Stay safe and be well! ((hugs))
My post on “writing a TV pilot” was my 500th; a milestone I should have reached some time ago. I sort of feel like Bob from the Bob’s Burgers episode “Sacred Cow” (S1E3) in which they celebrate the sale of the 100,000th burger, which should have happened long before, as evident by the dot matrix banner used to commemorate the occasion.
Having reached such a marker, I thought it might be nice to reflect on the posts that have come before, not only as a reflection for myself but also as a learning tool, because as the title of my blog suggests, I have a terrible memory and it would be nice to remember what I’ve come across and shared in the past.
Writing tips are always helpful, and if forgotten, necessary to revisit.
So starting back in the earliest days of my blog, I wrote about routines. As I stated just a few posts ago, I’m working on a new one. How things do come full circle.
In 1932, Henry Miller, the famous writer and painter created a work schedule that listed his “Commandments” for him to follow as part of his daily routine. This list was published in the book, Henry Miller On Writing.
- Work on one thing at a time until finished.
- Start no more new books, add no more new material to “Black Spring.”
- Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.
- Work according to Program and not according to mood. Stop at the appointed time!
- When you can’t create you can work.
- Cement a little every day, rather than add new fertilizers.
- Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it.
- Don’t be a draught-horse! Work with pleasure only.
- Discard the Program when you feel like it—but go back to it next day. Concentrate. Narrow down. Exclude.
- Forget the books you want to write. Think only of the book you are writing.
- Write first and always. Painting, music, friends, cinema, all these come afterwards.
This is what worked for Henry Miller, so keep this in mind when creating a schedule for yourself. You know what parameters you need to work efficiently, so build a plan with those in mind.
I cannot write first thing in the morning. I’m not alert until after my second cup of tea, and then some. I used to write at night, after the world was asleep, but now I’m realizing that my home world is quiet earlier in the day so I need to rethink my plan so that I can be more effective.
Try a new schedule. Tweak where necessary. Try again.
Keep at it and Happy Writing!
I’ve been watching a lot of Doctor Who recently, and this week’s writing prompt definitely feels inspired by one of my favorites.
Does this stir your imagination?
I’m part of a writer’s group where I’ve seen members question whether or not they think readers will be interested in the subject matter they are writing. I’ve never, personally, understood this way of thinking.
We are our first reader.
We should be engaged by the characters and the world we’re creating. The stories we’re writing should be about topics we’re interested in and want to explore. If we’re not attracted to the idea, why would we waste the time? And if we’re not passionate, the story will read as such.
And if we are, the story will find an audience.
Chasing fads or trends in the tv/movie world is an effort in futility. By the time your story is written and read, the tide will have most likely already turned. This is why many experts suggest avoiding this way of thinking. If you’ve been inspired by the current state of entertainment, then by all means write the story, but write it because you want to, not because you think it’s what you should be.
This all boils down to finding your voice, and C.S. Lewis said it best. Writing is already a bit of an uphill grind so we should do what we can to ensure that we enjoy the journey – by writing about what you want.
Happy Writing! 😉
Writing a teleplay is quite a bit different from writing a feature…or so I’m learning. With the ever expanding television market in need of fresh content, a screenwriter looking to break in must have a well rounded portfolio.
I hadn’t really given writing for TV much attention prior to the new “golden age” because none of the story ideas I had felt like they could be sustained for multiple episodes over multiple seasons. That was until The Demeter, my sci-fi/space/family drama. As I dug in and got to know my characters and the new world(s) I was creating, the more I realized it could not be contained to a single film, or even two.
I suppose that’s a good measuring stick for a story’s place and purpose.
So I gave my idea a go and wrote a pilot.
After what I was hoping would be my last rewrite, I asked one of my AFF friends to give it a read and offer some feedback*, and goodness, did she deliver. The most useful note I received was that my protagonist had become passive halfway through the script.
I did not see this. And this is why it’s useful to get an outside perspective.
There are a lot of points to hit in any screenplay but in a pilot, it needs to happen quickly. You not only need to introduce your characters, the world, the plot, your voice, where the story is going to go, and your characters’ desires but you also need to do all this in anywhere from 30 to 60 pages. Roughly.
And all while making it unique and interesting and coherent.
When you write a feature you still have all the same boxes to tick but without the need to sustain the story long term, the information given is precisely chosen, and therefore the story is streamlined.
Among the feedback, my friend also sent me this graphic from writer, David Steinberg which is both helpful and maddening.
According to the graphic, there are 10 things your pilot must do or set up in addition to some of what I listed above. Take one of your favorite tv shows and compare the pilot to these necessary elements. Does it hold up? Is anything missing? In light of these elements, or lack thereof, are any of these the reason you tuned in each week?
If you’ve been considering writing a pilot, and you find yourself overwhelmed by all of this information, don’t be put off, like I was initially. Discovering my protagonist had stopped being proactive makes a major rewrite the inevitable next step, and while a crushing blow, a necessity. This is why rewrites are considered the actual writing. They fine tune and make us aware of what’s needed to create a well rounded, compelling story.
