Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I Got The Fevah!

And the only more cowbell!


Seriously, though, I feel like writing is like a fever sometimes (to be dramatic about it).

When I'm sick, I can't get comfortable. I feel like I'm crawling out of my skin. And by day three or four I'm so sick (pun intended) of lying on the couch that I feel like I will literally die if I don't do something active (more dramatics).

Back when writing was a hobby for me, it was easy to take it or leave it. Mostly leave it. Because writing is hard, y'all!

But now I've fallen in love with it. Writing is what I want to do forever. I want to be able to call myself a writer and not feel like a fraud, or like this is some temporary diversion until I  buckle down and get a "real" 9-5 cubicle job, complete with fuzzy fabric walls and terribly unflattering fluorescent lights. 

So these days, when I'm plowing through a chapter, or a treatment, or a script, I get that same antsy, uncomfortable feeling if I'm not working on it. 

It's a nagging at the back of my mind that won't let me rest. A shouty voice telling me to get my booty off the couch and back into that desk chair.

Maybe that's what they call passion. I call it The Fevah!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I've Got Issues

Over on YA Highway they're asking: "what's your numero-uno reason for writing?"

I love to write because I'm restless. I didn't realize it until the Writing Partner called me on it. It's true though: I'm always looking for the next thing.

I've lasted about two years at my last three day jobs, and the timing runs like clockwork. I get antsy. I get bored. There's nothing new to learn and I can feel the seconds of my finite time on this planet ticking away with nothing to show for them.  

With writing, each new idea is a new start. I'm in love with that burst of adrenaline that comes when you know...just KNOW...that you have a great idea. And then you can just sit down and start writing! You don't need anyone's permission! Nobody can stop you!

I think I just discovered that I have a problem with authority. Thanks, YA Highway! 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Laini Taylor Makes Me Want To Be A Better Writer

Seriously. Inspiring.

DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE is easily the best book I've read all year. Lyrical prose that's full of impact without being heavy handed. Characters that I want to befriend and have adventures with. A world that somehow manages to be fantastical, yet grounded.

And now I want blue (or pink!) hair.

Love love love this book. Read it, y'all. That's an order. I do this for your own good.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cover Judger

Judger: maybe not a word? I'm okay with it.

Over on YA Highway they're asking: What are your all time favorite book covers?

I'm drawn to two kinds of covers: super pretty and super creepy. Pretty makes me want it. Creepy gets me intrigued. 

So! Here are the ones that scare me:

The looming windows remind me of jaws, and I don't get the sense that this kid is going to escape unscathed.

Cover matched with the perfect title. So good.


Drood. Dread. Coupled with the fact that it's about a dark double life? Yes, please.

It doesn't seem like much, but if you look closely you can see a blueprint-like pattern in the black. Match that with the fact that this book is about a house that's bigger on the inside than it is on the outside (and the fact that it's the most unique, unsettling book I've ever read) creep-fest.


I couldn't decide which of these I liked better. So, both!

Now, for the pretty:

These books could be blank on the inside and I'd still want to own them.

And for the that's stuck with me for quite some time. I haven't read the book, but something about the shades of blue they use...or maybe the lonely figure...I don't know, but this cover won't let me go:

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I Heart New York

So proud of my home state.

Empire State Building Celebrates Gay Marriage

Monday, June 6, 2011

I Don't Do Moderation

TWP pointed something out to me a few years back: I don't think that I'm better than anyone else, or more talented, or that I work harder. In fact, I can be outrageously lazy when I want to be. But when I work hard at something, and I mean really put in the work, I have absolutely no doubt that I will be successful. 

Ten in Age of Steel Pictures, Images and Photos

It's silly. My certainty is immovable, impenetrable, and unfailing. Is unfailing a word? Well, there it is, anyway. So yeah. Is that slightly off-kilter? Perhaps. But it keeps me going when I get down.

I bring this up because TWP and I are near a breakthrough on something we've been working very hard on for a very long time. I can't be more specific (though I will when I'm able - trust me, I'll shout it from the rooftops, my blog, and my facebook page.)

And TWP has been incredibly subdued about it all. He doesn't have that unflagging optimism that I cling to, right or wrong as I may be. His reasoning is that if you don't get your hopes up, you won't be as disappointed if things don't pan out. I counter by saying that yes, if you get your hopes up and things fall apart, the lows you feel will be lower. You may even be crushed for a while. But don't you want to experience the highs that come with the potential greatness you may achieve? Don't you rob yourself of that joy, however temporary it may be?

