November 17, 2011

Pitch Your Main Character in a Character Driven Plot

                              Pitch your Character in every way and everything you do!
           What kind of advice is that you ask? Writers Pitch Stories. Well....should they?

      I'm a character development girl scribe, and if I give my main character a mission it always seems
to workout for me. That's why I pitch character in everything I write more than plot.
        For sometime now I have essayed you out with the need to build strong, main, characters to
move the story and the plot along, because I knew it worked. I put more emphasis on strong characters with issues, than I ever put on plot. No matter how intriguing it is, the plot thickens, because the character has been constructed in a way that sends him or her in a direction to act out or perform great action or moves against many different Obstacles - or just ONE. Plot can't do that without a great character.
       Characters with issues aka characters in conflict,  works, because the issues or conflicts
compound on top of one another until.....somethings got to give. Pow!... Zap!

     An EXAMPLE of this is the movie : PREDATOR. Both the Predator and (Arnold's) military
commando character were strongly developed beings, and if one of them were weaker than the other or did not fight back  as severely and cunningly as the other - the story would have fizzled out somewhere in the middle.  In fact, it was the strong personality of the Predator that turned the Commando character into a Strategically, Formidable, Human Machine. Even the supporting characters had to be mentally, physically and emotionally fit in their roles. The moment they floundered they died.
       That is considered "great drama, folks - commercially and financially dramatic
fodder.  Characters with great drama are commercially appealing to most, if not all viewers or readers. They can be the most boring people in the world at first (3 pages or less), but when you give them an obstacle they must address, overcome, or overturn, then they Transform into super heroes or super villains. Most, if not all successful, super heroes, or comic characters, that writers embrace are greater or better than their plot. Why?
       Because the reader always wants to know more about an intriguing character - her/his hang ups,
 and redeeming qualities. His/her history - if you will- so that they can identify with them in some way on some level.They'll also want to watch that character perform, again...and again.
     I do not, believe that the reader always has to like or even root for your main character to keep on reading.That said, let me not be remiss in mentioning the need for a good story line or plot. Plot- matters-too. The plot is needed in order for the book or manuscript to culminate  into what is known as a Blockbuster hit. You know the movie, Basic Instinct looks boring until you slowly watch these characters being revealed. Then you see this web of interconnections, and how they  relate to each. Awesome...what is revealed is awesome! The Characters plotting their course, not one but many.
       Be it screenplay, novel or theatrical play. Just remember to develop and grow your character to
 the max, because if you take the time to know him or her inside-out,  it will surely work out well for
you and the readers of your works. Who knows, someday you might be known for your Blockbuster novel, play or screen write.

* I recently attended a workshop of writer Jake Kruger in New York. He's an acclaimed award winner for "Little Miss Sunshine," and he is a great proponent of Character Driven Manuscripts and 7 Act manuscripts with a beginning, middle and end.
 What is the diff. between an act and a scene?

* Next week I will attend a workshop on Concepts which is plot driven, and I will Tattle Tell scoop....what the skinny is on that POV -  also by a renowned teacher at NYU and scriptwriter; award winner.
In the meantime and in between time stay true to your character's development in harmony
with the plot:  

The Tattle Tells - writestuff-writenow.
Toni McKain

Book Reviewer Disclaimer: Writestuff-writenow.blogspot.com receives books free or in a downloaded PDF format-for the express purpose of providing a book review at no charge. The opinions expressed in book reviews are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the (FTC) Federal Trade Commission, 16 CFR, part 255. WriteStuff-WriteNow Antoinette "Toni" McKain. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2010-2011 A division of GACM Inc.

October 17, 2011

The Seventh Eclipse Of Evie Eversoule, Chapter I

Character Development and The 7th Eclipse of Evie Eversoule, Chapter I. Read it at
www.kidsmartbooks.blogspot.com/.


