Monday, September 14, 2009

Favorite Writers

I'm often asked about my favorite writers. I've always put Larry Gelbart near the top of the list, so I was sad to see that he passed away this weekend.

Even if you haven't heard of Larry, you've no doubt seen his work performed on screen or stage. M*A*S*H. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Oh, God! City of Angels. Tootsie. The man possessed an immeasurable wit.

If you want to learn about writing, watch a few episodes of M*A*S*H. Study how Gelbart develops his characters, making you love them, flaws and all. Learn from his brevity. Every word moves his stories forward; nothing is extraneous. I still watch M*A*S*H with an eye to learning the craft from the best in the business.

Thank you, Larry. You'll be missed.


Jennifer Echols said...

I'm a devotee of M*A*S*H, too. I learned so much about writing from that show. And one of my favorite books on writing, Writing the Romantic Comedy by Billy Mernit, practically idolizes Tootie. I couldn't agree more.

Debbie Rigaud said...

I've always loved the writing on M*A*S*H, my dad is a huge fan of the "Oh God!" series, and it just so happens that "Tootsie" is coming up on my DVD rentals queue. Thanks for bringing the writer behind all of this to my attention!