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!

One-Shots and Fueling

In the early morning hours, you know them, they’re the ones were you roll over at 2am, open about ten apps and hope for sleep, I came up with an interesting idea…  One -shots.  I used to write them all the time.  I wrote fan-fic one-shots, original fic one-shots… anything.  There were a great way to get juices flowing, explore a character voice, and just simply: practice.  In fact, during that 2am desperate search for sleep, I realized I missed writing them.

I came up with an idea.  Mainly, I came up with the idea to keep my first novel’s world in my head.  I didn’t want to lose the world I had built in favor of the new one that seems to be taking over (ahem… Srebrov and my paranormal-fantasy).  I decided that one-shots, a great exercise, would really help my world-mushing problem.  Why not write one-shots in Faeree, Turned/Red‘s world?  Write from perspectives of characters never met in the novel, or explore bits of their early life?  It would be a fun way to further explore what I had created…

And why not share those experiments?  I’m all about transparency of the process… and encouraging others to do the same.  So this first one is up on Fictionpress.  Eventually, I hope to collect them into a small companion book, but for now, they’re available to read there.

I hope you enjoy!

World Painted Red: The Nanny
She was tasked with a simple job: steal the baby for the queen. But nothing with the Imperial Queen is ever that easy. A one-shot in the world of Faeree first introduced in E. Logan’s Turned/Red.

When Characters Speak Up

What happens when a character, who, when you originally wrote her, was one of the more elusive of the set, suddenly decides to speak up and demand her own story?  You try to tell her to stop, but end up giving in and allowed her to take over her own novella.  At least, this is how this reasoning goes when a little story-bug gets into your brain and won’t let go.

Not that I’m complaining.  Story-bugs are the best.  Really.  There’s passion, and imagination, and fire there.  It means that a character has a voice that demands to be heard, and usually, if you let yourself follow the story-bug, something interesting comes out of it.

Now, I’ll admit, it isn’t always a full-blown story.  I’ve had story-bugs think they are full novels but end up realizing they are just fabulous sub-plots to another tale.  They end up being important points in the over-all reach of the story in ways I didn’t expect.

The bunny looks so cute and concerned....: Then you have story-bugs that started out only as a sub-plot idea that somehow blooms into a bigger one.  That’s where I am currently.  Solene White, a character in my novel Turned/Red I wrote about earlier (here) was only ever supposed to be a sub-plot.  Having based her off of Snow White and a few well-talked about monarchs in history, I didn’t feel like I wanted to re-hash an over-told tale.  I was wrong.  Apparently.

In the original plotting of the story-arcs, she never received her own.  The “Cinderella” character would get one, the “Sleeping Beauty” character would get one, down the line even a “Dorothy” and “Tinkerbell” character would get one… but not “Snow White.”  That, however, was back when I was taking the story in a very fairy-tale re-telling route, before it turned on its head, pulled from the War of the Roses and my dystopian love and jumped the curve.  Happily.

But now Solene isn’t content to be in Red’s story.  She wants her own.  So does Mal.  So does Red’s mother.  These women have stories they want to tell.  Novellas.  Not fully grown tales, but mini-ones.  And while I spent this week trying, and failing, to focus efforts purely on my paranormal fantasy project, they were begging me to give.

So I did.  Novellas for everyone it seems.

Let’s Be Real: Balancing It All

I sat down this week to write up a blog post and you know what happened?  Nothing.  Nada.  Zilch.  I stared at the wall for a while, binged This Is Us (which I’m in love with, and it’s not even something I usually watch on TV), and found myself all over my local zoo’s website (I love penguins for some reason).  Usually, this ADD sort of thinking produces something, but not this week.  Could it be burn out from an amazing production week/run of a performance?  Could it be I’m using it all up in drafting my Wonder Woman outfit for con?  Or because I hit this weird, but good-weird spot in my recent novel and I’m busy working it out?  Or maybe it is all of those things.

Maybe I needed to talk about how to balance being an indy (independent) writer, performer, seamstress, pin up girl, AND working a regular-if-only-it-was-full-time job.  That’s the reality a lot of us face as we start out trying to carve a little spot for ourselves.  So few of us get to sit down and write, or perform, full-time.  I’d love to do both.  That’s my goal, a completely reach-able with LOTS of hard work goal, but one filled with the ever persistent balance problem.  I have to feed myself, therefore, I had to make money by working.  I’m committed to events, which require my sewing skills.  I have to make sure my soul hasn’t gone crazy, so I work on finding the next fabulous show to perform in.  It’s a lot.  On top of the need to write down these stories bubbling in my head.  It’s not wonder people thing us, artists are a little off-beat.

As spring rolls around, I realize that I will have less and less time to write.  It’ll be about chiseling moments of time in order to do so… and to be honest, that’s difficult for me.  I get ideas, need to try them out, and end up side-tracked.  It’s the ENFP life at its purest.  It’s brilliant but I have to remember to keep at it.

I, also, have to remember, that I’m not failing if I’m not writing every day.  Not if I’m composing in my head, thinking about it, then I’m not failing.  And yes, I repeat that to myself every time I beat myself up over it… and I do it every time.  I remind myself that everyone works differently.  Some have to write every day.  Some don’t.  Some binge.  Some trickle.  Some plan chapters a week/word count a week.  Some don’t.

But balance, that’s what I need.  I need to make sure I am feeding all of my artistic outlets.  And take the time to regenerate those juices.  It also means, to me, giving in to my artistic impulses when they occur.  And that just because it isn’t happening at that moment, or even a day or two done the road, doesn’t mean it won’t suddenly happen again.