      Moving the character and the plot forward. 
      I'm happy to announce that the first draft was not as tedious as I thought. I had a clear picture in my mind of this girl characters measurements - which was the easy part. She was a seven. What I didn't have clear in my mind was how to explain or expose the different parts of her that made up the character in the title and also keep it light and amusing at the same time. Then it hit me - wham-o! Let Evie tell you what matters to her by giving a dramatic display of how important it is to continue to wear a size seven shoe, through sheer will, for the rest of her life.
     Evie displayes sheer will in the kitchen in front of an audience. She dramatically orders her feet to never grow again or at least not past a size seven and a half. In fact, the only thing Evie doesn't mind growing are her breasts. They are the size of lemons, and she wouldn't mind them growing to the ripe
old age of grapefruits. Humor helps and so does wishful thinking.
       Next, I introduced 3 supporting characters. Evie's sister, Simone, her grandmother (aka)
Gran Muffin, and her second BFF, Tossy Wortham - in that order. I gave you a hint into their character development through their words and actions. Subtle tension between Evie's sister Simone and her,
feisty, Gran Muffin was revealed through show and tell. The cause of the tension is a back story that is kept hidden for now- while I flesh it out - mystery.
     Tossy Wortham  is somewhat of a humorous character with an affliction that is presented when
 you first meet, her. I didn't fail to mention the source of her medical woes. Keeping it real! You can here the stuffy, swollen, nasal passages and imagine and feel the miserable condition of her red, sore, overblown nose. Only the nose knows how bad it really is. Tossy will even consider letting Evie touch it - for a cure.

      The Seventh Eclipse of Evie Eversoule is a middle grade, YA, adult  romantic, mystery- thriller - a graphic novella with religious overtones. Read the descriptive prologue and look at the developing on going graphics. The romance is fleeting, because it's an adolescent girl who is not fully aware of her surroundings, and the undesirables lurking there. Nor is she fully aware of her God given gift that is beyond what is normal.
      Chapter II is subtitled "Space Cadet".
The Setting is a city called Faith and a middle school there. I'm working on how it shapes up - different yet familiar-  "The Shape of Things To Come" is the subtitle of Chapter III and the longest -  I think.

Toni McKain


Book Reviewer Disclaimer: Writestuff-writenow.blogspot.com receives books free or in a downloaded PDF format-for the express purpose of providing a book review at no charge. The opinions expressed in book reviews are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the (FTC) Federal Trade Commission, 16 CFR, part 255. WriteStuff-WriteNow Antoinette "Toni" McKain. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2010-2011 A division of GACM Inc.

September 20, 2011

Developing Characters In "The Seventh Eclipse Of Evie Eversoul"

Greetings, I'm back!

       In line with the WS-WN blog on the writing life (and all it entails), and these essays, I wanted to continue focusing on Character Development.
       Follow along with me as I further develope an old project of mine titled: "The Seventh Eclipse of Evie Eversoul". The Original title in 2002 was "Eclipse" which had nothing to do with Vampires. But after a
while I decided to add a different slant and dimension...the number 7.

Eclipse: To hide, to conceal, to cover up, to block, to cast a shadow on,  or make disappear. Eclipse is
one of those hidden words that can easly lead to sorcery or mayhem, (wicked spirits are powerful) and it
implies conflict, deception and intrigue.



      In the Bible book of Revelation, the number 7 represents the Seven Seals  that are to be Revealed.
 Seven is also the number of times Jesus told his desciples to forgive a sin or slight against
 them. 'You must forgive one another seven times seven,' He told them.
Wicked spirits are powerful, and manipulative so how can a mere human - not to mention she's a
 twelve y/o - protagonist named Evie Eversoul defend herself against seven wicked assaults and them.

                                                     THE SEVENTH ECLIPSE OF EVIE EVERSOUL

                                                                 
Genre:
Fiction, mystery, thriller
Middle Grade-YA-Adult

Character Development (cont'd)
   First I will describe Evie Eversoul as she develops in the story.
  • A young black female with large dk. brown, marble eyes and moderately full lips. Her brows are   thick and wide. She resembles her father more than her mother at this age.
  • She wears a size seven shoe, a size seven dress and  she was born on July 7, 2000. (original date of seed story).
  • She is not a Christian yet tries to treat others with respect. She doesn't see herself  as a crowd pleaser.
  •  Strong-willed, Evie prides herself on defending the weak or those who appear to be the under dog.
  • She is fiercely loyal to a fault. and if betrayed not very forgiving.
  • She is not boy crazy, but she likes attention from males and is shy about dating - especially if she really...really likes the boy.
  • She favors her Gran Muffin to her mother, because...
  • She made 7 A's on her last report card before graduating from elementary school.
  • Nickname is "The Ripper", fair in home economics in school, her sewing teacher Mrs. Urcart, says   she tries harder, so she got an A for effort in her freshman year in junior high.
  • Aspirations: Cheerleader, school band, homeroom class president, doctor.lawyer, indian chief.
    * Each week I will give clues and bits and pieces of other characters on the road of character development in a work of fiction. Next week, the Logline and an excerpt from the prologue.
    
