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I'm excited you've come along for the ride with me as I blog about my thoughts and adventures about writing. Take a look around, post a comment or two, and enjoy!

14 May, 2024

Short Screenwriting

 Shorts in Screenwriting

Due to this horrific cold I’m enduring, this week’s post will be brief. Let’s talk about writing screenplay shorts. If you think they’re like short stories, your wrong. If you think they’re like flash fiction, your close. Short scripts have to drop you in the middle, give you enough to understand the situation, mix in conflict, escalation, and  then resolve it. Resolution doesn’t mean happily ever after. It means resolve the conflict. You can have a post teaser if you want it mid credits. I’m currently working on another short screenplay that must be done by the end of this month. 

And now this is  the end of this post. 


07 May, 2024

The unknown path


I was staring at the blank page today. It's time to start a new writing project and I was feeling a moment of uncertainty. Which project should I work on? Should I do a scifi or horror screenplay? Should I do an animated screenplay? What about a YA scifi novel? Each has its own exciting adventure, ready to pull me in. But as I reflected on the past year of a screenwriting mentorship, I had the honor of participating in, I thought about what I've learned. I grew not just as a writer, but as a person.  I have the confidence to tackle any subject and take my characters on a full emotional journey with consequences, triumphs, setbacks, losses and hope. 

The Bible says faith is the substance of things not seen. And it is. Hope is evidence of faith. In the picture above, taken at the Nature Preserve at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, there is a path. You can't see what lies beyond the curve. You have an idea, but you really can't see. You see there is a well marked path and you walk on it, fully believing you will arrive where you plan. And you do. 

But the path of life you didn't make, God did. There's curves on that path. Areas you cannot see the outcome of. Hope is for those moments. Faith gets your feet walking. Hope gets your heart pumping. 

I hope as you go through your days this week, you remember to walk in Faith and Hope in the unseen. 

I am going to get to work on my next screenplay. 


 

29 April, 2024

Push

 

There is something about being outside in nature that instantly calms and awakens my senses.  I'm an avid hiker/outdoors person and this past weekend I decided to visit a new hiking trail in my region of Southern California. The trail wasn't very crowded so there was ample opportunity for quiet contemplation and reflection with Jesus. 

I will be pitching a scifi horror screenplay this week and I have wrestled with the content in it. Is it godly? Is it worldly? I don't want to put forth an image that isn't my true self. I came to realize, that the horror in this screenplay is the reality of so many lives. The original idea came from a traumatic experience of my own. 

My main character choose differently than I did. She pushes when she should stop. She forces when she should be still. She think and believes that she alone knows the solution and ignores wisdom. 

I am a truth teller. Horror is a vessel to tell that truth.  I don't sugar coat anything, because the world doesn't need that. There are brutally emotional moments in my screenplay and they were hard to write. Hard but necessary.  Because we beautiful human make choices; steer our ship towards that iceberg, expecting it to break against our paper thin hull.

When I look at this picture it reminds me that when I hike outside, I lose sense of time and let go of any fear, doubt or worry I may have. I chose to stop. Be still. Not push. Not force. Any door that needs to opened will be. 

I'm looking forward to pitching my screenplay. And I have begun work on another. It is horror. And it's about a family in a fight for their very souls. 

Are you pushing when you should stop? Go take a hike. Seriously. It will change you. 

22 April, 2024

Seeing with Clarity

 I live in Southern California. One of the most beautiful places on Earth. After a rainstorm passes, and the Sun comes out, you can see for miles. Most beautiful to me are the mountains. Santa Monica mountains. San Gabriel mountains. With perfect clarity, you can see the trails and roads on these mountain ranges. 


In this writing journey of mine, I’ve come to realize that the haze in my writing, was  indicative of my former way of writing:  patterning my scenes and characters after what I’d seen/read before, or worse, based off comments from other writers determined to steer me away from discovering the power of my true voice. You know, it isn’t just others that can cast this haze over our writing voice, we do it to ourselves when we doubt our talent and ability. 


You do not need validation from the world to be who God created you to be!


Let the God rain wash away doubt and feelings of inadequacy. And hey, I get it. For the longest time there was a group of authors I revered. Whose words I took as gold falling from heaven. I’d propped up each person on a pedestal. By doing this I began to believe I could never measure up to these award winning titans of writing. And it diminished my light. Haze took over. 


God has given me so much clarity this year. Allowed me to see people as they really are. Knowledge is power! God didn’t call me to live the lives of those authors. He called me to live mine. My writing has power when I write from my true self. When I let go of false narratives. Let go of thinking other writers are better than me. I am an amazing writer! 


