Making a Short Film: Part 1

Short Film Part 1

 

Hello Everybody!

As I promised, I will be writing a series on writing and creating a short film. Film has been something that I’ve loved to dabble in all my life. I remember being ten years old and filming my first short film on an iPod Touch. It was called Psycho Santa, and we still like to wax poetic about the writing and filming process. I’m sure it wasn’t as good as we like to pretend it was, but it was really what got me started in filmmaking. Any writer can write a script. Actually, I take that back. Anyone can write a script, but I’ve found that a lot of writers have a problem translating their work to film because they forget film is a visual art. You have to be able to convey action and emotion in a visual way, rather than through words. It’ll be weird at first. I still end up writing stage directions that are way too long, but ultimately you have to let the camera and your actors tell the story. It’ll be difficult to hear people speaking your dialogue and seeing your film is always a strange mixture of pride and embarrassment, but it’s worth the process.

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The Importance of Backstory

the importance of backstory 2

Hello Everyone!

I realize that it’s been a while. A long while. But junior year is finally wrapping up and I should have more time to focus on this blog and writing. To catch you up, I’m still working on my current novel Turncoats, even though I’m only at about 53,000 words. It’s disappointing, I know, but school has really taken its toll and I’ve had little time to work on much else. I’ve also written a short film, which I hope to direct, produce, and act in over the summer. I’m planning on talking more about that for my next post, so I’ll keep you posted. This post, however, is going to be able how to use backstory in your story.

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The Second Chapter of Turncoats

So it’s been a while.  A long while.  I apologize for disappearing for over a month, but school started back up and I’ve been busy crying over my APUSH homework.  Don’t judge me.  I didn’t actually want to write a blog post, so I decided I’d post the second chapter of my WIP, Turncoats.  If you’d like to read more of it, you can check it out here- Turncoats on Quotev or here Turncoats on Wattpad

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Finding the Inspiration to Write

finding the inspiration to write

We’ve all been there.  After coming up with a great plot, interesting character, and a couple of chapters, motivation starts to trickle off.  Or, in my case right now, I want to write, but am afraid that everything I write will be terrible, so I don’t write, and come here instead  to preach to the internet about the art of writing.

Anyways, if you couldn’t tell, I’m a little disappointed in myself for having such trouble writing this book.  When writing my previous novel, I didn’t have these problems.  I stay motivated and inspired until about chapter 20, when I became plagued with the thought that I am a terrible writer and then didn’t write for about three months.  But hey, at least I finished that novel.  I’m only five chapters into this one, and thoroughly convinced that I have lost any talent I once had for writing.  Don’t get me wrong – I love my plot and my characters, but I just can’t bring myself to write what I had planned.  Instead, I spend most of my time thinking up fluffy fanfiction like scenes.  And I’m not proud of it.

So, here are my top ways to find inspiration and beat writer’s block.  Hope you enjoy!

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Tips for Starting a New Novel

AZdsfxdgcfhgvjbhkjlhgfdsrHello Everyone!

School just finished up a few days ago, so now I’m free for the summer!  Well, not really.  I’m working four days a week and have a lot of summer homework to do, but I’ll find time for writing somewhere in there.  Hopefully.

If you’ve read any of my last posts, you’ll know that I finished my previous novel.  It’s a structural mess, though, so I’ve been putting off the editing process.  And what do all writers do when they don’t want to edit?  They write more!  Or at least I do.

So, this post is for anyone, like me, who’s in the planning stages of writing a new novel.  Enjoy!

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4 Fantasy Cliches and How to Avoid Them

Four Fantasy ClichesWow, it’s been like two days and I’m posting a second time.  Don’t get used to this because it will probably never happen again.

As of last night, I just reached 90,000 words on the current draft of the novel I’m working on.  It’s YA fantasy and I am kicking myself over it.  Number one, it still isn’t done, and number two, if it gets any longer my chances of publishing it go way down.  Now, some may say “Well, just edit it and take out the unnecessary parts,” but I’ve already done that. My writing style just covers the bare basics anyways, and I’m not a fan of flowing, flowery prose.  I’m short and to the point, and still confused at how I’m at 90,000 words, when it seems like just yesterday I was celebrating about being at 60,000.

Anyways, in the spirit of writing, I’ve decided to talk about some of my most hated fantasy cliches, and I, clearly being the expert at writing I am (please note the sarcasm), will do my best to show you how to avoid those cliches while bashing my first novel.  Enjoy!

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15 Writing Tips that Actually Work

15 Writing Tips that Actually Work by Katie
Hi, everyone!  It’s been a while since I’ve written anything, so I thought I would post this, even though I wrote it a while ago.  I’ve been having a hard time finishing up my novel (grappling with character deaths, trying to write a battle and failing), so I thought I’d post this in the spirit of writing.  Here are my tried and true writing tips.

