Saturday, December 11, 2010

Reflections


Once again I've let my posts lapse. But in my defense, this is the busiest time of year for me.
But in the last few days I've been reflecting on the year that's passed. Last year at this time, it was dark and sad for me. It was an emotional black hole for my jewelry busines as things took a terrible turn on a personal level. But when things start dark, you can only go to the light, and I've had so much light in my life this last year.
Instead of posting a really long post, I'm going to write it all out in Word or something, then post it in parts. Because I've grown leaps and bounds in the last year (in more ways than one), and I'm learning to leave the dark behind me.
So stay tuned...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Best Screenwriting Advice EVER!!!

This is the best screenwriting advice ever. I wish I was good enough to be able to do this every time.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Writing the TV Drama

Writing the TV Drama Series: How to Succeed as a Professional Writer in TV by Pamela Douglas (Sep 1, 2007)

Rarely am I surprised at how much information was provided in a book. This was one of the times. I loved this book and I know it will be my go to bible when I'm outlining, writing and watching TV drama.
Ms. Douglas delves into the actual outlining process, tells us how to find the A, B and C story in each drama episode and even gives extensive examples from actual scripts.
Not only does she offer incredible insight as to how to write the one hour drama, she is smart enough to give up the goods on more than just the network shows.
Insightful interviews are peppered amongst such information as: The yearly TV writing schedule, salaries of writers from bottom to top, the cost of agents, managers, lawyers, creation of a show, writing your own episode, staff writing, breaking in. She even delves into webisodes.
And, no, I didn't get a free copy of this book to review because I'm not a reviewer. I paid full price (okay, Kindle price) for this book and I know I've spent my money well.
If you are at all interested in writing for TV, drama, comedy or otherwise, I highly recommend this book.

If you buy it and read it, please comment, or Tweet me about what you thought of it. I'd love feedback.

Twitter @yeah_write

Happy writing!

Jamie

Monday, September 27, 2010

Screenwriter NIA VARDALOS: Tricks of the Trade

Slipping September

Has it been over a month since I last posted? So sorry. I'll have to make up for it with something good. I don't have anything today, but I'll get to thinking. I may post another interview snippet later. I listened to the Dialogue interviews with Billy Ray, and Sheldon Turner yesterday. Very inspiring.
I've had a weird September, like the whole thing has been a full moon. Great and very bad experiences on Twitter. But you can't make everyone happy, and some people just aren't going to like you no matter what. I'm good with that, hell I work in the restaurant business, no one's inappropriate behavior surprises me anymore.
Okay, I'll be getting on the choice of interview thingy for those who actually even follow this blog.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

TV Writing Fellowships

After our wonderful Script Chat with guest Jane Espenson, I thought about what she said about getting into her position by having a fellowship at ABC.

So I looked up the available fellowships once again to put in one place. I've had most of these in my favorites file for a long time. And I've only had the nerve to enter one. I hope this is helpful

WB Workshop

I don't think I told a lot of people, but I entered the WB Workshop/Fellowship. So I'll start with this. The workshop runs from October to March, and after the workshop the students are (hopefully, but not promised) placed on WB shows. The entry window for the workshop is May 1 to June 1, so the deadline for 2010 has passed.

Disney/ABC

This is a paid one year fellowship. Currently pays $50,000 plus benefits. I like this.
The application period starts in spring. Writing Program semi-finalists are contacted in November. Those who are selected to move on to the finalists’ round are typically notified in December, and will be required to participate in an in-person interview with a panel of Disney|ABC Television Group executives, established television producers. The Writing Program commences in January and concludes in January of the following year.

The spec requirements here were copied directly from the Disney/ABC web site.
"Among the extensive criteria for spec scripts are: accuracy in character voice; story structure; effectiveness in capturing the series’ tone; and innovation. No materials will be returned after the judging process. No previous professional writing experience is necessary, but strong spec script writing samples are required. Individuals selected as finalists might be asked to provide an additional writing sample. Applicants must be able to legally work in the United States."
ABC also offers a soap opera fellowship. Just sayin'


Nickelodeon Fellowship

The submission period will begin on January 2nd and run through midnight on February 28th. Semi-finalists are notified in August.This fellowship wants only half hour comedic specs. This is a full-time one year fellowship. You can not have a job while doing this fellowship.

***added after original post***

NBC/Uni Writers on the Verge

This is a 12 week program that runs from the end of September to the end of January. The program focuses on polishing the writer to be prepared for a staff writing position.
The entries are open from the end of May through the end of June.