I turned my gaze to my God given path where my purpose lies. And now, here comes the Sun. God’s word is a lamp for our feet and a light for our path. Don’t focus on others. Don’t get discouraged by others who try to pull you down. Focus on God’s light. It will never fail you. 

15 April, 2024

Be Still and Know

 I had the privilege of attending the Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College last week. When you attend a writing focused conference, and a faith based one at that,  you have a set of expectations. "I'll listen to authors, take notes, hear God proclaimed in writing, meet people, drink coffee, hear some creative practices I can incorporate into my work, eat a lot of good food (I'm a foodie), get my favorite author to sign my favorite book, etc. " That absolutely happened, except the book signing part. What I did not expect was there to be another part.  

Fear has been an anchor in my life, holding me captive like a dog chained up to a tree only able to move in a circumference of three feet.  I listened to fear. Believed what it said about me and about my worth in this world and modeled my life around it. 2020 and the pandemic lockdown brought cracks in the anchor of fear; rusting away the heavy chain around my neck. This conference? This conference obliterated the remains of that anchor and chain. 

Every talk and interview I went to I marveled at the boldness and honesty with which the authors spoke and with which they wrote. Is that what authors do? I wondered. Is that what's been holding me back? Keeping me from being traditionally published? Keeping me from more than writing? Fast forward to Saturday and my mind was heavy after an author's talk. I walked over to the Seminary Pond after lunch, as it was a beautiful sunny day, and I had an extra hour and a half before the next author talk...I ended up missing the talk. 

I sat at that Pond on a beautiful piece of white sparkly granite. Me and God. And I wrestled with God. I had to be still to hear Him. And answer Him back. I had heated words. He did not. I had tears. He remained. He repeated the same words to me "Let Go", over and over and over again. And my reply over and over and over again was: No. 

God is patient. And when I had exhausted myself emotionally I had two choices, get up from that rock and go to another talk having missed the one after lunch, or stay and surrender. 

I surrendered. 

There is healing in being still. I like the passage in Romans about renewing your mind, but until Saturday I didn't fully apply that to my life. 

I am going to be working on a book this year for women who have been sexually assaulted and abused. Both were true for me for decades. it's time for us to "Let Go."

04 April, 2024

Straddling the line

"Do you want to get well," Jesus asked the man. This man had been waiting by a pool of water an Angel stirred (healing properties), infrequently for a long time. Yet when Jesus saw him, he asked him if he wanted to be well. I've read this verse for decades and only now understand. It has nothing to do with the man's physical infirmities, but rather the condition of his heart and mind.  

You sit by the pool daily for who knows how long, months, years and watch others get healed, yet you don't make any attempt to do anything (pray, ask for help, move an inch at a time), to get yourself closer to the pool. 
You haven't normalized failure. You've normalize not believing.

But Desiree, what does that have to do with writing?
Everything. 

There are different types of writers. 
There are writers who are stay at home parents. Writers who teach during the day and come home to write. Writers who write maybe fifteen minutes a day.  Or only on the weekends. 
There is absolutely nothing wrong with that type of writer, if writing is a secondary occupation to you.

But what if writing isn't secondary? What if you want writing to be primary?

But Desiree, there's AI, and there's not as many novels being published (scripts being optioned). There's so many writer's it's a fool's dream to think you can do this full time. 

"Do you want to get well."
Hmm.
Yes. Yes I do. 

You look at that pool long enough and you'll think it was never really meant  for you. You straddle that line of belief and disbelief long enough, your feet are stuck in cement.
You may have asked for help in the past and even had a mentor and left disappointed, unwilling to ask again, without asking yourself if you needed to grow as a writer and believe in your skills, then approach a mentor who can help you specifically in an area that you need help with.

 I get it. I live in Los Angeles. There's plenty of people willing to "help" you for just the right dollar amount. Ignore them. There's so many more that will help you for FREE. 

Plenty of book authors willing to have a conversation, or correspond with you via email for years (true story), as you grow as a writer. 

If you want to be a full time writer, it is time to stop sitting by the pool wishing someone would just help you. Stop straddling the line and plant your feet firmly on the belief side. 
I'm rooting for you.


17 February, 2024

Be creative

 It's that time of year again...awards season. All of Hollywood anxiously waits to see who will receive the Academy Award next month. I've had the privilege of viewing all of these films, and I can say, there are some amazing films and performances. As a writer I've gorged myself on nominated screenplay after screenplay. I've seen the originality of these screenwriters, whose ranks I will join one day. 

