Tag Archives: Writing

Storytelling Lessons from an Unlikely Source

Don’t refresh your screen. Don’t rub your eyes. What you see above is a championship that has stood the test of time in one form or another. The stories surrounding this belt and its lesser counterparts bring in a loyal audience, providing dependable ratings and life blood for up and coming television networks like USA Network and SyFy (we’ll talk about that questionable name change at a later date).

These stories have been retold for more than four decades with new cast members and new twists, using various forms of media to immerse fans in a complex milieu. They manage to sell out stadiums made for teams that couldn’t hope to do the same. And the man that holds this belt has managed to develop an extremely diverse skillset: stage fighting, choreography, stunt work, public speaking, improvisation, marketing, and acting. Trust me. He’s earned this, and the fanfare that comes along with it. We’re not here just to talk about the WWE Championship, but World Wrestling Entertainment as a whole, and how it taught me a few very important lessons in storytelling.

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Going Serial, Part II: If You Break It, They Will Come

This was right down my ally. I’m relatively new to WordPress, so I discovered a lot of great blogs about fiction through this post.

The Daily Post

What do Anna Karenina, The Three Musketeers, and the stories of Sherlock Holmes have in common? They all started as serialized projects, with installments appearing in magazines on a weekly or monthly basis. Many bloggers are taking a cue from these classics, rediscovering the joys of serial fiction — perhaps you should, too?

In part one of Going Serial, we discussed how having regularly scheduled features on your blog can help boost traffic and reader loyalty, as well as give structure to your own writing habits. Now, just in time for Web Serial Writing Month (aka August), let’s take a closer look at how the same concept can apply to a perennially popular niche: fiction writing. (Non-fiction, memoir, history writers: keep reading! Did you know Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood was also first serialized? You’re writing narratives, too!)

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Kudos to Jim Rash & The Writer’s Room

As a native of the Crown Town/Queen City/Charlotte I believe I have a few things to be proud of, but I’m not in denial of the fact that my fair city still has a long way to go in terms of culture. New Yorkers, Londoners, and natives of other world class cities can claim a great number of achievements, among them a long list of notable figures in history, politics, and especially entertainment. In that arena, we’re sorely lacking. We’ve got Billy Graham, Ric Flair, both of whom are debatable in my eyes, but there’s one native of Charlotte I can be proud of. He is an actor and writer by the name of Jim Rash. Don’t know who he is?

That’s okay. Because unless you’re a true connoisseur of television and film writing, I wouldn’t expect you to know who he is, so let me catch you up. Almost everyone in America has seen him in passing, while flipping through the channels on a fall Thursday night on NBC’s Community as the sexually ambiguous Dean of Greendale Community College. The comedy series strength with the critics is in my opinion is its weakness with ratings, its heavy dependence on meta humor and pop culture reference. Here’s a montage of Jim Rash’s portrayal of Dean Craig Pelton.

If that felt random, it was supposed to. Community, to it’s advantage and detriment alike, has become one big inside joke between the fans, actors and writers. That’s not why we’re here though. I just wanted you to know who Jim Rash was. This isn’t the only item on his resume. Hell, it isn’t his only resume. He’s a writer too. Have you heard of a little movie called The Descendants? It won an Academy Award in 2012 for best Screenplay. Jim Rash and his partner in crime Nat Faxon are responsible for that. If you didn’t see it, go check it out. It was one of George Clooney’s most genuine performances.

And while the movie was based on a book by the same name, you and I both know a good book doesn’t necessarily make a good movie. It takes great writers, directors, producers, and actors to get it done. Rash and Faxon managed to capture and enhance the essence of Kaui Hart Hemmings’ novel, and brought to life a balance of poignancy and comedy that I didn’t catch when I was reading the book. Rash and Faxon have followed up with an original film called The Way Way Back, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. It’s out in theatres right now, and it’s awesome. I laughed the entire time, and it was a great reprieve from all the big budget films of the season. Check it out before it leaves theatres.


Now Rash is hosting a behind the scenes show on the Sundance Channel called The Writer’s Room, in which he gets together with the creators and cast members of some of the most innovative shows on television, including Game of Thrones, New Girl, Dexter, and American Horror Story. I don’t know about you, but I’m an avid watcher of most of those shows. The first episode premiers tonight at 10pm on The Sundance Channel, and Rash’s first guests will be the cast and writers of the AMC’s Breaking Bad. You don’t have to wait until then to check it out. Sundance has already released the first full episode on their website, and since I’ve gotten in the habit of hitting you with YouTube Videos, I’d might as well leave you with the preview, but before I do, I just want to say how proud I am to call Jim Rash a fellow native of Charlotte, North Carolina. Jim, you may never see this, but keep on trucking. I’m rooting for you.

Another Blog? How Many More Do We Need?!

Ah Summer. It’s a wonderful time of year, is it not? The kids are out of school. Families all over are taking trips to the beach and other vacation hotspots. And others, like myself, are taking a reprieve from the muggy heat to start their own blog. That’s right. Right now, I’m sitting on the front porch, rocking seersucker pants, deck shoes, a white linen shirt and a Jason Mraz fedora, watching my niece and nephew play under the shade of a giant oak, and writing my very first post for the Crown Town Scribe.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Yes, this is yet another blog on an internet oversaturated by blogs. The only thing more numerous than blogs on the internet… dating websites and porn. I consider this the lesser of the three evils, and so I’ll try my hand at it. I’d also like to think that what I plan is a bit different from the norm. Crown Town Scribe will be an exploration of storytelling in it’s various forms, from the staples we know and love to the more unorthodox sources we may not expect. Stories are everywhere: in books, sports, music, science and everyday life (ie My everyday life). This all will be filtered through the lens of me, A.T. Augustine, an aspiring writer currently based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Some of my articles will have a local focus on them, but if I’m telling these stories properly, those of you tuning in from elsewhere will have no problem getting acclimated.

A little bit about myself: A.T. Augustine is a pen name, and I must confess I haven’t decided what the A.T. stands for, so maybe you guys can help me figure that out one day. In addition to writing, I dance (particularly Latin), act on stage and in film, and wait tables. For the sake of following the trend you must be catching on to, I’ve been known to sing a song here or there, but I don’t bring home the bread with that talent. My tastes are wild and varied, but there’s one common denominator among them all. I see a story being told. So in essence, Crown Town Scribe will be 1/4 analysis, 1/4 op-ed, 1/4 journal, and 1/4 writer’s platform.

Simple enough?

Too bad! :p That’s the best I can do. There will be at least one feature post a week, but I’ll occasionally get other entries in between. Be forewarned, I am an adult, who will use adult language where appropriate. The milestone widget to the right will count down to that feature post. The about page is self explanatory, and the projects page will preview and track the progress of some of my own work. All posts after this one will be categorized and taged, so that nonexistent tag cloud should start to take form in the near future. Feel free to follow me on Twitter and Facebook (once the page is up). And check out my picks on Goodreads if you’re as much of a lover of stories as I am.

As I don’t consider this a real post, I’ll be putting my first feature up later this week. Until then…

Be Cool
A.T. Augustine