Thursday, November 1, 2012

Does poetry have to rhyme?

Houston, we are a no go for the poetry contest, abort, abort, abort....

But now I can post my entry here. It's not too horrible, but I am rather biased.

The rules: 100 words or less and it had to contain the phrase 'Brit Writers'. The theme was 'The changing faces of publishing and our world of words'. I'm not even sure what that means.

I think I'll call it... 'I Tried'.

I pour my soul out on the page,
I write my words in a passionate rage.
But rejection is my daily bread,
The editor doesn't care how much I've bled.

Self-publish, e-publish or the more traditional way,
In the end does it really matter? I just can't say.
I send off and send out and apply and appeal,
All the while seeking that one fateful deal.

I rewrite and redraft and start again from scratch,
It's one simple chance I'm desperate to snatch.
Brit Writers everywhere, stay strong and persevere,
There will be a sale somewhere, I promise, never fear.

I am extremely pleased about the fact I rhymed 'scratch' with 'snatch'.

What? C'mon, that's funny. I have to amuse myself somehow.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Stay away from the Waiting Place!

I clawed my way up to 3rd in Dead Roots. Not nearly good enough to be published, but it's the closest to winning I've ever been. Congratulations to the winner, David Scullion! I got beat fair and square, it's still gonna be an awesome book even without my own little brilliant contribution. Thank you everyone that voted for me.

Which leads me to add up my recent triumphs and realize... I hadn't got any. I've either been told no or heard radio silence for all my submissions lately. I'm taking the shotgun approach to a writing career and firing off something for everything I can find. Eventually something will be the right fit, but until then it's a bit of a downer.

That got me thinking about healthy ways to deal with disappointment. I know plenty of unhealthy ways, but living at the Chinese buffet is not something my waistline or my wallet can handle long term. 

Getting drunk is right out. That's a rabbit hole I want to stay far away from. Drinking when I'm down in the dumps, I mean. I've got no objection to alcohol otherwise. Besides, I'm taking up home-brewing. I'm starting my first batch of cider in a few days and it will be the most magnificent apple cider EVER. So say we all.

I have a few different ways to bounce back from disappointment. Because of the shotgun approach, I always have things out. I'm waiting to hear back on three other submissions, a film treatment for amazon, a short story, and a poem. 

I'm about twenty pages away from finishing my next script, a drama thing tentatively titled 'Keeper', and about to embark on rewrite number... 6? 7? 9 gazillion? on Untitled Horror script of horribleness that's currently trying to pull itself into two separate movies like demented conjoined twins.

They're right. It isn't the writing that's the hard part, it's the mutherduckin' rewriting. 

Also it's about to get cold and rainy all the time and that always cheers me up. I loath the summertime. Nature's too damn cheerful for my taste. The sun, IT BURNS.

The other way I drag myself back up to an optimistic place is to consult the good Doctor for a motivational pick-me-up.

I can hear you say it. "What doctor? Doctor Who?" <-- you see what I did thar? I crack myself up. 

No, not this time. Doctor Seuss. He keeps me from wallowing in the waiting place. 

I have places to go.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Me. The Zombie Queen.

Or I could be. I'm a finalist in Dead Roots, the zombie comic book anthology I blogged about before. Go look at their contributors' page. My story is in the running to be published in a book that contains all my favorite sci-fi writers! How cool is that? Seriously? It's the closest to 'cool' I've ever been in my life.

James Moran, the reason I refuse to swim someplace I can't see the bottom because what if there's bear traps? Jason Arnopp, whose book got me over my deep abiding fear of reporters. I could just go on and on and on but there's a catch. A HUGE SCREAMING CATCH.

The winner is determined by votes. Facebook 'Likes' to be precise. Right now 1st, 2nd, and 3rd are all within ten votes of each other. I'm bouncing between '1st = published' and '2nd = sucks to be you'. There is no consolation prize. It's win or nothing.

I need all the help I can get, so if you're on Facebook go ahead and 'like' my story, and please share it with all your friends! You can even friend me if you want, though I warn you I only use facebook to yak about movies, tv shows, comics, and roller derby. 

