Wednesdays are for Writing Prompts.
Since discovering this image, I’ve had a story brewing.
Are you inspired? Are you up for the challenge?
Wednesdays are for Writing Prompts.
Since discovering this image, I’ve had a story brewing.
Are you inspired? Are you up for the challenge?
A fellow Bang2Write-r shared this quote today on Facebook and I was immediately struck by it. If you’re not familiar with Lucy V. Hay’s site, give it a look. She offers a lot of tips and insight for writers.
Sound advice. Happy Monday!
I did it! I accomplished my goal of one new movie a week! I actually slightly exceeded it with 53 movies, the last just narrowly sneaking in on New Year’s Eve.
I’m sticking with the “ABC” grading scale and will give just a simple overview as many of my posts recently have been rather long and involved. Looking back on all I’ve watched this year, it’s rather sad to find how few of them were stellar endeavors.
31. What Happened to Monday: An interesting premise of septuplets born when overpopulation has mandated a one child per regulation. Noomi Rapace plays all the siblings who must discover what happened when one goes missing. My rating: B-
32. Ralph Breaks the Internet: When Vanellope’s vintage game is broken, she and Ralph must find the part to keep her racing. A cute follow-up to the original, with some clever references to keep all ages entertained; I just didn’t think it had as much heart as the first. My rating: B
33. Crazy Rich Asians: The clichéd story of a woman marrying a wealthy man and concerns about the family not accepting her is exactly that. While everyone was thrilled with the representation, that shouldn’t overshadow the lack of a well rounded story. It’s also a bit too long, and feels it. My rating: C
34. Aquaman: What can be said about the origin story of one of the least liked DC characters nobody asked for? The movie is too long, too convoluted, and an assault of CGI “magic”. The only reason anyone even bothered is Jason Momoa. My rating: D
35. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: Every once in a while you just need a sweet movie without a lot of substance, which is surprising given its setting. Set after the German occupation of Guernsey, a Channel Island during WWII, a young writer befriends villagers who started a book club and of course, finds love. My rating: B
36. Bad Times at the El Royale: I didn’t know what to expect, but it certainly wasn’t what I got. Desperate to follow in Tarantino’s footsteps, this film about strangers converging at a strange motel that straddles state lines is a bit of mess that doesn’t tie up all its loose ends. My rating: C-
37. Bohemian Rhapsody: There is no dismissing Rami Malek’s performance as the charismatic lead of the band Queen, but it felt like the filmmakers played it safe. Not wanting to, possibly, turn people off from any negativity associated with Freddie’s life, they jump cut around instead, showcasing the music, without a lot of substance. My rating: B
38. Fighting with My Family: I grew up watching the WWF, now WWE, with my grandfather. I still tune in every now and then, and Paige, for whom the film is based on, is among one of my “newer” favorites. As the youngest wrestler to be signed, it was touching to see how it all began. My rating: B
39. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum: Not my favorite in the franchise, but still a pretty entertaining shoot ’em up movie with a few new twists to keep it interesting. Since the films continue in sequence, it’s hard not to appreciate Wick’s skill as the formidable hit man on the run. My rating: B-
40. Tall Girl: I, myself, am a tall girl. I’m 6′ and have been since I was 16 years old. I’ve heard all the same jokes, and had to deal with feeling like the jolly Green Giant among pretty much everyone I know while wearing men’s jeans because they had an inseam measurement. While I appreciate the message of accepting who you are, because you really can’t do anything about your height, the movie is just…blah. My rating: C-
41. The Favourite: Courts are notorious for their backstabbing and conniving, but I was hoping for more from this film than just that. Women have a reputation where other women are concerned, and in a time when we need to be more supportive, on the whole, this film about taking advantage of an already fragile person, was uncomfortable to watch at times. Olivia Colman is an amazing actress, and fully deserving of the accolades. My rating: B
42. Spider-Man: Far From Home: First off, I want to put Tom Holland in my pocket. In the wake of Avengers: Endgame, poor Peter is struggling to find his place and just wants to spend some time with his friends, but where superheroes travel, chaos is soon to follow. An entertaining follow-up in the MCU and development for a beloved character as he comes into his own. My rating: B+
43. Mary Queen of Scots: If you’ve followed me for any amount of time, you know I’m fascinated with Queen Elizabeth I. This film takes a look at the relationship between the queen and one of her biggest rivals, Queen Mary of Scotland, played by two wonderful actresses, Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie. I’ll watch anything where the Queen is concerned, in spite of uneven storytelling. My rating: B-
44. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part: Another sequel that lacked the heart of the first. The Lego citizens face a new threat and must find a way of coexisting with their “enemy”. While still a cute movie with a sweet message, it was fun to watch, if not sort of forgettable. My rating: B
