Emerging Writers Guest Post #47 – Justin Thorne – From ideas to film scripts

Posted by on Jun 30, 2013 in Guest Posts

For the last ten years, I’ve been teaching marketing strategy to professionals of all ages and all levels. Where most of them struggle in terms of gaining a professional qualification in marketing, is applying the theory to their own brands or organisations. Monumental Words is the title of a short story from my book, ‘In the Shadows: an anthology of the curious’. I’d been talking to a good friend of mine, who is an independent filmmaker for years about turning the idea into a feature film. Anyway, my friend has been jetting around the world doing what he loves – making movies, so I thought, writing a screenplay can’t be that hard, right?So I decided I would put my WIP novel projects on hold and write the screenplay. When I’m in full flow, and being disciplined, I try and write 1000 words of fiction every day. Often if the characters grab me I will write a lot more but I try and hit that marker as a minimum, even if I’m not that delighted with the quality. Editing can come later; at least I am moving the story forward. So I dived in with Monumental Words. I quickly realised that the short story as published, accounts for about twenty minutes of screen time. Broadly, one page of a script equals one minute of a movie. So I knew I had a lot of work to do with the characters’ back stories, the basic plot and of course the dialogue. I got about 60 pages in, so was making good progress and then my friend contacted me from Thailand where he was shooting his new thriller and said, “Hey, I like where your screenplay is going but you may want to read ‘Save the Cat’ by Blake Snyder, it’s the best book on writing screenplays and may help you.” Bastard! I devoured the book and realised I had gotten way ahead of myself and really didn’t understand the physics of a great script or the basic beats present in all good movies. I had a lot to learn and had to put my writing on hold and forget everything I thought I knew about writing. Now this is a challenge for a writer. With novels and short stories we can jump in and out of our characters’ heads or literally play God, with omniscient POV but for a screenplay, we are limited to writing only what an audience will actually see on-screen. As I researched writing screenplays more and connected with screenwriters in the social media layer, I thought it would be interesting to document my progress in turning Monumental Words into a screenplay, with a focus on the process, models and theories for writing a great script. MonumentalWords.com was born and I have been sharing every step of my progress through video logs and articles and I am hoping to build a community of screenwriters talking about the process. If you are considering writing for the silver screen or are just interested in the process, please...

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Emerging Writers Guest Post #46 – A Must Read – Hilary Retig & The 7 Secrets of the Prolific

Posted by on Jun 26, 2013 in Guest Posts

I help people increase their productivity in writing and other areas, and have taught productivity and time-management classes at top writing, business, educational, arts, and community organizations.   My articles have appeared in Psychology Today, Huffington Post, Future Buzz, Time Management Ninja, Tomorrow’s Professor, Authors Helping Authors, and numerous other publications.     From 2001 – 2012 I worked as a business coach and microlender at two nonprofit agencies in Boston, roles in which I helped hundreds of people from all backgrounds start and grow businesses in fields including art, technology, personal services, professional services, manufacturing, distribution, and retail. It was in the course of this work that I became acutely aware of the forces that hold so many talented, energetic, ambitious, and visionary people back, and it was this awareness that catalyzed my current mission. I’m also a vegan, free software advocate, and lover of life and dogs. I’m also a former foster mom of four teenage Sudanese refugees (a.k.a., “Lost Boys”), now all adult and living independently. And I’m a living kidney donor. If you’re a prospective vegan, free software advocate, foster parent, or kidney donor, email me and I will support you however I can. I also have an abiding interest in social justice–my first book was The Lifelong Activist, a self-help guide for progressive and radical activists–and it was from my activism that I gained insights on personal power that inform my current work. When I was a kid, I mainly wanted to do two things: write and help. And I find that, as an adult, the more time I devote to these activities the happier I am. I’m a classic “late bloomer” who didn’t start coming into my own, professionally or personally, until I was well into my forties, and so I understand first-hand the despair that comes from feeling like you’re not living up to your potential. But I now know what I didn’t know then: that blocks are often easily overcome once you stop blaming yourself for being “lazy” or “undisciplined” and start looking for the real roots of the problem. And so, my main message to others is often, “relax, it’s gonna be fine.” Perfectionists tend to see their projects as long strings of words – and there’s a natural tendency, when you have that viewpoint, to want to start at the beginning of a piece and write straight through till, “The End.” It’s much more productive to view your work as a landscape that you’re viewing from above, and whose topographic features include: hard parts, easy parts, exposition parts, dialog parts, visual description parts, parts involving Character A, parts involving Theme B, etc. Viewed like this, your project resembles an illustrated map, or maybe one of those miniature landscapes you see in museums, and it’s now accessible to you in its totality. And now you can use a visualization tool I call the “writercopter,” a mental helicopter that can transport you to...