Being a creative my takeaway is this...be creative. Living in Los Angeles, I see and meet many people that are looking to make the next sure thing, chasing a trend, not being their true selves and trusting that, being your true self is what is going to keep your career going. Every single nominated movie, whether for Best Picture, Screenplay, Actor/Actress, Cinematography, Director, Sound, etc. is creative.

So when you sit down to write your play or novel or screenplay. Be yourself and be creative. 

26 September, 2023

What do I need?

 What do I need?

2023 has turned out to be a fascinating year for me. Fascinating does not always carry a positive connotation. This has been a year of both joy and upheaval. What do you need? As I received news a week ago that shifted my world as I knew it, off of its axis, I had to think about what do I need? What do I really need? And the answers have surprised me. I literally had to, as one of my favorite songs says “go back to my roots”. I remembered the me that played with a chemistry set at age 4. The me that gathered the neighborhood kids together to put on a play that I had written at age 8. The me that spent my childhood, sitting outside, staring up through my telescope at the moon and dreamed of space travel. For as much as my world was knocked off its axis, it needed to be. My world was revolving in the wrong direction. It is now on its perfect course and I am so thankful to God that it is. 

08 April, 2023

Returning to my first love

 A week in the desert will do wonders for your mind, body and soul. I emerged refreshed and refocused on my writing. I’ve set my goals for this year and I aim to exceed them. I’m back. 

02 December, 2022

Journey’s End?

 When I started this blog I wanted to chronicle my journey to becoming a full time published author. 

The published part happened. The full time did not. And that’s okay. In the time since I began this blog, I’ve changed. I’ve grown. I’ve opened myself to new experiences. And I’ve taken a leap into my true heart’s desire. 

I still write. Over the past year I’ve written over a half dozen short stories and started a new novel. Wrote 2 screenplays and a TV pilot. 

Writing will always be a part of me as I transition into adding another part to my life. 

Stay tuned. 

09 November, 2022

Revision

 A quick post as I need to get back to work. I’ve learned that revision is hard work. And now I get it. 

23 June, 2022

Do it anyway

 This is the shortest blog post I’ve written. If no one will be for you, do it anyway. If people try to “block” your career, move past them. God is the author of our lives. Not people. Have faith. Ignore those people. Keep pursuing your dream. Keep honing your craft. 

14 June, 2022

Limitations and Expectations

Limitation and Expectations


When Covid swept through the country and the world in 2020, we all thought life would be back to normal by that spring. We are now in June of 2022 and life isn’t the way it was. Death causes me to think and reflect. Another death, causes me to really stop and reflect. 

What limitations have I placed on myself as a woman, as a writer, as a future scientist?

Future scientist? Check out my prior blog post. 


It’s taken me some time to realize my limitations are based on expectations. And how that can be a very flawed way of thinking and living. Family identity and values, tied in with cultural beliefs placed expectations upon me that were never my own. As a woman we are taught to be submissive to the point that we disappear. Our wants, needs, desires are second to others. Love is something that’s okay to dream about but be happy with whatever you get. Your dreams don’t really matter. As a black woman, take all of that and increase it one hundred fold. 


I never wanted to be a medical doctor. I pass out at the sight of blood, yet I was a pre-med major for two years of undergrad because it was expected of me. 


I wanted to be a scientist for NASA. Okay, I wanted to be an astronaut, but NASA had this whole 20/20 vision thing and those are not the eyes God gave me. Though He did give me gorgeous eyes. Thank you Lord. And I love wearing my funky glamour-girl glasses.


As a child I found joy, peace, and comfort in the pages of a book and then in writing my own plays and books and short stories. Those genres I wrote in were: sci-fi, fantasy, horror. Now the horror I know was an add-on as a way for my mind to process trauma. The fantasy was fueled by my daily expedition into the forest around my home. The sci-fi—that was fueled by my nightly star gazing and my science classes.


Girls in STEM was not a thing in my generation. The most we got was: Nurse, Doctor, or Teacher. I wanted to be a scientist. Yet I was constantly steered away from that path, including math teachers that purposefully left me ignorant on the math I would have needed to succeed as a college science major. 


Girls as writers was not a thing in my generation. The most we got was: Teacher, or Social Worker. 


