24 November, 2017
Every year I participate in nanowrimo. The goal is to complete a novel in 30 days. This is the first year in awhile that I've completed a novel via nanowrimo. Check them out for next year nanowrimo.org. It's my third completed novel, if you don't count the novel I wrote in high school (horror), or the novel I started, but didn't finish in college (scifi). Yeah, that scifi novel still has some potential. Writing a novel makes you reflect on your life. I've always been a writer. Always. Elementary, middle, high school, college--always a writer. People get writer's block, I don't. People write strictly for the money, I don't. To me, writing is pure and utter joy. There's a spring in Florida where you can see all the way to the bottom. You can, and many people do, float on it via inner tube--for hours. It's relaxing, tranquil; it's perfection. That's what writing is like to me. It's like floating down that spring and never getting out of the water. Or, if you're not into the whole nature thing (I love the outdoors), imagine a full day at a spa and someone else paying the bill for it. Facial, mani-pedi, massage with weird scrubbing sugars, champagne, lunch, the works. That's how writing feels to me. As part of nanowrimo, I wrote a YA, scifi novel. YA means young adult. The heroine of the book is sixteen. She is not "the one", or "the hero destined to save the world". She's not even "she's pretty but doesn't know it". She's a girl who believes strongly in the bond of family and sees that bond tested in some pretty horrible ways, that I won't give away on this platform. The novel is a rough draft at this stage. I will continue to work on it until it sings, while I work on my next YA novel. I love being a writer.
10 October, 2017
All I want is a cheeseburger. I had to have dental surgery. That meant stitches. That meant no chewing. No real food. For over a week now, I've had only soft food. I was excited when the dentist said I could have ice cream and Jamba Juice. Who wouldn't want to eat ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? That lasted two days. Yogurt? One day. Mashed potatoes. One day. All around me I kept smelling food. I dreamed about platters and platters of ribs and steak and coconut cake. Now I know how Oliver felt watching all that food go to the rich people in the back room while he had to eat gruel (watch the movie). I wanted real food. But I'm a writer, be specific. I wanted a greasy, half pound cheeseburger, on a bun baked by a ninety year old grandmother in her family run business. I wanted my cheeseburger to have a thick slab of melted cheddar cheese from a two hundred year old dairy farm in Wisconsin. And I wanted steak fries. A whole plate of steak fries. With potatoes from...you fill in the blank. What does this have to do with writing? When you query and submit your manuscript to an agent before it's ready all you've done is give them mashed potatoes or ice cream. They get served mashed potatoes and ice cream all day. They don't want it, and so they reject your manuscript. Take the time to build that oozy, gooey, cheeseburger. The kind that drips juice down your chin and onto your denim capris when you bite into it. No one wants to keep eating ice cream forever. And you! Why are you still making yourself eat ice cream? Take the time to dive deep into your work. That doesn't mean write writhing on the floor in anguish. Be true. Have fun. Build cheeseburgers.
02 September, 2017
I finally did it. I wrote one of those defining screenplays. The kind of screenplay that takes an emotional toll on you to write. That takes everything you have to write. So much of that screenplay pushed me so far out of my comfort zone, ittook me longer than usual to write. And I don't mean just the extensive research, but the emotional weight of it. As I typed fade out on the final page yesterday, I knew. This screenplay would be my calling card to Hollywood. The screenplay is an inspirational drama about a family going through something no family wants to deal with, and it centers around the sixteen year old daughter and her father. I know, you want details. I'm leaving the details to the pitch I'm writing for it. The script is not ready to hand to someone and say "here, read this." It's my first draft. But I'm putting myself on a "working writer" deadline. Because if I was writing this for a studio, I would be on a deadline. Not just to finish it. But to deliver a perfectly polished script. My goal is to have a perfectly polished script in six weeks. That means before and after my day job, I'll be working on this script. Diving deep. Making sure my conflict happens at the right moment, and that my characters act and speak authentically. Making sure I have high stakes and escalations (screenwriter talk). Not just the larger than an elephant in a shoe box conflict and high stakes, but that the stakes keep getting higher during the screenplay. And that they are the right stakes and escalations. That the emotional impact it there. That the meaning/theme is woven throughout. That it honors what God wants me to say. I've prayed about this screenplay the entire time I worked on it and will continue to do so while editing it.
26 May, 2017
I had an amazing post planned for this blog entry, then I realized it would make a great novel. The past few months I've been working on a faith-based screenplay. It's about a subject most Christians don't talk about. I won't reveal it yet, because there are so many people that like to steal ideas and would take this one, sell it, and profit from it before I even finished the third draft. Suffice it to say the topic is relevant for society today and you don't have to be a believer to get it. Emotional journey. That is what this screenplay has taken me through. To be a great writer, you have to be able to feel what your character feels and then translate that onto the page. My characters have been taking me on an emotional journey. It's a heavy script, heavy with emotion, and when I am done with the first draft, I will let it cool off in a "drawer" for a month and continue working on my YA scifi novel. That novel is at the point where my character must make a terrible decision. There is no "good" choice for her. Only a necessary choice. She will find out in the end how "all things work to good..." And so to, I hope, the character in my screenplay does. Keep writing.