     Some say if you  know your protag well enough, then you can just about predict what they'll do.
 Not the case with Evie Eversoul- not until she tells me. Will she fold or will she hold under pressure
and conflict from sources who have powers leaps and bounds over hers - they think?
So, follow along at our KidSmart website and find out as we introduce 7 chapters of the junior novel,
"The Seventh Eclipse of Evie Eversoul", aka "The Ripper". www.kidsmartbooks.blogspot.com/.

Antoinette "Toni" McKain

Book Reviewer Disclaimer: Writestuff-writenow.blogspot.com receives books free or in a downloaded PDF format-for the express purpose of providing a book review at no charge. The opinions expressed in book reviews are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the (FTC) Federal Trade Commission,
 16 CFR, part 255. WriteStuff-WriteNow Antoinette "Toni" McKain. All Rights Reserved. Copyright
2010-2011 A division of GACM Inc..

July 29, 2011

GIVEAWAY@FAB REVIEWS WRITESTUFF-WRITENOW:THE TATTLE TELLS

Today and until August 8, 2011 @FAB Reviews (Five Alarm Book Reviews) enter to win. @FAB is offering free Ad space for thirty days to two websites. Advertisement space giveaway. Check it out!

Speech Matters, AKA Dialogue and so do actions in Character Development.

      Well readers, writers, and publishers what are you? Are you auditory or visually dominant?
Most people are visually dominant from what I'm hearing. So that means the authors of books, plays, screenplays and poetry need to speak the language according to their target audience.But not too much speech at the expense of showing, right?
So what needs to be done? 
Answer: Your main character(s) or protagonist must draw readers in by using the correct speech.
     Character development, again. Can't say enough about it.
 Is your main character(s) up for the challenge? Better find out. The first thing you need to do is ask him/her. That's right...ask them. Where ever they are find them and conduct an interview. You need to see if they hear, see, and understand the job requirements. If they can't meet the requirements, then fire them as the main character(s) and find another one. 
The following are some questions you might want to ask you main character(s).
  • Exactly what are you trying to say to the reader to get their attention and get them on your side?
  • What is the problem you're having or what goal are you aiming for?
  • What do you plan to do to drive the stories plot and theme along as you solve your problem or reach your goal?
  • Who else will you contact to help get the job done or the story told.
  •  Why'd you pick them?
  • Does your problem or will your problem make sense to a reader who is ten years old/or         what age group do you plan to speak to?
  • What are you willing to do if your first plan doesn't work out -Plan B?
  • What do you look like? Will your looks help or hinder the problem?
  • What's your dominant language. Do you speak a lot or are you an action person?
  • Speaking of theme, what's the premise, moral of the story you're trying to convey?
There you are. Just a few major questions that your main character or protagonist needs to answer to get the job.

SIT (stay in touch)
Antoinette "Toni" Mckain

*Don't forget @FAB's  free advertising giveaway.

Book Reviewer Disclaimer: Writestuff-writenow.blogspot.com receives books free or in a downloaded PDF format-for the express purpose of providing a book review at no charge. The opinions expressed in book reviews are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the (FTC) Federal Trade Commission, 16 CFR, part 255. WriteStuff-WriteNow Antoinette "Toni" McKain. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2010-2011 A division of GACM Inc.

July 19, 2011

NO SPEAK-A- DE- LANGUAGE: SOME PEOPLE HEAR WHAT YOU SEE.

    Does that sound right? Don't worry it will. By the way, did you hear what I said, or did you see what I said? Another way of putting it is, do you see what I mean or see it that way....or do you
 hear it the way I meant it?
Still doesn't sound right or is confusing? Okay then, did you get the picture... I was trying to paint or convey(say)?