So, I don't do moderation. Sure, the potential is there for things to fall apart. But I don't care. I refuse to temper my happiness with "what if's" that may never come to pass.

So! Lets bring this on home with two of my new obsessions: Dr. Who and gifs! Because my joy will not be contained! 

doctor who gif Pictures, Images and Photos

Eleven and Amy Thumbs Up Pictures, Images and Photos

Friday, May 20, 2011

Treatments & Tombstone

...And you must be The Treatment. Look, darling, The Treatment. What do you think, darling? Should I hate it?...There's just something about it. Something around the second act...No. I'm sure of it, I hate it.


Who needs one of these? y/y/y/y/y/y/y/y/y?

whiskey Pictures, Images and Photos

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hello There, Harry Connick, Jr.

 Over on YA Highway they're asking: "So, if you got to choose a celebrity narrator for the audio book of your WIP or your favorite novel, who would it be and why?"

My WIP would need to be voiced by a girl, and my goodness, that choice is tough. 

I have a bias, and it's always been this way: I prefer the sound of men's voices. I HAVE NO IDEA WHY. In music, I listen to very few female artists; I always gravitate toward male singers. I feel guilty about it. Like I'm not giving women a fair shot. But a preference is a preference, I guess. *Still feels guilty*

Anywhozlebees, though I loved loved loved The Hunger Games to the point of obsession and absolute depression, my favorite novel of the past year or two was The Passage by Justin Cronin. It's epic, and amazing, and all good things. TWP is listening to it now in audiobook format, and it's read by Scott Brick.

People of the internet: you need to know Scott Brick. He's AMAZING. Perhaps not a celebrity, though? 

So my choice for reader is Harry Connick, Jr. THAT VOICE. Deep, husky, with that slight Louisiana drawl? Forget it. Game over.

                Harry Connick, Jr. - There

HC, Jr! So suave!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Don't Be A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Just remember:       


TWP and I are about to embark on our third script together. The first helped us discover what we each brought to the table, creatively. The second landed us a manager.

The third. Oh, the third. I can only speculate, but this might be what writing the second book in a trilogy feels like. Or the second book after you've been published.

That gnawing fear that now people are paying attention to what you do. The absolutely certainty that they're judging you with their judge-y little judgments.

It's not all in my head, either, as much as I'd like it to be. 

This second script that we send out to the'll prove that we're not one-hit wonders. That the first one that people sparked to wasn't a fluke. I know that our manager would never let us send something out that wasn't 100%. The market it too competitive to send out anything but your best work. So I guess, most of all, I don't want to let him down. I want to deserve his faith in us.

But you can't write out of fear. You'll never do your best work. You'll end up making choices that are safe, and safe = boring. So I'm going to do my best to write like it's just for fun.

Because writing is fun, and the only thing being scared gets you is a crappy script and a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Screenplays Are Not Written In English*

"Hi, my name is Jenna and I have a hard time elaborating."

                                       (via Matt-Richards / flickr)

I read through the first three (very short) chapters of my WIP yesterday, and while I like how it's flowing, I think that readers will have a hard time connecting with my main character. My screenwriting background is to blame.

To be a good screenwriter, you need to be brief. With comedy you can get loose. Play around with it a bit (thought not much.) With action / thriller / horror? Even less wiggle room. A scene might look something like this:


A cold wind sends autumn leaves skittering across the pavement.
STAN (20, All-American) exits, holding a steaming to-go cup. He holds the door for JULIE (20, bookish, adorable) who juggles her own cup and a backpack.
Thanks again for the coffee. I can’t believe I forgot my wallet.
I’ve always been a sucker for a damsel in distress.
She blushes. Doesn’t see the man racing toward her.
ARNOLD (20’s, bulky jock) slams into her. She falls to the ground. Hot coffee scalding her neck and chest.
Stan snags Arnold’s arm. Spins him around.
What the hell, man?
Arnold looks behind him. Panicked. He’s running from someone. Or something.
He shoves Stan. Wrenches free.
Julie picks herself up. Dusts herself off with scraped palms, leaving small spots of blood on her tee shirt.
She gingerly touches the burns on her neck.
Apologize to the lady.
Arnold stares at her. Fear in his eyes.
You’ve been marked.
He unconsciously scratches his neck. He’s got the same angry red mark as Julie.
His eyes flick behind her. Terrified. He runs.
Stan turns to Julie.
What the hell was that?
Julie’s lip trembles.
Let’s go. Now.