The web site states, "Past participants have gone on to series including Community, Burn Notice, White Collar, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Friday Night Lights and Chuck."


Check out the web sites for more information. Also there is a screenwriting competition that helps writers meet TV industry folks.

Scriptapalooza has a great contest
Deadline is October 1, 2010, so act fast if you are interested.
This was the only reputable contest I found while searching.

I hope this helps a little so you don't have to do a google search to learn a little more about the fellowships.

Also, please remember, when you are submitting a spec script for TV, it's not like features. If you are wanting to write for Modern Family, you will send them specs of Cougar Town or Big Bang Theory. Never send a spec of the show you want to write for, because no matter how good it is, it won't be as good as their writers.

TTFN, Jamie

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Cowboy Up

Let's say there is a director whose movies you love, and the script you've written is just up his alley. What can you do to get that script in the director's hands?
First, if you have a membership to IMDB.com you can search the director's name and find out who his agent or manager is, then use the Hollywood Creative Directory to get the phone number to the office. Now once you make this call, you'd better be 110% sure of yourself, and have your pitch down so tight you can say it backwards and have it make sense. Because you will have to be quick and convincing to get a word in before the assistant or receptionist says, "I'm sorry, we don't accept unsolicited manuscripts."
And even though I shouldn't have to say it, be as nice and charming as possible to whomever answers that phone, because he/she may the next executive at CAA. If you can at least get your log line in before she gives you the "I'm sorry..." line, you may be past the unsolicited part all together.
If you have as good a pitch as a fellow screenwriter friends does, you just may get the assistant's email address, and now your script isn't unsolicited!
Yes, it's possible, but you had better be able to daylight to vampires if you want to try this tact. This technique isn't for the weak or unsure. So if you think you are up to it, "cowboy up" and do your research.
First impressions are lasting, so make a fantastic impression and whatever response you receive, be pleasant and thank the assistant for their time. Hollywood is a VERY small town when you are trying to break in, and day after tomorrow that assistant may the the director of the next box office hit. Don't laugh, stranger things have happened!
One caveat, some people will tell you this isn't a good technique and warn you against it. But if you have an incredible script and are comfortable selling yourself, it can be worth a try. Phone calls aren't recommended, but they aren't forbidden like in the literary industry. 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Moderating Scriptchat

I'm moderating Script Chat this Sunday. Usually we all get together and discuss what the topic will be, but since I'm it I get to pick the topic. You'd think this would be easy. I could pick something that I'd love to chat about. But I can't think of a darned thing. Dang me.
I'm tweeting it out to the crowd to come up with a topic.
Yup, I know, this is an exciting post. But I had to put something in, it's been 10 days since my last post. Wow, that just sounded like confession, and I'm not even Catholic.
Have a great week!.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Outline x X

No the title doesn't mean this post is X rated. I'm here to discuss outlining. Before you cover your eyes and run screaming because of the "outline" word, let me assure you, IT'S WORSE THAN YOU THINK!
That being said, here is why:
First, we've all heard of the Save the Cat beat sheet, and there are many others out there. Not a screenwriter? This doesn't excuse you. The beat sheets are for all writers of fiction, and they do help save valuable rewriting time. Fleshing out the outline does NOT kill your creativity! It gives you a roadmap and helps you find huge holes in your plot so you don't have to go back and rewrite inumerable pages. I'll just include what I feel are the 7 absolute must haves, and you can take or leave what you want from them.
1. Ordinary, everyday life - the story starts with your main char (MC) doing normal everyday stuff.
2. Inciting Incident - what rocks the MC out of said ordinary life.
3. End of Act 1 - MC decides on course of action for incident in #2
4. Midpoint - Action takes a sudden & unexpected direction
5. Lowest of low points or End of Act 2 - No way in hell the MC is going to get out of this one.
6. Act 3 or the Ultimate Challenge - Something, anything that will reanimate the MC to continue.
7. Return to "ordinary" life - Only now the MC has changed forever.
Sounds easy, right? So here's the rub, ready?
If you want a really compelling story, you have to remember you don't just have one MC, there are many characters in your story. AND YOU SHOULD OUTLINE FOR EACH MC (secondary characters, not so much, or at all). You may not use all of the information, but you should have a progression for each of the main characters in your story. So the above outline isn't just a one time deal for each story, it can actually be 3 or more. Yikes. Hate me now? Or were you already doing this?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Screenwriting Info on Twitter

