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’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!
After reading my post about reflecting on the Austin Film Festival a year later, some of my friends said I was being too hard on myself.
It’s easy to be hard on ourselves. We’re usually our own harshest critic. I’ve long had an on-again off-again relationship with my feelings of self worth. Bad decisions are a part of life, no matter their size, and I often wonder if a certain decision here or there altered my path because I have a bad habit of comparing my current situation to where, ideally, I think I should be by now.
As positive as I try to be, I stumble occasionally. It’s hard not to see the goal in sight and maintain the momentum and positivity, but the creative path is a challenging one – one I embraced long ago, as many of you have as well – and so while we may suffer in our pursuit, we know why we do.
When I shared with a friend that I was reworking an entire act of one of my screenplays, he was in awe of my ability to do something like that. I was surprised by the reaction because I didn’t think it was awe inspiring. I am a writer. It’s what I do. It’s how I identify no matter what else I may be doing. And in that moment, I found a twinkle of pride.
I am a writer.
I may struggle with my writing from time to time but it is my calling, and I have to get out of the mindset that it doesn’t have value until others think it does, and that any small step towards accomplishing my goal is not worth being proud of.
So let’s take a moment to celebrate our hard work. No matter where we are on our journey, we’ve come a long way from where we started, and we should be proud of that.
A writer’s group I’m a part of does weekly check-ins of progress, and I’d like to try that here. I’d be delighted if you’d share a proud moment in your writing. Was there something you accomplished this week that you’d like to share? Let’s support one another!
I’m a little behind this year. By nearly 3 months = 12 movies. Eek! We’ve been watching more television and a lot of home renovation/home buying shows because we’re ready to settle down and call a place home.
Sometimes I’ve thrown on something mindless…because it’s 2020. Don’t judge me. We didn’t start out avoiding drama and the like, but too much seriousness left us feeling emotional in an already emotionally strung out existence, so we tried to find more casual, fun type fare on occasion, but that means we’ve watched a lot of subpar movies.
I’m going to use a simple ABC rating system and not review them individually this time. The letter grade should offer enough insight as to my feelings.
As it’s now the end of October, and the last few months have felt like an eternity, some of these viewings are a little blurry at this point but I’m fairly secure in these ratings.
I would love some suggestions for the remainder of the year. What movies have you enjoyed?
Last year at this time I was preparing to head off to the Austin Film Festival Screenwriter’s Conference. My first (and only) time at any such event. I had finally chosen to invest in myself, and I was so excited at the prospect.
I had no real idea of what to expect.
It was more than I imagined. A year later and I’m still beyond delighted I chose to go. I was surrounded by like-minded individuals. I was listening to professionals offer sage advice and found the common thread that united us all. We were creatives. I was invigorated and inspired, and made the decision to quit my exhausting-body wrecking-causing-me-to-drink job on the second night. I did my best to get out of my comfort zone and walk up to strangers to start conversations knowing the purpose of my attendance was to meet other writers. And I did.
And one year later, many of them are doing amazing things.
And I…am envious.
I had big plans after the conference. I did indeed quit my job. Upon my return home, I gave notice and it was like a weight was immediately lifted. The Sis and I began talking about a move because Las Vegas was only meant to be temporary and it had been 5 years. I started to formulate a plan for, not only my writing goals, but also my life goals. Things were looking up.
We visited Washington state in March as a research trip for the move just as the first cases of the virus made their appearance. And it went downhill from there.
I was suddenly frozen. The uncertainty of it all…I was at a loss of how to proceed. In those early months, thinking about writing, of being creative was nearly impossible. I couldn’t even bring myself to write a blog post to commiserate.
I was in awe of those people who were going about their “business as usual”. That mentality escaped me, for a long time. I could barely find comfort or escape in a film, and have found myself way behind in my “One Movie a Week Challenge”. I never expected to be so affected by anxiety. Thankfully, in all this, I discovered yoga.
Then there’s the political stage.
Wouldn’t it be amazing to see the news and feel a sense of relief instead of all this?!
So here I am. A year after one of the most inspiring, motivating weekends in my life, and am no better for it. One friend is waiting to hear back on a directing fellowship for her short. One is meeting with a producer for her unique script. One is winning competitions and shooting a script. One is currently directing her project, pitching other ideas while on set, and winning awards.
I am absolutely thrilled for them all! It is inspiring to know these women as they make their way in the industry. And these are also the people I am in awe of. While I found myself almost paralyzed by indecision and the external constraints, they endured.
When it became clear that there was no immediate relief in sight, and after reading a poorly written published novel, I got off my ass and started to write. It’s been slow, but the spark is there. I realized, finally, that no matter what was happening outside, I am miserable and without purpose when I’m not pursuing my dream. I have had too many gaps in my life of not writing and focusing on irrelevant things, and I always regret those times. Time wasted.
The older I get, the more I understand how precious time truly is. Should I fail to succeed in the pursuit of my dream of becoming a professional writer, I’m not sure how that will feel in the end. I don’t like the way it feels now.
So, it’s taken nearly a year to come back to the realization, but here I am. I’m grateful to those at AFF who gave me so many opportunities to meet the fearless women I now call my friends. I wish them every success, and hope to count my own among theirs soon.
I like the idea of images that can be seen in a number of ways. Is this a playful image? Teasing? Or is it of a more somber nature? Menacing?
For this week’s writing prompt challenge, I offer you this. What do you see?
I look forward to seeing your creations!