See how the eye kinda skims down? That's what you're looking for. The more white space on the page, the better.

Writing that way is so ingrained that I tend to race through the scenes in my novel. I don't let them breathe, or really let my character describe what's going on. This is going to lead to my WIP ending up at 45,000 words, and my breathing into a paper bag.

Elaborate. I'm gonna print that word out and staple it to my bedroom wall.

*I read that somewhere, and it stuck with me. It's absolutely true.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

On Dreams and Ryan Gosling

I should just stop going to bed early.

I don't sleep longer. I just wake up more frequently. Though it is...interesting, I guess would be the one way: when I fall back to sleep after waking up in the middle of the night, I tend to have more vivid dreams, and to have the good fortune of remembering them better.

Hence, the story:

Last night I dreamed that I was filming a movie with Ryan Gosling. Not only was I starring opposite him, I also wrote the script! Oh, joyful day.

Why Ryan Gosling? I say:

              Ryan Gosling

He's a solid actor, he's musically inclined, and he's more than easy on the eyes. So, boom, Ryan Gosling.

We were working out a scene, spouting off dialog that I had written. Some quick-fire banter that just sparkled with wit and emotion. You know how I do. 

The director yelled cut, and I woke up.

I stared up into the dark, and do you want to know what I was most excited about? What my first thought was? 

Writing crackling dialog > Acting in a fake movie in a dream starring Ryan Gosling.

Let's be honest. If I ever had the chance to act in a real movie starring the real Ryan Gosling, I'd probably just explode.

Writer 4 Evah. Nerd 4 Life.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Scars. Or, Why K-Mart Is A Death Trap

Over on YA Highway they're asking: What's the story of your best scar?


Wrong Scar. I do have the overwhelming urge to watch The Lion King, though.

Let's talk about mechanical horses, shall we?

My best scar is a little inch-long nothing right underneath my chin. My mother (who has been witness to the majority of my boneheaded ideas) is probably the only one who even remembers that I have it.

I was young. Probably four or five? My mom, aunt, six-year-old cousin and I were about to do a little shopping at K-Mart when my cousin decided that she wanted to ride the mechanical horse outside the store. You know the rides I'm talking about. It's usually a train or a horse; you pop in a quarter and your kid gets to take the slowest gallop of their lives.


Well, I just had to ride with her. I climbed up there on the horse behind her and promptly slid off, hitting the cold concrete chin-first. I blame it on the fact that I was probably wearing corduroy pants. No traction on those things.

One visit to the doctor and a butterfly bandage later, I was good as new.

My best emotional scar is a subject for another post. Or three years of therapy.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Only Time *Success* Comes Before *Work* Is In The Dictionary

Someone a lot smarter than me said that, so I'm in no way taking credit.

It's just something I like to remind myself of when I'm feeling frustrated, or tired, or burned out, or blocked.

Sure, people get lucky, get nepo-tized,* or simply stumble into their big break. The majority don't. The majority sacrifice their social lives, their time with family, and their doctor-recommended eight hours of sleep to work their little booties off on a project that may never see the light of day.

So when the rewrites feel like they'll never end, when I'm quite sure that I just can't make that note work in the context of the story, when I'm positive that I'll just die if I don't get out of that chair and outside for some fresh air, I remind myself that the only way out is through.**

Shut up and get it done.


*a variation on nepotism, not actually a word
** also something that someone a lot smarter than me came up with

Friday, April 1, 2011

Comfy Chairs

Though my age certainly sets me squarely in the "adult" category, I am not yet settled in an adult-like way. I don't yet have a place to live that I can truly call my own.

Once I do, though, ohhhhh once I do. I will have a townhouse. That I don't own. Renter-4-life, yo. I don't want to have to mow my own lawn. Perhaps it will have some sort of common renter area, with things like tennis courts and a pool.  

