Another poorly-grammatical update!

ImageHey folks, sorry to keep you all waiting, especially those of you who come back to check and keep up with me (thank you!). I am currently in the midst of finalizing and preparing my scripts to put out this year and with the combination of family responsibilities (non-stop guests and my two daughters on their break and bored), a new writer’s group I joined with wonderful writers I am excited about, along with my almost-one-year old Bichon-poo who I strongly suspect may have Pica (God, either that or he needs even more walking, he’s always chewing something – I have lost markers, glue sticks, underwear, stapler, you name it – oh wait! And an ink cartridge three days ago, his legs went all red and I had to scrub him!) it’s been one heck of a grind this month. Hopefully if all goes well, writing-wise, I would like to finally, after years and years of dreaming, whining, nail-biting and endless crumpled drafts,  put them in contests and things like every other screenwriter-hopeful on the planet.  

Are they ready now? I have two scripts that are getting there. This time, though, unlike previous times, I am trying to use all those contest deadlines to just get them over and done with… especially seeing and reading the amazing scripts that are being sold out there since, well God-knows when! It’s just time to let my babies go… or at least before someone else has the same idea and beats me to it (I think other writers here can relate to that one)!

Anyway, I am currently writing, waiting and compiling feedback to incorporate into those two scripts before I send them out! Hopefully I will return with something better than my updates soon. Till then, please pray for me or wish me luck, whichever! I hope you are all having a fruitful week!

If it behooves you, would love to know what the rest of you are up to.

What are you writing these days? 

How is your current writing going? 

After all, we share cyberspace together! Let me know!

I AM STILL ALIVE!

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Hi everyone, thanks for stopping by and continuing to visit my blog! I am in the process of winding down projects at the moment to keep up with my lofty new year’s resolutions, (hence the lack of posts)but should be back with something more substantial next week on where I am at as well as any other interesting writing thoughts that come my way.

All things considered, this is the longest period I have actually been away from the blog since I first started… but it’s all for a good cause and it’s encouraging to know that you all still check!  Anyhow, keep writing and look forward to connecting with you all through the blogosphere next week hopefully!

Screenwriting Review of ‘Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ and Update!

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Hey everybody! Been busy writing a lot since I want to try and wrap a few more drafts before the end of the year (in other words going to have sporadic absences but I am around – just not posting as much!) Also in-between all that managed to watch ‘Catching Fire’ last night!

From a screenwriting point-of-view, nonstop heart pounding conflict, a great ensemble cast and a solid story made this adaptation far better than the book… not to mention I will always like ‘Movie’ Katniss more than ‘Book’ Katniss. My only gripe was not enough interactions between K and Peet (WHY NOT? Aren’t they the twi-hard generation couple in this franchise? Waay better than the BEJ love triangle…if you are not sure what BEJ is, here’s a hint: it’s another famous book-movie franchise we are all too familiar with)

Not much spoilers to give really – except in my humble non-expert opinion, it was a much more imaginative, improved version of the book. If I were writing a book and getting it made, these are the guys I would be honoured to work with. Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire) and Michael Arndt (Toystory 3, Little Miss Sunshine and formerly Star-wars reboot fame) are two screenwriters at the top of their game – Lionsgate certainly hired well! You can’t expect anything but the best from them.

Structurally flowed very well – no sleepy moment perhaps because ‘Catnip’ suffers throughout  – and any other actress would have made it obscene and want us to strangle her and put her on a lion’s dinner plate with all that whining, but Jennifer Lawrence pulls it all off with incredible grace and acting chops!  Not bad for an oscar winner and an all-around cool person!

I have a couple of fantasy stories I am working on right now and as a writer, once you fall in love with your characters, it’s hard sometimes to think about what would happen if you actually managed to pull off a production deal for your babies, especially when you think of all the misnomers and bad casting choices made by box-office-hungry studios in the past (a writer CAN fantasize, can’t they?)

That said, Suzanne Collins really lucked out! What’s better for an author than to have her books not only made into movies – but some of the better if not best book-movie adaptations currently out? While the books have their charm, no doubt, it’s incredibly gratifying to see how well the movies are turning out. Not to mention the incredible art direction and the costumes (Katniss as the ‘Mockingjay’! I almost peed!) Seriously awesome! Also accolades to Philip Seymour Hoffman for his wittily-engaging turn as ‘Plutarch’, the always flawless Stanley Tucci and Josh Hutcherson’s incredibly likeable and engaging turn as attractor Peeta Melark. Another great surprise was Jenna Malone’s turn as Joanna, Katniss’ prickly ally – totally nailed the bitchy-complicated factor!