45. Glass: Having not seen the original in this strange trilogy, Unbreakable, I don’t have all the information to grade this film as part of a whole. I found some aspects entertaining, a film with a variation on the comic book figure, and I appreciate some of the risks taken, but overall there felt like there was something missing. My rating: B-
46. Fallen: I knew this was going to be a bad movie, and it was. I’ve always enjoyed the tale of the star crossed lovers, but this story, based on a YA series of novels was unmoving, the actors were dull, and just when it started to move in a slightly interesting direction, it was over. My rating: D
47. Shazam: I was unfamiliar with this superhero character prior to the film. My only reference was from the TV show Archer on a few occasions. The story of a young boy who gains powers which transform him into a fully grown, muscle bound man was more interesting than I would have guessed. There’s also a sweet message about family. My rating: B
48. It Chapter 2: The story of the child eating clown continues as the Losers, now grown up, must return to the beginning to finish what they started as a new cycle begins. Casting did a great job with the grown versions of the children, but this movie failed to recapture the fun of the first one. My rating: B-
49. Dumplin’: I love me a drag queen, and in the preview for this movie, a few help to inspire a teen girl overcome body image issues and compete in a beauty contest run by her once beauty queen mother. My rating: B+
50. Let it Snow: This teen holiday film about a group of friends finding love was a story that didn’t really do anything different and was actually fairly dull and forgettable. My rating: D
51. Knight Before Christmas: I followed one bad movie with another. A knight is sent forward in time on a quest and finds love with a modern day woman who’s been romance deprived. Meh. My rating: D
52. Star Wars Episode IX: Rise of the Skywalker: Oh, where to begin…if you’re not a fan, you’ve probably still seen some of the reviews, or heard the hubbub over how fans are disappointed. This fan included. The final episode in the latest trilogy initially seemed better than reviewed but as I continued to think on it, I realized how much was missing among so many other things. My rating: C
53. Love and Friendship: A Jane Austen story I wasn’t familiar with, Lady Susan – surprising, I know. Upon the viewing, I wish I did know more because the way it was filmed was a bit confusing. Lady Susan is conniving and manipulating. It appears as if she’s out for herself, which she is, but she also is looking out for her daughter, in a strange way. I’ll give it another watch after a read and see if it improves. My rating: B-
If you’d like to see what else I watched this year, here are parts One and Two of the series. Do you agree with my ratings? Would you like to offer any recommendations as I endeavor into the new year?
I came across this prompt while cleaning up my email. Somewhere along the way, I emailed myself this idea, and that’s where it ended.
So I share it today in the hopes it inspires us.
Who wants to take on the challenge? I look forward to reading your creations!
I also share writing prompts on Instagram, so if you’re looking for more inspiration, take a gander. Happy Writing!
Sometimes our goals are a bit overwhelming, and fear keeps us stationary. Nothing worth having ever comes easy, so hopefully this week’s quote will inspire you to be brave.
Happy New Year, friends!
Can you believe it? Not only has another year ended, but we’re now in a new decade. I’m still of the mindset that the 90s were the last decade because to think otherwise is just ridiculous. How could it be, now, 20+ years ago?!
I tend to bring in the new year doing the one thing I hope to be doing the rest of it, writing, but I’ll come clean, I haven’t been able to write since quitting my job. I, instead chose to spend it with one of my favorite people, Jane Austen. I completed my “One New Movie-a-Week” Challenge last week with Rise of the Skywalker, but I thought it might be a nice motivator to watch a movie, a world I want to be a part of, instead. I had not seen the film Love and Friendship, based on the novella, Lady Susan, and while I’ll have more to say on it in my next post about my movie challenge, it got me thinking about my own writing. So at least there’s that.
I nearly finished my Goodreads reading challenge of 12 books, a despicably low number, I know. I kept seeing these posts that if you want to be a writer and don’t make the time to read you can’t really be a writer. I was a much better reader a few years ago when my schedule permitted me to do things in a particular order. Now, I’m trying to implement that old schedule into my new daily routine. When I realized the end of the year was nigh and I wasn’t going to make my goal, I had to reevaluate a few things.
In that reevaluation was the thought that maybe I had set myself up for failure by expecting too much of myself throughout the year. I already knew the job was not allowing me to accomplish much, so achieving some of those goals was always going to be difficult, if not impossible. While I did complete a few of the tasks I had set out to do, like attending my first screenwriter’s conference, others, like the reading challenge, fell by the wayside. How could I possibly expect so much when days, weeks, and even months passed without a glance towards my passions?