It's come down to a social networking battle and like the zombocalypse, I'm determined to survive.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

50 Kisses: Results

I did really well. I didn't win, but both my entries made the long list which makes me one of about 16 (I believe) out of 1800 + that managed to get that far with both entries. It's only the second contest I've ever entered so I'm bouncing with excitement I did so well so early on.

You can read both my scripts below. Or if you happen to be a film maker, I'd be delighted if you made either one of them into a film short.

Dirty Riffs & Neon Lights: 14 year old Robin will do almost anything to impress a girl.

Beyond The Sea: For some couples, Valentine's day is just another day.

Now I'm off to change my profile page to '50 Kisses long list winner - 2012' because I'm so totally counting this as a credit. It's a thing and I did it and other people said so, so it counts. So there.

Until next time :)

EDIT: 8/15 My scripts are LIVE on the 50 Kisses website and they're eligible to be on the DVD under special features if you'd like to check it out. Dirty Riffs and Beyond the Sea

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


I got my script coverage back from Scriptapalooza last week. It was more positive than I expected which was a pleasant surprise, and I learned something I didn't know I didn't know so it was worth the money to get a report back. The main comments referred to a concept I thought I understood, but clearly didn't. Other people have told me the same thing and I obediently shook my head, 'Yuppers, I get it,' whilst missing the point entirely.

But I thought I understood so that has to count for... exactly nothing, actually.

Their main (and nearly only, yay me:) criticism about my entry revolved around the various story lines. My A story was exciting and interesting. My B story was interesting but didn't have much to do with the A story beyond appearing and taking up pages. The C story was interesting but petered away into nothing like a fart in the wind. A winning script, that does not make.

I've read and been told to tie the three separate story lines together. I thought I did, but just being set in the same universe with the same characters in the same script isn't enough. Just being present isn't enough. The separate story lines have to feed back into each other like a braid.

I pondered this and pondered this and pondered this, still not quite grasping the concept. While I was pondering, I discovered to my eternal delight that BBC4 isn't region locked. At first glance, this has nothing to do with anything except to be an additional way to mess around on the web, but at second glance, this completely revolutionized everything.

Cabin Pressure --> Johannesburg --> Play

If you've never listened to Cabin Pressure, stop what you're doing, download it and come back. I'll wait. It's brilliant, hysterically funny, and I think I'm in love. It's my new favorite show.

So I'm thinking deep thoughts about my script report and the various failures of the story lines to relate back to each other while I listened. I laughed my way through the episode then instantly started it over because my mind was making some interesting connections amid all the giggles. I paid much more attention to how the episode unfolded the second/third/fourth time listening.

Did I mention it's brilliant?

In the A story: Caroline is annoyed at Martin and Douglas and makes them cut two thousand pounds off their budget for the trip. If they succeed they can split the money. If they fail and come in a single penny over, they have to pay her a grand apiece. She thinks it's a fantastic idea. They're not so sure, but with a thousand pounds on the line, they're willing to go along with her. Also she doesn't actually give them any choice.

To save on fuel, Douglas shakes the plane down and tosses anything he deems unnecessary weight, including the coffee pot. Later during the B story Douglas tells Arthur to fill a wine bottle with water and set it on the edge of the engine to heat up so they can make coffee later. Incidentally, that sets up the C story. It all just builds on itself.

In the B story: A warning light comes on, leading to an emergency landing to get it fixed. Martin and Arthur go on an away mission to retrieve a mechanic and suffers assorted hijinks, including getting their borrowed baggage truck stuck under a bridge while Douglas is still focused on the A story of trying to come in under budget. When presented with the bill for their emergency stop, he has to do something to knock twenty bucks off so the airfield manager floats the idea of Douglas washing his car.

It's the same car the airfield manager refused to let them borrow at the beginning of the B story which led to Martin and Arthur dinking around Spain in a baggage truck. Determined not to pay Caroline a thousand pounds, Douglas whines about it, agrees, and parks the car behind the plane to wash it with some minor heckling from Caroline. He needs the money, okay?

Martin and Arthur return with a mechanic, he fixes their problem by thumping the instrument panel, revealing that the plane wasn't actually broken at all, just the little yellow warning light.

They're going to take off before the airfield closes at five, they're under budget, they won't owe Caroline any money. Martin does a quick jog around the plane for his preflight inspection and they get ready to leave. For once everything goes right. Or does it?