Pretty much everywhere you look these days, there is a Twitter account linked to a person's blog, business, or web site. Yup, I have a (okay a couple) Twitter account too. I'm @yeah_write because I use this account to Tweet about all things writing related and about my life. Not that any of it is all that interesting.
People not in the know always ask me, "What is Twitter? And why do you tell random strangers about your life?"
Twitter is the best tool I've ever come across for networking. I'm on Facebook and Linkedin, and I really only get to know people I already knew or have done business with. On Twitter I've met literally 1000s of people I never knew. Hell, I've tweeted with people from several European countries. These are people with the same common interests I have.
I can't even begin to tell you the evolution of my Twitter existence. At first I followed all the famous people, but not so much anymore. Now I follow writers I love, and new writers I've had the opportunity to meet. And mostly I now hang with a group of screenwriters. And this is where Scriptchat comes in.
After realizing I knew @zacsanford from a Yahoo group I belong to, he introduced me to @jeannevb. Now Zac works in Hollywood, and Jeanne is a screenwriter. I also met her writing partner @dawnbierschwal (who is now a customer for my wholesale jewelry business).
Anyway, one Sunday afternoon Jeanne invited Zac and me to Writechat. Thrilled at the prospect of meeting even more writers, we jumped on the 'net and joined in the chat. It wasn't long into the chat before we realized this wasn't for us. Zac and I started tweeting about starting our own chat, one that concentrated on screenwriting, and Scriptchat was born, well sort of.
We got together with Jeanne, and @KageyNYC and picked a time we thought would work for everyone. The decision was made, 5 pm PST. We tweeted the heck out of #scriptchat, trying to make it a trending topic. Well it didn't become a trending topic, but it did attract a lot of screenwriters. So now we have to work something out for our writers on the other side of the pond because 5 pm PST is like 1 am GMT, and that sucked for them. So along comes the talented @dreamsgrafter, or Mina as we know her. Mina moderates the chat for our European tweople at 8 pm GMT, while Jeanne moderates for the US chat.
As if that wasn't good enough, the wonderful @rachlanger set us up with a blog and taught Jeanne to pull transcripts of our weekly chats to be added to the blog for those unlucky enough to miss the chat on any given Sunday.
We call the founders of Scriptchat the #treefort. And thank God for the treefort, as not only have they been a great source for the chat, they have been inspiration, hand holder, back patter, and general, "thank god I 'met' you" kind of people. And I've actually met Zac in the flesh. My DH and I had a lovely dinner with him when we were in L.A. in January. Then he wrangled us into Screenwriter Karaoke, for which he'll forever regret.
And that is how Scriptchat came to be. Each one of the treefort has their forte in the writing of scripts, from TV writing to features to pimping and pitching, and we bounce off and compliment each other in a way I'd never have imagined a year ago.
So why do I tweet, and spend time on Twitter? Because I would never have met the #treefort gang, not to mention the hundreds of other interesting writers, producers, and directors that tweet too.
I consider myself lucky to be a part of so many lives, as they have changed mine, supported my writing (and my business), and opened my world to a new way of thinking.
I'm not even going to mention the crazy wonderful people like @wookiesgirl, @tylerweaver, @iamjaymes and @travislegge that make me smile daily. I could go on and on, but I'd inevitably miss someone important.
And in all of this, I've learned more about screenwriting than I could have learned in any workshop or screenwriting class. And I'll be the biggest fangirl when one of our #scriptchat tweople gets their first deal, be it option or production, whatever.
Thanks Twitter for making the world just a wee bit smaller. Oh, and you can follow @scriptchat on Twitter or visit the web site at www.scriptchat.com

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Online Workshops

I'm taking a class on presenting effective online workshops, so I can give my "students" their money's worth. I'll be starting online workshops in July. The first class will be WRITING COMPELLING QUERY LETTERS.
Are there any workshops you'd like to see offered? Let me know in the comments and you could win a free workshop.
I will be blogging about topics over the next month, so be sure to comment and check back often. I will announce the free workshop winner at the end of June.

Monday, May 31, 2010

I love Ed Solomon

Ed Solomon has a great piece of advice in this snippet. I have the full series of The Dialogue Series Interviews and I listen to them over and over again for inspirations. I'll be sharing snippets of the interviews over the next few weeks.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

David Goyer - Screenwriting Interviews

This is just a snippet of a great series of screenwriting interviews!


Friday, May 28, 2010

New Credit Card Scam - Not Writing Related

New Credit Card Scam - Not Writing Related

This wasn't me, but I'm passing it along:
NEW SLICK CREDIT CARD SCAM
This really happens. I got the call on my work credit card after making a purchase online with Amazon.