I have to look at this year’s goal setting a bit differently. Remember, I don’t like resolutions, and I don’t think January 1st is a magic reset button, but it is an unavoidable marker for moving forward and starting anew. The outside world has dates and seasons for meeting goals, and a new year puts much of that into perspective. But there are things that I continue to carry over each year that I want to do that, while time consuming, are still worthy goals to pursue. It’s just going to take some patience and clever maneuvering, and not be at the forefront while more pressing matters are attended to.
What do you want to accomplish this year? How will you set out to ensure you reach that goal?
Here’s one of my favorite goal setting images for inspiration. Now let’s go crush 2020!
Everyone’s posting year end reviews and goal updates, and even as I, myself, am doing some reflection, if you’ve followed me for a while, you know I don’t like resolutions, one can’t help but look back on what’s been accomplished in the course of a year. It’s also the end of a decade, so there’s even more to think on.
While the beginning of a new year is a great jumping off point, you can start something new or achieve a goal at any time.
I’m sure I’ve used this quote before, but as The Sis and I begin to prepare for a new journey, this quote seemed rather apropos.
∼ Saturday: Day Three ∼
7:45am: Another early morning. More caffeine needed. There’s a coffee shop on the ground floor of my hotel that I’m thankful for, and it’s fairly popular due to its proximity to the conference. They have my favorite flavor, lavender, for their coffee and the most delicious pastries. It gets me through the bulk of the day.
9:00am – 10:15am: One of the panels I’m most looking forward to, Writing Sci-Fi with Gary Whitta and Emily Carmichael. They both offer some useful tips and let us all know that it’s okay to not write 8 hours a day. No one writes like that, and we shouldn’t feel like this is a goal we have to achieve. I learned about the Pomodoro Technique (which I will look into a bit more) which suggests writing in 25 minute spurts.
Tips: 1) Keep a Dot Journal to track writing progress. Check on it regularly. (I haven’t done this yet because I’m still learning how to create this type of journal.) 2) Maintain consistency in your world. If a character has a power, be sure to use it. (This is something we, writers, sometimes forget.) 3) Keep the rules of the world simple.
10:45am – 12:00pm: Overcoming Scene Challenges with Meg LeFauve, Carly Wray, and Dave Kajganich. This proved to be one of the best panels I attended. The most important thing I learned was that if there’s a problem in Act 3, it’s most likely because of something in Act 1. “You haven’t earned it” was repeated by the panelists, and this was a big note for me. As many of you are aware, from my many references to my troublesome third act of one of my screenplays, I either have a problem earlier on, or I haven’t followed through with something to earn the third act.
I happened to have an opportunity the following morning to speak with Dave Kajganich while waiting for coffee. I thanked him for his advice, and then he gave me some more. He asked me what I was struggling with and offered me some alternative ways of thinking about it. Does it have to have a happy ending? I told him I like happily ever afters, but it got me thinking. Maybe it doesn’t? Does it have to take place in modern times? No, it doesn’t, and I don’t know why I’ve been trying to force it. He was appreciative of me reaching out, he wasn’t sure if anything he said during the panel was useful.
12:15pm – 2:15pm: The Awards Luncheon was not being held close by. It was a number of blocks away and not paying attention to the time, I thought it started at 12:30pm, and add on a big parade for Día de Muertos, I was power walking to make sure I arrived on time. There was no shuttle, and the AFF staff I spoke with were very helpful, but afraid that if I didn’t arrive before it started, I may not be able to get in at all. This was an additional upgrade to my conference badge, so I was not missing out.
There were some amazing speeches, and it was an insight as to what was winning on the festival circuit. It ran way over for time, so I was unable to make my next panel, so I grabbed another coffee and got in line for the Lawrence Kasdan retrospective. Even an hour and a half before the panel I was still about 15 people from the beginning of the line.
4:45pm – 6:00pm: A look back at the life of Screenwriter, Lawrence Kasdan. He wrote The Big Chill, co-wrote Empire Strikes Back, wrote Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Bodyguard, French Kiss, As Good as it Gets, and so many more. How could I not attend?!
7:30pm – 9:30pm: Pitch Finale. Another writer from my FB group, Jasmine and I planned to meet up to attend the finale together. All the winners of the pitch sessions gathered to pitch to the crowd and then winners were chosen from those. It was so much fun and so inspiring. There was a great deal of support and encouragement for the people pitching.
My shoulder ached from carrying around my computer bag all day, so after Deena and I grabbed a bite to eat, we returned to my hotel to minimize my carrying capacity so we could head to the last mixer of the weekend.
