Raw Material: A TV Pilot

It’s been quiet, I know.  Life suddenly became hectic, and that’s okay.  The juggling struggle has been very real, however, and some balls get dropped, for the time being.

So while I work on memorizing a 100+ script to perform, I’ve put together a very raw form of the pilot I worked on.  It hasn’t had a read through, or even a skimmed edit.  It’s the pure material.  I wanted you to see where it starts.  What I do with it now?  I have no idea.  Perhaps I’ll finish out the six episode arc I wrote up for this project, and perhaps I’ll compile it, and even sell it as a readable screenplay.  Who knows.  It’s a side project in any case, as my paranormal fantasy has sprung to life again in my head, and the sequel to my book, really needs to be told.

I hope you enjoy it.  (PS. I’d totally cast myself as Jadeia.)

EP.1 – The Last Earther

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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.

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!

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.

Mother’s and another One-Shot

Goodness!  It’s been busy.  Between work (don’t feel too bad, I love my job) and rehearsals (don’t feel bad there either, I couldn’t imagine NOT performing), there’s been little time to write.  I have to remind myself that it’s okay… especially since I’ve had a break-through the Turned/Red‘s sequel and what the voice will sound like… and I’ve been struggling with that for some time, so that’s a big deal.

I, also, may have written Katja in my paranormal-fantasy into quite the pickle and need to figure out a good way to escape it.  Whoops.  I blame her.

But, it’s Mother’s Day, and while I never plan on being anything but a mother to my kitties, I want to celebrate mother’s out there, whether they have children, or not that are their own.  I firmly believe that we take on motherly qualities in all areas and that should be celebrated.  Plus, my mother and grandmother…  words don’t suffice.

Well… sort of…  I did write another installment of World Painted Red which is my 1000k short story collection I’m working on.  This one brings us Red’s mother, a character I love, and may, one day, get her own story.  Read over here at FictionPress or below:

World Painted Red:  The Word-Smith

The concrete counter was holding me up.  I had all my weight leaning on my hands, on that counter, as if the grey slab was the only foundation I had under me.  In the sink beside me, waiting to be tossed, or better yet, burned in the antique fireplace, were white washcloths covered in blood.  My husband’s blood.  I wished it wasn’t the usual occurrence: the bloodied rags haphazardly tossed in the sink.  I wished that I didn’t know a thing about how to patch him up, but I did, and it happened more and more.

I wasn’t sure I could fault him for it, but I couldn’t.  I wanted to be out there with him, fighting from the ground up.  My role was something else, however.

My nails tried to dig into the concrete.  Over, and over.  The tips of my fingers began to feel raw, only a few more scratches away from adding my own blood to his; it would certainly be fitting.  But I stopped, keenly aware that in the next room a man, gruff but edged in fluff, was making our young daughter giggle, minutes after having his head, hands, and body stitched back together.  Only one of us could be made of patches, and he had sacrificed himself.

A giggle erupted from the living room, tiny, but deep.  She would be a spitting image of her father when she grew up, I knew it.  My only hope was that she would be less like him, with less of his tendencies to get himself into scraps.  There were only so many stitches I could put in my family.  I couldn’t begin to contemplate putting them in her perfect, toddler skin.

With shaking hands, I gathered up the rags, and pitched them into bin set for the trash the next morning.  My husband wouldn’t be able to hide his current injuries, so I didn’t bother to start a fire to burn them.  Drowning out the childish shrieks, and the booming laughter of my husband, I ran the sink, rinsing away the traitorous deeds our family was leading.

As I stepped back, surveyed the kitchen, the dishes drying beside the sink, and the gleam of the countertops, the world seemed simple.  Clean.  Outside our safe walls, made so by my appointment in the legal offices near the heart of Faeree, the world was covered in blood, rubble, and the tears of those forgotten by the glittering towers of the White Dynasty.  My husband worked tirelessly, a fierce bear protecting his cub, to bring the tyranny down, more often by force.  No matter how many times I tried to convince him to use a more diplomatic solution, he was all fire, consuming, and headstrong.

I was the rock.

It was so hard being the rock.

I wanted to yell.  To raise my fist with him, but I knew.  I knew that I had set the path at his feet, and that it was I who had lit the fire that burned through him.  All of the stitches I put in his skin, were mine.  My words, only words, were the first to start the rebellion, the kindling so many were waiting for, and he fanned them.

One last swipe on the counter, and I wandered to the edge of the doorframe to look in on them.  She was toddling away from him, a little run that her chubby lanky legs struggled with, to circle the coffee table.  He loped after her, comically looming like a monster.  Her little voice shrieked, then giggled, and shrieked some more.  Despite the fresh stitches, the pain that must have been going through him, he obliged her.  He never once paused, or thought to turn her never-ending energy in a different direction.  She was his joy, but in that moment, I saw that she would be his destruction.  He would do anything for her.  Anything.  As would I.  And she deserved everything.  Even a world where we fought, with blood and turmoil, to bring to her so that she wouldn’t know the burden that Faeree was placing on the shoulders of its people.

They turned the corner, her face turning up to see me, leaning in the doorway.  She bolted toward me, her arms outstretched, looking for protection.  I returned her pure, innocent smile, snatching her up in my arms, swinging her legs around me.  “Roselind Red.”  I admonished.  “Rupert Red.  What is going on in here?”

“There’s no Rupert here.  There’s only,” he paused for dramatic effect, “the Troll Monster.”  His hands, freshly washed, flew up in ridiculous claw shapes.  The face he made, pinched and comical, made a giggle (such a foreign thing) bubble up in my chest.

He took a stomping step toward us, and I took a little step back.  Roselind’s little arms circled my neck.  “Mommy!”  She cried, though there was no real fear in her voice.  I prayed there would never be a reason for her to cry my name with fear behind it.

Rupert took a step toward us.  I took a step back.  “Don’t worry, Little Red.  I’ll always keep you from the big, bad monster.”  I childishly stuck a tongue out at my husband, who gave me a playful wink moments before leaping toward us.  I was a word-smith, not a fighter, and with a squirming toddler in my arms, I wasn’t quick enough.  His big arms wrapped around us.  His fingers found tickle spots.  He knew my weaknesses, and I simply could not endure tickling.  I sunk to the floor, laughter overwhelming me.  We tumbled together in a mixture of erupting giggles, and flaying lips.  When the tickling subsided, Roselind wiggled free, triumphantly taking her place atop the cushions on the couch.

Rupert sat back, pulling me up with him, and tenderly brushing a strand of hair from my face.  His hand was shaking, probably from pain.  My eyes softened.  I took his hand, kissing the top just before the stitches I had delicately sewn into his skin.  Behind us, Roselind tossed herself down, bouncing with the cushions, her little face smooshing as she turned to watch us.  “Tell me a story, Mommy.”

“A story?”

“Yes,” Rupert urged, “a story.  Ella, tell one of your lovely stories.”

“Story!”

“About a girl,” he continued, “who escaped the Ice Queen.  And found her less-than-princely Prince Charming.”

“With the fairy godmother!”

I smiled, slowly.  “Just one then bed.”

Roselind clapped, then squirmed until she was curled up in the cushions.

“There once was a girl who lived far away from Faeree, where there were rolling hills, and silly dogs who chased sticks.  She had a wonderful father, but a horrible stepmother who was always jealous of everyone.  But this girl was smart, smartest in her class.  And she had an idea…”

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.