 Let's wait and see how you feel when I'm done. After you hear everything I have to say. Tell me if you see my pov or hear my pov. *Comments really help. POV (point of view)

The words I just emphasized, see, hear, and feel are the basic personality traits of your protagonist's development - the protagonist as well as his/her closest supporting characters. All your characters
 will possess all three ( senses) but one of the senses will dominate his/her personality more than the other two. In most cases it will be seeing or hearing. 
  That is your character's language and the dialogue that makes them unique. Your visual character will use visual discourse or words. Example: "My, doesn't the sun look brighter today? I can see the light rays piercing the sky."
 If they are auditory, they will say:
    "Yes, I guess so, but just listen to those birds chirping away. Their so-o loud and noisy."
 The visual character will reply, "Really, I don't hear them all that much. But, did you notice how hot the sun feels, and how velvety those irises look in that flower bed.
 "What flower bed?" asks the auditory one. "Oh, yea, nice."
  • S/he is a hearer of the words or a see (er) of the words.
  • S/he is visual or auditory. So how do these two character/personalities communicate on the page you ask, if they speak different languages. "Viva La Difference, Baby"
   That's the beauty of it...character development, I mean.  
Answer: They learn to speak the other ones language in order to draw them out, ( writing senses dialogue). The best example of
this and a movie just about everyone loved (who saw it) is "Pretty Woman".
    Vivian was the hearer and Eddie, sorry, Edward, was the see (er). Did you notice? Remember the safety pin holding up her boot? Edward saw that safety pin at night, in a darkened car. He took
her in all in one glance. Key to Edward's personality - appearances matter - like a seeing eye dog. Supporting that theory is the
over-the-top shopping spree she went on for two days at his expense.

Confirm character development by showing not telling.

     I am hearing dominant. I can hear" a cat pissing on cotton".  So, I had to literally teach myself to see in order to write well, That's when I started drawing. I took a six week class in comic-cartooning at community college. Basically stick figures  at first, and I progressed to average illustrations with some help from photoshop, and now I am animating.
     It's been a little over five years or more, before I added animator/ illustrator to my repertoire. It's getting better every time I draw something, but most importantly it taught me how to see.

This works for novels as well as screenwrites, and screenplays.
Take care, minding your own business.

Antoinette "Toni" Mckain

Book Reviews Disclaimer:
Writestuff-writenow.blogspot.com receives a copy of a book free - in a downloaded PDF format-for the express purpose of providing an adult fiction book review without charge. The opinions expressed on book reviews are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the (FTC) Federal Trade Commission, 16 CFR, part 255. WriteStuff-WriteNow byAntoinette"Toni"McKain. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2010-2011 A division of GACM Inc.

July 06, 2011

Bloggers and Book Reviewers Beware!

July 1 2011

Governor Jerry Brown passes a law to ban Amazon's Affiliate Program in California.

*To the people involved in this scam, two words: F/U (Follow Ups) There will be Follow Ups for those who don't understand how it works.
The details are forth coming.

From the desk of the Tattle Tells, we' have just uncovered the latest Snoop-Scoop Scam on Blogger/blog spot.com/. We have tried in vain to contact the folks at Blogger, but to no avail. They have no number  and their forum consist of FAQs and  Discussion forums  that lead no where. I reckon that's why they are free.
       It seems that the number of blog spot addresses has increased tremendously over the past two months. Bookblogs.ning.com alone has seen an increase in it's membership to over 7,000 members. The majority of these new members (last-two to three months) may not be(probably not) most likely aren't- actual authors, writers or bloggers or even book reviewers. They are, in fact a group of individuals involved in a scam with Amazon's affiliate program..They are loan sharks basically, who   turn unknown authors into best selling authors with the click of a mouse, a credit card and loan sharking. Their so Altruistic that they don't even take credit for the unsavory deed, THEY BLAME IT ON SOMEONE ELSE - OR THE NICE WAY OF PUTTING IT IS: THEY GIVE ALL THE CREDIT TO SOME UNKNOWN SAP. Even the sap doesn't know.More about that later.

I SAID MAFIA RIGHT, WHICH MEANS:organized, UNDERCOVER,  hidden; sneaky. ACTS THAT INFLICT PAIN ON OTHER PEOPLES WALLETS. NOT TO MENTION THE AUTHORS.
In fact, the situation is so bad, that Governor Jerry Brown, I wonder if that guy still sleeps on a mattress on the floor? Anyways, he just passed a law in the state of California banning the use of affiliate programs with Amazon.com.  Hint! Hint! Authors
IF YOU ALL OF A SUDDEN BECOME A BEST SELLING AUTHOR OF EBOOKS, OUT OF THE BLUE... OVER NIGHT...BEWARE!
Here's what the Tattle Tells has uncovered. The scam originated with an Irish mafia bunch in the state of  MA and has spread from there to as far as Alabama in the South, Texas, PA, NY, NJ, Hey! everywhere- RUSSIA.  If you have a blogspot address and someone is messing with your posts from behind the scenes, or your followers can access your post from behind the scenes, guess what, it's Sabotage. There Here!

