What I Learned

It was fast.  It was dirty.  And it is nothing like what professional, or those seeking to break into the industry, go through to perfect their pilots and scripts for submission.  Much like writing a novel, it doesn’t happen in a couple weeks.  There are revisions.  Edits.  Re-writes and you haven’t even gotten to the pitch, the query, or design work.  To expect a sell-worthy pilot script in only a few weeks is, frankly, crazy.  And impossible.

BUT.

I do have a working draft that I am proud of, even if I know there is so much more I’d like to add, play with, and explore.

It was intense, writing scenes, brief scenes as the idea was to keep each act of the pilot episode within 11 pages for a simple 30 minute pilot.  While I’d never wish to script a 30 minute show (I prefer hour formats even as a viewer), it does teach you a lot about editing, and getting down to the important moments in storytelling.  There is no waxing poetic when you have 11 pages.  There is no lingering to ink out all the emotions possible.  There is no showing off.  It’s dirty, and it’s in your face.  It is a lesson I hope to translate into novel format.

Now… what to do with this little creation?  I don’t know.  I certainly don’t expect to try and put it out there as a pilot to sell.  It’s an interesting story, sure, one that is at the heart of my geeky love, but even I don’t see it as a good episodic show.  Or even a film.  So perhaps I’ll end up posting it.  Perhaps I’ll end up adapting it into a traditional novel.  It’ll live on somehow, I know that, and will certainly be one of the more interesting learning experiences.

So, in short, while I will be returning to working on my novels (I really ought to get going on those again), but I’ll say this: every writer should work in a different medium.  If you write scripts, while in the traditional format.  If you write poetry, try script writing.  If you write novels, try poetry.  Do something else, even if you know you’ll never do it again.  You’ll be surprised how it will inform your work.

Advertisements

No Easy Feat: Script Writing Update

Script Writing.  It’s hard.  Really hard.  I knew that going into this online course.  It is the reason I’ve stayed away from it for so long.  I give all the props in the world to the amazing writers who do it day in and day out on scripted television shows, and films.  There is nothing easy about it.  But it was a challenge that I wanted to tackle.

You’d think, as an actor, script writing would be the first thing I’d attempt.  Honestly, I toyed with it as a kid, but I never really stuck with it.  Why?  Because I loved performing the words more than I liked writing them.  Which is odd because I truly love writing prose, but in prose, you tell the whole story, actions and dialogue.  In script writing, you let the creative team and performers do that work for you.  It’s weird.

I’ll say this, though, it is allowing me to play in a sandbox that has been cluttering up my head and keeping me from writing my prose work.  Those characters now get to play, and get to be read by the people taking the course.  It’s pleasant, and I love the feedback, both good and bad.  And, frankly, it lets me play in space.  As in, outer space, which is my setting for my pilot script.

Of course, there is a character I’d love to play.  Of course I have actors cast in my head.  Why not?  It’s an exercise.

The challenge has been good for me so far.  I haven’t quite wanted to bang my head against the table.  While I’ve been frustrated with the aimlessness I’ve tackled this project with, I’m pleased with the story that is unfolding.  It’s hard, sticking to dialogue, trying to convey a story with only that, but I think, in the end, my prose work will be better for it.

New Quest: Script Writing.

You might not hear much from me.  My schedule is about to become jam-packed, and on top of it, I’ve added an exciting but certainly challenging new writing venture.  Through Coursera (I’ve taken several courses through them and love them), I’ve signed up for a script-writing class.

Usually, I stick to novels, short stories, the traditional format.  I don’t venture into script writing.  It’s foreign territory.  But this course is supposed to help create a pilot script for a tv series.  I say “supposed” because I’m not sure what the outcome of this experiment for me will be.  Script writing is a very different genre and requires a different set of skills.  It’s like Ballet vs Tap.  I use those because I’m a dancer and I can tell you for experience that while I can tap, I am not a tapper, but have been trained as a classical ballerina.  Reverse that, and I’m sure tappers will agree with me.

But I want to try.

And it’s only week one of the course, and I’ve created a very complicated, overly populated story.  I can’t help myself.  But it’s an experiment, a challenge.