It will be in the Northeast, where there are four seasons a year, and I'll be able to look out my beautiful bay windows and watch the leaves change, the rain fall, and the snow pile up. I will have a fireplace. And I will have a chair like this:

                  PB Comfort Grand Slipcovered Armchair

Maybe it will have some colorful pillows on it. I will have a mug of hot cocoa on a side table and a stack of books next to the chair, and I will curl up with a fluffy blanket and read until my eyes droop. And I will be happy.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Let's Get Spooky

Over on YA Highway, they're asking: 

What books were you obsessed with as a kid?

I was a morbid kid. Quite frankly, I'm a morbid adult. I write horror / thriller scripts. Love scary books. Adore scary movies (the suspenseful, smart kind; not the gory, ridiculous kind.) So it should surprise no one that this was my favorite book when I was a kid:

                         Wait Till Helen Comes: A Ghost Story

To say I read this book 20 times would be a gross understatement. It wasn't simply a ghost story. It also dealt with feelings of abandonment, loneliness, and the upheaval that comes when parents gets remarried and the children on each respective side have to learn to get along with one another. So, not exactly light topics.

I think that's why I loved it, though. I felt like Mary Downing Hahn wrote in a way that made things easy to grasp, while not talking down to me like I was, well, a kid. Plus, it was spooky as heck, and who doesn't love to be scared?

Friday, March 25, 2011

To Hermit, Or Not To Hermit

So I have a friend. Shocking, I know. He's another aspiring writer. He invited me to join a little writing group he's a part of that meets every Saturday at a cafe just down the road a bit from my apartment.

How fun, right? To actually *leave my apartment* and interact with *actual human beings* on the weekends? And get writing done? Practically unheard of.

Perhaps I will treat myself to this deliciousness in honor of the occasion:

                              Bricks and Scones latte, originally uploaded by starchymarie                                     

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Box? What Box?


TWP and I learned a hard lesson this weekend, but hard in a way that felt like a break through as opposed to a break down.

I did like I always do on weekends: haul the lap top out to the dining room table, pull the blinds so I won't be tempted to stare out at our gorgeous view (and block out the sun, because the sun and I are not friends), and flip on the TV for background noise. Hello, SyFy Saturday movies. 

Here's the thing: ten pages into the script (which we'd revised now two or three times) I realized something. I called up TWP and asked him for his impressions. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: So, I'm ten pages in.
TWP: What're you thinking?
Me: I have thoughts about this, but tell me what you're thinking, because I want to see if we're thinking the same thing.
TWP: Something's missing.

At this point, my roommate walked by me and gave me the "why are you crazy" eye.

I needed to have TWP say it first because if I'd brought up the idea of massive changes, he's have been resistant. TWP and CHANGE don't get along. Needless to say, I was relieved that we were on the same page. Hence, the caps lock.

The realization we both came to was that, while we were revising like crazy, we were only revising within the setup and outline that we'd already locked in. We could only go so far. What was truly needed was for both of us to take a step back and really look at what could be overhauled to make the script as good as it could possibly be. It turned out that included a completely new first act and the addition of a whole new character.

We needed to step outside the box we'd locked ourselves in. By doing so, we're going to turn a good script into a great script. A script we're finally happy with.

Friday, March 11, 2011

It's Friiiiiday

Project for the weekend?

      Get Excited And Make Things

I've got a book to read for work, a script to revise from TWP, and writing to write on the WIP!

Also, going to see RED RIDING HOOD. Pretty much a given for me, right there. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Why Do I Have a Job?

Because I need cash money. Don't get me wrong, my day job is pretty friggen sweet.

However, I think all y'all know what I mean when I say that I want my day job and my night job and my weekend job and the job that I love to be one in the same: writing. That's why I work hard. That's why I type my little fingers to the bone.

I wrote 1,500 words today. Can't wait to get up tomorrow and do it again.

         Work Hard
                                              (by Anthony Burrill)                                           

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Then Again, Maybe Not

So remember how I said that my plot fell into place, and everything was going swimmingly?



The fundamental thing - who my character was - it was just too much. Too much. I couldn't wrap my little pea brain around it.

This morning, TWP and I had a little knock down drag out about it. I usually get all indignant and self-righteous about things, explain myself loudly, and generally cause TWP to want to smash his phone into a gajillion tiny little pieces. Once I've had a chance to explore my own take on his ideas (which I hate in the beginning!), calm down, and have a cup of tea, I usually see that he has a point. Usually. Which is lovely.