This is so important we plan to illustrate it on the Tattle Tells page at www.tattletells.blogspot.com/. More to come on the latest book scams online and off., and the folks setting them into motion. Keywords: AFFILIATE....RECRUITERS...SCAM...hierarchy. Cyber hacking and call forwarding 

Take Care,
Heda Harper

Tattle Tells.blogspot.com receives books free - in a downloadable PDF format-for the express purpose of providing a book review. The opinions expressed are the book reviewers. The disclosure is in accordance with the (FTC) Federal Trade Commission, 16 CFR, part 255. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2010-2011 A division of GACM Inc. Antoinette McKain, resident agent; CCO.

June 26, 2011

Book Reviewer Sibel Hodge's, Book Of The Month: "Be Careful What You Ask For" By Sibel Hodge

I invited Book Reviewer, Sibel Hodge, to review her newest novel  BE CAREFUL WHAT
YOU ASK FOR .  This is what she came up with.  It's Fabulous!

For fans of Janet Evanovich, Kate Johnson; Gemma Halliday...

 Armed with cool sarcasm and uncontrollable hair, feisty insurance investigator Amber
 Fox is back in a new mystery, combining murder and mayhem with romance and
chick lit...

CLUES:
Three deaths.
A safety deposit box robbery.
The boxing heavyweight champion of the world.

 Somehow, they're all related, and Amber has to solve a four year old crime to find out
why. As she stumbles across a trail of dead bodies and a web of lies spanning both
sides of the social divide, its starting to get personal. Someone thinks Amber is poking
her nose in where it's not wanted, sparking off a game of fox and mouse - only this time,
Amber's the mouse.
Amber's forced to take refuge in the home of her ex-fiance, and now it's not just the case
that's heating up. So is the bedroom...
  •  All Levi Carter wanted to be was the boxing heavyweight champion of the world, but
           at what cost.
  • All Carl Thomas wanted to be was rich, but would that be his downfall.
  • All Brad Beckett wants is to get Amber back, but there's a reason for the ex word.
Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it...

Bio:
     Sibel Hodge, the  Book Reviewer, has dual British/Turkish Cypriot nationality. She
 is a qualified personal trainer, sports and massage therapist, and writes freelance feature
articles on health, fitness, and various lifestyle subjects. Her first novel, Fourteen Days Later
 was short listed for the Harry Bowling Prize, in 2008, and received a highly commented
 Yeovil Literary Prize in 2009.
 Her second novel the Fashion Police was a runner up Chapter One Promotion Novel
 in a Competition in 2010.

Be Careful What You Wish For is the second book in the Amber Fox Series.

Be Careful What You Wish For  is a screwball comedy - mystery!

website  www.sibelhodge.com/   Follow at  http://twitter.com/sibelhodge

Other Reviews:
"Warning, I don't do the book justice, go read it for yourself, it's worth it! Left me
speechless.Love the character, storyline, everything."  Jagged Edge Review

I was hooked on this book from beginning to end. This is a very well written book, with humor
and romance.  Geeky Girl Books

When I become a Great Book Reviewer I want to express my views like Sibel Hodge!
Enjoy your Summer Reads.

Take Care,
Max Nightjar

Writestuff-writenow.blogspot.com received a copy of this book free - in a downloaded PDF
format-for the express purpose of providing a book review. In accordance with the (FTC)
Federal Trade Commission, 16 CFR, part 255. WriteStuff-WriteNow by Max Nightjar/A. McKain.
 All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2010-2011.  GACM Inc.

June 17, 2011

Book Reviewer Stacey Donaldson's Book of The Month, Nick Of Time by Tim Downs

Renowned Book Reviewer and author Stacey Donaldson's Book of the Month by Tim Downs is titled
NICK OF TIME.
The genre is Fiction-Mystery. Nick Of  Time is part of the "Bug Man Series."