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Emerging Writers Guest Post #45 – David Chislett – with writing no experience is wasted

Posted by on Jun 23, 2013 in Guest Posts

My name is David Chislett and I am a writer. My journey with writing started when I was 10 years old and my primary school teacher set us a poetry writing exercise for homework. We could pick one method of 5. I did two of each and basically I have been addicted ever since. I did my best to walk away from it after high-school, doing military service and starting to study law. But playing in bands meant that there were songs to be written and soon I was working as a journalist. It wasn’t the writing I had dreamed of doing, but it was at least writing. Five years ago, after 20 years in the music industry as a journalist, publicist, artist manager, promoter and digital label owner, I determined to return to writing as my primary focus. People who knew me shrugged and said, ‘You’ve always only ever wanted to write.’ Funny that, it never seemed as clear cut to me. Writing is something that has always come easily to me. Perhaps not always the practice: but the notion, the desire. I tend to think in complete, fully formed sentences, even when I am speaking. Moving to writing these down was merely a matter of finding a way to write that could keep up with my head. I type much, much faster than I write by hand. I started out with poetry when I was ten years old. In 2012, 32 years later, I published my first collection of my poetry. In between I had written a myriad of short stories, many journalistic pieces,ghost written a couple of books, written a few TV scripts and a bad novel. The circle has come complete and in its ambit I have learned that I am free to do whatever I like. Writing is my mirror, my muse, my therapist and my outlet. In its depths I explore alternate me’s, alternate realities and over-blown, outlandish ideas. The years of practising the craft mean that I can more easily settle down and write now than ever before. While some of that journalism felt like trite rubbish at the time, the process has made me a better writer. Writing has taught me that no experience is ever wasted. Now as I wait to hear if my latest novel is going to get published and think about what I will write next, it is a comfort to know that what I will do next IS write, for it is the ultimate expression of who I am. David Chislett home: www.davidchislett.co.za A Body Remembered (short story ebook) http://amzn.to/10qlit5 For You Or Somebody Like You (poetry ebook) http://amzn.to/13hpRYI For You Or Somebody Like You (print book and CD) http://bit.ly/10osyBg Twitter: @davidchiz Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/David-Chislett/115642991910 +++++++ Welcome to the guest post slot David. You are right, writing is therapy. It also allows us time to think, to let our imagination roam. I wish you well with your writing.       This...

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Emerging Writers Guest Post #44 – Mathias Frey: EXCESS – The Art of Treason