Upon exiting my room, we were dumbfounded to find a most likely drunken naked man in the hallway. We never did find out if he had locked himself out, or was kicked out, but either way, when the young woman, who was the manager on duty arrived, another conference attendee, Deena, and I kept her company until the police arrived. We weren’t going to leave her alone with a delusional nude. That made for a good story when asked what we would remember most from the conference.
11:00pm: Heart of Film Cocktail Party. I saw some familiar faces, which was nice, and made friends with Margaret. One of the winners from my pitch session.
It had been such a long day, but so rewarding.
~ Sunday: Day Four ~
There was a Hair of the Dog Brunch at 10:00am but my check out was at noon and I was going to be in a panel, so I skipped it, and slept in a bit. The sleep and food deprivation had finally caught up with me. I checked my bag, grabbed a coffee (which is where I met Dave and got that great advice), met up with Jessica and Deena for a quick hello and pastry breakfast, and then Jessica and I made our way to one of our more anticipated panels.
11:30am – 12:45pm: The Quagmire of Female Character by Lindsay Doran. When I was living in LA, I attended another presentation by Lindsay about the Psychology of Storytelling. She’s an executive and producer and her insight is unlike any other. She’s so engaging that I didn’t even take any notes, which, of course, I now regret. If you’re familiar with what’s going on in Hollywood, and the rest of the world, you’ll have an understanding of the balancing act that is currently happening with how to handle female characters. This panel enlightened us all.
Tip: If you have the opportunity to hear Lindsay Doran speak, do it.
1:15pm – 2:30pm: Writing for Animation with Brad Graeber, Alvaro Rodriguez, and Willis Bulliner who created the animated Netflix series, Seis Manos. Jessica didn’t have a panel planned, so she attended with me. It wasn’t what I was expecting, it was more about how they got their show off the ground, but it was still interesting.
3:00pm – 4:15pm: Life as a Screenwriter with Shane Black and Scott Rosenberg was, I think, the last panel of the day. It was the last one I attended anyway. It was the other panel I was most looking forward to, and it did not disappoint. These two screenwriters have been in the business for many years, and now, a bit older, have a different insight into the industry. I thought I took some notes, but I can’t seem to find them. Wah-wah.
4:15pm – 5:15pm: I have to say my farewells and get to the airport. It was during my good-byes that I made a new connection with someone who is doing something I’ve been thinking about. Traveling the world. And getting paid for it.
I’m sad about leaving. The entire weekend has been enlightening and I’ve had a wonderful time, even more than I thought I would. I’ve made friends, and writer friends at that. I gained a bit more insight about myself and what I want to do. The tips and lessons learned have opened my eyes to my writing, which was the point of the trip.
Overall, for my first conference, I’m not sure I could have chosen any better. If you have an opportunity to attend any writer’s conference, I definitely encourage it. It’s an experience unlike any other.
If you attended AFF, I’d love to connect and swap stories. If you’re planning on attending a conference and need some tips, I’m happy to help.
∼ Thursday: Day One ∼
3:30am: Slept maybe four hours and endured a rather bumpy flight which turned me a pale shade of green. By the time I made it into town from the airport, checked in to the hotel, and then checked in at the AFF registration, I was too late to attend the 11:30am Introduction/Welcome panel. I signed up for the Roundtable I wanted to attend about an hour from then, but poor signage led me to the wrong room, so I missed out.
1:00pm – 2:15pm: I ended up in the Writer-Manager Relationship panel with Henry Jones and Ryan Cunningham. Not what I was planning to attend, but learned that just as with any other relationship, finding someone who gets you is vital.
2:45pm – 4:00pm: I made my way to the Pitch Prep panel with Pamela Ribon for some advice on how to pitch before my go at it the following morning. I was not at all prepared to pitch my idea, and at this point, didn’t even know what story I was going to pitch. So much for being prepared. We, writers, usually work best under pressure any way. It was here I met Deena, who, I would later discover would become a fast friend, so that we could practice our pitch with someone.
Tip: If you have an opportunity to meet Pamela Ribon, take it. She was engaging and funny and helped put the experience into perspective – pitching at AFF is not like pitching in any other situation.
5:00pm – 7:00pm: Opening Night Reception. At this point, in my “normal” world, I would want a nap, but I was running on a high of the energy that seemed to infuse the entire area. I was meeting people and learning things and I didn’t want to miss a moment. I grabbed a drink and walked around the bar, but everybody already seemed to know people. As I made my way to the back, I saw a solitary figure, and my first festival-made friend, Jessica.
We hit it off right away and she became one of my conference partners for the remainder of the weekend. After the reception ended, we decided to get food. I didn’t remember eating, so it sounded like a good idea.