Fortunately, I didn't give them the number. Instead, I called the Visa number and they cancelled my credit card on the spot and re-issued another one for me. Man they are getting slick!!! New Credit Card Scam Snopes.Com says this is true.To verify see this site: http://www.snopes.com/crime/warnings/creditcard.asp <http://www.snopes.com/crime/warnings/creditcard.asp>

This one is pretty slick since they provide YOU with all the information,except the one piece they want. Note, the callers do not ask for your card number; they already have it...This information is worth reading. By understanding how the VISA & Master Card Telephone Credit Card Scam works, you'll be better prepared to protect yourself.*

One of our employees was called on Wednesday from 'VISA', and I was called on Thursday from 'Master Card'.. The scam works like this: Caller: 'This is (name), and I'm calling from the Security and Fraud Department at VISA. My Badge number is 12460. Your card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern, and I'm calling to verify. This would be on your VISA card which was issued by (name of bank). Did you purchase an Anti-Telemarketing Device for $497..99 from a Marketing company based in ?'

When you say 'No', the caller continues with, 'Then we will be issuing a credit to your account. This is a company we have been watching and the charges range from $297 to $497, just under the $500 purchase pattern that flags most cards. Before your next statement, the credit will be sent to (gives you your address), is that correct?' You say 'yes'. The caller continues - 'I will be starting a Fraud investigation. If you have any questions, you should call the 1- 800 number listed on the back of your card (1-800 -VISA) and ask for Security.' You will need to refer to this Control Number. The caller then gives you a 6 digit number. 'Do you need me to read it again?'

Here's the IMPORTANT part on how the scam works. The caller then says, 'I need to verify you are in possession ofyour card'. He'll ask you to 'turn your card over and look for somenumbers'. There are 7 numbers; the first 4 are part of your card number, the next 3 are the security Numbers that verify you are the possessor of the card. These are the numbers you sometimes use to make Internet purchases to prove you have the card. The caller will ask you to read the 3 numbers to him. After you tell the caller the 3 numbers, he'll say, 'That is correct, I just needed to verify that the card has not been lost or stolen, and that you still have your card. Do you have any other questions?' After you say No, the caller then thanks you and states, 'Don't hesitate to call back if you do, and hangs up.

You actually say very little, and they never ask for or tell you the Card number. But after we were called on Wednesday, we called back within 20 minutes to ask a question. Are we glad we did! The REAL VISA Security Department told us it was a scam and in the last 15 minutes a new purchase of $497.99 was charged to our card. Long story - short - we made a real fraud report and closed the VISA account.

VISA is reissuing us a new number. What the scammers want is the 3-digit PIN number on the back of the card Don't give it to them. Instead, tell them you'll call VISA or Master card directly for verification of their conversation. The real VISA told us that they will never ask for anything on the card as they already know the information since they issued the card! If you give the scammers your 3 Digit PIN Number, you think you're receiving a credit. However, by the time you get your statement you'll see charges for purchases you didn't make, and by then it's almost too late and/or more difficult to actually file a fraud report.

What makes this more remarkable is that on Thursday, I got a call from a 'Jason Richardson of Master Card' with a word-for-word repeat of the VISA scam. This time I didn't let him finish. I hung up! We filed a police report, as instructed by VISA. The police said they are taking several of these reports daily! They also urged us to tell everybody we know that this scam is happening.

Please pass this on to all your family, friends and neighbors.

By informing each other, we protect each other. Neighbors helping neighbors; always the best policy!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Plotting

Plotting is about more than just novels and scripts. Plotting is about life. In plotting my short term future I've decided writing isn't part of it. I've been letting writing get in the way of life, and I need to get my life back in order.
By life, I mean my businesses and my home. So I'm plotting out my short term goals. By short term I'm looking at the next 3 months. I need to get my house in order and clear it of all unnecessary crap. You ever try fung shui? Did I spell that right? anyway, I know that when I remove the clutter from my house, I can also remove the clutter from my brain and my life. Business runs smoother, my brain is clearer, and I generally feel better about myself. So one room at a time, I'm going to arrange my home into a cleaner, free flowing energy space that feeds the body, mind and soul. And hey, maybe there will be a book in it.
I decided to do this now because I've entered the contests I was interested in trying, and I've met my deadlines. I have a novel and a non-fiction proposal making the agent rounds. I think this is enough for now. And when my soul feels better I'll finish a few projects I've been working on for a long time.
This doesn't mean I won't be writing in my blog and also on www.bookendbabes.com. And I'll be keeping in touch via Twitter, but not as often. Twitter and Facebook are other time sucks I need to limit.
When ideas strike, or I hit an unusual plot point in my plotting journey, I'll be blogging about it here.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Books on Writing

Here's the thing about books on writing: You buy them, then you read them, and it's a great excuse not to write. Books on writing (BOW) are for the evil self-editor in us all. We turn to BOW when our mind says, "What are you thinking? You aren't a writer, you'd better read about the craft some more before you decide you really want to do this." Our mind is doing its best to give us the excuse to not write. "Well, at least if I'm reading books about writing, I'm doing something to learn about my craft."

