Bainbridge author Anthony Flacco leads Field's End Roundtable
By CONNIE MEARS
Bainbridge Island Review Staff Writer
November 11, 2010 · 4:11 PM
Anthony Flacco has faced his share of blank pages.
The author of six books, and former screenwriter for Touchstone Pictures and the Discovery Channel, Flacco knows the perils of getting images from the screen of your mind onto the page.
Despair and discouragement are the twin enemies of writing. It’s a journey filled with doubts, Flacco said on the phone Wednesday.
He will share provisions for the journey as he leads the November Field’s End Roundtable focused on helping participants uncover why they want to write.
“Why are you even here?” Flacco will ask. “Of all the millions of other things you could be doing, why do you want to write? Why not just go watch a movie?”
Getting to why is a technique Flacco uses in his own work. Characters leap from the page into 3-D when the writer understands the character’s core motivation. All action stems from that, and Flacco is adamant that successful writing is all about action. Perseverance, he said, will take you from just wishing you were writing to actually getting pages out.
“It’s so much easier to fix and rewrite than to wrestle inside your head,” he said.
Flacco is clear about his own motivation.
“I am only interested in pursuing stories with an honest and compelling expression of hope for the reader – not a manufactured sentiment, but an imparted sense of fulfillment at the end,” he wrote on his website.
Which is not to say he avoids going into the dark.
“Reaching it often means delving long and hard into very dark places, in order to understand the story’s conflict,” he wrote.
In fact, it was the stark realities of John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row and Tortilla Flats that affected him as a young man.
“Here were broken men drinking cheap wine, but he got to their deep emotions, he showed us their humanity. I didn’t even know you could do that with words,” he said.
Steinbeck’s portrayal of “ridiculous winos using fake Shakespearean language” was a way to extend to one another a little dignity, he said. Understanding the why in what characters do brings them into 3-D.
Flacco’s acting, stage and screenplay experience has honed his ability to “see” stories in his imagination, born out of a character’s needs.
He is currently working on the story of inventor Nikola Tesla, who championed the development of alternating current electricity, winning out over Thomas Edison’s direct current methods.
“It’s very visual, cinematic,” Flacco said. “It was during the steampunk era. Essentially he was responsible for inventing the electrical grid, but he died too broke to pay his light bill.”
In addition to the novel, he is working with HBO, developing the story into a graphic novel script and has also created a screeplay.
Anthony’s first two novels of historical fiction are “The Last Nightingale,” 2007, and “The Hidden Man,” 2008. “The Road Out Of Hell” and “Publish Your Nonfiction Book” were both published in November 2009.
Just do it
Anthony Flacco will lead the November Field’s End Roundtable with “From the Screen in Your Mind to the Page in Your Hands” from 7-8:30 p.m. Nov. 16 at the Bainbridge Public Library, 1270 Madison Ave. Info: visit firstname.lastname@example.org or (206) 842-6613.