The tower calls them in a panic. They've fired a missile. Directly into the car Douglas washed to reduce the bill (A story). It's still parked behind the plane they thought was broken (B story). The missile is the wine bottle in the engine Arthur forgot about (C story).

Presumably they don't finish the trip under budget.

There you have it. A story, B story, and C story. They cross and crisscross each other.

Go listen to the episode if you haven't already. You can pick out the places the different story lines intersect. I feel like I've had a writer breakthrough. When people say tie the different story lines together they honestly mean tie them together. They're not being cryptic. It's not enough to be happening at the same time or be in the same script, they have to weave in and out like a braid.

I'm going back and doing another page 1 rewrite of horror script so it's ready to go the very instant 'Girls on Film' reopens. Right now horror script is another example of A, B, and C not coming anywhere near each other, let alone interlacing. Now I can fix that.

Thank god for Cabin Pressure.

Monday, July 2, 2012



I feel like I haven't blogged in forever. A whole six weeks counts as forever on the internet. 

About eight decades ago (in internet years) I entered 50 kisses and blogged about it. From Adrian Mead's fantastic book, 'Making it as a screenwriter' I learned that I needed to get my act together before the contest happened. It makes sense, if you think about it, which I absolutely didn't until he pointed it out using small and easily understood words, but it takes time to write and polish a story. Slinging it in right before the deadline leads to sloppy mistakes which I am prone to commit.

I also decided to enter early before the readers were bored and burned out on reading the same type of thing over and over. That way (hopefully) my entry goes in the 'consider' pile before the standards for the 'consider' pile get too terribly high. I know, devious right? I'm a regular Bond villain, cackling my evil plans to the entire interwebz.

Two or three weeks before the deadline they posted a very helpful blog post about how the contest was going and what they saw repeated over and over among their entries. You'd think with a theme as vague as 'Valentines Day' and the only requirement is it must to contain a kiss, it would difficult to find too terribly many similarities beyond those two points. Three words, really.

Hahaha, wrong. I managed to tick off almost every box on the list. Oomph, right in the ego!

My creative and original work of love, romance, and passion was in fact trite, overdone, and boring.

Grumble grumble grumble. I spent the obligatory amount of time moaning about it on twitter (two humorous tweets, for those keeping score at home. I may have been was am pathetic) and moved on, convinced I didn't have the faintest fart of a chance for a writing credit and that ipad. I've never even touched an ipad. I certainly won't be fondling the one they're giving away. Maybe next year.

The ability to move on is important for a writer. Kinda like being used to being fired all the time. I've spent years perfecting that talent, I'm already used to being fired all the time from my day job so this is second nature to me. It's the all important getting professional credits and eventually getting paid to write something that I'm still working on.

Y'know, that really didn't come out right. I'm honestly a decent farrier. I think so anyway. But it is true, there's only two kinds of farriers in the world. Those that have been fired and those that are gonna be fired...  

Anyway, back to my point...

A week before the deadline, they tweeted that they'd decided to accept a SECOND script. TWO. It's Christmas come early! I get a free do-over! I went right back to the 'we've seen it' list and decided to go in the direct opposite direction. But probably so did everyone else so I went opposite from the opposite and just to thoroughly confuse myself, reversed it again! Then I bent it at a ninety and took the corner on two wheels just to be absolutely sure I wasn't followed... 

It might suck but there's not another one like it. I hope. But there probably actually is. Without my script's fatal flaw, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Oh yes, this story has a fatal flaw. It's almost a greek tragedy. 

My new story told a riveting tale of manliness, friendship, and devotion, barely contained in a mere two pages. My kryptonite is typos and I know this so I proofread that sucker 591 times, then got a friend to go over it also. No typos. Not one single one escaped us. We were proofread goddesses. Bow before our magnificence and wallow in our glory, you puny mortals!


In fear of inconvenient server crashes, random internet failure, or miscalculated time zone differences, I submitted it a full two days early. It was perfect. You know what happens whenever I think I did something right? You guessed it. I sent it off, got the confirmation email back immediately (which is a fantastic feature) and then started the Closing of the Tabs. I broke my own solemn vow and looked at it again before I closed the file.

