Happy update! I finally got all the kinks worked out on my website manager app. Woot woot! Thank you to the support team.
Now, moving right along to what I REALLY want to share with you. I found my notes for the second book in the series Descending Into Darkness. I was really surprised how fast I found it and in a box in the office, where it belonged. I seriously cant wait to have all the boxes unpacked. I don’t know when that will be though. My husband is a pack rat. Saving everything, even broken things, with the hopes that we will one day fix it or use it for parts. I secretly watch Kondo while he’s in the same room to try and get some of the cleaning vibes to rub off on him a bit. So far, nada. But that’s ok! I think we’ve only watched three episodes so far.
So, I have the notes. I settle in during a nap time to write and it took some time to find where I left off typing in the summer of 2017. Once I did, I discovered I literally had two scenes to finish, the last “action” scene and the very end. I had everything else. I could kick myself for not finishing this sooner. I wondered what the hell happened to keep me from finishing... Oh, yeah, script writing bug. And, oh, hey, I got knocked up.
I took a “short” break to write a script and it ended up winning awards and placing in contests, so I focused on editing that and working on another script. Then my husband came home early from a deployment and, ahem..... 10.5 months later and Adalyn was born! TaDa! For anyone who tells you that being pregnant shouldn’t keep you from doing something you love, they don’t know shit about hype Hyperemesis Gravidarum. We were lucky my husband was exiting the military at the time, 22+ years in the Army, and he was able to help with the other kids a ton. But I still wasn’t able to sit up and type. I literally spent my days either hoping not to puke or hoping I would to just get it over with. Those feelings lasted all day for about 8.5 months and then I was just too tired and uncomfortable to sit up and write and no, I couldn’t do it lying down either, I had really bad heart burn too. 🙄
Going over this, I guess I can’t really be too hard on myself for not finishing this manuscript. I’m glad I’m working on it now. My goal is to finish with the first draft by the end of this weekend and then work on editing. Next I might have a new set of notes for my feature script. After both are done editing, I can publish the manuscript, send off the script for final submission for the competition and work on finishing the other YA manuscript. I am really pleased that these things seem feasible to being completed by the end of March and that leaves the rest of the year to finish the other book, write a new script and possibly one more, maybe an adaptation of the YA script that I really love.
That’s it for now. I’m really surprised I was able to get this typed this morning. My son has been crazy and we’ve been trying to find some important papers my husband misplaced (I could have misplaced them for him, we aren’t really sure). And ANDDDD it’s a snow day. 🤦♀️
I finished the first major edit on Across the Veil. It is now in the second draft phase. I’m having some technical difficulties with one page on the format but I’m waiting for Final Draft to get back to me on how to fix it. When that’s done I can send it back to Finish Line Script Competition for another set of notes. I really hope all this editing has been an improvement. 🤞🏻
What’s next? Though I started writing a spec for Arrow, I think I will start working on one of my manuscripts. It’s the second in a series I started and published in 2017. It’s mostly done but all written in hand on paper. I have to type it all up. I hope to get that done and published (self) as well as the spec this year. Along with trying to finish up the other manuscript I started that is independent of the series. It will probably be another series, but it’s YA not adult like the other one. Eventually I would like to do script adaptations of each of the stories. The YA one I think would be a real hit if done correctly. 😬
I was worried yesterday that I didn’t know where the notebook was that had at least 70 pages worth of writing in it for this manuscript. I was surprised to find it in the room it actually belonged in, though. Of course it was in a box. 🙄
So those are my goals. I might take a break from the MS here and there to work on the spec but if I can finish just ONE MS I would be really proud of myself. It makes sense to finish the second in the series though.
I’m going to go off course from my usual TV and writing topics and talk (maybe rant) about something else.
Women. Moms particularly. People like to think “things are different” now, “times have changed.” But they haven’t yet. Not entirely. We are on the verge of change and different, but we aren’t there yet. Yes, I know, the same can be said about racism, but that’s a whole other topic.
Starting with careers. If you’re a mom, it seems like our careers take a back seat with children. And that’s how it should be, unfortunately. It’s true, admit it, moms. We’d take our kids to doctor appointments, school events and extracurriculars before work or your own doctor appointments. I am a writer, at home. It took me a long time to get myself to identify as a writer. Not just a mom who writes here and there or when I have time. I didn’t even have the title of writer before kids so getting myself to say I was a writer with kids was hard.