As part of it, I’m going to post my work, after it has been completed through the course, here.

I may also blog my woes, challenges, and revelations.  I’m looking forward to it!

Writer’s Block. Again. It Happens.

I rambled about failing last week, how it is inevitable, and how it shouldn’t be feared.  I hold firmly to that while saying: that doesn’t mean giving up.  I am not.  But I did, and still am, working through writer’s block.  It happens.  It cannot be ignored or assumed that it will never happen to you.  It does.  It’s ok.  But it is hard to find what helps to work through it.

For me, I work on random writing projects.  Sometimes just a page or two of an idea.  Or something rather silly.  Currently, I’m writing a vampire/werewolf piece.  It’s not my genre (I’m a full blown fantasy/dystopian girl).  So why?  It’s cheating for me.  The folklore and common knowledge of vampires and werewolves means I don’t have to build an insane new world to throw my characters in (not that I don’t love it, but I reserve that work for the projects I’m serious with).  There are already excepted parameters to work within.  In fact, I’d go so far as to recommend doing that if you are just starting out.

That’s what fanfiction offers.  I started writing in fanfiction.  The world is built, so you can focus on your style of storytelling, throwing in a new character to mingle with established.  It’s a playground to grow.  I will also support fanfiction for that purpose.  It is a spring-board to creating your own world.

Now, I work with these silly stories, completely my own, and yes, there is a touch of world building I’ve thrown in there since I can’t help myself.  In writer’s block, I have to get the muses going again, a jump-start if you will.  Something less-serious (though I quite like these characters I’ve built for this project) helps tap into what was being blocked.    It gets the fingers going, the characters talking (they tend to get jealous when you focus on something else), and suddenly you are back in the groove.

Granted, I’m not there yet.  I think I still need to play in this weird writer’s block sandbox for a little while longer before I jump back into my epic fantasy (Turned/Red’s sequel is still figuring its voice out, but I’m almost there).

So, writer’s block, like failure, is inevitable, but doesn’t have to consume you.  Experiment.  Fiddle around with different techniques.  Does it mean walking away from writing completely?  Like crafting?  Or painting?  Or reading a book?  Does it mean, like for myself, writing something completely different?  Don’t give in to it.  It will pass.  Sometimes the writer’s block is longer than others.  This one, for me, has been a long one, but I know it is almost over.  And then I won’t be able to type fast enough.

On the word: Failure, why it isn’t bad, but it is real

We run away from this word.  We refuse to say it out loud, though it plagues us, quietly, in our minds.  We bury it.  We burn it.  We have a huge social problem admitting it.

It is real, however.  No matter where we hide, we cannot escape it.  This little, forbidden “F” word: failure, will always be there, and if we are not careful, it will devour you.

So why am I talking about this?  Seems like an odd topic.  Sure.  But I’m going to share a little secret, empower myself to say it out loud, and then tear it down.

failed.

25 Of the Most Inspiring Quotes Ever SpokenIf you’re following me, you may be aware (or perhaps not) that I self published my first novel in November 2016.  I worked hard.  I spent countless hours formatting, creating a cover, working with a professional editor (who is amazing and I am honored to call her friend through this process), and setting up all the publishing details.  To say I was nervous and excited was an understatement.  I wasn’t looking for fame, but I was looking to succeed, otherwise why would any of us do anything?

The book came out, and a handful of family and friends humored me and bought my book.  Some even read it, and told me about it, and I love them immensely for it.  Being a complete novice, I tried to boost sales, create a presence.  BUT…  I failed.  Yes, I failed.  Other than a couple dozen copies, I haven’t sold any more than that.  I had hoped more friends and family would snag a copy.  That didn’t happen.  Books are not as hip as LuLa Roe (not to rag on the leggings) or nail things (I really am not very girly).  It happens.  I cannot blame the market or atmosphere.  This rests solely on me.

And, as much as it hurts (and it does), it is ok.

It is okay to let the Failure Monster slither and curl up to you.  You don’t have to let it bite you, or at the very least, you don’t have to let its venom win.  There’s never any instant success, or instant gratification despite how our society wants to operate.  Just because this first one failed doesn’t mean the next one will, unless I chose to let it devour me.  And I could chose that; I could chose to never write another book again.  I won’t.  It might not even be my last self-publishing attempt.