Patience.  It’s a virtue, or something.  I’m not very good at it, but I’m trying.

And I pose this question: how do you balance it all?  I’d love to swap tips, stories, etc.  You an always learn from someone else.  Always.

Food. The Spice of Life

I recently uncovered my copy of A Feast of Ice and Fire: the Official Game of Thrones Companion Cookbook (which I HIGHLY recommend for the historical goodies in there).  I did it to gear up for the next (and last, let me cry into my pillow please) season.  In the forward, I was struck by how the authors of the cookbook commented on George R. R. Martin’s feasts, and how often he writes them.  I never paid much attention when I was reading the books.  I was too much in the world, and maybe, just maybe, that’s why author’s put food in their books.

Amazing restaurants on the water in #Dubrovnik, Croatia:
Dubrovnik, Croatia

In this new project I’ve realized how important a component food has become.  There are whole scenes around meals, which makes sense for a fantasy novel, but isn’t it that way in life?  Don’t we have the most amazing conversations over a plate of food, or a glass of our favorite drink (be it wine or grape juice)?  We are at our most open when we are sharing a meal, so it makes sense to bring that forth in a written work.  There’s hardly an easy out if you are sharing a meal.  You either suck it up and stay, or you make a dramatic exit.  Either are writing gold.  It forces your characters to follow through with their words and actions.  They don’t get to swing a sword, slip away, or any other easy out.  Not that forcing them to stay is easy writing.  On the contrary.  The next thing you know, you’re writing a scene you weren’t sure you were ready for, but your characters were.  And in the end?  The narrative is better for it.

Food always places a culture.  For my new project, which I brought up in my last post about world building, my new place has some touches for a Croatian heritage I’m only just now discovering, so I’ve made a conscious choice to use Croatian and similar style foods.  Even if people don’t know what burek or kifle is, there’s instantly a feel associated with those words, and that spelling.  It’s a feel I want to imbue my story with, not to mention I like the idea of planning a meal around this new tale.

And there is such a rise in cookbooks inspired off of books/tv shows/movies.  I have an Amazon wish list full of them.  (Arguably, I love historical cooking, so anything that even hints at historical recipes is instantly in my “need” list.)  Eating, and socializing around that act, is purely human.  Of course, as authors, no matter how “other” our characters are, this will always reveal some sort of truth.  Even Turned/Red had some of my favorite, poignant moments, around a table and coffee.

We need food to survive.  And the social interaction that it involves, even if it is just one person.  If we want to be true to life?  Food is on the page, whether we consciously write it, or it just happens.

World Building: Where the Muse Strikes

Breaking away from Turned/Red to look at a new project I’m working on: my epic paranormal fantasy.  You read that right.  Paranormal.  Fantasy.  A “I see dead people” meets Tamora Pierce world.  I’m very excited; the characters are starting to come into their own, and so is the world, which is never easy.  World building is very difficult, in case you didn’t know.  This world has been particularly interesting.

Dubrovnik, Croatia. Places To Travel Before You Die:
Dubrovnik, Croatia

When I started out, I knew I didn’t want a typical European-like medieval fantasy.  Oh sure, it is pre-gunpowder, so there are a lot of swords, and knives, and staffs.  But there’s no “winter.”  There’s no wool.  It’s all silk and cotton.  There are veils, and gold coin jewelry, leather armor, and sandals.  The air is sweltering most of the time, but the nights are cool.  The food is Croatian, or Slavic.  There are droughts in the plains, trade routes being block, and border wars.  And it’s a lot to organize, but so much fun to build.

There’s always a gateway for me into world building.  Sometimes it is an image I find on Pinterest (we don’t want to know how much time I spend on Pinterest), or a recipe, or a phrase a friend of mine says.  In the case of my new project (I’ve lovingly titled Ghost Crown), it is my little known Croatian heritage.  I’ve spent so much time investing in the Irish/Scottish side, that I wanted to dive into the Croatian, and the more I did, the more the world built itself.

It started with an image of the Grand Palaiska (the royal palace) where it had this very Roman feel with stone pillars, silks draping about, the dress code is delicate, draping about them, silks and cottons, leather and studs.  Everything is open.  The moment that image solidified, the moment I knew I had a place, a time, and a story.  I knew I was taking my love of Roman architecture, and mixing it with Croatian, or sometimes Slavic words, foods, names.

Then I drew a map.  I hate maps.  Half-way through a story, I ignore them to re-write

Ivy covered arcades at Mirogoj  Zagreb, Croatia - Beautiful long outdoor corridor !
Mirogoj Zagreb, Croatia

them how I want/need them to look.  But I did it.  I drew a map with town names, and mountains, and lakes, and neighboring countries.  Oddly enough, this time?  It stuck.  So far.  I’m only 30k words into the story.  There’s still plenty of time for me to chuck it out the window.

But the world is there now.  I know my country’s name: Srebrov.  I know their neighbors.  I know there are docks that my POV character can see from her balcony.  I know there are mountains, and plain-lands where food is grown.  I know there’s a bit of land in dispute between my country and their rival/enemy.  I know the south could care less about the north.  I know these things, and once I know them (and it takes some time.  It isn’t over night), suddenly, I have a story.  The people show up and populate them.

My stories are character driven, but I have to create their world first.  And it’s fun.  Creating a world from scratch means you get to make it up.  You get to decide.  I mean, once the characters show up, I lose all the control, but at least I made their world…  I can still pretend like I did something.