That said, I hardly get any time to write. I make sure I take advantage of any time the kids sleep or are preoccupied. I have a toddler who loves to climb on my lap and play on my iPad while I’m trying to work. My husband works long hours, two hours overtime every day. Do I enjoy the extra money, sure, of course I do! Am I envious of the fact that he can just go to any doctor appointment and call it a lunch hour when I have to make sure someone is here 20 minutes beforehand to watch my kids and then rush off and try not to feel guilty that those people are taking time out of their lives to watch my kids, especially when they are grumpy or sick. Or when they have to get them on the school bus or take them to special events for me. I try really hard not to make appointments when those special things have to occur while I’m gone, but sometimes you don’t get to pick what time and day your doctor appointments are. Especially when those doctors are extremely busy, booked for months out and so on.
All this said, I will say I hosted a mini pity party last night, but I got over it. I accepted it. I can’t give up trying to take care of myself, because then I know my kids and husband will suffer. Luckily I have a partner who understands that the kids can be difficult at times with two special needs kiddos who don’t know how to manage their emotions fully. Today, a chink has been thrown in our schedule. Not only did I have a doctor appointment today and a massage therapy (keynote THERAPY) tomorrow, but my dog may be really sick (poss renal failure) so she has an emergency vet appointment this morning. My husband is kind enough to stay home with the baby so I don’t have to manage her as well as the dog. I am really optimistic that if the dog, Birdie, is really sick, that we caught it in time to treat it and slow down any more deteriation. My cat died of renal failure a couple years ago, and that was rough. He wouldn’t tollerate any treatment though, he was a stubborn one. He also had a heart murmur and blood clots, 🙄 he was a sick cat, but he lived a long life considering. Luckily he wasn’t in any pain when he passed away. I hope that isn’t the case with my dog.
BUT I wont get lost in that.
Ladies, we have to remember that our health matters. I nearly cancelled a behavioral health appointment next week because I didn’t want to impose on anyone’s else’s busy schedule. I try so hard to use any care I need from others for appointments for the kids, but I have to remember that I’m important too. I shouldn’t sweep it to the side and say “I’ll manage.” Managing ISN’T how a person should be living. Get shit taken care of. Get it fixed, if you can. Relax if that’s what you need. Women writers, if you’re suffering from writers block, go do something for yourself. Take the time to do something special, relaxing. Read a book, take a bath, get a massage, get a pedicure/manicure. Go to the gym. All these things can get the imagination and words flowing. Don’t just sit there at the keyboard and beat yourself up for having nothing to write. Taking a day or a few hours isn’t going to make you less of a writer.
That’s all. If you read this and you’re family, don’t worry, this is just my rantings and internal thoughts. ❤️ 😊
To conclude, I’d like to THANK everyone who helps me get all this shit done. It really does take a village. I wouldn’t be writing if my husband, parents and friends didn’t support me. I wouldn’t be a healthy parent/person, without the help of them all.
THANK YOU! ❤️
Everyone have a great Tuesday and try to remember that you’re more. You matter.
First things first: Oscars. I don’t watch them. For one, I don’t stay up that late. Another reason is that my kids rule the television until 7PM so I miss watching live. I DVR it just in case I hear there’s something I shouldn’t miss, but I mostly rely on Twitter/Facebook and YouTube to update me on the big events. That said, I found a ton of animosity and disappointment over The Green Book winning Best Picture. I understand a lot of people, including myself, were hoping Black Panther or Spider-Man Into the Spider-verse would win. I haven’t yet seen The Green Room, though the trailers look good. My question is, for those who have seen it as well as the other two movies, what made it the least worthy? Like I said, I honestly thought Black Panther or Spider-Man should have won. A few people mentioned that it was similar to the other past winning movies, which made this win a boring one. I seriously need someone to explain it to me. Again, please remember, I am all for another movie winning, and I have no opinion on The Green Book as I haven’t seen it yet.
Moving along, I watch a ton of cartoons— again, parent — And I’ve found that Captain Underpants, Paprika, True and the Rainbow Kingdom, Cleo and Cuquin and Mowtown Magic shows all need to be renewed. If you have children, and you haven’t yet seen these, I recommend it. I enjoy Captain Underpants because it’s a little more mature than say Paprika or True and Cleo/Cuquin. Motown magic is awesome. It embraces an awesome musical culture and teaches great lessons.
Now, for the grown ups. If you haven’t seen Umbrella Acadamy, shame on you. Do it now. Binge it as fast as you can! One Day at a Time is really good too. It is funny, lighthearted, full of today’s issues and makes me cry a little at the end of each episode. Wynonna Earp is my new binge show. I believe we are on ep. 5. It’s interesting, funny in a dark sort of way and I’m enjoying the multiple mysteries in the storyline. What shows are you watching?! I’m honestly curious. I’m trying to broaden my watching education/knowledge a little in the shows I watch.
Have a FANTASTIC Monday everyone!
Another Twitter question that I thought would be a good blog entry.
What have I found that makes a good pilot script?
