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How To Write a Play Journal is Now in Hardback

This beautiful journal/handbook is now available in Hardcover. Here’s a little of what you can expect inside. Plus hundreds of blank pages for your own writings and plans for a stage play.

1.  Format is very important.    If you submit your new play to anyone they will not read it if it is not in the proper format. There is software out there that offer auto-format but I found them lacking.   The character’s name is centered. Blocking (action) is indented and placed in parentheses. Setting (indent once), Rise  (indent once) and Dialogue is far left. Double space between character’s name and first line of dialogue.  Blocking (action): is placed below the character’s name in parentheses. (indent x 3).  A ‘beat’ is a dramatic pause to enhance the pace of the speech and is placed in the dialogue where you wish the actor to pause for a beat or two. 

2. Each page represents approximately one minute of time on stage.  So if you have a play that is 200 pages long, that won’t work.  Audiences aren’t going to sit for more than one and a half hours unless you are providing a circus, a fire drill, sex, and an earthquake.  You should keep your full length script to about 100 pages which equals 1.6 hours of stage time.  For a one act divide that by 2.  For a ten minute play your script should be from 10-15 pages. These times and figures are debated by others but this has been my experience as an actor/director/writer.

3.  Leave lots of white space on the page.  One day when your play is being produced, actors will need a place to make notes in the script during rehearsal.  This is a sample of an actor’s (mine) working script. The    
actor usually ‘highlights’ their lines and writes the director’s blocking in the margins. (in pencil, as blocking frequently changes)

4.  The blocking is indented, in parentheses, and directly below the character’s name.  This is where the playwright gives the characters instructions on when and where to move.  But, keep it short and sweet.  Remember there will be a director who has their own ideas of where he/she wants their actors to be.  Be aware of costume changes in your writing.  An actor can’t exit stage left and enter stage right, seconds later, if you haven’t written in the time it will take for them to accomplish a costume change.

5.  Your script has to work on a stage.  If your story takes place in more than one locale, you have to be aware of the logistics of set changes. So keep it simple to start.  If you are ambitious in your setting buy a book on set design to research if your set is feasible.  There are some wonderful ‘envelope’ sets that unfold when you need to change the scene.  But you have to consider the budget; would a theatre have the money to build it? Always a worry.

6.  Dialogue: Now here’s the sometimes hard part:  everything you want the audience to know about the story and the characters, is
conveyed in the dialogue.  Unlike a short story or a novel, where you can write as much description as you’d like, a play script has none of that.  NO description. 

Here is a Sample of formatting your script correctly.  (Click link for details.) 

Journal includes instruction on: 

How To Begin
How to Write a Play
Formatting your Play on the Page
How to write Dialogue
How to Create Rich, Exciting Characters
Designing a Set
Stage Lighting
Stage Terminology
and more…..
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    August: Veronica Henry, October: Life Coach, shaman, author, Jennifer Monahan, November: Susanne O’Leary, December: Mimi Mathews
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Funny Senior Moments

I have a few gripes as I grow older and thought I would probably have an audience that can IM'ingrelate!

1. Please!  No child-proof caps on my medicine bottles….these old hands cannot open them.

2. Whenever I say ‘thank you‘ to anyone under 50 the answer I get is ‘no problem‘.  What happened to ‘you’re welcome’?  ‘No problem’ implies that whatever they did for me to incite a ‘thank you’ might have been a problem for them.

3. Change in driving habits:  decades before we put a name to yelling, flipping someone off, etc., it wasn’t road rage….it was freedom of speech. In my twenties,  I went so far as to make a plaster mold of a hand flipping ‘the bird’ so I could wave it out my window!  Now?  I am a meek and courteous driver…you want to beat me to wherever you are going….be my guest!

4.  Even though the population is getting older and older we still don’t garner any respect from the younger generation.  Ageism is alive and well in this country.  Tip: From my stints in the hospital this year I learned something very important.  DO SOMETHING to make the staff at the hospital notice you (in a good way).  Show them that you are a human being worthy of their care.  My idea (and it worked!) was to take the day and night shifts copies of my books.  I instantly became a celebrity and I swear I received better care.

manwoman5. People who drive for miles with their directional signal on…..their music is so loud that they can’t hear the clicking the signal makes, or they are busy on their phones and they are oblivious to everything else.

6. People who talk too fast…..you know what I tell them?  “You’re talking faster than my ears can listen…would you repeat that last bit…and slower?” 

