Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Breaking and entering the rule book

Surely a writer's blog such as this one would benefit from some discussion of work by other fiction-masters? So far I have talked only about films and television programmes that I can be positive about.

But then, certainly at UCF, critical evaluation of fellow writers' work is actively encouraged – more so, in fact, because if we don't critique each other, then we don't pass the course.

This leaves me wondering – and I hope you can see my dilemma – about the ethics regarding the discussion of successful writers' work when I am merely learning the trade. I have already had one, unjustified, warning from a tutor who said I should not "diss the industry" in which I want to work. She was mistaken, but at the same time her admonition has acted as a kind of brake and caused me to consider every word that I write.

So is it okay for me to discuss the work of established writers? My current wife says, 'Yes, because if all screenwriting was considered to be on a par, there wouldn't be awards such as the BAFTAs and Oscars, would there?'

Then is it okay for me to make judgements? I mean, I'm supposed to be learning from the work of industry professionals and, in some cases, some of the material out there comes nowhere near the standards that, at UCF, we are expected to deliver.

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