I didn't start with FADE IN:

Screenwriter 101. ALWAYS START WITH FADE IN:

Did I remember this? No, and my friend writes novels so she certainly wouldn't catch the fact that I skipped straight to the first scene heading. INT - THE CANTINA OF BROKEN DREAMS - DAY


Will their crack team of readers be so used to seeing and skipping over FADE IN: that they don't notice it's missing? Will they be so captivated by the story they don't care? Do they read this blog? I'm confident the answer to last one that is hysterical laughter and a resounding no.

But only time will tell.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Things are just ticking along.

Just a quick update. 

I got my horror script and 50 First Kisses entry back from my lovely editor lady, Michelle Goode, with only minor bruising to my indomitable writer ego. I did index cards to try and fix my first act blues. It was actually helpful. I saw how repetitive some of the scenes were. Same story advancing dialogue in about five different locations. Gloriously cinematic locations, but the same dialogue just rephrased.

Cut, cut, cut, cut, cut.

Then Minion decided to help me.

Honestly, she wasn't much help.

I tweaked my 50 First Kisses entry and sent it off into the internet ether, I won't be rejected find out about that until midsummer. I've answered some ads looking for various films shorts and sent off every single one I've got that's halfway decent. Haven't heard anything back yet on any of them. Made a mental note to write more. Shorts seem to be popular for gaining writing/acting/producing/directing credits, if not actual money, which would be the ideal situation.

Found out about a Zombie anthology comic book seeking submissions. I fired off three concepts and while none of them were quite right, the editor was very nice about it. Yay! My first professional rejection, glad that's out of the way. I don't know why I'm excited to be to told my pitches weren't good enough, but I am. I'm a very strange special little snowflake.

I'm going to rework them plus a few more and resubmit. I have until the end of the month to come up with something he likes or he tells me to quit emailing him. Place your bets on which happens first.

Then I reread my original email and immediately spotted a typo. 

/overcome with despair, throws self into a pit of tigers.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Granny knows best

So the rom-com is ticking along nicely. Well, by nicely I really mean fits and starts and disjointed scenes and I have to keep telling myself I can't edit a blank page so I've got to get something down, even if it's sucktastic. It's got a working title of 'Chunks' and no, you don't want to know why. Just trust me, you just don't. I've done a rough, very very rough outline and spent a lot of time thinking about exactly what needs to happen for this to be worth reading.

I know the story I want to tell fairly well, but can I actually tell it? Yes, yes I think I can. If it will cooperate. Now I've run smack into the first of what I'm sure is going to be many unexpected issues. Lemme explain.

I've got two main characters, and one slightly less main character. Slightly less main character has a grandmother that was supposed to roll in, observe the situation, and pronounce doom on everyone for the trouble they've got themselves into that kicks off the whole story. Then she's supposed to flounce away back to the bingo hall to shotgun Ensure and speculate about the new Dallas movie. This is her only scene, right? But she won't leave.

Won't. Leave.

Now granny's over in the corner, cackling with glee at the pitiful hijinks the others are suffering from. No, she won't fix it for them. She could, but she won't. She's too busy laughing and besides, that's too easy. I tried to hurry her away so they could get on with dealing with the problem themselves. Exit Granny, stage left. She wasn't having it. She declared doom on me too and threatened to belt me with her cane. This was more entertaining than any amount of bingo and gossip and she wasn't going to be escorted to the door. Nope.

Horrified, I backed away from the keyboard.

How does that even work? I'm making this up. Is there a part of my mind represented by the granny that blows a great big raspberry at the rest of my mental bandwidth? What does that mean about me as a person? I can't even make the invisible, imaginary people I make up out of absolute nothing do what I want.

Apparently I'm a pushover. No wonder my dog never listens. I'm going to make some more coffee and then me and granny are having it out. She's giving me the evil eye right now. Shit. But she's not staying. No.

Bring it on, granny. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

It's finished! Now start again!

The horror feature has now finished the gauntlet of friends and family. Based on their feedback, it has been tweaked and sharpened to a fine edge. In a gruesome, blood dripping kind of way. It is horror, after all. People say 'the cutting edge' when they mean modern technology. They forget the real cutting edge is a sharp, shiny blade. Perfect for... well... I don't want to give too much away. 