7.  Work ethic…….where the heck did it go?  These young people say they can’t find a job…….oh really?……….there’s lots of minimum wage jobs out there and that can lead to a ‘non-minimum’ paying job.  But what do I know?  One of my first jobs was waitressing in a cafe at $1.00 per hour.  Yep, after working 40 hours I came away with a paycheck of $40. less taxes and was GRATEFUL for the job.

8. Only one thing I like better than paper post-it-notes and that is the electronic ones.  At my age if it isn’t on a post-it, it doesn’t exist and therefore doesn’t get done!sen5

9. Drivers: So I’m driving on a four lane, city street, and up ahead someone is stopping to turn left….I have plenty of room to change lanes and use the outside lane to get by.  Wrong!!  The driver had stopped in his lane, and as I passed I see his right-turn signal on. He turns right across two lanes of traffic and into a driveway.  Warning: If you come to Savannah, beware of the drivers…….they are the worst I’ve ever seen.

10.  Tupperware!  After some 40 years the lid on one of my Tupperware bowl cracked.  (I wonder how healthy it was to keep using the plastic storage bowls that long.)  So my new bowls arrived …..yes the company is still producing Tupperware bowls.  The lids are different but the colors are so much more fun!

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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    August: Veronica Henry, October: Life Coach, shaman, author, Jennifer Monahan, November: Susanne O’Leary, December: Mimi Mathews
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  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

 

 

I Guess It’s All In the Writing…

What makes us, as readers, care about the characters in a book?  What is it about one book over another? I recently took a chance on a couple of new authors (to me) and was pretty disappointed. The books were like eating a slice of Wonder White Bread, with nothing on it; not even butter. Bland, tasteless and of little interest. 

Sophie was listless, I’m sorry to say with long run-on sentences. Beachcomber Motel was not interesting for a different and ‘deadly’ reason; the characters were not well drawn. They could have been more interesting; instead all three had been ‘done wrong’ by life. And quite frankly, I didn’t care about them. The love story of Jules didn’t develop until the last few pages and was more like: ‘Oh! I forgot to finish up Jules and Nick’s story.’  But, I misspoke, it wasn’t finished up but left the reader dangling mid-relationship with those two. Probably in the author’s hope that readers would be enticed to read a sequel.  Both of these are going to be a series, which I cannot recommend.  
  1 out of 5 stars 

This is beginning to sound more like a book review but hang in there….I will get to my point about writing. 

4 out of 5 stars

So I gave up on those two and cracked another new one; The Stationmaster’s Daughter.  I was instantly engaged and worried about Tilly and her dad, Ken, Ted and Annie. Of course, the setting didn’t hurt; a discarded railway station out in the wilds of Dorset. (UK)  Through no fault of her own, Tilly’s been kicked pretty hard by life. We find that out (artfully written) pretty soon after page one but with no feeling of being rushed.  Then there are flashbacks to 1935 when the trains were running in rural counties.

So no surprise, the difference is simple. It’s all about the writing. That something that a writer has in their storytelling that weaves a charming, enticing, well-drawn and interesting tale. This one’s about trains; I don’t care about trains except if they are on time and relatively clean. But the writer based the back story on trains in their heyday; the steam locomotion. And it was just enough that a reader like me didn’t grow weary with the history of trains.  It was well balanced with beautifully drawn characters. And the dialogue was excellent; I could hear their voices.             
It’s all in the writing. Full stop!
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    May: Jenny Colgan, June: Don Bentley writing for Tom Clancy, August: Veronica Henry, October: Life Coach, shaman, author, Jennifer Monahan, November: Susanne O’Leary, December: Mimi Matthews 
To receive my weekly posts sign up for my 

  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

 

Interview with author, Susanne O’Leary (conclusion)

Pebbles is a rescue dog, golden retriever/collie mix

Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing?

SO. Often. I can sit at an airport with my laptop and write, lost in the story—aka ‘the zone.’ Very irritating for anyone who tries to talk to me.

Q. Are you working on something now or have a new release coming up? If so tell us about it.

New Release

SO. I am currently working on part 10 in the Sandy Cove series, or maybe I should call it part 4 in the Starlight Cottages series, which is a series within a series,

set in a coastguard station just outside the fictional village of Sandy Cove. The Lost Promise of Ireland, book 9 (Starlight Cottage #3) will be published in mid-December this year.

Q. When did you begin to write seriously?

SO. When I started writing fiction.