To be completely honest, I’m still learning that myself. BUT so far I HAVE learned this...
Format is a BIG deal. Don’t try to deviate from it, it wont help you, AT ALL. Something to always remember, until you are as big as Steven Spielberg or Guillermo del Toro, you should most definitely stick to the rules of screenwriting. If you don’t know what those are, I suggest you purchase a good reference book, Amazon is full of them, Google can help you find the right one for you. Apparently, the one I selected isn’t one that is widely chose by other writers, but it works for me.
A lot of screenwriting is self taught. You can take classes for it, of course, even get a degree, but I have found more people to have degrees in unrelated fields or only a little bit of college behind their belt, if not none at all. I started off as a novel writer. I still write books, in fact. I still have stories I’m working on. I will probably finish three more books, that I’ve already started, before I set novel writing to the side for a long stretch. I find script writing to be far more enjoyable because I don’t have to worry about details. Novel writers, depending on who you ask of course, pride themselves in the descriptive literature in a book they’ve written. Writing a book takes on the job of ALL the movie making jobs. We are the costume and set designer as well as the director, actors and narrator in the stories we write. That’s a LOT of stress for me. LOL When I discovered script writing I was a little hung up on the fact that I wasn’t SUPPOSED to add a lot of detail or directive. I have to leave that to the director, actor and set designers. Vague and implicit is what I’ve adapted to for my scripts and I love it. I honestly would rather write the stories I’m writing as scripts but I’ve already started them in novel form and it just makes sense to finish them that way before I touch on adapting any to scripts.
Back on track.... there are plenty of online courses that look to be really awesome. I was lucky to find a free mini week long screenwriting course. It helped me build a story outline I already had plans for. I think that was the first ever outline I’d ever made from start to finish for a story I’ve written. I haven’t made one since. LOL I don’t do outlines, but that’s just me. You may find that outlines help you, like a lot of other writers do, and that’s GREAT. For me, though, I just can’t. It knocks my momentum down and I don’t want to write the actual script/story if I outline. There are courses that will help you build outlines and learn and stick with the format. There are a lot that are pricey but worth it. If you can afford it and you want to take some sort of class on it but don’t want to go to college, then I suggest finding an online course. ScreenCraft.com has a few good ones. Sometimes a few colleges have online courses you can take as well, but I find an online workshop course is more focused and more beneficial for the industry, especially if you aren’t looking for a degree/certificate.
I hope this helps some of you guys. I’m sorry I deviated a bit here and there, lol. It’s still early and I’ve only have one cup of coffee. Let me know what you’ve learned so far in this industry or an online workshop/class/course you’ve found.
Have a fantastic Sunday everyone!
Someone on Twitter asked me about Screenwriting contests so I thought I would make a blog about what I wrote on answered with. In case you’re curious, I am a Gold Member of FilmFreeway, a platform of film and writing contests. I find it really useful. You don’t have to be a Gold member in order to use it either but if you enter enough competitions regularly then it may be beneficial to do so. There, you create a Profile for yourself, including a file for each of your scripts/projects. Not only can Film industries view your scripts this way, they can also learn about you as a writer as well as view any photos and awards you’ve won.
For instance, people can see that Summons has placed Finalist four times and Semi Finalist once and for which competitions. Which comes in handy when you enter major competitions or fellowships, like what I’m doing now.
I normally don’t enter contests without reviews or new ones unless they have reputable judges on their website (which is on the contest’s page via FilmFreeway). There are, of course, other contests that aren’t on FilmFreeway, and you can do a simple Google search for those. There’s also other platforms like Stage 32, Coverfly and Withoutabox.
For those not on FilmFreeway, I do a little research for reviews. You can find whether or not it’s a good one to enter pretty quickly. People will tell you if it’s a scam after your money, or if they really are looking to find and promote new writers and material. The contests that come with notes are nice, if you are looking for editing advice too. 😊 They may look expensive but I’ve found that editing notes alone are expensive, but if you’re getting a contest entry with the notes, even better. Finish Line Script Competition is a really great one. They give you 6 pages of notes in a 7 day turn around time and you have the opportunity to revise and re-enter your revised draft back into the competition AND they give you another opportunity to get ANOTHER set of notes before the final deadline. Their notes are really great. I’ve used them twice for two of my scripts already.
As a last note, if you’re using a new script, I recommend only entering one contest, especially with notes offered, to start. See how it goes and then, if you place at all, you can try for more. Promote them as much as you can, yourself and the festival/competition you’re entering, during the whole process. The idea is to network, and that includes the judges and industry/sponsors behind the event.
Hope this helps and good luck!
