frank Remarks,On Writing — Frank Fiore @ 10:56 AM
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Writing a compelling novel is very like writing a screenplay. I’ve found that many of the rules of one apply to the other.

One of the biggest rule of writing is to ‘show not tell’. So, what does that mean and how does it apply to both novels and screenplays?

First, you need to know the difference between TELLING and SHOWING. Telling is abstract, passive and less involving of the reader. It slows down your pacing, takes away your action and pulls your reader out of your story.

Showing, however, is active and concrete; creating mental images that brings your story — and your characters — to life. When you hear about writing that is vivid, evocative and strong, chances are there’s plenty of showing in it. Showing is interactive and encourages the reader to participate in the reading experience by drawing her own conclusions.

So, why is showing so important to screenplays? 90% of a screenplay is ‘showing’ – that is, dialogue. There is very little narrative in a screenplay. Very little telling. You have to tell through dialogue.

Keeping this rule of screenwriting in mind would greatly improve the telling of your story in a novel.

Here’s an example from a brief part of a recent chapter I am writing – or scenes I call them – from IJIN. Keeping the rule of ‘show not tell’ in mind, I began by laying out what had to be explained in narrative form.

The two boys gave each other a look of concern. What had they done? Wild speculation crossed their minds. After all, it took little those days to bring suspicion from the Tokkō thought police and wrath of the Kempeitai upon you.

They both heard of the student that wrote ‘I hate the Military’ on the wall of public toilet and was investigated by the Tokkō and severely punished. Or the person that defaced an Imperial note by writing over the Emperor’s face ‘No more war’ and promptly arrested.

When they arrived at the principal’s office, the two boys were quickly taken into separate rooms. Kenji was forced to sit across a desk in front of two Kempeitai – one a non-commissioned officer and the other a Major.

Now, here is how I rewrote it ‘showing’ the scene not ‘telling it’.

As soon as the two boys approached their classroom, the stern Army Captain that was assigned to their school, approached them. “You two! Report to the principals office,” he barked. “Now!”

The two boys gave each other a look of concern. What had they done? Wild speculation crossed their minds. After all, it took little those days to bring suspicion from the Tokkō thought police and wrath of the Kempeitai upon you.

“Maybe it was something we said – or did,” Black Patch feared. His mind went wild. “Did you write ‘I hate the Military’ on the wall our school toilet like that boy did last month?” He nodded his head. “He and his family were investigated by the Tokkō and severely punished.”

Kenji shook his head and said, knowing Black Patch’s proclivities, “Do you think they found the Imperil note you wrote on defacing the Emperor’s face?”

That sent a shiver down Black Patch’s spine.

When they arrived at the principal’s office, the two boys were quickly taken into separate rooms. Kenji was forced to sit across a desk in front of two Kempeitai – one a non-commissioned officer and the other a Major.

Note the transposition of the narrative into dialogue between the two boys. And the use of dialogue helps you follow another important rule of writing – and you can see this used time and time again in movies – create friction, tension or conflict in a scene.

By changing the narrative of people arrested to a dialogue, the fearful words between the two students created tension. This makes the scene more interesting.

Keep the rules of screenwriting in mind when writing your novel and you’ll tell a more interesting story.

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