This is all well and good, but seriously, how many books to we actually need? Oh, god I can hear it now from the writers who make a living on our insecurities. If I was to be perfectly honest with myself, I'd say that I only need 4, maybe 5 of the BOW I have. Am I going to tell you how many I actually have? Hell, no!!! Not because I don't want you to know, but because I don't feel like tracking them all down and counting it up for you.

I have books at the restaurant to read in my down time, books next to my bed, on the bookshelves in both my office and our library, and of course I have more next to my chair in the living room. Have I read all of them? No, not all. But then there are those I've read over and over. And those are the 4-5 that I should have stuck with. But they weren't the first books I purchased, so it's like boyfriends, and dates, you try them and if they don't fit you get another. Come to think of it, I dated a lot!

I could (and will) name the books I feel I can't live without, but mine will be different from yours. And I'm certainly not trying to sell you on the books, so I won't give the Amazon links to them (though I should, so I can make money if you buy them from my link). Over the last few months I've come to realize that I buy a book or two every time I have grave self-doubts about my writing. So needless to say, I'm book poor. In truth, other than my few staples, I should only have 1 book for every full manuscript or screenplay I've written. And I probably have at least 7 per or more.

Once again, I realize that the books are my excuse for not writing. "I should write. But I really don't know what I'm doing, so I should read this book first." Then half way through the book, "Seriously, I know this stuff, I should just write. Why is this so hard? I love writing." And so it goes...

You've heard the saying, "Walk much, or just read about it?" And that's my point. Reading about writing won't make us better writers, writing will. Want to play golf? You read a few magazines, take some lessons, maybe read a book about technique and rules, then you get out on the course and hit some balls!

So instead of buying that next book on writing, hit some balls, and by that I mean WRITE! Write, write, and then write some more. Don't think you can do it? Your inner critic laughing at you? You cringe when you hear the word shank? Then go out and get some practice. Reading about writing is not practice. Writing is practice.

So my "go to" books...Save the Cat, Rewrite, Dialogue, Screenplay and  Conflict, Action & Suspense. Sure I have a few books on the business of writing, but those are only good after I've written something. And don't get me wrong, I've written a few things, but I always find an excuse not to finish, and that excuse comes in the form of another book to read.

Okay, I'm going to close my copy of Rewrite and work on my screenplay now. What are your go to books?

Monday, May 17, 2010

It's not often that a person finds their passion in life at an early enough stage to enjoy it. And to be lucky enough to make money while pursuing that passion is even more rare. Me, I have both.

First, I love to write, and for several years I was paid to write articles for a crafts business magazine. And it paid well. I love writing, and I learned from the articles I wrote.

At the time I was writing, I was making glass beads and selling them at bead shows and on my web site. I used what I learned to move of from just making beads to making jewelry and selling at art shows. I had quite a following after a few years. Each December I'd get to spend a week in Chicago (one of my favorite cities), and go to the theatre at night and see my loyal customers in the day time. Yes, the show days were long, but I loved working directly with my customers.

Then I once again used the research I'd done for my articles to move my jewelry business in another direction. I now sell wholesale. But in selling wholesale I had to learn a whole new lifestyle. I'd never done production work, and I had to come up with my own market niche to stand out from all the other jewelry. And I did.

I used sales reps to show my line and pretty much just worked in my studio.

But in all things, we move on. And I missed the personal relationship with my customers. So I'm selling retail and wholesale, and I'm selling my line myself. I mean who else is going to know my line as well as I do? And who would have more passion? Not that sales reps don't try, but with 20-50+ lines to rep, how passionate can you be about one line?

I just have my line to be passionate about, and I am. I love what I do, and I hope to never lose that enthusiasm. I thought it was lost, as I was burning out. But I realize I wasn't burned out, I was left out. I wanted to be a part of everything, and I missed the interaction with customers.

This year we have 4-6 trade shows planned, and I'm really looking forward to meeting current and future customers. And I hope I can give something back, by helping my customers better sell my line and therefore better their bottom line.