The hybrid style works for us. He sees things that I don't, and vice versa. What's great is that we both recognize that sometimes the only way to get to what you need is to tell the other person that their ideas are stupid, and to not take that personally.

So, that's the story of how my main character got an overhaul on my very productive morning commute.

Monday, February 28, 2011

the King

                                         Day 9 of 365, originally uploaded by JaycieLove

I'm halfway through On Writing by Stephen King, and I'm loving it. I was already a huge fan of his books; the man can tell a damn good story. Hearing about how he approaches the craft is borderline too-good-to-be-true.

In the spirit of really trying to buckle down and knock out some pages, I retreated from my normal writing spot (the living room, shades drawn, TV on low in the background) to my bedroom. I shut the door, made myself a bootleg desk out of a book, and went all hermit-style.

It worked, too. I found it much easier to focus, and I completed my rewrite of our treatment in record time.

Imagine how productive I'd be if I actually had a desk!

Friday, February 25, 2011

And Again

                                         Revise, originally uploaded by nina eden

Who wants to do some rewriting? This girl!

That's the mission this weekend: get the treatment that TWP and I have been working on into shape so we can get the go ahead to knock out the script.

I find that I've been working doubly hard on screenwriting because I'm excited to get to work on the novel and I can't work on the novel until I finish working on the script! *Deep breath*

I'm looking forward to rewriting. I don't think there's anything harder than staring down at blank white space, so the fact that we already have seven pages of goodness to maneuver and manipulate makes everything a little less stressful.

So, let's write.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Gadgets & Gizmos Aplenty

It's only a slight exaggeration to say that I've seen The Little Mermaid 500 times. Aaaaand now I'm going to have that song in my head for the rest of the day.

The gadget I'm referring to is Scrivener. After a bit of blog-surfing, it seemed like that was the go-to program for authors trying to wrangle their book ideas into some sort of coherent document. You can also use it for scripts! I checked it out, and needless to say I'm a bit obsessed with it.

I get overwhelmed easily and my brain likes to shut down as opposed to sorting through various ideas, so I'm pretty sure this gadget might save my life, hyperbolically speaking. Unfortunately, I have a PC thing going on right now and Scrivener is first and foremost a Mac program. It's still in the beta testing phase for Windows. I downloaded the beta, though, bugs and all, because I'm a big fan of instant gratification.

Maybe this is the excuse I need to splurge on a Mac? Don't tempt me, people.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Srsly Guise

It's the weekend, and it's time to get down to some serious business, aka writing.

Here's the thing. The writing partner (henceforth to be known as TWP) and I had been bouncing some ideas for the book around, but I was having a difficult time wrapping my head around a very important piece of the story: the thing that made my main character who she was. TWP kept telling me that I'd see it eventually, how she'd fit in this world we were creating for her, but it was like peering through thick fog. She was blurry to me.

Until today, anyway. Today my whole story (or at least a good chunk and a nice starting point) flashed before me, and one idea lead to another boom boom boom down like dominoes. I changed the world around my main character, and everything came into sharp focus. I jotted it all in an email to TWP and am waiting for a reaction.

I say reaction because 1) TWP is usually our idea guy, I simply refine them, and 2) TWP's not a big fan of change. Even less so of sweeping change. 

This should be fun.

Happy Friday, y'all. Here's a little something that made me laugh so hard I got strange looks at the office:

(via filmdrunk)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Follow Through

I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up. All I managed to figure out after high school and college was that I wasn't cut out for a 9-to-5 job. I'm not good with cubicles. I fell into writing by chance, and happened to find the thing that I love to do. Don't think I don't know how lucky I am.

Wanna be a screenwriter? You've gotta move to LA. So I did. Was it terrifying? Maybe. I may or may not have cried in the cab on the way to my new apartment the night I landed at LAX. You get over it.

My writing partner and I worked our little fingers to the bone. Perseverance paid off: with a little help and a little luck , we landed ourselves a fantastic manager who also happens to be a fantastic guy.

So we're on the path. Writing, rewriting, and rewriting again. Hoping to catch someone's attention and nail down that elusive "yes."

In between my day job and my night-time / weekend screenwriting, I'm going to write a YA novel. I've had this character in my head, and I'm not sure her story can be told in 120 pages. At least not yet.

So, follow through. It's not just a fantastic Gavin DeGraw song, you know.

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