Either way, if you are debating watching it – even if you are not a fan of Hunger games, you gotta like this movie for its incredible production value! I came home afterwards all jazzed and inspired (and need I say – proud! High-five Simon and Michael! Fan adaptations are a pain and you killed it!!!)

In other less exciting news, two days ago, Toronto had its first snow,  so looks like a nice white Christmas ahead! I should be returning with a post or two in the next two weeks! Till then, feel to browse and look through my journal of entries or just catch up with me anytime in comments! Seriously if you are reading, just write and say ‘hi!’ Blogging can get lonely so hearing from the other end even if it’s just typing two words or saying ‘You know NOTHING – you SUCCKKKKKK!’, always a pleasure to make your acquaintance;)!

Will be back early next week!

Would love to say I know when I can and cannot post in advance but since I don’t (and here’s the usual kids, busy writing schedule, not-always-perfect time-management excuse) hoping to be back Monday with more posts including part four of the ‘Before your first Draft‘ series,  and maybe another piece on – what else? ‘The Art of Time Management’ and something more as it comes to mind. Till then, enjoy your weekend (it’s chilly in Toronto) and see you all Monday!

Before Your First Draft – Part 3 – Biographies

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Here’s where we are so far with this series:

What you should know before you write – the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ of prep

Part 1 – Logline

Part 2 – Brainstorming and Research

In terms of the several steps before writing a first draft,  one of my most favorite things before writing any story is establishing my hero’s backstory: getting to get to know my main character. An ‘imaginary friend’ that, once conceived, would remain with me forever. Or at least the period of time it takes to write his story –  a few months, six months, a year and so on.  Sometimes, more than the protagonist biography, I get more excited about my antagonist but the point is: a story, in my opinion cannot fully function and be written well without characters you LOVE to drive it. Regarding how to write these, I usually write them in short story/treatment form starting with the very basic details. (A quick note: you can also go point-form, ask interview questions or combine all three methods, whatever it takes to dig into your characters)

So, without further ado, here are some pointers on writing your hero’s biography. These can also be used for other characters:

• Start right from the the time they are born – or before, as far back as you can go (if they are not human, the start of their lives). Depending on the character, I also like to do this in first-person, like you are reading their diary entry. Include details of their parentage, where or how they were born, relationships with their families.

• Establish what their core is. For example (hypothetically),  ‘Mr. Lickety Split is a poor ice cream maker in love with the richest girl in town.’ Conceiving a good logline also helps you here in terms of figuring out the rough direction you want your character to go.

• Establish the character’s ‘want’ and ‘need’. What a character wants when the story starts, what a character actually needs by the end (Mr Lickety Split wants the rich girl, what he needs is to be secure with himself and find someone who loves him for who he is).

• Go where your character takes you. However if you find yourself getting a bit lost in the details, focus on the most important pieces of their lives (happiest, saddest, most influential moments).

• Establish why the story happens to the specific character at this particular time (so in Mr. Lickety Split’s case, when the story starts, he is a high school junior whose motivation to make some summer money is so he can afford to take the rich girl out on dates)

• Establish their emotional, psychological landscape: who they are, their best and worst traits, what they like/dislike, why they feel and experience things the particular way they do when the story starts. I tend to focus on their temperaments and general emotional state when they encounter people and situations.  Figuring out the protagonists’ insecurities also helps me form the conflicts that he encounters on his own as well as with the nemesis (who represents my protagonist’s insecurities).

• The range of this biography can go all the way from before they are born to just the beginning of story, and further if needed.

• Speaking of conflicts and insecurities, zone in on these.

The more details you can muster on all your characters, the better. However, considering I do have a time limit and  don’t want to take forever doing these, the ones I stick to are the main ones – always the protagonist, nemesis, mentor and love interest (if there is one). Depending on the need as I go along, I also put together mini-bios for the parents, families, friends and any other new character that crop up. Go Into Your Story has a great section and tips on some of these steps as well. I encourage you to visit it.

Hope you are enjoying the trip so far. Next week: the Treatment.

Update on Posting Schedule!

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Hey everyone, just a quick update: I am currently in the middle of outlining another project and drafting another one and when I am not doing those… enriching my imagination by watching Digimon  on Netflix with my sis (I know, pretty sad excuse but my sis is a terrible influence and here’s another confession: despite not being a huge Anime fan,  I LOVE Digimon and Airbender! Metal Greymon and Angemon are so bad ass! And the theme song is SO totally stuck in my head…damn.).

Anyway, I should return with new posts including the continuation of the ‘Before the First Draft’ series  and some other fun, sporadic thoughts starting Monday!

For all the readers out there, thanks again for following the blog and taking the time to read my two cents – not to mention, sharing your thoughts!