A great many great people said the dreaded “F” word.  They left us with gems that sound like cliches, but as someone who is slowly learning to accept the Failure Monster’s presence, those cliches are true.  You just have to keep swimming.

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts” – Winston Churchill

“Think like a queen.  A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.” – Oprah Winfrey

“Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.” – C.S. Lewis

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case, you have failed by default.” – J.K. Rowling

My Book is On Sale!

When you’re an “indy writer” (the trendy way of saying self-published), you are your own marketer.  And publicist.  And everything else.  It’s a lot, I won’t lie, however, it can be fun because you can chose when to issue a sale.

No automatic alt text available.So…  Right now, I’m offering a digital copy, available only on Amazon Kindle, of my first book for only $.99!  Don’t have Kindle?  The app is free to download on almost any device (I have it on my iPhone).  Want a hard copy?  Well, that is available as a print-on-demand for $10.99 at Amazon and B&N if you wish!

Go ahead!  Snag a copy!  And let me know what you think in a review.  I’d love feedback.

We Need “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Believe it or not, until now, I hadn’t read “The Handmaid’s Tale.”  It was always on my lift, but I could never find a hard copy, and I couldn’t afford to buy a new copy, so, alas, it sat on my list.  Then, one Saturday, I found a copy at my local library’s book sale.  It was the only book I walked away with that time, but I was more than happy to have found it.

When HULU announced that they were making a show of the book, I marked my calendar, and got the book ready.  I had started it prior, but stopped when I heard the announcement.  For whatever reason that I can’t articulate, I decided I wanted to read and watch the show side-by-side.  It was the first time I had ever done something like this, and I wasn’t sorry.  In fact, I kinda wish I could go back and do the same for the Game of Thrones series.

Reading alongside the action on screen kept me guessing, in both situations.  What little changes did they make to the show?  Let alone, what was going to happen next?

Google Image Result for http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1294702760l/38447.jpg: The show is different.  It always has to be because the mediums are so different.  HOWEVER, the way this show as done, translating the beautiful, poetic prose into a compelling and equally poetic monologue, and dialogue, is stunning.  A labour of love, and you can see it in every, stunning shot.  Very few adaptations have even compared to how well this one is translated.

And this one isn’t easy.

Ms. Atwood’s prose is stunning.  It’s heartbreaking and beautiful and symbolic and poetic.  It is poetry into prose, and narrative form.  I gobbled it up.  But I’ve always been a poet at my core.  Regardless, Offred is the core of the book; the narrator that we must believe, and love.  And it isn’t easy.  You want to will her into more action, hold her, cry for her, laugh, you want to actively do something for her.  And the end will grab you by the heart and squeeze (however you interrupt that is up to her, I’d say the same for a happy or sad ending).

Men Darkly Rule Over Women In Photos From The Handmaid's Tale #refinery29  http://www.refinery29.com/2016/12/131854/the-handmaids-tale-first-photos-hulu#slide-3  Joseph Fiennes as the Commander, the mild-mannered head of the house, prepares himself for a night with a maiden. Likely Offred, who he develops a special relationship with....:
Elizabeth Moss in Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

The show does the same.  Everyone attached to this project is giving performances of a lifetime for this work.  Every. Single. One.  And yes, it is different, and expands the world beyond the pages of Atwood’s work.  It has to, in some way, to build upon what might be several more seasons of television.  That said, none of it feels like it was added.  Every scene is carefully built with Atwood’s stunning prose in mind, the characters, and the world.  The likes of which I have never seen, even in Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films (we all know that man took great pains to bring that faithfully alive).

I’ve been singing its praises from the beginning, and using to caution the world.  How quickly our minds can be altered to believe the despicable.  We get inside the head of someone who experienced this, and it should terrify you, and spur you into action.  As a woman, it is a cautionary tale, but one with hope: we don’t have to go this way.  We can stand up and say: no! to categorizing people in such a harmful way.  We can fight back.  If Offred’s voice, so tender, can be heard, so can our shouts.

Everyone needs to watch, and read this story.  We need it more than ever.