Monday, January 27, 2014

Finished the First Draft of a Screenplay for The Rose Ring

Soon after The Rose Ring was published, I began working on a screenplay for it. I've wanted to try writing a screenplay for a while and I think this story would make a great movie for Hallmark or Lifetime or the Inspiration Channel.

I didn't have a whole lot of time to devote to it, but I worked on it here and there -writing mostly longhand in a composition book, changing things as needed, converting a written text to a visual medium, writing notes in my notebook like "do dialog from pages 154-155" where it didn't make any sense to rewrite the text. Tonight I finished typing it using the free software from Celtyx.

What have I learned so far? Even though this was a relatively short book, the screenplay needs to be shorter. My rough draft is 131 pages. I need to cut 30 pages. Each page equals about 1 minute of screen time and the average movie is between 90 - 100 minutes. I have lots to work on and condense! I also learned that I think visually (I kind of already knew that). When I write a story, I see it as a movie in my head, so it wasn't that difficult to convert my ideas to screenplay format. The process was a challenge, but I enjoyed it.

I don't know if anything will ever come from this project, but I'll keep working on it. Maybe The Rose Ring will make it to your TV screen or DVD. Wouldn't that be amazing?And in the meantime, if you'd like to buy the story and read it, I'd be so grateful!

Monday, January 20, 2014

In Praise of the Exclamation Point

When I wrote my first novel, Through the Open Window, a very kind reviewer pointed out to me that I used too many exclamation points - that they should be used rarely, if ever. It is advice I have seen repeated in other writing articles. When I wrote my second novel, The Rose Ring, I did try to take that advice to heart. Exclamation points are few and far between.

Despite this novel-writing law, I do feel that the much-aligned exclamation point serves a useful purpose and in my casual writing I use it all the time. After all, it exists for a reason. Exclamation Mark, a children's book by The New York Times Bestselling Team of Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld tells a fun story about this punctuation mark trying to find its way in the world. After all, he was different and didn't fit in among all those round dots better known as periods. It's not until he meets a very energetic question mark that he finds his voice. Then, he can't wait to share it with the world!

This is a great book for anyone who enjoys grammar, punctuation, writing, or is simply different and trying to figure out where he or she fits in.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

An Evening with Brendan Koerner, author of "The Skies Belong to Us"

Last night, I was sitting in my usual spot, working, at the local acting school, waiting for son #1 as he had play practice. Son #2, age eleven, had just finished with his practice and was reading a book. An acquaintance of mine, another drama school mom, happened to be hosting a book club that evening and had received permission to take advantage of the theater. She told me that they were hosting an author and kindly invited both my son and I to attend. I jumped at the opportunity, and surprisingly enough, so did my son.

We headed upstairs and were treated to a wonderful presentation by Brendan I. Koerner, author of The Skies Belong to Us: Love and Terror in the Golden Age of Hijacking, a New York Times Book Review Notable Book and  Boston Globe Top Nonfiction Book of 2013. Apparently, there was a time in the late 60s and early 70s in which hijacking was almost an everyday occurrence. Koerner has spent much of the last four years of his life researching this phenomenon, especially focusing on one young couple - Roger Holder and Cathy Kirkow who became infamous for their hijacking of Western Airlines Flight 701. It made for a fascinating history lesson on a topic I knew nothing about. My son enjoyed it as well.

Thank you, Mr. Koerner, for traveling to Springfield from New York and providing a small group of book lovers and history buffs with a great, informative, evening!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Books Have More than One Story to Tell

One of my simple pleasures in life is reading Victoria Magazine. I've loved it since I was a teenager and my best friend is kind enough to renew my subscription for me each year as a birthday present. Each year they feature a different writer-in-residence and artist-in-residence. This year's writer-in-residence is Rebecca Rego Barry who has B.A. in English and Magazine Journalism and an M.A. in Book History. (I truly never even knew that was an actual area of study - definitely being added to the list of things I would do if I had unlimited time and money.)

In her inaugural article for the magazine she writes about her personal library of over 1000 books. She shares not only about the books, but also about the memory attached to the books. As she writes, "Each selection has a story to tell, and not just the one printed inside. I treasure them all."

I can definitely relate to that. Certain books conjure up definite memories of where I was when I was reading them, much as certain songs will take one back to an exact moment of time. Some books are old friends from childhood. Others are special gifts that were given to me. Still others were picked up off library shelves, read, and returned, and no less loved for that fact. A story often has more than one story to tell and I am incredibly thankful for that, and for the writers who make that magic possible.