2012 I had a conversation with a writing teacher about how I write novels and screenplays. This person told me I was wrong to do both and that I had to pick one. That I could only write novels or write screenplays. I pointed out to her people like Neil Gamon, Neil Shusterman, Suzanne Collins, Stephen King who write in both formats. Why is it okay for them to write in multiple formats but not me? Is it because none of them are female writers of color? Expectations of otherness. 


2020 I was doing research for a non-fiction book and came across so many people of color that went against the limitations and expectations placed upon them by their own families and by society. I marveled at the people who triumphed during slavery and even during Jim Crow years. They refused to be less than who they were.  Limitations were shattered. 


2022 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. The ratio of peanut butter to chocolate is perfect. My life is a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. A harmonious blend of Writer and future Scientist. It defies all limitations and expectations for someone like me. 


You don’t have to live a life of limitations and expectations either. 


Start that business.

Move to Italy and open a B&B.

Take that culinary class in Paris in the summer.

Move across country.


Be your full, true self. Give 100% of yourself every day. Don’t be limited anymore. Don’t settle for anyone else’s expectations of you. 


And if you don’t know what you truly want to do in life, or how to achieve it. Take a day. Grab a notebook and pen, or use the notepad feature on your phone. Pray. Mediate. Take a deep breath. Dive in.


 


17 May, 2022

Reset

 Reset

I’ve been using the phrase “life is too short”, for the past two years. Death claimed two uncles and an aunt. The most recent being two weeks ago. I realized two years ago change needed to happen in me. What I didn’t realize was that it would take so long. Lasting change takes time. It feels good to be on the other side of that change. And I welcome more change. Change is growth. But that amount of change drained my creativity. Everything had to stop. I wrote in different formats. I went weeks without writing. I read nonfiction and essays. I sought experiences and life. I needed a reset. Because life is too short. I’ve set my heart on what truly matters. I’ve set my mind on goals I want to accomplish. This week I will be publishing two new short stories on Amazon. I was accepted into a mentor writing program with Netflix that I pray leads to a screenwriting sale.  And I’m diving back into my novel writing. 

Life is too short to hesitate or say no when you really, really want to try. I’m back in school pursuing my BS in Physics. The confidence I needed as an undergrad, I now have. In these past two years I realized: my science infuses my science fiction. And my science fiction infuses my science. The two halves of myself are finally one. What are you hesitating to do? What is holding you back? Don’t live another day with regret. Take a leap of faith and you’ll find that the leap is only a matter of a few steps. 

23 February, 2022

My Sword

 I dropped my sword out of fear. 

Fear of what would come after me if I continued to use it. 

Fear of the loneliness I expect as a sword wielder. 

Fear of attention and unending expectations. 

Fear of being seen as an unchristian. 

Jesus gave me this sword. He intends for me to use it. 

With a roar I pick up my sword. 

Tighten my grip on my shield. 

And run into battle. 

16 September, 2021

Trauma Writing

Trauma Writing

There is a movement happening where people are invited, in a safe space, to write about their past trauma. I’ve done this before and found it very therapeutic. The trauma writing I’m talking about today is what, through prayer, I discovered in my creative writing. My past trauma was woven so thickly into my novels, screenplays and poems  that I could not see it. All I knew was that I struggled with an over abundance of darkness, sorrow and pain in my writing. And I wanted to write for children. I thought this was my true writing self and that I would always write this way. 


Then I had a chance to attend an online conference and meet, via zoom, an author whose  work I’ve loved since middle school: Alan Dean Foster. I took extensive notes, and even got to ask him a question and show him my copy of Cachalot. He told me (and the conference goers),  the backstory about the novel and about the cover on my book. There was one sentence he said that resonated within me and would not let me go. He talked about how he doesn’t write dystopian because there is enough darkness in the world and he doesn’t want to add to it. 



That’s what I was searching for but was unable to put into words. I’m done with putting darkness, sadness, and despair into the world through my trauma writing. It’s taken me seven months to recognize, confront, accept and let go of the trauma that had woven its way into my writing. Now my writing is heartfelt, it’s rich, it’s vibrant and it’s alive. When you ask God to help you, He always makes a way. 

03 May, 2021

Reflection

Looking into a mirror isn't just to help us apply makeup or to shave. The mirror helps us remember and helps us reflect--no pun intended. 2020 Was a year of mourning. It was also a year to reflect on our lives and change what no longer worked; change who we were never created to be. As we step firmly into 2021, take time to look in a mirror. I have several scifi and horror writing projects coming out this year. My horror writing is steeped in truth, sorrow and triumph. I know that may seem odd, but it is my truth...my path. We each have a path to walk and to light. Best be on your way.