Q. Do you think we will see, in our lifetime, the total demise of paper books?

SO. No. I think we’ll always have both. A lot of readers love to hold a ‘real’ book in their hand.

Q. What makes a writer great?

SO. A great writer is someone who can pull the reader into the story from the very first page and hold his/her attention right through to the end.

Work space in Tipperary

Q. and the all-important: What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like for you?

SO. It’s quite a long, complicated process. First, I write the first draft from start to finish, then I go over it and chop and change quite a bit before I send it to my editor. After that there are four different rounds of edits: structural, line edit, copy edit and proofreading. The final stage is checking through the different formats, Kindle, e-book and PDF (for paperback). In all, three different editors work on the book. All this can take up to two months before publication.

Q. How has your life experiences influenced your writing?

SO. Mostly in the settings (I have lived in quite a few different countries and travelled a lot) and things that have happened to me through my life that have touched my heart and my emotions. Love, tragedies, illness and so on.

Q. What’s your down time look like?

SO. If you mean what I do to relax, it’s mostly about the outdoors. I love hiking in the beautiful mountains of Ireland, or walking on the beaches. I also like yoga or any other kind of workout.

Q. Have you or do you want to write in another genre`?

Friendly horse on my walk

SO. I have co-written four detective stories and also written two historical novels based on the lives of my great-aunt and her daughter who had fascinating lives.

Q. Note to Self: (a life lesson you’ve learned.)

SO. Count your blessings. And carpe diem.

Did you miss Part 1 of this fascinating Interview?

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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    May: Jenny Colgan, June: Don Bentley writing for Tom Clancy, August: Veronica Henry, October: Life Coach, shaman, author, Jennifer Monahan, November: Susanne O’Leary, December: Mimi Mathews
To receive my weekly posts sign up for my 

  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

 

Author Interview with Susanne O’Leary

Swedish by birth and Irish by marriage, Susanne O’Leary is the author of 35 novels, mainly in the romantic fiction genre. She has also written four crime novels and two in the historical fiction genre. She’s been the wife of a diplomat (still married to the same man, now retired), a fitness teacher and a translator. Susanne now writes full-time from either of two locations, a big old house in County Tipperary, Ireland or a little cottage overlooking the Atlantic in Dingle, County Kerry. When she is not scaling the mountains of said counties (including MacGillycuddy’s Reeks), or keeping fit in the local gym, she keeps writing, producing a book every six months or so.

Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing? (please provide a photo of you at work in your shed, room, closet, barn, houseboat….) Or tell us about your ‘dream’ work space.

SO. I usually write in my little office in our house in County Tipperary, with views of the green hills and mountains. When I’m in Kerry, I write sitting in an IKEA chair by the fire, looking at the ocean when I take a break.

Q. Do you have any special rituals  or quirks when you sit down to write? A neat work space, sharpened #2 pencils, legal pad, cup of tea, glass of brandy, favorite pajamas, etc.?

Work space in Tipperary

SO. I always write in my pajamas and sheepskin slippers, tea in my favourite blue mug with a slice of toast with marmalade that I

nibble on while I read through what I wrote yesterday. Then I write new material for an hour or two, and then I do some yoga (still in my pyjamas) before I get dressed.

Q. Could you tell us something about yourself that we might not already know?

SO. My real first name is Karin. Susanne is my middle name.

Q. What tools do you begin with? Legal pad, spiral notebook, pencils, fountain pen, or do you go right to your keyboard?

SO. Always on the keyboard on my good old Lenovo laptop.

Q. Do you have a set time each day (or night) to write?

SO. Early in the morning is my best and brightest time to write!

Q. What’s your best advice to other writers for overcoming procrastination?

SO. Make a particular time each day your writing hour. If you stick to that, it’ll be easier to get going.

One of the Interviewer’s favs

Q. Where/when do you first discover your characters?

SO. That’s an interesting question. My books always start with a

situation, then I put the characters into that, and then they become stronger and stronger right through the first draft. Then I go back to the beginning and flesh them out, because now I really know them.

Q. What first inspired you to write?

Starting the day with an ocean swim

SO. I started my writing career by writing non-fiction and wrote two books about health and fitness (I am a trained fitness teacher). While writing these books, I discovered how much I loved the actual writing process. My then editor gave me the idea to write a fun novel based on my experiences as a diplomat’s wife. This became my debut novel, ‘Diplomatic Incidents’ (now also an e-book with the title Duty Free‘).