I also did an entry for 50 first kisses. Two pages max and there has to be a kiss. Bring it on. It's free and they let foreigners enter so it's my kinda contest. I read the winning scripts for the last one page contest the London Screenwriting Festival did. It absolutely blew my mind just how much story could be told in one page if the writer was deft enough. You can read them both here.

My favorite one is 'Everything you need' by David Turner. Go read it and weep with envy. I did.

One page people. The writer did ALL THAT in one page. It's just so perfect. 

I wanted to print both winning scripts out and shove them under the nose of everyone I knew and bellow, "Read this! Isn't it brilliant!?! Look how awesome that is!" I wanted to, I didn't actually do it. They would have fitted me with an I-Love-Me jacket if I had.  I am capable of censoring myself, but it's so hard sometimes. I just want to share my love of amazing stories with everyone whether they want me to or not

Now I'm circling another few ideas. I've been jotting them down on the computer as they occur to me so I've got a few stacked up.  What to write next is my big dilemma. I've got an idea for a tv pilot. If I started working on it now it should be just about ready to enter in the ABC Fellowship next spring.

There's another idea for a feature floating around in my brain, a rom-com this time. About... well... lemme write it first and then I'll tell you all about it. It's funny though, you'll be in stitches and never think of voodoo, rum and maxi pads the same way.

The drama thing is still banished. I don't want to talk about it.

A couple of important things have to happen before I can actually start writing something else. This next step is vital to the creative process.

Ready for it? It's a secret, I shouldn't say but I like you so I'll tell.

Here it is... I have to clean my whole house, clean out the car, sweep, wash the dog and possibly the cats if they don't hide fast enough or if I can pry them out from under the couch. That's right, I've got to get some serious procrastinating in before the writing juices can truly flow. Only once there is no more laundry to fold and the house reeks of lemon and pine can I start something new.

I may even piddle around with something from le day job for a while.

Eventually... there is no more stalling... there is just me and a blank page that I will proceed to vomit words all over it, hopefully in a somewhat coherent fashion. Or at least coherent after serious editing. Serious, SERIOUS editing. 

Outlines make life so much easier, but before I can contemplate actually outlining  and <gasp> writing any of my new bajillion dollar ideas, I've got to take a page out of Jason Arnopp's book and alphabetize my dvd collection.

By genre.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sometimes the insecurity angel is right.

Neil Gaiman says that if an author picks up a brand new copy of her/his book, it will fall open to a page with a typo. This always happens. Fact of life. I agree with him, it's a law of the universe, like Reavers are bad, the enemy's gate is down, and ghosts can't cross salt.

Even though I knew it was past the point of no return and I was letting myself in for nothing but heartache, I opened my contest entry and looked at it again. I knew it was a bad idea. I fucking knew it.

What did I find? I didn't put a character name in ALL CAPS. That's right, you heard me. On page nine I introduce one of the minor characters and I DIDN'T CAPITALIZE HER NAME. WTF? I got a professional to help me with my formatting, she even flagged it, and I still managed to screw it up!


The worst part is just before I hit send I had a wild flash of terror, 'Maybe I should read it through just one more time...' and I ruthlessly squelched it. I thought it was just my insecurity angel weighing in. Y'know, the little voice on my shoulder telling me that everything sucks and no one will like it and I better just quit before I humiliate myself in front of the whole world? That voice I've learned to ignore, but it still just won't shut up?

Seems I've learned to ignore it too well.

'No!' I says to my insecurity angel. 'You're just being paranoid.

Insecurity angel whined, 'No really, you really should give it just one more last read through! Trust me! Always quadruple check! And check again! In fact, why don't you sit on it another few weeks and check again?'

I ignored my insecurity angel and sent it in. Why didn't I listen? Why why why???

Now I'm in agony. Am I going to get disqualified for that? I've read story after story about contest readers looking for a reason to bounce scripts. What if that's it? I messed up that one little thing and that's it, it's over? It's within the first ten pages even. What if they're not totally loving it, and right when they're making the decision if they want to keep going they see that and round-file it? ARGH!

They don't even announce the semi-finalists until the tail end of July. I now have three months to beat myself up over this. Three months. I don't know how I'm going to function. I could barely sleep last night.

I could go on their facebook page and ask about it... but that would make me look even more needy and neurotic than ever. The insecurity angel would win if I did that. But it would give everyone else a boost, they could see my post and say gleefully to themselves, 'Well, at least I didn't screw that up! What a hack!'

