Monthly Archives: September 2011

Hollywood calling…and waiting on the one

Taking the lead from our wordbitches friends, and given that fall is staring me in the face, I thought I would recap what I wrote this summer and set my goals for fall.

As for my writing summer, it all started with a phone call from Hollywood. A major studio was interested in a screenplay that I co-wrote. I can’t believe I just typed that. The script required a slew of revisions. So, we revised, we stressed, we cried, we screamed, we revised some more—then we resubmitted. This script (a psychological thriller) generated increased interest, particularly in other genre samples. So, we dusted another script off (this time, a sci-fi/comedy) and polished the hell out of it. Then, we were asked, “what else are you working on?” GULP. So, we resurrected yet another script (a mythological horror). Are you counting here? This is screenplay number three in the span of a month. Lesson: when pitching, always have at least three projects ready to pimp.

I can tell you that three’s a charm. The response from the studio was that’s “the one.” So, naturally, we revised some more. Lots more. And into the wee hours of every. single. night. My summer was a blur. We managed to turn a solid treatment into a polished, albeit draft, screenplay. The experience was excruciating and even unbearable at times, yet somehow gratifying beyond belief. This screenplay now sits in the hands of fate and we wonder if it has that x factor; will it be “the one?”  

While I was engaged in this process, I was also doing revisions with my agent in response to publisher feedback on a picture book (currently on submission). And again, I revise. And I wait. I’m almost certain my next flurry of revisions will be on my middle grade novel which is also ‘somewhere out there’ on submission. Lesson: fall in love with your characters because you will be spending a very long time with them.

Between revisions and more revisions, I also managed to paint an entire house, landscape @LoriDyan’s backyard, tend a vegetable garden, plant fifty trees, read three novels (not enough), contract a flu (followed by an eye infection), reno a kitchen, tremclad the house, build a shed with the hubs, attend Pilates each week, and let’s not forget—work full time.

I need a vacation from my summer. Hear that, universe?

On that note, I formulate my goals for fall as I do every year at this time.

Here goes:

1) Plan a fruitful and wordalicious writing retreat with the Restless Writers.

2) Review my MG novel (a hefty yet inevitable task). Oh, the revisions I’ll make!

3) Put a serious word-count-dent in my new YA novel.

4) Begin book 2 of a 3-book children’s picture book series. Book 1 was published in Spring, see it here.

 5) Promote Chicken Soup for the Soul: Oh Canada where my story, From Vile to Vegas appears, to be published this November.

6) Plan my Oscar speech? (okay, so a girl can dream)

What are your writing goals for Fall? Are you waiting on “the one?” 

BJas

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Filed under Getting published, Inspiration, Life and stuff, Motivation, Success stories

Burlington Public Library presents Publishing Boot Camp – Starting soon!

Military boots with camouflage pantsWriters in southern Ontario, take note! Burlington Public Library still has a few seats available for its Publishing Boot Camp, a six-week intensive program that will give you the momentum to finish—and publish—your first book.

The program is geared towards writers of all kinds: writers with a manuscript tucked away in the bottom drawer or an idea for a proposal; wordsmiths with an interest in writing and publishing as a career; and professionals who would benefit from publication. It’s for writers who are serious about taking steps towards publishing.

Each week’s session offers information, tools, guests speakers who are insiders to the publishing industry. The sessions cover a range of topics: from helping participants understand what type of writer they are, to an introduction to the publishing process, to deciding whether self-publishing is for you. Guest speakers include: a self-published author, a freelance editor, a published adult fiction author, a bookstore owner.

The instructors are:

  • Sharon McKay, a multi-award winning author of 25 books and a veteran of the newspaper, magazine, television and film industries.
  • Linda Pruessen, a publishing professional with 20 years of editing experience, most recently as editor-in-chief at Key Porter Books.

Publishing Boot Camp takes place every Tuesday, October 4 to November 8, 2011, from 7:00 to 8:30 pm at Burlington Central Library, 2331 New Street, Builders Room. The program costs $200/person (plus $35 optional materials kit), payable in advance at the library. Call 905-639-3611 ext. 1321 for more information or check out www.bpl.on.ca.

