Welcome Aboard

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!

19 July, 2011

Day After

Today is my first full non-residency day. I was pleasantly surprised by St.Paul/Minneapolis. When I thought of that area, one word came to mind-snow. The twin cities are definitely on my vacation list now.

After 11 intense days of residency in St. Paul, Minnesota, the writer is home-perched in front of her laptop like a sloth.
I look at the tasks before me and I shriek. Eek!
Then I remember all the encouragement, feedback, and support I got from my fellow Mfa-ers. I crack open my daily planner and I write.

Overall goal this week: Finish two YA novels on my reading list, Finish animation TV script, do last revision to feature screenplay and submit to an agent(s) in Hollywood, re-read the first chapters of the novel that I am going to be working on with my faculty advisor this fall semester. Breathe, and squeeze in some time to go to the movies. Probably be early morning matinees, so I can spend a solid 6-8 hours writing.

It feels good to be back in the writing chair.

When I decided to pursue my MFA I made the choice to give writing the priority in my life I hadn't done before. I understand why God created this talent, this drive in me to write and I am eternally grateful. I love writing. I can't see myself doing anything else.

18 July, 2011

Leaving Residency

Waiting on the shuttle to the airport.
I have been amazed, awed, and greatly inspired by my 11 day residency at Hamline.
I came in feeling unsure of myself as a writer and I leave feeling ready.
I still have work to do in the upcoming semester-creative writing and critical essays, but I am on the correct path. I am a writer.

11 July, 2011

Day 5 of Mfa

I am learning so much. My piece yesterday-that was workshopped went well. I'm not allowed to discuss what goes on in workshop, but I am smiling if that is an indication.
Our theme for this residency is Plot and I'm seeing it with new eyes.
Every faculty or student reading I am engrossed in it with new depth of perception.
Tomorrow we head out for a few hours to the largest collection of children's books in the country. I'm gonna feel like a kid in a candy store.
Meanwhile according to my email there is a sci fi short story contest coming up in 8 weeks- I've got one ready; and another screenplay competition-deadline the 15th. I've got something for that also.
Tomorrow here in my residency program I signed up to do a student reading. It's where we get 5 minutes to read anything we've worked on. I have an idea of writing a poem tonight. I don't usually write poetry when I'm not sad, but I feel like I need to express something. If it's not what I want then I do have something else to read.
As I sit here on the front steps enjoying the cool evening air, I am reluctant to go back inside. It's my first real outdoor quiet time-alone-peaceful-relaxing, and I'm loving it.

10 July, 2011

Day 4 of Mfa Residency

Today the first 20 pages of my first novel are being critiqued by my workshop group. Even though I am only four days into my mfa program I have learned so much that will benefit both my fiction and screenwriting.
Each day is crammed pack with workshopping, lectures, and readings. Sometimes I have a faraway look on my face and faculty or upper level students will ask if I am OK. I am, I'm an internal processing person. I need time to take the day's info and let my brain churn. Like the red blinking light on the computer. I need to find time in my schedule here to get alone for a time, each day, to let my mind process it-otherwise I will stop where I am and let my mind process. I will look like a hibernating stand up brown bear. And now it is time to walk over. My piece is up first. Here we go.

08 July, 2011

Day 2 and all is well

Today is day two of my mfa in writing for children and young adults, hence to be called mfa. It is 8 pm and my mind is wired with activity. Do you ever find yourself rambling and you don't know you're rambling? Or you do know you're rambling but you don't know how to stop that train cause the brakes are out, Timmie has fallen down the well, and Lassie is too busy watching Underdog on TV to come help either one of you? That's where I am, so excuse the rambling and weed through to get to the good parts.

I am excited about my first workshopping experience tomorrow, nervous about when it's my turn to have my piece reviewed (not tomorrow but another day in the non-too distant future).

Wondering when I will have time this week to finish that animation script on top of 12-14 hour days here. Wondering if Netflix is going to work on my iPhone tonight so I can drift to sleep watching Battlestar Galactica (the original series. Just love Dirk Benedict).

I could spend the next hour in a worry tizzy, like a frazzled-haired witch riding a broom to an X-box convention in Vegas but I won't. This week has me pumped and excited to be taking the next step to improve my writing-both fiction and screenwriting.

I haven't quite decided what new piece of writing I want to work on with my faculty advisor. I need some quiet reflection time to chew on that. Looking at all the writing I've done in the past few years-non fiction, articles, picture books, poems, short stories, novels, screenplays, skit-I have to decide what do I really want to sink my teeth into? I've had a thought in my mind, like a craving for a Godiva key lime truffle that won't go away. I'm enthralled by C.S.Lewis's "The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe", and by J.R.R. Tolkein's "The Hobbit." I'd love to write something along those veins-Christian Allegory, But then I'd like to write something really edgy, with a Christian emphasis. Or that YA sci-fi/horror story.

Je ne sais quoi. Am I over thinking right now? Probably. I know my brain is on overload and has been since 4p.m. Probably time to crack open the journal and brainstorm, and not worry. Whatever I write will be my own.

04 July, 2011


I have finally reached that point. The point where I am ready to submit my screenplays to agents. But before I do that I need to submit it for coverage. What is coverage? It's where you pay a Hollywood reader to pick apart your script. They find the errors, they tell you the parts they love.

This allows you to change the screenplay before you submit it to an agent. In the world of agents, they read hundreds of query letters. You don't get a second chance. My screenplays need to be perfect before I send them out.

Coverage isn't cheap, but this is a business, and a good utilization of financial resources, even if mine are dwindling at the moment.

I have a list of four potentials. Four people/businesses that were recommended because of their integrity, and skill.

In total I've finished four screenplays. Two more are in the works, and another two have a complete synopsis. But I'm looking at my strongest two to submit to open doors for me. And yet, I will do one more pass through them. Did I put enough tension and conflict in them? Is there too much dialogue, verbal vs. visual? Would anyone care about the characters? That is my task for the next few days, in addition to finishing the animated TV Pilot. Nice thing about the TV Pilot is that it won't take me more than a few hours to flesh out a rough draft. 32 pages, easy. The tougher work is in the revisions.