Q. What comes first to you? The Characters or the Situation?

SO. Usually the situation.

Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing?

 

Part two of this wonderful Interview will be posted Nov. 6th
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    May: Jenny Colgan, June: Don Bentley writing for Tom Clancy, August: Veronica Henry, October: Life Coach, shaman, author, Jennifer Monahan, November: Susanne O’Leary.
To receive my weekly posts sign up for my 

  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

 

Storyteller In Any Language

The storyteller was the most respected (and looked forward to) person second only to the Shaman since the time where we scratched images into cave walls. Since time immemorial the storyteller has kept alive the tribe’s history and traditions.  The name/word, Storyteller, is alive in most languages today. 

We writers keep this age-old tradition alive with our stories, whether we seek the past, write about the present, explore unknown worlds, suggest a fairytale, write our personal (tribe’s) history. In whatever language we choose, we tell a story hoping someone out there will read it and be moved by it.

 

Irish:          Seanachais — storytellers 
French:       le conteur —  storyteller, taleteller, romancer
German:    der Erzähler  — teller, narrator, storyteller, narrative writer
Spanish:     Cuentista  — storyteller
Italian:        Narratore — storyteller 
Hawaiian:  Mea haʻi moʻolelo — teller of tales
Icelandic:  Sagnhafi — Storyteller
                                                     Chinese:    Shuō gùshì de rén — storyteller
                                                     Russian:    сказочник  — storyteller, fabler 
                                                     Scottish:    Sgeulaiche  —  (Gaelic)  Tale teller  
                                                     Swahili:    Msimuliaji hadithi  — Spinner of yarns 
                                                     Swedish:  Berättare  —  Storyteller
                                 Vietnamese:  Người kể chuyện — Taleteller, teller of stories

Our ‘oral’ storytelling and the passing down of tribe’s history and heroics is becoming obsolete. When I was a girl my mother rarely read me a story. Rather she would tell stories of herself, growing up with 12 siblings in the backwoods of Washington state. There were countless stories of thirteen brothers and sisters and their adventures and misdeeds.  I believe it was this story telling by my mother that made me the Seanachais  that I am today. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    May: Jenny Colgan, June: Don Bentley writing for Tom Clancy, August: Veronica Henry, October: Life Coach, shaman, author, Jennifer Monahan, November: Susanne O’Leary.
To receive my weekly posts sign up for my 

  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

 

Storyteller In Any Language

The storyteller was the most respected (and looked forward to) person second only to the Shaman since the time where we scratched images into cave walls. Since time immemorial the storyteller has kept alive the tribe’s history and traditions.  The name/word, Storyteller, is alive in most languages today. 

We writers keep this age-old tradition alive with our stories, whether we seek the past, write about the present, explore unknown worlds, suggest a fairytale, write our personal (tribe’s) history. In whatever language we choose, we tell a story hoping someone out there will read it and be moved by it.

Irish:          Seanachais — storytellers 
French:       le conteur —  storyteller, taleteller, romancer
German:    der Erzähler  — teller, narrator, storyteller, narrative writer
Spanish:     Cuentista  — storyteller
Italian:        Narratore — storyteller 
Hawaiian:  Mea haʻi moʻolelo — teller of tales
Icelandic:  Sagnhafi — Storyteller
                                                     Chinese:    Shuō gùshì de rén — storyteller
                                                     Russian:    сказочник  — storyteller, fabler 
                                                     Scottish:    Sgeulaiche  —  (Gaelic)  Tale teller  
                                                     Swahili:    Msimuliaji hadithi  — Spinner of yarns 
                                                     Swedish:  Berättare  —  Storyteller
                                 Vietnamese:  Người kể chuyện — Taleteller, teller of stories

We writers keep this age-old tradition alive with our stories, whether we seek the past, write about the present, explore

Shaman, charcoal/ink by Trisha

unknown worlds, suggest a fairytale, write our personal (tribe’s) history. In whatever language we choose, we tell a story hoping someone out there will read it and be moved by it. 