Can’t get to Burlington? Check out the resources and events for writers available at your local library.

Maria

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Filed under Getting published, News

Plan the Work and Work the Plan (unless you can’t, in which case…whatever)

This past summer was one of the best for me and my family, full of relaxing days at the lake and fun adventures. Aside from one great week in July, I took a holiday from working on my manuscripts. Like Trish over at Word Bitches, I looked forward to getting back to my work in September, once my kids were in school. I’m now a week into my plan and things are going…not great.

Last year my daughter was in school for two mornings a week and I worked part-time from home, yet I managed to crank out a decent number of words in those six hours. She’s now gone every morning—which frees up 20 hours a week—plus I was laid off in August. In theory I should be writing non-stop. The reality is very different. Here’s how the first week of school mornings has gone down:

Day One
I went straight from the school drop-off straight to the hairdresser, reasoning that the glare of my grey roots on my monitor was too blinding for me to focus on the screen. Bought groceries on the way home (the Serb someone scarfed all of the lunch treats).

Day Two
The Serb is self-employed and I’m his de facto secretary. He informed me that he would be going to Europe for business in two days, leaving me to book his hotel (sold out), flight (ditto) and car (“Can you get me a Mercedes for under $80 a day?”). I do this because making his trip go smoothly increases my chances of getting something other than airport Toblerone for a present.

Day Three
A friend visiting from Australia could only see me on this particular morning. There may have been maple-flavoured Timbits involved. What am I…made of stone?

Day Four/Five
Weekend. On my own with the kids. Didn’t have time to shower, let alone write.

Day Six
The morning was spent cleaning up the aftermath of having both kids home on a rainy weekend. In addition, I bought more groceries (see also: stress eating).

Day Seven
I received a call that kitchen countertops we ordered a month ago were in and that I needed to buy a new sink/faucet before installation could take place. The morning was wasted at Home Depot, where I stared at a wall of chrome for 90 minutes.

Day Eight
I confirmed with a contractor dude that counters would be installed the following day. Spent the morning emptying all kitchen cupboards, then returned the sink/faucet bought the day before in search of something less…chromey.

Day Nine
My husband will be home tonight and until then, I’m dealing with this all day:

Oh well, tomorrow is another day, right? RIGHT?!?!?

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New online community for Canadian writers: Canada Writes

Portrait of a woman using her laptopThe Restless Writers have been tipped off to a brand-spanking-new online community for writers. Canada Writes, which was launched by the CBC at the end of August, promises to be a useful kick in the pants for those of us who could use a little motivation.

Some features of Canada Writes include:

Literary Prizes: Formerly the CBC Literary Awards, the CBC Literary Prizes, in partnership with Canada Council for the Arts and enRoute magazine, are now made up of three separate competitions that take place throughout the year. The CBC Literary Prizes are now three separate competitions with three different deadlines:

  • Now open! Short Story (open September 1 – November 1)
  • Poetry (open December 1 – February 1)
  • Creative Nonfiction (open March 1 – May 1)

The First Prize winner in each category will win $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and publication in AirCanada’s enRoute magazine, as well as on the Canada Writes website. Four runner-ups will also be chosen and receive $1,000 each.

Challenges: I just missed the Autobiography Challenge (thereby missing the chance to win an iPad 2—boo). This challenge asked writers to come up with the title and back blurb of their autobiography. I loved the entry by Alexander McKinnon, DAMNED BAD BASTARD.

Features: Some of Canada’s top literary names will pen tips, essays and insights for Canada Writes’ readers. I loved Andrew Pyper’s article on why there is no such thing as writer’s block—great advice!

I’m looking forward to exploring more features to come, which I understand will include more challenges with prizes, online writing workshops, and interviews with writers from all genres. I hope you’ll check it out too.

Maria

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Filed under Motivation, News, Writing Contests, Writing resources