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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.
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Life Coach, Shaman Monahan’s “Moment” (conclusion)

Jennifer’s first home in Guatemala ; a one room hut.

My plan was to stay in El Remate for three months, visit several Mayan sites, and write my second book. In that time, I was “adopted” by a local family, made a bunch of friends, connected with Guatemalan shamans (and participated in several traditional ceremonies) and began sponsoring the education of a couple of the local girls. El Remate quickly became more “home” than “vacation spot.” I extended my rental by another two months, and, just as I was getting ready to leave, bought a piece of land, drew out plans on graph paper, and gave them to one of my new Guatemalan friends to build my house.

While my house was being built, I traveled to Japan, Cambodia, and Thailand, and then loaded all my belongings on a cargo ship and moved to Guatemala. I had taken a few trips to Guatemala during the construction process to pick out materials and see how the house was coming along, but it was an entirely different experience walking into my completed house for the first time. I felt as if I were truly home since every aspect of the house is a reflection of me. Unlike most houses in this area of Guatemala, my house was a two-story home with lots of windows. Painted off-white, it had a terra cotta red Spanish-style roof and a small, secluded patio in front. A handmade wooden door painted slate blue with black iron decorations

Participating in a Mayan shamanic ceremony for rain in Chuarrancho.

opened up into a small foyer from which you could see the entire first floor – kitchen, dining room, living room and an office that was defined by some half walls to give it structure. Tucked in the back corner off the kitchen was a half bath. The Spanish feel continued in the house, with terra cotta ceramic tiles in the kitchen and bathroom and ceramic wood tiles in the other spaces. I had selected a sage-green color for the kitchen cabinets and black concrete for the countertops and island that separated the kitchen from the dining room.

Jennifer at a Mayan archeological site.

The floating staircase with a metal railing that mimicked a tree with branches and leaves that I had drawn out for the builders was a new concept for them, but they had stepped up to the challenge. Each concrete step with a hardwood top was anchored to the wall, giving the impression that each step was lightly floating above the other. The master builder also happened to be a metal worker, and he crafted the railing himself. At the top of the stairs was a meditation space, and then a short walkway to the master bedroom suite – which took up the rest of the second floor. A large sliding door in the bedroom led to a second-floor balcony that ran the entire length of the back of the house.

Visiting a shop in Lake Atitlan.

Set in an undeveloped area of the jungle, the house was remote enough from the village that I had complete privacy but was close enough that I could easily visit friends or go to the lake. It was also remote enough that there wasn’t any electricity available, although running water was. Solar panels on the roof, connected to storage batteries that were housed in my bodega, provided all of the energy I needed to run my house. I loved that my house was powered by the sun, and therefore green and caring for the jungle that I was living in.

My yard was filled with trees, plants and flowers, and hummed with the energy of the jungle – toucans, parrots and hummingbirds were easily spotted, as was the family of howler monkeys that used the trees as part of their “food highway” through the jungle. A whole host of other animals also made the area their home. One day an ocelot even ran through my yard! Relaxing in my hammock on the second floor balcony off my bedroom quickly became a favorite pastime, since I was at tree-level with the birds and monkeys and could not only watch them, but also feel as if I were part of the jungle.

Jennifer with other shamans after Spring Equinox ceremony at Uaxactun.

I quickly got into a routine and filled my days with consulting and shamanic work; writing; planning for and hosting an online radio show; volunteering at the local library and children’s center; and spending time with friends. To this day, my home in Guatemala is my sanctuary and fills me with peace.
If someone had told me that I would quit my job, build a house, and move to Guatemala prior to my accident, I would have laughed at them. But that’s how these life-changing moments work: they throw you for a loop so that you look at everything differently, and they put you on a different trajectory than you could have imagined. In retrospect, my accident was a gift. It allowed me to truly get to know myself and what I am capable of and gave me the opportunity to experience life in a more authentic way than I ever had before. Oh, and do it while wearing six-inch heels!

What’s your moment?