What if by some supreme miracle the reader didn't notice and all I accomplished was pointing it out? 'Oh hey, you did make a mistake there, better luck next year!' Thunk goes the script as it hits the recycle bin.

I just have to suck it up. I wanted a new and more creative mistake, but not like an actual mistake. More like a... creative difference that I could argue my way out of. Yeah, that's what I wanted. I long for the good ol' days when I was agonizing over commas. Life was easier then.

I really should be careful what I wish for.

Damn it.

I must distract myself with something else. Horror. Lots of people dying gruesomely, that should do nicely. I finished Draft 0 of the Horror movie, printed it out, and left it on the shelf in the office. Which turned out to be a bad place for it because every time I walked in there I wanted to pick it up and start editing. Which kind of defeated the purpose of letting it marinate for a week. 'You'll never get a good sear if you keep poking at it...'

Nope, nope, nope, gotta leave it alone for a full week! It was like trying to leave a tray of chocolate chip cookies alone. Or not picking up the edge of a steak to see if it was time to flip it yet. I'm not sure where I'm going with the food analogy. I blame blogging while hungry. Where was I? Oh yes, letting the draft rest. So it's juicy and tender instead of dry and chewy.

It was a struggle, but I made it, and settled down seven whole days later with only a minor lapse or two to start editing, which... was strange. I thought when I put the draft up that all the characters were unique little snowflakes with a unique little voice and when I got the draft back down... that wasn't so. 

Fixed that, and now I'm at the craving feedback point.

I asked a few beloved, cherished, (un)lucky friends and family to read it. So far the only feedback I got was from my husband, and I totally did not arrange the evening so he had absolutely nothing else to do and stand over him to make him finish the story in one sitting. 

All he said was I've reached Stephen King levels of fucked up.

Awesome. I can just take that to the agents and production companies, 'My husband says...'

I tried to get him to be a little more specific. "Was part of it confusing? Was part of it boring? Was the ending obvious? Did the characters feel like unique people?" All of that is vital, vital information!

Him: 'Naw. It's okay."

Yup. I'm not sure how to began the next draft because I know it's not okay. Hopefully the others will weight in with something more specific. There's two parts I think I'm going to cut entirely and a few other things that if even one other person brought that scene up... I would know for sure that there is something not working. I just want validation, okay?

Between my insecurity angel being right (for once) and my gut twinging 'something isn't working' with the horror... I guess figuring out which one to trust is part of being a writer.

That and drowning my typo sorrows in a very nice pale ale, medium rare steak and a bucket of ice cream. I need comfort food right now. 

Unfortunately that probably needs to be followed by a swift kick in the pants so I'll quit wallowing and get back to work. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

English doesn't always equal English. Mind=Blown

I got my script back from the lovely editor lady! My ego is shockingly unbruised! She even said nice things about it! But she did mention my overuse of the exclamation point, which I will take under advisement. It could possibly be that she's on to something. I may tend towards over-dramatic on occasion.

I managed to produce two whole pages that didn't have a note on them somewhere. I feel justifiably proud of myself for those two pages with no mistakes or typos. They weren't consecutive pages or anything, but that's a goal to shoot for next time.

My mistakes were a few confusingly phrased sentences, formatting errors and as always.... grammar. I've always struggled with commas. Suprisingly enough, I used to be really good with commas when I was a kid. Then I got to the second grade. We had to use them according to actual rules... and my comma ability just went straight downhilI. I just want to sprinkle them in everywhere because it looks right.

There was much pondering and soul searching about why I've been vanquished by punctuation. Honestly, it's embarrassing, but I think I figured out the reason. I blame Garrison Keillor. He's one of my early literary influences. (I couldn't even type that with a straight face, I sound like such a pretentious asshat.) Perhaps 'blame' is too strong a word, but the point remains. He's one of the first authors I read and couldn't get enough of. I wanted to write like him when I was a grown-up.

Have you ever read anything he wrote? You should. It's hilarious. The news from Lake Wobegon, where all the woman are strong, all the men are good looking and all the children are above average. He writes like he's sitting right next to you telling you the story of his hometown while you both wait for the bus. Or you're on the bus going to his hometown and he doesn't want you to miss a thing.