It is with utter passion that I built and designed this current line of jewelry. And as an artist that loves to draw and paint, I'm hoping to find a way to add that passion in a new line someday. For now, I'm happy. I've never been happier. I'm so very lucky.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

First Things First

It's always tempting to test out your story idea by pitching or sending a query before the novel or script is finished. Not a good idea. What if your query is accepted and the agent/publisher/studio loves the query and wants to read a partial or the full? You have just blown your contact. That's it, that was your first and only chance to make an impression.

Why? Because the agent (I'm just going to use agent from here out, to simplify) doesn't want to see your partial in one month, three months or a year, he wants to see it now. So what if he's going to take weeks or months to get back to you? That's his end of the business. Your end of the business is to be professional and send him a finished manuscript/script ASAP, while you are still fresh in his mind.

This may sound stupid, but you wouldn't apply for a job/career as a nurse without first getting your BS in Nursing. In any other field, you'd get an education, do your internship, and get some experience before applying for a job. And I'm talking about a professional job here, not flipping burgers (which I actually do for a living, as the owner of course). So why would you just flipantly jot off a query to an agent without actually having something to show them? And doing some research into your market?

So, you have your manuscript/script finished, can you query now? NO!!! If you haven't polished your pages to within an inch of life, you aren't ready to offer up your words to a professional. Writing is rewriting, and you have to rewrite, polish, put the damn thing away for a time, then come back with a fresh eye and start polishing again.

When you think you have done everything possible to make your words sparkle, and jump off the page, then it's time to write that query. And not a moment sooner!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Pitching Your Screenplay

I've had pitching on the brain, since I was planning to attend the Great American Pitchfest at the end of June. This was a timely article.

http://thestorydepartment.com/pitching%e2%80%99s-holy-trinity/

Research or Write

As a former magazine writer, I'm all about research. But believe it or not, before my second try at college I hated writing and despised research. But when I was taking my classes to become an athletic trainer I had to do lots of research. In one such case, I was tasked with doing a case study on a Stanford football player. He'd had a neck injury and surgery in November and recovered quickly enough to start spring practice. He went on to become a NFL player for 7 years, as a right guard and eventually center.

What does this have to do with research? In the research I did for the case study, I found that his recovery wasn't the norm for his type of injury. I was fascinated with what I learned. And my work was so thorough that my professor submitted my case study for publication in Physician & Sports Medicine magazine. From that moment on, I was hooked on research. And not just for magazine articles either.

The research I did for Crafts Business Magazine helped me to grow my small business into a 6-figure income in just 3 years. Yes, I researched topics I was interested in, then queried the magazines I loved. I even wrote an article about shipping cooled semen for breeding purposes, when I was thinking of breeding my mare to a horse in California. I wanted to know about something for myself, so I researched it and was able to sell the related article. I had even gotten seasoned enough that I could sell an article on spec.

But now, with writing fiction, I see research completely different. I see it as an excuse to not write. I mean, hey, I was writing 1500-2500 words, I could crank an article out in an afternoon and then email it for deadline. So I researched until the last minute. With fiction I have no deadline, except a self-imposed one. (really, who keeps those?)

So I've had to treat research differently. Also I'm researching things like the adverse affects of using Meth, and how to murder someone using the mercury from an old thermometer. (ask me about that last one, it's crazy interesting and scary) Are throw away cell phones really not traceable? Don't think I'll be using what I learn for use in my real life.  I just keep researching and researching, and I have binders full of notes, but nothing actually WRITTEN.

The attack I use now is one I learned from a wonderful author from South Africa, Cherry Adair. Just write the damn thing. Highlight the places where the subject really needs some researching, then keep writing. Oh, and then, keep writing some more. When you are in the rewrite process, that's when it's time to pull out the Wikipedia (I'm kidding) and do your research. Research the crap out of it, because now you have a finished novel, script, whatever. It's finished!!! No excuses. Now do the research to keep yourself from looking like a dummy.

The great thing about this process? You have finished your novel, script, play and have saved yourself a crap ton of time by not researching for hours on end. Not to mention, you'll have more specific items to research and not have a bunch of facts you don't need and won't use. And you can move onto the next writing project. Oh, yeah, ain't it great.

This approach may not be right for everyone, but it works for me. And I love doing research. As with all advice/ideas in writing, take what works for you and leave the rest. Researching after writing works for me!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

When live gives you lemons, they say make lemonade. I say, make Lemon Drop Martinis. And I've had a lot of lemons in 2010. The first lemon was tossed at me as a seed in January 2010. And the seed has grown into a full blown tree in the last few months. So I've been making gallons of martinis.


