Radio talk transcript

Radio talk April 10, 2013 LHS


“Know thyself”- Socrates

Most people spend more time planning their summer vacation than their lives, GRCC psychology instructor Tom Deschaine.

It took me a long time to figure out what I want in life, because I am good at everything. And that’s not an exaggeration. Just ask my husband.

As funny as it is, it can become a disadvantage that sends you on different tangents wandering around like a hobo. Some call it ADD, lack of focus, lack of determination, whatever.

The writer in me

Deep down inside me I knew I always wanted to write. But that’s like saying I want to eat. What do you want to eat? Hamburger or a steak? Well, it was probably steak.

So, I started writing for Czech papers as a correspondent out of Montreal, while I was teaching ESL. On the side, I wrote fiction, short stories, now in a living collection “Glass Flowers.”

I still enjoyed doing all three things that is writing fiction and non-fiction, as well as teaching. Call it a trichotomy.

When I officially entered the journalism arena in the US, I loved it immediately from the get go.  I learned photography upgrading my skills. My forte or strong side are human interest stories about people doing interesting things.

 News story vs. human interest

The difference between a news story and a human interest story is in its sudden impact, and lasting. I prefer the lasting stories, just as much as I prefer perennials to annuals.

I don’t remember most of the news stories that I have done, (they were all the same crashed cars, bloody bodies, shot people) but I remember outstanding features syndicated by the AP such as the one about a Belding apple farmer losing his orchard due to economy, an Orleans man weaving stockings through the Great Depression, or a boy who delivered his sister.

And that takes me directly to what I am doing now.  I am working on our family immigration saga Greenwich Meridian spanning three generations. It is a true work of creative non-fiction, in which I combine creativity with facts from life. Much like in the human interest features, I elevate the stuff I like about the characters, or the details and downplay what I don’t like.


I apply a similar but even more liberal technique in my screenplays.  I either base a character on a real person, put him in a real setting, but expose him or her to a fictive situation. Or any mix of the above.

For example for my screenwriting software test, I wrote a skit called “Santa on the Showboat”  based on picture taking with Santa right here in town. The skit features three major characters, Santa based on real Santa,…hahaha, who is real Santa?…..and the city manager and his wife.

The story is about the city manager who has never had his pics taken with Santa, so his wife escorts him to the Showboat. What ends up happening, is that Santa throws the manager of the boat because he raised taxes and got rid of fowl in the city. And Santa has a full backyard of chickens. And all the hilarious stuff in between.

It’s a magical combination that I found out works.

I applied it in the script “Riddleyville Clowns” which is totally inspired by local happenings in 2006 that I have taken to an extreme.  A local resident put together a clown parade to celebrate the city’s 175th anniversary. I used the parade as a vehicle for the entire screenplay that takes us through life in small town America to witness a disaster.


Difference between writing and screenwriting: which is more difficult?

 1-Back to square one, depends on your skills and knowing yourself what you can do.

2-In screenwriting you must be able constantly to visualize the scenes, you have to see them before you write them or as you write them, and know how to separate them.

3-Regular writing is more of a conglomerate, you don’t have to visualize as much and you are describing the events, rather than breaking them into different scenes.


The blog-why do I have it

 I have the blog as a platform much like a politician. The publishing and the entertainment industries require that you develop your audience or following that will ultimately buy your book and come to see your movie.

It makes sense to me. If I wasn’t a writer, I’d be a politician.


Thank you,

Emma Palova

April 10, 2013


Copyright (c) Emma Palova


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