I decided I wanted to make a mini entry here this morning. Yesterday I posted on Twitter that I wasn’t looking forward to posting a question on a few Facebook writing page because there’s a lot of bullying there I added #screenwriting at the end. Before I had a chance to post my question on Facebook, the Twitter account manager for Finish Line Script competition replied to message them the question. 👀 What?! OKAY! So I did. And we were able to figure out a good solution to my question/problem. It involves the two different realms that Across the Veil has and how to tell readers when we’ve switched worlds. The moral to this story is not to underestimate the power of Twitter. If you are selective of who you follow, you should have a great response to a problem or concern. I love Facebook but I find a nicer community, a supportive one, in Twitter, especially for the film industry.
I live in the boonies, sorta, and finding a buddy that writes that lives nearby isn’t possible. All of my contacts for writing have been through social media. If you don’t have a Twitter account or aren’t active on it, and you’re in the writing or film industry, I highly suggest you start one or become more involved. It can be very helpful. Especially with self promotion. Self publishers can really utilize this sort of networking when done properly.
I’m not an expect by any means, but I like to share when I come across stuff that seems to help. If anyone has a question or want to run something by me writing/screenwriting wise, email me or find me on Twitter and DM me. I check my messages pretty regularly. Again, I’m not an expert but we can work together or find someone else who can answer the questions you may have. Let’s help each other out!
Have a great Thursday everyone!
I just did my first rewrite on a couple scenes on my feature script. It was really intimidating going in. I always worry if I’m going to make it worse and the whole moving events and dialogue around so it still makes sense can get complicated and confusing. I handled it though.
🤨 I have done a tone in just the last few days where editing is concerned. I am really proud of that. The kids, housework and walking to spend time with my husband who works mad hours during the week, makes for finding time to edit/write tricky. So when I do and I actually get shit done, it makes for a happily accomplished mommy... I mean, Alainna. LOL
Funny story time! My husband has been running errands (rare) out of county, about six hour drive round trip not including traffic. I get miffed when I go to write, taking advantage of him being gone and the kids sleeping, and find that my Amazon Music account is being used on “another device.” 😒 😆 I figured it out right away that it was because he was listening on his car during the long drive. His music of choice is Eminem. Which is fine by me, as it makes it easier to find him myself when I need to.
So last night, the same thing happened. I ended up just downloading IHeartRadio. Not a bad second. No offense, IHeartRadio, I just have a subscription and saved music with Amazon Prime. He brought me a late dinner, a salad from Wendy’s, so all was forgiven.
Business side of things, I’ve listed Summons on The Black List ( BlkLst.com ) for a month, and have entered into another Fellowship contest. That will be two fellowship contests for the year. I will know if I placed at all come mid March for one and I think April for the other. I am really hopeful, though a part of me wants me to NOT be. Prepping myself for hurt so I don’t, I guess.
Soon I plan to work with an editor friend on my short script as it’s a lot of description rather than dialogue. It can get tricky the more description you have over dialogue and I think she can help. She does this professionally, so I feel better doing this than going to a friend who isn’t in the industry and seeing how it does. Lol
You all have a great week and I will check back in later!
It happened again! I received a notice early this morning that I won Official Selection for my pilot, Summons, at the Open Window International Film Challenge. I am beyond elated! I seriously had some doubts after getting the poor review on it from the last competition and have been waiting for this, another competition, to assure me that I didn’t need to make the changes “recommended” by the last reviewer. Now I’m considering getting representation. I’m sure it’s too early, having just one script that has done well so far in my portfolio, but I am editing two other scripts and one in progress. I think I can realistically research agents/managers and find which will work better for me and then learn how to best query them to take me on as a client.
A short entry today. Well, shortER than normal anyways. I have found that I am able to leave the clutter and mess a little more during nap time. Before starting Celexa for anxiety, I used nap time for a restart on the house being clean. I used to make sure the kitchen, livingroom, playroom were picked up and ran the vacuum cleaner as I worked or relaxed. This will probably be the third day in a row that I’ve left the morning’s clutter made by my lovely children and instead get more work done in whatever short amount of time I have as I could. My kids USUALLY sleep at least two hours, however that time is never guaranteed when children are concerned. So here I am. Livingroom looking like the toy box exploded. Sink full of dirty dishes from lunch and breakfast and the floor having crumbs still from said meals. I will save that for when my husband and kids are able to assist in the final, every evening clean up. And right now, I am going to enjoy my third....wait, fourth cup of coffee (decaf counts, I guess) and get some more editing done on my feature.
Tomorrow is Friday too, and I’m stoked. I really hope to get more writing done this weekend. Last weekend I was laid up with my back injury and didn’t get anything done other than heal. So this weekend I have GOT to get some stuff done. Have a great weekend everyone!