Did you miss Part 1 of this fascinating article? 

About Jennifer B. Monahan
Jennifer is a business strategy consultant, shaman and coach who helps people all over the world live purposeful lives that not only bring them more joy and freedom, but also help them make the impact they want on the world. Her first book, “This Trip Will Change Your Life: A Shaman’s Story of Spirit

Jaguar

Evolution,” chronicles her experiences meeting and training with a Mayan shaman in Mexico and has won six literary awards, including two first-place Body, Mind, Spirit Book Awards and a 2017 National Indie Excellence Award. Her second book, “Where To? How I Shed My Baggage and Learned to Live Free,” describers Jennifer’s time living in a thatched-roof hut in Guatemala and then travelling to Cambodia, Thailand and Japan. It has won seven literary awards, including Winner in the 2019 Beverly Hills Books Awards and Silver Winner in the 2019 Nautilus Book Awards.

She is a regular contributor to Medium.com and Sivana East, has had articles published on Inc.com and MindBodyGreen.com and has a podcast, Living A Courageously Authentic Life, on BlogTalkRadio.com. She is in the process of writing her third book, a handbook for people looking to define, create and live their courageously authentic life. When not traveling, Jennifer splits her time between Guatemala and the United States. You can find Jennifer at SpiritEvolution.co.

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

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Rewrites Are Fun and Creative!

Don’t Be shy about about editing some of your older work. For example, Next! A Hollywood tale.  This stage play is from 2009. Full length drama, for adults. What inspired me to look at it again was a little flurry of book sales for this play.

So I pulled it out, dusted it off and read it again.  And found some interesting spots to make it better. In this latest revision I added a whole new scene, which was overlooked the first go around. I couldn’t believe that I had neglected to tie up a loose thread, which the new scene did nicely. 
I have a philosophy; That is that no story is ever finished and I’ve never been shy about looking back and seeing if something needs a good polish or a rewrite. 
This story is about ‘cattle calls’. Auditions that are open to the public; to anyone with a resume and a headshot. Grueling, harsh, and often cruel, the casting directors are ruthless and go through starving actors like a threshing machine. 

Synopsis: Four young, brash actors come to Hollywood to live out their dreams of making it big in tinsel town. They are convinced that hard work and honed skills will bring them everything that they ever dreamed of. They discover that hard work and talent have very little to do with success.

This full length play tells the story of the unflagging optimism of these four actors. They never give up in spite of the daily exploitation and frustration. This comedic drama portrays the real story behind the auditions, the type casting, the ruthlessness and hidden agendas of the movie industry. How the beautiful people, with virtually no acting talent, become stars overnight while trained, talented actors work for years in menial jobs while pursuing a career in film and theatre. The four characters are representational of all the fine, new actors that Hollywood lures into its machination of heartbreak. The author purposely uses only first names as a symbol of how dispensable these young people are.

A surprising and shocking ending will keep the audience on the edge of their seats.

3f. 3m.
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    January: Madeline Hunter, February: Mike Lupica, March: Lee Matthew Goldberg, May: Jenny Colgan, June: Don Bentley writing for Tom Clancy, August: Veronica Henry. October: Susanne O’Neal 
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  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

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Life…In a Nutshell

             Scent of Life  ©

Cool rain drumming on blistering asphalt,
the scent streams into nostrils.
Uncertain why it pleases.

Fresh popcorn drenched in butter,
childhood memories of
dark, musty movie houses when
Tom Mix raced across the screen.

Rich, peaty earth turned over under an autumn sky,
a primal sense of conclusion with the
larder full at harvest time.

Wrapped in strong arms, nose pressed to warm skin.
Drinking in the heat and smell of the man, your man,
beloved man, the partner in life.

Sweet puppy breath. Pure doggy conviction
that you will love him as much as he loves you.

Soft curls and sweet skin of the new babe,
powdery newness, innocence,
and trust.

Candles and incense in the great cathedral,
eons of faith, hope, belief and expectation.

