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Screenplay Into Novel - Will You Listen?

From the desk of Jeff Lyons (Story Geeks) . Along with the self-publishing revolution has come a series of “mini-revolts.” One of those involves a major shift in the traditional way novels have been adapted for the screen. Creative writers of every stripe are now searching for a way into the ever-growing ocean of print and e-books. Among them are screenwriters hoping to leverage a prose fan base in order to, ironically, get their original script ideas sold as movies or television programs. A Changing Industry Traditionally published novels have always been a lucrative source of literary properties for the entertainment industry. But in the last decade, more and more self-published books have joined the page-to-screen trend and are responsible for building some of the biggest entertainment franchises, supporting billions of dollars in global box office revenue [e.g., Amanda Brown’s Legally Blonde , E.L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey , Andy Weir’s The Martian ]. While this fits with
Recent posts

Thoughts on Pitching a Memoir to New York - A True Story

Several times a year I'll receive an email from a memoir writer wanting to know if attending one of our writer events is worth it. The answer is always a mixed bag depending on several factors; however, for purposes of meaningful sample, I've decided to include a recent response to a concerned memoir writer who inquired about the potential of the Write to Pitch Conference to sell her project.

How Not to Get Blacklisted by the Publishing Business

By Chris Stewart As someone who organizes readings and a large literary arts festival with workshops, author appearances, and exhibitors, I have developed a list of writers who I will not work with again. And rest assured, I’m not the only one who does this. Why? Because they didn’t follow directions. It’s that simple. Who's on it? Writers who acted like the organizer/staff were their personal assistant/manager.  Take note of the following ways to avoid this blacklist and be a true professional! KNOW YOUR OWN SCHEDULE Double booking is such a big no-no we can’t believe you’re not aware of this already yourself. Whatever you have to do to make sure you know the days you are already booked: DO IT. Back out of our event at the last minute because you “forgot” you already had a gig? You’re on the list. SEND THE REQUIRED INFORMATION It should be no surprise to you that we need your bio and right away—possibly a short one and a long one. We also need a hig

IMPORTANT: Coverage Checklist for Aspiring Authors

Note, MARKET VALUE FIRST... Listed below are a summation of "coverage" checkpoints utilized by various screenplay and novel ms readers in both Hollywood and New York. Not every publisher intern or assistant will necessarily employ all these categories (a mistake), however, they're a great checklist for you, the aspring author, to help ascertain whether or not you're meeting your goals for a successful commercial genre novel. MARKET VALUE: Originality, freshness - high concept Clear target readership? Hook Quality STRUCTURE:     Act Zero backstory development Exposition delivery Effective setup with inciting incident Plot line arc, and subplots (if appropriate) Well designed reversals (major and minor) Pinch points (at least two) Catalytic situation driven Conflict, tension, rising action, Every scene relevant (i.e., to driving plot forward) Effective, believable climax Resolution/Denouement CHARACTERS: Antagonist Quality and Role Consistent oppos

The Enlightenment of Tragedy - Dramatic Art Primer

Before the novel, there was drama... Ancient dramatists understood the requirements of a good tale, one in which willful human beings engaged in major conflict, the goal being to possess or achieve something of value. A designated character, by virtue of position and personality, became the antagonist, naturally defying the efforts of the protagonist, or hero, to overcome. This basic conflict scenario resurfaces again and again in a myriad of forms, not only in life, but in novels, short stories, and of course, film and television. What makes true dramatic conflict so universally effective is not only its ability to create tension, suspense, and powerful characters, but its unique method for portraying the need for value in human existence. Below we've created a drama primer with quotes ("European Theories of the Drama") from three important dramatists to illustrate the nature of the drama and it's overwhelming relevancy to novel writing discussion here at WE.

A Great Damp Loaf of Description - Experiments in Fictional Imagery

Prepared for appropriate frustration and tapped out fingers? Using our favorite "stand on the shoulders of the classics" approach, we're going to examine the role of detailed character description when it comes to enhancing prose narrative. We've touched on this previously with our High Impact Narrative article and a caboose of Enhancement via Nabokov , but we're not done yet. Let's look at various examples and techniques. A GREAT DAMP LOAF  From Annie Proulx's "The Shipping News":  "A great damp loaf of a body. At six he weighed eighty pounds. At sixteen he was buried under a casement of flesh. Head shaped like a crenshaw, no neck, reddish hair ruched back. Features as bunched as kissed fingertips. Eyes the color of plastic. The monstrous chin, a freakish shelf jutting from the lower face." Note that Proulx first makes a single statement of character impression before moving on to details, i.e., "A great damp loaf of a bo

OMG! Offended Writer Syndrome!

Have you ever been in writer workshops and reacted to criticism of your writing or story by demanding the other writer defend their decision in such detail that it served your purpose of making certain they never gave you unfavorable critique again? Hell hath no fury like a thin-skinned narcissist with a needy manuscript... But wait! Could you be one of them? In case you're not sure if your skin qualifies, Algonkian psychologists have developed a few skin test questions below. Feel free to respond honestly to yourself as you read each one. Everyone wishes to avoid time-wasting instances of Offended Writer Syndrome (OWS) that often takes place in writer workshops all across America. Even at this very moment! Now, time to take THE THIN SKIN TEST : Has any writer ever prefaced their critique of your work by first saying to you, "Don't hate me, please?" Do you sense that writers who unfavorably critique your work are "loa

The Author Dawn - Rise and Blink

What should be brewing in the mind of the aborning author right from the start? Let's Talk About Passion A few basic questions first. Why are you writing a novel? For reasons of ambition, ego? Well, why not? Most of us, in one way or another, tend the ego. We want recognition, validation, a chance to prove our ability to others and thereby rise above (careful... verging on narcissism). We may need to prove something to ourselves, or more simply, gain a degree of independence from an unsatisfactory mode of existence, the existential nausea of daily grind. We might require purpose, a desire to fill our lives with a mission, and what better way to achieve than by writing a novel? Then, of course, there is the pure need to create, the godlike urge shared by true artists... or perhaps your particular desire to write the novel results from some or all the above working in synergy.  Regardless, please consider your answers,  even before  the first steps  towards actua

Experiments in High Impact Narrative - Jerzy, Ralph, Italo, and Graves

Once more, the classics speak to us. What is one of the primary reasons novels get rejected? The narrative is too passive. It  ultimately falls flat, quiet and dull. Details are insufficient, metaphors lacking, lack of energy obvious, circumstances predictable (see also Narrative Enhancement via Nabokov ). So what to do? At WE we believe in learning from great authors whose shoulders we stand on. Therefore, we've developed a means of addressing this issue. We wish you to seek inspiration from the prose extractions below and utilize them for purposes of defeating passivity via emulation. In other words, you will intentionally choose and compose fictional subject matter for your novel that entertains, frightens, or enthralls the reader. And how? By creating a circumstance, place, thing, or event that is unique and curious  by virtue of its very nature . Let's engage in a few writing "prompts." You must prod the imagination and peel the onion. By the way, in the contex