Torrential downpour ensued and I was soaked through in minutes.
I purposefully ensured my room was close to all the action, and at that time, was thankful for my foresight. There was a WGA Welcome Party at 11:00pm, but after the wet, the food, a hot shower, and writing and memorizing my pitch, I was done.
~ Friday: Day Two ~
7:30am: Rise and shine! Must. Have. Caffeine prior to pitch. Kept running my pitch in my head…over and over and over…I decided to pitch my pilot, The Demeter. Gotta say, pretty happy with the way it came out.
9:00am – 10:15am: Pitch session with Kelly Jo Brick and Cam Cannon. Oof. What a learning experience. I was calm and collected, until the moment I was in front of the group. The nerves kicked in and I stumbled about halfway through losing my train of thought. I have this strange sort of memory thing. If I write it down, I can see where it was on the page, and after a moment of collecting myself, I could see where I was in the pitch and finished. So embarrassing, especially in light of all the positive feedback I received. The judges were so reassuring that I had a strong, interesting pitch, and throughout the day, many people approached me and offered me support, even more so when they learned it was my first pitch ever.
It was here I met Margaret, who, again, would later become a fast friend. She wasn’t even sure she would have an opportunity to pitch, and she ended up winning one of the two spots from our group.
10:45am – 12:00pm: The Life’s a Pitch panel with Tess Morris, Gary Whitta, and Ashley Miller. You would think at this point I would have had my fill of pitching, but I wanted to know what it was like in the “real world”.
Tips: 1) Think of pitching like a conversation. 2) Everybody wants to hear a good story, so boil it down so they can retell it. 3) The more you pitch, the more the story may evolve.
1:00pm – 2:30pm: In-Person Meeting with agent Daniela Gonzalez set up by Roadmap Writers. A fellow member of a writer’s group on FB made the introductions and I had the opportunity to sit with an agent and a group of amazing fellow writers, all women, and ask questions and gain real world knowledge of the industry. When I arrived for the sit down, I was told it was canceled, so I left. I quickly discovered it hadn’t been, and the group was kind enough to let me join in, a bit late.
3:15pm – 4:30pm: A no nonsense panel entitled “Practical Tips” with Phil Hay, Stephany Folsom, and Nicole Perlman. They reiterated quite a bit I already knew, but hearing it from professionals made it that much more impactful.
Tips: 1) Don’t compare your process to others. Understand what your process is and develop it. 2) Be kind to yourself and cut yourself a break. (We are hard on ourselves.) 3) Make something – beyond the script – a play, a short, or a script reading. 4) Discover what it is that will give you validation. 5) As a new writer, the scale of your early projects shouldn’t be a risk or a budget concern.
4:45pm – 6:45pm: BBQ mixer. Deena, Jessica and I had been in contact throughout the day and we decided to meet up for the shuttle to the mixer. Behind us in line was a lone woman, Kyra. I invited her into our group, and the four of us set off. Now, some of you may know that I’m vegetarian, so you may be wondering what I was doing there. It was a mixer. An opportunity. And I was taking advantage of whatever I could. We met with other writers and had a great time amidst interesting conversations, but as the sun set, the temperature dropped, and none of us were prepared, so we headed back.
7:00pm – 10:00pm: The Stage 32 mixer on a rooftop with no heaters. Brr. As a member of Stage 32, I was looking forward to meeting some other members, and I’m glad I made the effort, even though after a short time I could no longer feel my toes. I met the founder of Stage 32, RB and a handful of amazing writers. Unfortunately, the cold drove Jessica and I out. We had lost Deena earlier to pitch prep, and Kyra made friends and stayed behind.
There was a Final Draft Happy Hour at 11:00pm, but at that point, I didn’t think I was going to make it. And I didn’t. Instead I met up with Deena to help her with her pitch, and met more writers while hanging about the famous Driskill Hotel.
Again, I should’ve been exhausted, I’d barely eaten and was running on the fumes of caffeine, but I was having so much fun. I talked with my sister and came to the realization that I wanted to follow my dreams. I had wasted months not writing, being surrounded by negativity, and being emotionally drained after each day. I was done. Officially. And it was one of those enlightening moments – I was going to move forward.
To be continued…
So, not only have I barely written a word in months, I haven’t posted much either. My last writing prompt was back in May?! May. And it was like the only post for the month.
As another new year creeps around the corner, I have some major self reflection to do. All that goal setting, the To Do lists, the plans…huh. I really did waste some time. Well that’s enough of that.
I offer this week’s Writing Prompt for the Challenge:
If you’re inspired, please share what you create. Maybe I’ll even jump on my own bandwagon.