But unlike lies, deception and lemons, lemon drop martinis have a hint of sweetness. The rim of the glass is dipped in lemon juice, then in sugar. The combination of vodka and sugar makes the lemon not so tart. And I'm all for that.

I'm not drinking a lot of these martinis (just making and freezing), mainly because I'm not a foul mouthed drunk, like some people I know. But I do like to sip one at the end of the day ever so often. And definitely have one during my chats with Twitter buddies. But then I also like POM martinis, and apple too. The vodka smooths things over and makes foul, nasty things not so bad. But too much and the next day you are sorry. Not unlike a lot of other things that I've had too much of lately. Thank god I'm not a foul mouthed drunk. Sometimes I'd like to be. But I strive to be a better person on a daily basis, and being a FMD would defeat the purpose.

Besides, what do I have to be depressed about enough to need to drink too much? I have two successful businesses which I love, and that I strive to run with honesty and professionalism. I have employees that have been with me for years, because we work as a family. I have GREAT customers, who I enjoy getting to know, and have developed great relationships within this last few months. And my last marketing campaign was a huge success, bringing in several new retail stores that now sell our Mommy Jewelry along with other designs.

Oh, and I have my writing, in which I can brutally murder FMDs, and not go to prison. lol

So I think I'll prune that lemon tree and make it a house plant. And I'll have a Lemon Drop Martini once in awhile, but not to drown my sorrows, to celebrate.

Navigating the Web

OMFG, it took me 3 hours to get this blog to set up on my web site address, and it's not even what I wanted. I wanted it to point to blog.jamielivingston.net, but NOOOO, that wasn't going to happen. So for now my web site is my blog. I wanted to write tonight, but now I'm not sure I'll have time. Arghhh!
No, no, I'm not a little frustrated. (in through the nose, out through the mouth).
So I'm one step further in my blogging process. I now just have to add some great content. Coming soon...

A Whole New Look

Worked on this for days. Ha, just kidding only hours. What do you think?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Spring Has Sprung

Even though it's 20 degrees below normal this May, Spring is in the air. It's time to grow and learn and bring something new to the world, be it a new plant, an idea, or even a novel or screenplay.

Spring is also a time for cleaning up the dregs of winter. And I got pulled in so many directions over the last few months, that I have a lot of internal spring cleaning to do.

So be prepared for some crazy posts as I try to figure out what I'll be growing this spring. Hopefully it will be something wonderful and fun.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Making Choices

With so many ideas going through my head at any given time, it's difficult to decide which idea to pursue. I know many people who work on several projects at once. When I do this, it's because I'm putting off the project I should be finishing.
I write nearly daily, but I rarely get to THE END or FADE OUT. Is it writer ADD? I don't think so. I really thinks it's my inner critic saying, "You suck. You don't know how to write. I don't care that you have been published in magazines. That was non-fiction, this is fiction."
Then I read incredible authors like Harlan Coben, J.T. Ellison, or Joseph Finder, and I'm sure I'll never be able to write like them.
So it comes down to making choices.
1. Choose to MUTE the inner critic or let it keep me from my dream of being published.
      I'm choosing to do the best I can to use the MUTE button.
2. Choose between Screenplays or Novels.
     I've decided to concentrate on Screenplays, and write novels on the side.
     No wait, I'll concentrate on novels and write Screenplays on the side.
    Fine, I can't decide.
3. Choose to write or not write.
   Here, I have this overwhelming guilt when I write. I should be working on my business marketing to
   grow my business. I should be designing new jewelry, or working on my web site. But for my sanity
   I choose to write. Everyone needs free time, and I choose to write with mine.
I don't want to be one of those people who says, "Oh, yeah, I'm going to write a novel someday." Cuz, I wrote one. And it was an outer critic (an agent) who said my writing was awkward. That will do wonders for a writer's self-esteem. I stopped writing for an entire year. Just ask my critique partner. But I'm over it, sort of.
I've chosen to believe that my writing was awkward, and it takes practice to write well. Reading and writing are what keep me sane, so I choose to continue the insane process of blurting words onto paper.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Writing

When people ask where I get my ideas, I realize they are suited to the profession of writing. Because for me, I will not live enough years to write a book or novel for every idea I have. And many ideas perculate for years before I can get to them. If the idea still seems fresh after that long, I know I'm onto something.
Currently I'm writing an outline and proposal for a non-fiction book about building a small business into a big business. I'm also editing/rewriting a coming of age script, and writing a thriller I've been in love with for at least 2-3 years. I'm just now getting up the guts to tackle the thriller.
The thriller is a dark cop novel with some very disgusting subject matter. I have to be writing something else at the same time because I can't be that out of reality for a long period of time when the fiction is in such a dark and scary place. At the end of some writing stints I'm in a bad mood and not wanting to deal with people. Not such a good thing when running a restaurant to pay bills until writing does.
Too many irons on the fire is my middle name. And here I go again.