It isn't until you're a full page into the story that you realize there's only about six periods and thirty seven commas on that page and furthermore, you don't care because you've been sucked into the world of Lake Wobegon like Alice tumbling down through the rabbit hole, if the rabbit hole was Minnesota.

I decided that a childhood infatuation with Lake Wobegon was just an excuse for not doing it properly so I sat down and consulted the internet. Where do I always turn for advice? Google (mostly) taught me script format. It wasn't going to fail me now. This comma thing was going to get sorted once and for all. Never again would I have multiple people telling me I'm doing it wrong.

Seriously, nine year olds can do this! There's no reason for me to struggle along pathetically.

Turns out... British English and American English have slightly different rules. I did not know this. So if I'm getting American people and British people to comment on the same story... they're never going to agree and I will always see, 'add a comma here/delete a comma there' notes!

I'm not defective! It's the Laws of Grammar! It's not my fault! I can stop being frustrated I keep making the same mistake over and over! I hate that, I want to make new and more creative mistakes. Exciting new and more creative mistakes. Old, familiar mistakes are just boring.

I feel like singing. Well, if I could sing, I would sing. You'd probably pay me to stop if I did sing, and I don't want to inflict that on you. I like you, you read my blog.

Now that I have defeated the comma... I turn my attention to my overuse and abuse of the exclamation point.

Stay tuned for the epic battle.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Pesky pesky plotholes

Well then. I finally took the plunge and had a few friends read over my Scriptapalooza contest entry before I sent it off to a for-real, professional, gets paid to do it, script editor. I thought it was just perfect as it was and they would be singing my praises because of my own magnificence... and... no.

First there was the expected debate over proper use of the comma. Seriously guys, do we really need twenty-three different rules about commas? Does anyone ever actually say, "Golly, I want an actual logical reason to put a comma there besides 'it just looks right'?" Don't even get me started on the semi-colon. I know proper capitalization is the difference between 'helping your Uncle Jack off a horse' and 'helping your uncle jack off a horse', but myself and the comma just don't get along.

Survey says... two fairly major plot holes. The first one I could just be lazy and hand wavy away, but adding two lines to explain why two characters were in a very unexpected location made it easier to read. No, you perverted minded people, they were not in bed. One is a minor. Shame on you! Don't you feel bad now for assuming things?

The other plot hole... what I meant to happen and what I actually wrote down ended up being two totally different things. Worlds apart totally different things. I've got one character answering a question that wasn't actually asked. A question was asked... but not the one he answered.

Hahaha and lolz, why the hell didn't I actually notice that?

The answer he gave was completely brilliant, stunning, it moved me to tears, I wept into my keyboard, it was an absolute work of art- except it had nothing whatsoever to do with the conversation. Damn it. So I changed the conversation. Again, once I kicked my own flaming ego out of the way, it was much improved.

One thing I really wrestled with is the language differences. It's a UK show, right? Torch, not flashlight. Car park, not parking lot. But the contest is American and if I got a reader that is powerfully confused then I would just be screwed, and not in a fun way. 'Why is he using a piece of wood with a flaming, oil soaked rag on one end... indoors? This character is dumber than a box of rocks. Doesn't he know about carbon monoxide?'

Nothing for it but to seek professional help. I asked the lovely script reader lady what I should do and her advice was to pick one or the other. The rules just say that the entry has to be in english, and it doesn't get more english than English english. Decision made. Bring on the torches!

I'll keep you posted on what the lovely script reader lady says when I get it back. I have a feeling my ego is going to be battered and bruised. Oh well. Some bruises turn really pretty colors around the edges. I'm especially partial to the purpley-blue ones.

On the horror front, I'm up to sixty pages. Thirty more to go, and I feel bad every time I work on that script because it's kids, I'm doing horrible things... to kids. But that's the point of horror, isn't it? To take the audience on a roller coaster of emotions and leave them feeling like they've been punched in the throat while they fight back tears? That's how I feel anyway. I have high hopes for it.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Now it's totally a TV spec. Totally.

Remember my last post? Remember that F word thing that I wrote just to see if I could? That I knew I absolutely couldn't sell due to markets and locations and not having a single writing credit and it being a script for a show that's possibly not going to be renewed, in another country? 