I’ll have more tips on this topic in the coming weeks, but if you have any questions in the meantime, please feel free to ask!
*With any feedback, it’s important to note that you should take it with a grain of salt, at least until people are paying you for your work. And then you may have to pick your battles. Your story is yours, and while feedback is helpful, pick and choose what best serves your story.
When I decided to write flash fictions as part of the challenges I wanted to be sure to just write, without too much forethought or editing, and keeping the text at around 300 words. Today I chose to let the imagination run free and these are the result.
After two weeks of intermittent rain and cold winds, the storms had passed and the night sky finally revealed itself in all its splendor. We had trudged through mud for days, our clothes hadn’t been fully dry in nearly a fortnight, and there was a chill that had lodged itself in our spines and had become a perpetual torment.
Finding the old temple ruin was a welcome sight. There was a mysterious aura that surrounded the area, as if perhaps we were treading upon sacred ground or nearing the gateway to another world. Although the ceiling had collapsed some time ago, the structure did still offer us some protection and a little space from one another after so long huddled together in small tents and around campfires.
We needed a respite from our travels, and so decided we would spend a couple of days recuperating in the majestic, towering relic. It was hard not to be in awe of the temple; the architecture, the grandeur, and the frescos that adorned the walls and what remained of the ceiling. It was breathtaking and a wonder as to what its true purpose once was. And so on that first eerily silent night, I lay awake, staring up to the twinkling sky, wishing upon a thousand stars that we have the Maker’s grace to succeed in our quest.
To the casual observer they appeared as long separated lovers finally reunited. There was an intensity about their demeanor, a longing contained for propriety’s sake that hinted at a level of intimacy that made those a witness to it blush. To set the scene of romanticism and to add another layer of mystery, a fog rolled in as if on cue. They stayed like that for some time, swaying towards one another but not moving even a breath closer.
They waited until the last traveler had exited the station before revealing the truth of their meeting. With a tilt of his hat almost in greeting, she dropped her fur cuff to reveal a wooden stake. He flashed a devestating smile, purposefully sliding his tongue against the point of his exposed fang while a low rumble of laughter echoed across the distance. While he made a spectacle of himself, she slid off her heeled shoes and tucked her skirt to allow her legs more freedom. She had been looking forward to this moment for some time and she was going to enjoy it.
If you’re ever inspired to join in the writing prompt challenge fun, please don’t forget to share!
I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself this year. Having quit my job a year ago, I had grand plans for how I was going to handle the few months I was giving myself before The Sis and I moved and we started our lives in a new town. Fast forward to nearly a year in a pandemic, and the pressure has only grown more intense.
If I was not going to go back to work, as we were teetering on the constant see-saw of should we/shouldn’t we move, then I better have something to show for all the time I had been given. After a number of false starts, blindly staring at a computer screen job and house hunting, writing easy-out blog posts, finding busy work to distract, and using a number of other excuses, the months passed and I was no closer to accomplishing any of the goals I had set for myself.
It’s not as if my goals were so lofty that they were unattainable, but not using my time better, because I was trying to do too many things each day, consistently left me feeling bad about myself and perpetuated the unmotivated side that used excuses for the lack of progress rather than confronting the fact that what I was doing everyday was the definition of insanity.
It has taken some time, but I have come to the conclusion that I need to format my time differently. The old writer’s adage “Write Every Day” has stressed me out, so much so that I’m lucky if I’m able to write even once a week.
A sad state of affairs.
I have chosen to create a weekly schedule that allows me to write on certain days and utilize the other days to accomplish the other tasks I want or that I defer to to distract me. It sounds so simple and yet it has taken me all this time to discover it. Instead of trying to do everything everyday, I’ll do at least one thing each day and make incremental progress on each. This way I don’t feel guilty on Tuesday for not writing because I’m supposed to be working on my Etsy shop. I will have written on Monday and will again on Wednesday.
Is this the right course of action? I don’t know yet. But I’m looking forward to finding out.
How do you schedule your time to ensure you accomplish all that you want to do?
I’m enthralled with this image. The ruins, the color of the sky…I knew immediately that it would be today’s writing prompt.
I hope you’ll join me in this week’s challenge. I’m excited to see what you create!
This weekend was strange, emotionally. Our upstairs shower has had a leak that finally made itself known by pouring through to the garage below. Something about this struck a chord in me, and I lost all momentum for a few days.
It was compounded by an emotional downward spiral I found myself in. And I’m not exactly sure why. I’m journaling to try to discover the root of the melancholy.
So when I saw today’s quote, it rang so true that I thought, if I needed to hear it, maybe others did too.
Some things are out of our control, especially this year, and while things may not be going according to plan, we can trust that, eventually all will be set to right. ((crosses fingers))
I can imagine that we could all use a distraction today.
Join me in a bit of escapism. Happy Writing!