Friday, January 22, 2010

A New Year

No this post isn't about resolutions. I didn't make any this year. It's about looking forward.

I'm currently dealing with a very difficult matter in my business life, and for about a week I found it affecting every aspect of my life. My husband and I were testy with each other, to the point of a "knock down, drag out" fight over nothing. I've been in tears, I've been enraged, and I've been depressed. But I'm done with that, because guess what? It's only money. No one is dying. Now that's something to cry about.

So as of today, I'm pulling up my big girl panties (and I do mean big, but a diet is in not my future) and moving on. Yes there are still issues regarding this matter that will be dealt with over the next 3 months to 3 years, but I'm good with that. Two days ago I wasn't, and I wanted to to horrible things. When I feel that way, I thank god I'm a writer and I can perform those horrible things on paper, because I don't have it in me to hurt other people purposefully. I swear I'll have an ulcer, and maybe a heart attack before this is over. Or I would have, but I've wasted way too much energy on a horrible human being who doesn't deserve it.

Before I move on I have just one thing to say: GREED is one of the seven deadly sins.

Now for moving on. I'm building my business back the best way I know how, with excellent customer service. I can't say that my customers have had this in the past. My life is in my hands, and I'm going to use my hands well.

Our trip to Los Angeles was slightly tainted by the business matter, but it was great meeting new customers, and traveling about L.A. in general. The great thing about traveling is that your mind travels too. And on this trip my husband and I came up with a great new script idea. I've decided to put my mind to work on this script, and on building my future, and leave the rest behind. (except when I have to deal with the rest, so I can move on)

Again, no one died, and I should be glad of that, as that isn't something to recover from. But someone will died in my near future, on the page that is. And it will be gruesome, and I will enjoy writing every single word of it. lol Usually I prefer romantic comedy. This is channelling my energy in a positive way, and I'm glad to be a writer.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Adopt Former Puppy Mill Dogs

I try not to get on my soap box very often, this the puppy mill thing makes me sick. Many of the owners of these mills don't give a shit about these dogs, all they care about is $$$. When regulations in Pennsylvania made the mill owners clean up or shut down, these heartless people decided it would cost too much to give the dogs decent living conditions. So they dumped their dogs on the shelters. Please give these dogs the chance of a good life. I've pasted the information for contact below:
Puppy mill dogs still coming to shelters for adoption
On Thursday, I wrote you about the need for people willing to adopt dogs from puppy mill facilities that had to close by January 1 if they couldn't meet improved operation standards.

As a result of the feedback, I've learned that dogs are still coming into the shelters, with more expected next week.

The Bucks County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reports most are smaller-sized adult purebreds. Due to the conditions in which they lived, some may provide more challenges to ownership than a puppy. The cost of adoption through a shelter is minimal, usually just to cover spaying or neutering.

The Federated Humane Societies of Pennsylvania has developed an informal network of member organizations willing to work with breeding dogs from Pennsylvania commercial kennels and to make them available for adoption.

Some of the dogs are able to be adopted directly from a shelter into a new home. Others are being evaluated and assisted in their transition by rescue organizations.

If you are interested in opening your home to a former puppy mill dog, these groups are working with the breeder-donated dogs and placing those that are ready for adoption:

Animal Rescue League of Berks County, Mohnton, PA. Phone: 610 373-8830
Bucks County SPCA, Lahaska, PA. Phone: 215 794-7425
Hillside SPCA, Pottsville, PA. Phone: 570 622-7769
Humane League of Lancaster, Lancaster, PA, Phone: 717 393-6551
Humane Society of Berks County, Reading, PA. Phone: 610 921-2348
Last Chance Ranch, Quakertown, PA. Phone: 215 538-2510
Montgomery County SPCA, Conshohocken, PA Phone: 610 825-0111
Ruth Steinert Memorial SPCA, Tamaqua, PA. Phone: 570 345-3510
Women’s Humane Society, Bensalem, PA. Phone: 215 750-3100

For more information on puppy mill dog adoption you can go to the Web site of the Bucks County SPCA, or reach it through my Web site.

As always, if you have any question or comments on this issue or any state-related topic, I welcome you to contact me. Rep. Mike McGeehan