Briny, sharp tang of a northern sea,
Balmy, yielding, salty essence under
the southern Cross.

Sultry air twines itself through the Vieux Carre.
Crushed sugar, wet pavement,
warm beer, praline sweet, heady grape.
Old water from a great river.

Metallic, bitter, smell of blood, be it from battle field,
hospital, butcher shop or birthing room.
Cloying In the nostrils, sticking in the throat.

Manure, pink sugary sweet, sawdust,
roasted peanuts, old canvas, the Big Top!
Childhood rushes back.

New trees, old petroleum, pine sol,
stale baloney, truck exhaust, tired clothes.
Drive on down the highway.

Quaking aspen, pitchy sap, crackling’ fire,
snowy air assaults the senses and warms
the heart.
The loon sings.

Available in Moths and Machetes, Book of Poetry
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    January: Madeline Hunter, February: Mike Lupica, March: Lee Matthew Goldberg, May: Jenny Colgan, June: Don Bentley writing for Tom Clancy, July: Veronica Henry.
To receive my weekly posts sign up for my 

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

BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

 

 

 

Adapting your Stage Play into a Novella or Storybook

Many of my stage plays have ended up being the story outline (or more) in creating a children’s story book, or a short story, or a novella, or the bones of a novel.  I thought that I would share, with my readers and fellow playwrights my process in converting these plays/stories. 
The demand really began with my friends and fans insisting on more of the story they’d read or seen in a play. It wasn’t enough. Satisfyingly, they wanted to know what happened after the play ended, or they wanted to know how my characters got to where they were in the play’s timeframe. 
Currently I am adapting my latest children’s play in to a story book. A  chapter book with colored illustrations. 

First I pull up the full script. I re-read it in sections to get immerse, once more, in the story. The blocking will be my guide on describing the ‘action’. I will be certain to describe each character as they appear in the story. Something you can’t do writing a stage play. After I read this section of the play, I begin to describe the characters, the environment, the emotions within the scene. Remember, playwrights, you are now free to write as much description as you want. (But don’t be redundant or boring, please.)  I copy and paste the section of the play script into my new manuscript. Then I write above the scene in the play. I am able to use almost all of the dialogue that I have created in the play. After I have written the new work I delete the play script and go on to the next.  Here’s a sample:

Chapter 1 ©

Agnes and Annie, sister Aardvarks, stepped off the path into the forest clearing. Except for the occasional rustle in the underbrush and bird song it was a quiet, sun-filled idyllic setting. The smells of forest; tree sap, damp moss, rotting tree trunks, and hidden flowers filled their busy noses. It was worlds away from the dusty deserts in their homeland of Africa. They both looked around fearfully. The fanciful hats atop their heads bobbled in the breeze.
“I think we’re lost, dear sister.” Agnes moaned.
“This doesn’t look anything like the pictures of Australia in our book.”
“Oh, dear, I’m quite afraid,” Annie whispered.
“Whooo?” Something said from high atop a tree.
Annie rushed closer to her sister, “Ekk. What was that?”
Annie had always been the shy Aardvark. Her sister, Agnes had always been the bold one, leading the way and protecting her younger sister.
“Who?” Came the cry again.
“What?” Agnes demanded, looking up into the tree where she thought the sound was coming from. “There are so many trees, all mashed together, I can’t tell where the creature is, Annie.”
“Who?”
“That.” Annie cried.
“What?” Agnes demanded.
“I can’t see anything.” Annie said. “What do you suppose it is?”
“Not certain,” Agnes replied. “But keep a look out anyway.”
“I don’t like this place, Agnes.”

ACT I ©   (The section we are adapting.)
Scene 1

At Rise: Morning in the fabled forest. Pale sunlight filters through the trees.

(ANNIE and AGNES enter. THEY cross into a clearing, looking all around. THEY are wearing ridiculous hats and are carrying suitcases and a book entitled Australia. The WOODLAND CREATURES scatter into the underbrush.)