Posted by on Jun 19, 2013 in Guest Posts

About Mathias: Born in Germany in 1969, moved with my family to Switzerland when I was ten years old. Started to love reading as a young teenager. Have been working in air traffic control simulation for most of my adult life. Apart from aviation, have always been interested in history and the dark side of politics. I have recently started working on my second political suspense novel. Should I be ashamed of admitting that I’d never written anything before writing my political suspense novel “EXCESS – The Art of Treason”? Maybe not ashamed, but I shouldn’t be so stupid to admit it. Well anyway, here I am. My name is Mathias Frey, I live in Zurich, Switzerland, am 44 years old and the author of the political thriller EXCESS, the English-language version of which was released in May 2013. Inspired by sinister political plans and events of the past decades (conspiracy facts, not conspiracy theories …), such as the hollywoodesque Pentagon script to stage terrorist acts on US soil to justify an US invasion of Cuba (google “Operation Northwoods”), I started to learn the craft of writing when I was working on the book between 2004 and 2008, long before the Kindle age. The book’s original German version, launched on Amazon Germany in February 2012, did fairly well. It reached the #1 spot of the paid ebook-charts in May 2012, and was, according to Amazon, among the top ten best-selling ebooks in the first half of that year. Mind you, the German-language market on Amazon is much smaller than the Englishlanguage market, so I haven’t sold millions but I’m quite happy so far. Readers gave it a 4.2 star average rating. After sales numbers passed the five digits threshold, I took the plunge and started looking for a professional translator in the spring of 2012. Rachel Ward, who translates from German and French to English for a living, was daring enough to get into a business relationship with an indie-author – a decision which I hope she’s never regretted. Why would I bother to have the book translated at all? Because most of the story is set in the US. To quote “Deutschlandfunk”, one of the largest radio stations in Germany: “There’s treasure to be found in the Kindle Shop, although it can be hard to find in a hurry if you don’t know you’re looking for it. The easiest way is to head for Mathias Frey’s political thriller ‘Excess’, which has spent six months in the limelight of the Top 100 [on Amazon Germany] where it stood out for its quality. The story of a media experiment in America, unleashed by sinister political conspirators aiming to seize power in the United States, reads like the work of a seasoned pro in the genre, but was in fact self published.“ So here I am, entering the massive English-language market on Amazon, and asking myself if last year’s experience on Amazon Germany was just a dry run … —– Excess on Amazon.com Excess on Amazon.co.uk On Facebook On...

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Emerging Writers Guest Post #43 – Barbara Olsgard Winquist – On a US cauldron of a conspiracy

Posted by on Jun 16, 2013 in Guest Posts

Picture the post war era and the babies born to a generation of lovers of freedom. Imagine their children and the hope of preserving them from the dust of the dirty thirties, a world war, grinding poverty of the homesteaders, plight of a plethora of disease and the crucifixtion of Christianity. I rose from the lineage of my European ancestors and was in the satchel of their genes. We kissed the earth as we departed the ship and named this country ours. Prairies with golden grain lined the horizon as grandparents beheld the flag and held her truth with our Lord the King. The ancient ones from the old country live in my vision. I see their images when a church bell rings on Sunday morning, when the people walk freely and casually, when the children laugh in good health, hale and happily, when I can recite the Lord’s Prayer in schools, when old men and women can pass to the heaven’s without fear of being a burden, when ingenuity and innovation are applauded, when the earth creates her wealth of abundance to feed the poor. My name is Barbara Olsgard Winquist and I am the granddaughter of these huddled masses who sought the safety of a harbor sufficient to proclaim the truth. My early childhood was spent in peace until a vision catapulted me into the dimension or twilight zone of sobriety. We were drunk with God’s blessings and hunkered down and left not an offering. The abundance overwhelmed our senses and decay withered the roses upon the vine. . . The wild and beautiful prairie, the land of the living skies, is the site of my birth and home. The blessed and beauteous Saskatchewan is my heritage. Blood red sunsets adorn the horizon with silk like breezes caressing your face on a summer’s eve. I am an author and poet within this somewhat forlorn yet majestic part of the earth. Vast horizons of grain fields languish as though the seasons are eternally mellow and placid. Once upon a time, an element of surprise engulfed my senses as the Knights Templar, through historic account, advocated a darker version of historic recollection. My attention was piqued as I fashioned my nouveau novel “The Tale of an Honest Man” into a semblance of mystery with inspired history which exposes a diabolical plot. Here is my story: Solomon Richelieu and his two friends Sophia and Elijah Carrington burst forth from the Southern Bible belt as children of the genteel aristocracy. The story initiates the three into the cauldron of a conspiracy engulfed within the confines of a one world government. This mystical entity is harnessed to a Luciferian element structured to annihilate Christianity. The Scandinavian guides, Bjorn Olafsson and Erik Johannsen, emerge as the guardians as the three travel the world over in search of ancient scrolls that will reveal the...

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