1. Let’s just start off with some truths. Your first draft will be horrendous. Accept that. You will not create a masterpiece on your first try. So just get your ideas down on paper. Don’t worry about the little details, those will come later on in the second or third draft.

2. OUTLINE!!!! Now, I really hate outlining, but it really is a blessing. If you have an idea, map it out. Write a quick summary of the story. What I do is write an overview of all the chapters. So, I just write one to two sentences about what happens in each chapter. An outline really helps when you have no idea how to keep your story moving.

3. Have a writing schedule. this one is hard if you are in school or have a job, but it really helps you get into the practice of writing everyday. You don’t need to spend eight hours, writing though, it could be as short as a half hour. But make sure that you are WRITING during this time. If you have to, turn off the internet and limit yourself to only a few cups of tea or coffee.  Also, don’t fool yourself with doing research, especially when you don’t need to.  Research should not be done during writing time.

4. READ!!! Read a lot. READ EVERYTHING!!! For example, if you are writing a fantasy book, don’t just read The Lord of the Rings over and over again, read everything you can get your hands on. It doesn’t matter if its a dictionary or its Twilight. Study how other people write. It also improves your own grammar and vocabulary.   Also, if you only read a select genre, you’re writing may end up a regurgitation of other authors.  While it’s likely that this will happen to any novice writers, it’s less noticeable if your writing is influenced by a variety of sources instead of just one.  For example, I’ve recently been trying to read the Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks, and it is very, very similar to the Lord of the Rings, right down to certain plot points and evil creatures.  I can’t even focus on the story line because I’ve been so busy trying to figure out all the parallels.  I have also been a victim of this, I have to admit.  My first novel was a weird 21st century rewrite of the Chronicles of Narnia, and Lord of the Rings.  In my defense, I was about twelve and I spent all my time reading/watching the two series.  So, take my word of advice and read everything.  Don’t be me.

5. Condense your writing. Make it as short as possible. Your readers don’t want to spend three pages reading about someone’s eyes. Use the miniskirt rule- make it long enough to cover everything necessary, but short enough to keep it interesting.

6. Bring a notebook and pen with you everywhere you go. Inspiration strikes when you least expect it. I can name at least 20 times where I had a great idea for a story, or a great melody, or lyrics and I didn’t write it down, so I forgot it. WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN!!!! Please, you will thank yourself later.

7. Know what you’re writing about. Please don’t write about something you don’t know about. I am tired of reading stories about the medieval times where the cities were described as clean and beautiful and everyone was happy. Uh, no. The cities were disgusting, filled with rats and sewage. Research what you’re writing about, even if it means reading a Wikipedia page. But be careful, if you’re anything like me research will turn into 14 hours of reading wikipedia pages about Celtic mythology.

8. Don’t focus on the word count. I am one of those people who focuses on the word count. Don’t be me. Unless a story can be made better by being made longer, don’t do it. My mom always told me “To stop when the story tells you, not when you want to.” If you have a clear ending in sight STOP THERE. You can expand later if you have to. Don’t be me and write a rambling 60 pages about nothing. Learn how to stop.

9. Try Nanowrimo. At first I was daunted by the task of writing 50, 000 words in one month, the first time I did it, I didn’t win, but I’m now stricter about writing and much better at reaching deadlines. I did Camp Nanowrimo last year and I actually managed to finish. I strongly recommend it to anybody who likes to write and is up for a challenge. It’s really fun! And you get to meet people who are doing the same thing you are!

10. EDIT!!!! Editing is the most stressful part for me, mostly because I’m relentless and I don’t want to get rid of anything I’ve written. Be merciless when editing and if you’re in doubt about something take it out.

11. Make a writing playlist. Or make several. You could make one for each type of emotion. For example, if you’re writing a sad scene, make a sad playlist. Music really helps me and it helps me focus on what I’m writing by drowning out all the other noise. Music can also help in setting a scene. Pick songs that evoke an image.  Lately I’ve been really into using Celtic music to help my writing.  It actually makes me focus and I am able to get inside of my world, even if I am surrounded with distractions.

12. Practice writing setting by going outside and describing someone. Make sure it’s not so long that the reader will get bored, by make sure that they can see the scene in their heads. Go to the beach or the park and describe your surroundings, then condense them so they could fit in your story. It’s really good practice. Or sometimes I’ll take pictures on my phone and then write about them at home.

13. Don’t spend a lot of time getting ready. If you’ve spent four months doing character and plot sketches you need to stop and write. Just write. The more time you spend getting ready, the more time you have to talk yourself out of writing.

14. If a story’s not going anywhere, just keep writing. Write down whatever comes to mind. You can always go back later and fix it. Don’t stop writing though, ideas will eventually come.

15. Be willing to write badly. Just don’t stop writing. The bad writing is just something to build on. Don’t worry about it being perfect, you can fix it later.

I hope these tips help! Well, back to editing my novel. Go write guys!

~Katie