AGNES
(Gazing up into the trees, HER nose switching as fast as possible.)
I think we’re lost, dear sister. This doesn’t look anything like the pictures of Australia in our book.
ANNIE
(Frowning.)
Oh, dear, I’m quite afraid.

STARE

Whooo?
ANNIE
(ANNIE runs over to AGNES.)

Ekk. What was that?

STARE
Who?

AGNES
What?

STARE

Who?

ANNIE
That.

AGNES

Not certain. But keep a look out anyway.

ANNIE
I don’t like this place, Agnes.

AGNES

You’re such a scaredy-cat, Annie. It’s a simple forest, much like the jungles of home.

(DONALD, a fairie, enters whistling a merry tune. HE sees the Aardvarks. AGNES and ANNIE turn to run.)

DONALD

Don’t go. I mean you no harm.

STARE
Who? Who?

PATSY
(Knitting her web very fast.)

Eye–eee! Por favor, who are these ugly newcomers? Dios mío, ¿se comerán mis insectos? The bugs are for me and me alone!

You have your character list to refer to so you don’t forget or leave out a character from your play. In the story books, I always use an illustrator to bring the story alive with their wonderful color drawings based upon the scene I chosen.  I try, as much as possible, to give the artist full rein; hoping that they will be inspired by the writing. That approach has been very successful for me.  Here’s another sample of adapting a section of my play:

 

©   A couple of days had passed since Emma had visited the clearing in the forest. She and Donald had still not solved the problem of helping Annie and Agnes on their journey to Australia. There suddenly came some rustling of the undergrowth and Stare, the owl began to hoot.
“Who? Who? Who?”
“What’s wrong, Stare?” Emma peered up through the leaves and branches trying to see the owl.
“Whooo?”
From the path a man stumbled into the clearing. He wore work clothes, suspenders and a bow tie. A tool belt hung from his waist. He carried a large tool box. He walked to the middle of the clearing and made a courtly bow.
“Greetings from the Royal Court.”
“Oh my.” Emma murmured.
Donald stepped forward a couple of paces. “Greetings to you. Who are you, sir?”
“Who?” Asked Stare.
“Who might you be, young sir?”
“I’m Donald, a fairie of this realm.”
Taking his half-glasses off his nose he polished them with a clean, white handkerchief, “Blimey. Don’t think I’ve ever seen one before.”
“And you, sir?”
“Who?”
“Not now Stare.” Donald glanced up.
“Allow me to formally introduce myself. I’m Sir Fergus, the royal engineer. I’ve been sent here by the⸺”
Emma sighed, “The Queen.”
“Our Queen.”
“Who?” Stare asked.
“Who?” Annie asked.
“What’s a queen?” Agnes asked.
Cheets began running around the clearing, “The Queen! The Queen! The Queen Cometh!”
Sir Fergus looked around, “No. I don’t think so. It’s just me with my toolbox.”
“Why have you been sent to us, Mr. Fergus?”
“The name’s just Fergus, Miss. Or at court, Sir Fergus.”
“And you’re here because⸺?” Donald inquired.
“To repair your portal⸺time machine⸺of course. It is broken, isn’t it?”
“Our portal?”
“We have a portal? Cheets whispered in awe but having no idea what a portal was. “What is a portal, exactly?”
“And the Queen knew ours is broken?” Emma asked.
“Yes. Yes. Indubitably.” Fergus became impatient to see it, “If you’ll just show me the way, I’ll begin my work.”
“I’m afraid we have no idea where it might be in the forest.” Emma explained. “Until the sisters arrived we didn’t know anything about a portal. They arrived from Africa.”

ACT I ©
Scene 5

At Rise: The clearing in the forest.

(FERGUS, the royal engineer enters from the forest path. HE wears formal clothes but with a large bow-tie and a pocket protector in his shirt pocket. HE carries a large toolbox.)

FERGUS
(Sets down toolbox and bows.)
Greetings from the Royal Court.
EMMA
Oh my.
DONALD
Greetings to you. Who are you?
STARE
Who?
FERGUS
Who might you be?
STARE
Whooo?
DONALD
I’m Donald, a fairie of this realm.
FERGUS
(Takes his half-glasses off and polishes them.)
Blimey. Don’t think I’ve ever seen one before.
DONALD
And who are you, sir?
STARE
Who?
FERGUS
Allow me to formally introduce myself. I’m Fergus, the royal engineer. I’ve been sent here by the⸺
EMMA
(Sighing.)
The Queen.
DONALD
Our Queen.
STARE
Who?

AGNES
Who?
ANNIE
What’s a queen?
CHEETS
(Jumping up and down.)

The Queen! The Queen! The Queen Cometh!

FERGUS
(Looking around.)
No. I don’t think so. It’s just me and my toolbox.
EMMA
Why have you been sent to us, Mr. Fergus?
FERGUS
It’s just Fergus, Miss. Or in more formal settings, Sir Fergus.
DONALD
And you’re here because⸺?
FERGUS
To repair your portal⸺time machine⸺of course. It is broken, isn’t it?

Your play script can grow into something much more ambitious than a novella or children’s story. I have written three full length novels using my stage play as the story outline.
Please leave your comments if you found this informative and helpful. 
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    January: Madeline Hunter, February: Mike Lupica, March: Lee Matthew Goldberg, May: Jenny Colgan, June: Don Bentley writing for Tom Clancy.
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  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

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Fresh little nuggets…about writing!

writing, create, write, blog, authorsWrite 50 words; that’s a paragraph.

Write 400 words; that’s a page.

Write 300 pages; that’s a manuscript.

Write Every Day! That’s a habit.

Edit and rewrite; that’s how you get better.

Spread your writing for people to comment. That’s called feedback.

Don’t worry about rejection or publication; that’s being a writer.

When not writing, read. Read from writers better than you. Read and Perceive.
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(Courtesy of  Ajay Ohri. Bio: Ajay Ohri, Manager Data Science comes from a rich background in data science and technology and is passionate about consumer insights, research and strategy. Ajay has – created meaningful impact with data science projects by leading and mentoring data scientists. )

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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!     December: Lauren Willig, January: Madeline Hunter, February: Mike Lupica, March: Lee Matthew Goldberg, May: Jenny Colgan
To receive my weekly posts sign up for my 

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

 

 

What Does It Look Like?…..From ‘no book’ to ‘finished book’?

write, create, writing, authors, blogRecently a fellow writer and friend asked me this question:  “What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like?”  

My first novel, Women Outside the Walls began as a full length play.  I used my play script my book outline/treatment.  As the scenario was so current (because it was a play), I found that flashbacks were a great way to flesh out each woman’s story and it served me well.

It took me a year and four months to write it, format it and edit it. That equals 72,000 words.

I did not have a deadline and it probably would have really helped. I was my own deadline setter and that didn’t work out so well. On the other hand, I think having a publisher breathing down my neck would have stifled my creative flow.  When life got in the way I wouldn’t work on it for weeks but then I would get inspired and work on it for days, weeks, non-stop, sometimes 10-14 hours a day. So I guess it all evened out.  Whatever you do, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t write for a few days….you’ll make up for it with better, more relaxed creative writing.

Because I inherently ‘rush’, I found that I had to watch-dog myself and be careful not to leave out important roads of the story. I was in early proofing of the final product of my novel and realized (in a countless re-read) that I had never described my female negotiator’s physical appearance. (Yikes!).  Again, (if the writer tends to rush) go back and re-read your work to see where you need to flesh out a chapter or a character.

I am not structured at all. I write a new project in my head for days, weeks and then when my brain is about to burst I begin putting it down on paper. I also write out of sequence and I think that’s okay. My novel’s last chapter was completed months before the middle was written.

Some writers have actually written whole books while blogging; they found it less daunting by writing in segments. At the end they had a book.  If you need a deadline the days that you commit to writing a blog would serve.  For me this wouldn’t work;  I would feel too exposed having my rough draft out there for the world to see as I am a writer who slams it down the first time around and then edit, edit, delete, edit.  Did I mention that the lettering ‘D’ is worn off my ‘delete’ key?

Frequently I will begin a story that has inspired me, not knowing much about the subject. It has sometimes stopped me dead in my tracks while I researched (example: hostage negotiations).   I had 8 pages of a new play, about Winston Churchill, written and  had to stop to do research. I find that it can be done while I am writing and that is what I prefer. It’s more fun and keeps me interested. I don’t think I would do well having my research all done before I put my story down. I find that the research itself inspires my story line.

WRITE WITHOUT FEAR
EDIT WITHOUT MERCY

And then there is that unseen, unheard phenomenon where, with any luck, the characters take over and you become the typist.   This has happened to me time and again, and while I resisted at first (being a control-freak) I now embrace and welcome it.  In Women Outside the Walls my character Alma, at sixteen, is abandoned by her promiscuous mother.  Alma is befriended by the ex-girl friend of the man Alma had a teen crush on.  They end up being room mates.  I could never have dreamed that one up;  but my characters got together and decided that this was what they would to do.

I don’t think that there is a right or wrong way to go through the process. Each writer should be unique in how they work. Instead of thinking of it as a project/deadline ‘thing’; think of it as a work of art, created just for you and by you. Where possible, let the characters lead you. They will never steer you wrong!

well, there you have it…the process such as it is and how it works for me.   

(Originally published January, 2013.)

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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!     December: Lauren Willig, January: Madeline Hunter, February: Mike Lupica, March: Lee Matthew Goldberg, May: Jenny Colgan
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  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

 

 

 

 

A Little Poetry and Where It was Born

ferry landing, poetry, foggy night, blogs, writing,I was sitting, late one night, at a ferry landing, waiting and watching the boats ferry back and forth until it was my turn to board.  Fog horns, misty fog, reflections on the black water, the screech of the gulls, and the silent hunting of the pelicans.

The wet air, the silence, the sound of a lone fog horn warning vessels of danger.  The fog smearing everything I looked at… I was inspired  to write poetry.  But the scene could have inspired a murder mystery writer to write about a body, weighted down, being slipped into the water;  or it could have inspired a romance writer to write about two lovers parting as the boat docked.  Never to be together again.  For me, it was poetry.  Here is an excerpt of what came out of that black night……..

FOGGY NIGHT  © 

The white orb, saturated with tidal flows 

peers through the veil, 

a ghost ship slips up the fog laden channel

 Night gulls’ sing with strident cries 

fog seeps in, the tide rolls out, 

day is gone, the night creeps on

Trees, dressed in ebony, drift by 

water glistens, gold and wet 

Night is soft and tender, edges blurred 

damp seeps into cloth, hair, bone 

Fog casts tents of light over the landing 

Hunters of the sea know not day nor night 

Fishers all, white feathers stark 

against the night shadows 

Palm trees, silhouetted against the ochre gauze,

brushes hardened with black paint……

I raced home as I had nothing to write with in the car.  Opening my front door, I dropped my keys and purse onto a chair, tore off my coat as I sped down the hall to my studio.  Waking up my computer, my fingers flew across the key board, lest I forget the words that were born in the night.

To read more click here for the books, Butterflies and Bullets and Moths and Machetes
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!     December: Lauren Willig, January: Madeline Hunter, February: Mike Lupica, March: Lee Matthew Goldberg
To receive my weekly posts sign up for my 

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

 

 

 

How to be Certain a Director will NOT choose your Play

Recently I was invited to read and review a new collection of three plays. There was so much WRONG with the formatting and the lack of knowledge by the playwright that I couldn’t review it without tearing it all down and asking the playwright to begin anew. But there evolved a constructive critique that might help other new writers. 