Turns out that it could be useful to me after all. Who knew? There's a contest I'd heard about for a while, but a few days ago I actually bothered to mosey on over and read the rules. It's Scriptapalooza, in case you were wondering. Lovely, lovely Scriptapalooza!

There's a category for 1 hour television drama for any existing show. I read that sentence twice, actually, wondering if they meant it exactly like that or if they thought that specifying country wasn't actually necessary because obviously no knotheaded people (like me) would be so uncouth as to inflict a non-US show upon them.

'Well that's interesting. It doesn't say US show. Dare I? I dare.'

Fuck yeah, I dare. I gave it the once and twice over yesterday, then sent it off to a good friend to check for typos. Once I get it back then I will throw down my money and take my chances. I'm paying extra for the script notes. This will be the first time I've got actual professional notes on something. I'm looking forward to it. I say that now. Probably I'll be curled up in a weeping ball of tears, clutching a beer in one hand and a copy of 'Teach Your Baby To Write' in the other as my fragile fragile ego fizzles away into the ether.

In other news, the drama screenplay that has moved on to draft 1 has continued to piss me off. It's just not going the way I want it. How is that possible? Fuck if I know. I'm writing the damned thing, but it's just not working. Based on everything google and other people's blogs have taught me about writing, the first couple... few... possibly dozen scripts are shit anyway, so I need to accept that I am not a magical little snowflake with the ability to crank out a shining gold script on the first go-round. Damn it.

I'm told that cure for writing shit is to write something else. So I've shoved the drama script to the far corner of my hard drive and I'm not going to look at it for a while. A long, long while. Instead, I used all my new revelations about those silly things, 'outlines' to plot out something totally different, a horror movie.

And when I say horror, I mean horror. It's a complete mind-fuck of a movie. Fifty pages in and I'm just screaming along with draft 0. I already know on the next draft I'm going to have to add another character, just to make a few interesting things make a little more sense, but this one... this one is rocking and rolling right along.

Goody goody gum drops.

Le day job is calling. That's just more motivation to write.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

It's not fanfic. I swear.

I like to write. A lot. Right now I'm battling my way through my first screenplay. I got draft zero finished and it totally sucked bitch tits, so I left it in an angry huff and went off writing a spec script for my favorite TV show.  Never mind that this show is in the UK, is waiting for the decision to renew, and doesn't take random specs from random Americans anyway.

Forget all that. I wrote it and learned tons about story, structure and flow from doing it. Highly recommend it as a teaching method, and it was fun. If there's not another season then I can open that document and weep over it when the loneliness gets to be too much. 'This is how it could have been, it could have been great... sob sob sob sniffle sob'.

"But wait!" I hear you shout, "Isn't something you know you can't sell just FANFIC?"

No. This is totally, totally different. Call it a writing exercise. Never mind I was playing with someone else's characters, no bad touch, and making them run though a plot totally of my own devising. It was fun and I learned things. Mostly the importance of having a vague idea beyond two sentences. Outlines. You sneer, but as it turns out, outlines are very handy little bastards.

Anyway, it's not fanfic if it's in script format! I don't care what anyone says. I finished it, 57 pages, hour long television drama, and that right there is a toast-worthy event.

So this film idea. Haven't got a title yet. Just last night ripped it apart and changed nearly everything about it. I spent a few hours writing an outline after spending a few weeks thinking about all the reasons draft zero just wasn't working. By that 'wasn't working' translate, 'was pissing me off'. The very first outline I should point out, the whole first draft was me typing by the seat of my pants and wondering why it was so rambling and just wasn't shining like a bajillion dollar movie should...

The outline came to four pages of pure gold. I say that. It was late and I had my ol' buddy Baileys Irish Cream as a writing partner, so it's probably shit but I can work with that. I'm used to shit. The main character is now from a different culture, with a different motivation and two supporting characters got merged into a Tuvix-like creation just because... well... they were annoying me with the tiny amount of lines they had. Nearly everything has changed about it, but it still manages to be the same story, somehow. Not sure how.

It's clearer now. The next draft should be much better. It could hardly be worse.

I don't know how often I'll be updating this blog. I suspect only when I have something to say because, frankly, dredging up small talk just for the sake of making noise is just as boring in a blog as it is in the real world.

Catch ya later.