Our ‘oral’ storytelling and the passing down of tribe’s history and heroics is becoming passé. When I was a girl my mother rarely read me a story. Rather she would tell the stories of growing up with 12 siblings in the backwoods of Washington state. These were countless stories of thirteen brothers and sisters and their adventures and misdeeds.  I believe it was this story telling by my mother that made me the story teller I am today. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    May: Jenny Colgan, June: Don Bentley writing for Tom Clancy, August: Veronica Henry, October: Life Coach, shaman, author, Jennifer Monahan, November: Susanne O’Leary.
To receive my weekly posts sign up for my 

  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

 

Parkland Shootings

In  remembrance  of  the  innocent  victims  killed  in  a  senseless  shooting. Inspired by that horrible day, I wrote a ten minute play for the classroom in the hopes that teens would learn more about the circumstances that led up to that day.  Perhaps more teens would open up about their thoughts and fears through performance of this play. The child (and yes he is a child regardless of his heinous actions) was in court yesterday pleading guilty to 17 murders of students, coaches and teachers. 

Synopsis:

Mass shootings are a part of our current culture. Not until now did I have something to say (write) about so many mass murders.
This ten minute play for teens in the classroom is to honor and memorialize the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. It focuses on a small class of students hidden away in safety by their English teacher and what happens while they wait for the shooting to stop. But the question begs will they ever be safe again?

The victims:
My Mr. Hale (play) is fashioned after Scott Beigel, 35, a geography teacher and the school’s cross-country coach. He was killed after he unlocked a door to allow students in to hide from the shooter.

Alyssa Alhadeff
Aaron Feis
Martin Duque Anguiano
Nicholas Dworet
Jamie Guttenberg
Chris Hixon
Luke Hoyer
Cara Loughran
Gina Montalto
Joaquin Oliver
Alaina Petty
Meadow Pollack
Helena Ramsay
Carmen Schentrup
Peter Wang

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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    May: Jenny Colgan, June: Don Bentley writing for Tom Clancy, August: Veronica Henry, October: Life Coach, shaman, author, Jennifer Monahan, November: Susanne O’Leary.
To receive my weekly posts sign up for my 

  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

 

 

 

 

A New Author, A Fine Book, A Season for Second Chances

 

reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing5 out of 5 quills       Book Review

A few weeks ago Jenny Bayliss’ publisher requested a book review from me.  I tend to shy away from unknown (to me) authors out of fear of having to write a bad review since my mission is to support and uplift all other writers. But the synopsis intrigued me so I accepted the invitation. And…

…might have missed enjoying a really good book. The writing is superb, the story line rich with detail, the characters charming and engaging. The little surprises of humor had me chuckling and spurting an outright laugh (once in awhile) at the clever writing.  The humor is honest and handled with a light hand. 

The story speaks to most women who have faced at least a couple of forks in the road of life.  I could really relate to Annie’s long marriage fizzling out. The abrupt loss of husband and children. What do we do with ourselves? Is this our ‘chance’ to live a life we’ve only dreamed of?  Try some things that we were discouraged to try in our previous (and safe) life? 

I love it when a place becomes a character in the book.  And Saltwater Nook certainly did that! 

Half way through the book I hurried to order Bayliss’ debut novel, The Twelve Dates of Christmas. Which, by the way, has received rave reviews.  This is a very talented writer and I hope she continues to crank out the wonderful stories.

Available for sale October 19th. 
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    May: Jenny Colgan, June: Don Bentley writing for Tom Clancy, August: Veronica Henry, October: Life Coach, shaman, author, Jennifer Monahan, November: Susanne O’Leary.
To receive my weekly posts sign up for my 

  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

 

Cheets Heads for Trouble…..Book #5 in the Kids’ Series, The Fabled Forest

   Book #5 in the Fabled Forest series.  CHEETS HEADS for TROUBLEsville

Cheets is looking for an adventure!  The elf has heard about ‘town’. Emma and her mother go there all the time but no one from the fabled forest has ever been there. Cheets is certain it is a magical place and perfect for him. He decides that he must head for Troublesville. He stows away in the car one day and, at the end of the trip, finds
him-self in busy, noisy streets all alone. He begins his adven-ture by befriend-ing two cats who live in a house with two humans. Then because of his undying curiosity and his obsession with carrots, he is captured in a trap and that’s when his adventure is no longer any fun. How can his friends back in the Fabled Forest help him when they don’t even know he’s in Trouble?

 

 

 

Don’t miss Cheets’ escapade and ultimate rescue!

 

Beautiful full color illustrations by Jefferson O’Neal.Click here to Purchase
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    May: Jenny Colgan, June: Don Bentley writing for Tom Clancy, August: Veronica Henry, October: Life Coach, shaman, author, Jennifer Monahan, November: Susanne O’Leary.
To receive my weekly posts sign up for my 

  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK