Thursday, November 22, 2007

Walking the Walk

So I got this email today from my screenwriting instructor: "Where's your 2nd draft???"

After a twinge of guilt, I realized that he was just teasing and the email was actually to inform me about the release of his film, "Walk All Over Me," on the weekend of December 7. I saw it at a gala screening during the Calgary International Film Festival, but I am definitely keen to see it again.

Now, I don't necessarily believe that someone needs to be a good writer themselves to be a good teacher of writing; it is possible to talk the talk without walking the walk. And I definitely don't believe that being a good writer automatically qualifies you to teach. But it sure is nice when the two go hand in hand. So I was thrilled to discover that my oh-so-talented screenwriting instructor is also a very talented writer. And I had, as Christine Lavin would say, A Proud Moment.


I was reminded of another Proud Moment that I had many years ago... I was a working student for a three-day event rider on the Canadian Equestrian Team. Whilst acting as her groom for one particular competition, I had a chance to watch part of the cross country course. It was a particularly nasty combination of jumps, starting with a solid fence in the middle of a water hazard followed immediately by a very imposing series of upward steps. Almost every horse refused the steps (assuming they made it past the water). The spectators got into a rhythm with their cheers: an encouraging "c'mon, C'mon, C'MON" as the horse and rider approached the steps, then a disappointed "awww" as they refused. When my rider appeared, the chant started anew: "c'mon, C'mon, C'MON"... then absolute silence as her horse cleared the steps effortlessly on their first approach. I still remember the incredible pride that I felt, wanting to point and proclaim loudly, "I'm with her." But I digress...

It might be too late to make a long story short, but I can at least wrap up the denouement quickly: "Walk All Over Me" opens on December 7, 2007. Go see it. You won't be sorry.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Writer's Strike

Do I support the writer's strike? Yes. Even though it means reruns and reality shows. Even though it's going to affect Battlestar Galactica (gulp). Why? Watch this video:

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

$100 Film Festival

Okay... so I said I was doing NaNoWriMo this year but I've been too busy. Check back in March to see if I manage to do NaNoEdMo. Why have I been so crazy busy? Because I'm on the $100 Film Festival committee and our Call for Submissions deadline is December 1, 2007. Between running the festival's MySpace site and contacting artists, as well as editing my own film submission, NaNo just had to take a back seat.

But all of this focus on film has led me to ponder the writer's strike. See next post...

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Thursday, November 1, 2007

NaNo Prep - Plot Cards

Originally posted 9.23.2004 on Limes with Orange

I know I said that I would start on the character sheets today but, as often happens, I have been distracted by shiny objects. The shiny object in this case is Holly Lisle's Fast Plotting technique.

As part of my attempt to "plot the plot" I've broken down my book into 30 chapters, partly because that's the number of days in novel writing month (aka November) and partly because that's the approximate number of chapters in the thriller that I just finished reading (Acid Row by Minette Walters... a compelling read, two thumbs up). So I'm planning on writing a chapter a day. I generally aim to write 2000 words a day, rather than the 1667 words that satisfies the "50,000 words / 30 days" equation; I like the luxurious feeling of a few extra words. If I anticipate 2 or 3 scenes per chapter, we're talking about something in the neighborhood of 750 words per scene. (Keep in mind, 50,000 words is far shorter than a finished novel. A NaNoWriMo "novel" is really a "half-draft" or a well padded outline. So I can either approach my breakdown ... plot, not nervous ... as having certain scenes omitted or as containing brief sketches of every scene. I'm opting for the latter. Otherwise, my scenes would average closer to 1500 words each.)

Total number of scenes = 67.


Now, using Holly Lisle's notecarding technique, I am going to write one line descriptions of scenes that I would like to include in the book. To give myself the option of tossing some scenes, I should come up with something like 75 scenes in total. Starting with the obvious "candy bar" scenes (the ones I'm itching to write, like the first spellcasting or the heroine's confrontation with the killer) and going from there. Once I have my 75 notecards, I can start putting them into some kind of order. And voila... I'll have a plot outline! (Gee, I make it sound so easy... now come the endless days of torment while I attempt to make this outline a reality.)

So off I go to buy index cards. And maybe I'll stop by the coffee shop on my way home and do some writing practice. (I can't do it at home because Emma, my youngest cat, tends to chase my pen... not very conducive to the writing effort.)

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Film Screenings

Coda in G Minor

July 22, 2009
CSIF presents ImagineNATIVE
The Plaza Theatre
1133 Kensington Rd. NW
7:00 p.m.
Calgary, AB

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Calgary, Canada

1 part shy intellectual, 1 part edgy chick, 1 part sophisticated woman, 1 part mental patient (after all, sanity is a type of conformity)... what's your mix?