Example back cover

Back cover should not be blank with a graphic design. Don’t waste this space.
1. Use this space as an opportunity to grab the buyer/director. List titles and short synopses of your plays. Count gender and following synopsis type this: 1m. 4f. (indicating one male and four females.
2. One line tags
3. A short bio of you

Pg1. First page: Title of play/s
Pg.2: Copyright notice
Pg 3:  list of play titles and Pg # they start on.

In the first few pages you should have a Contents (list) with the tile of each play and the page number it begins. Make it as easy as you can for the director to find the play and the list of characters Because this dictates whether the director can use your play or not depending on age of character and gender. Always keep in mind that men are harder to cast.

On whatever page a new play starts it should begin with the title and the list of characters.

Be certain, you as the playwright, understand what constitutes a full length play. a One Act play, and a Ten Minute Play.  If your plays are preachy and  esoteric it will be a hard sell to a director.

The end of a play is indicated with one word, centered: CURTAIN

Black out‘ and ‘End of Scene‘ are no longer used. The director will understand when a new scene begins. The next page demonstrates to the reader that a new scene is beginning. ‘Act’ and ‘Scene’ should be centered.

CHARACTERS names and blocking should be centered on page; NO underline.

If you find yourself writing a soliloquy or a monologue in a scene, break it up by having other characters insert dialogue in your speech. It then becomes less preachy and more dynamic.

Be certain YOU know the difference between a Ten Minute Play, a Full Length play (with two acts) and a One Act Play. The first act in a full length play is longer than the second act. Full length plays are about 100 pages/minutes. And no one ever uses an Act III unless your plays is over two hours or closer to 3 hours long. Also, a no-no. Remember the rule of thumb is one minute per page. This varies based on how ‘busy’ the blocking is as that takes time too. It is permissible that a 10 minute play might go over but never more than 18 to 20 minutes.

The first few pages of the book should be simple and convey the correct information. Keep it simple.  The title of your book  should be on the 1st page of your book. The next page [on the left] should be your copyright page. On the right should be your table of contents (centered)
Title with page numbers. (justified left)

On the page number of the play, the title should be on the 1st page. (odd numbered page, right side) the next page (odd numbered) should be the list of characters. The blocking and description of how the play should be produced does not need to be too detailed. Remember this is the job of the director to interpret the playwright’s Play.

Examples:
Link, How to Format a play: https://www.writeratplay.com/2018/01/15/how-to-format-your-self-published-stage-play/

When the formatting is not industry-standard, I have seen more than one director throw the book/script into the ’round file’.
Look at other scripts on line for guidance.  
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    November: Ella Quinn, December: Lauren Willig,
January: Madeline Hunter, February: Mike Lupica  March: Lee Matthew Goldberg
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One of those Days…. When There’s nothing to Talk about…

Not me, just thought it was funny. I don’t own pearls.

After eight years of blogging, I find myself with a day (today) that I really don’t have anything to say. It’s too early for March’s author interview. It’s a good one! I’ve run dry on tips for writers ….  except  ….  “Writing isn’t a calling, it’s a doing.”  That hasn’t and will never change.  So get busy. 

Lee Goldberg

I spent my morning running errands on the internet; some book buying, some banking, some talking to authors. Next week we will start with my Interview with Lee Matthew Goldberg, a sci-fi writer.  And, literally, a tree hugger.   >>>>

I’m currently adapting my stage play, Emma and the Aardvarks into a children’s illustrated chapter book.  I have discovered a wonderful illustrator in Brazil and this is the first of his work for the book. Wonderful, huh? 

Jobson Chagas

I’ll sign off for now. If you’re wondering how I feel about this ‘dry spell’; it doesn’t bother me in the least. I see it as a much needed resting period and I know that March will fire up with lots of good things including our chat with Lee.

Bye for now….see you next week!

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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    November: Ella Quinn, December: Lauren Willig, January: Madeline Hunter, February: Mike Lupica, March: Lee Matthew Goldberg
To receive my weekly posts sign up for my 

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