      If you're even the slightest bit bug curious (or not), if a game of cat and mouse peaks your interest and curiosity, or if you just need a little mystery in your life - Nick Of Time might be the book for you.

     Dr. Nick Polchak is a quirky know it all who happens to be a bug expert. A forensics entomologist to be exact. Just days before the "bug man" is to be married, he decides to traipse over to Philadelphia to help his friend, Pete Boudreau, with a cold case - with the intentions of coming right back, of course. Naturally things get a bit out of hand when he finds out that good old Pete has been murdered.
    
     While Nick is getting in deeper, Alena, his fiance, decides to find out what Nicks gotten in to. She brings along a few of her dog friends for assistance. It seems Alena is an extraordinary dog trainer, I mean these dogs can do just about anything. Nick encounters trouble with the local law enforcement , and Alena, manages to find the missing pieces to the murder mystery. All the while, neither Nick nor Alena knows what the other one is doing.
     I found Nick Of Time to be quite an informative read. I didn't know anything about entomology before reading this book, (not that I'm an expert now), but now I've got a general idea.
     Tim Downs created a phenomenal character in Nick Polchak, you can't help but love this annoying guy! This was my first "Bug Man" novel, but you can bet I plan to go back and read the rest of the series.  I give Nick Of Time **** Stars.
     NICK OF TIME is available where books are sold. Stop byTIM DOWNS website: www.timdowns.com/
and his official blog http://www.timdownsblog.com. You can also keep up with Tim Downs on Goodreads, like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

STACEY DONALDSON, Book Reviewer   www.thewritetomakealiving.com/
Good Reads Review: Tying the knot may be the toughest thing Nick Polchakt has ever tried to do.
Nick Polchak is comfortable with bugs. Their world is orderly. He knows where he stands and exactly how to interpret the signs they give him, But a fiancee and up coming wedding? Not so much....
The twists in this case will surprise even the most dedicated Bug Man fans.
The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC, 16 CFR, part 255.

www.writestuff-writenow.blogspot.com/ by Max Nightjar/T. McKain. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2010-2011. GACM, Inc.

June 11, 2011

Author Interview Sven M Davison "State Of Mind"

On June 3, 2011

 I had the privilege of interviewing Writestuff-Writenow's May-June Book Of The
Month pick and author of STATE OF MIND, Sven Davison, www.stateofmindbook.com/.
 It's been two days since I posted my book review on WSWN,  and I must say I've got a lot of positive e-mail feed back. The interview proved to be as I thought it would - an informative and enlightening encounter.

Q. State Of Mind, a P chip at the base of the skull. Tell me Sven, what creative seeds were sown to come up with this story,  and over what period of time? Also, what kind of research?

Sven  About ten years ago I read about subcutaneous chips being placed in pets for tracking purposes in Popular Science. Today physicians are placing chips into patent's with Parkinson's Disease to help  regulate higher function. Humankind married with machines is not a far-fetched idea if you look at the pacemaker, and what is coming next.
    I started this book as a screenplay ten years ago. In that time, the Ipod was introduced, then the smart phone. As real world technology advanced,  my plot device of shrinking the smart phone and placing it into the human body did not seem all that implausible. In fact I moved up the timetables in my book from forty to twenty years.
Another inspiration for the book was identity theft. having been a victim of it a few years ago, I was shocked at how a faceless stranger could hijack my identity. What would be the ultimate identity theft. It would be to have your mind hacked by someone else,  place your consciousness in a coma, and
and use your body like a puppet to commit crimes. These were all themes in the original draft ten years ago, but I tweaked them over time.

Q.  I'll be asking you about the business side of writing as well as the authors lifestyle. It's for the "newbie" authors out there. You have a background as a screenwriter for producers, directors and TV shows. Which do you prefer, screenwriting or churning out novels?

Sven.  They are both very different and I enjoy both. I 've been writing screenplays and novels a little over twenty years. I sold a screenplay in 1993, but I've always had to make ends meet with day jobs.
I played the starving artist roles in my twenties.  In my thirties, I applied myself and made VP in five years. After ten years there, I reached a cross roads: If I stayed at Fox,  I'd probably never write again (or not until I retired). I was putting in seventy to eighty hours a week and even bathroom breaks were hard to come by. My wife and I discussed it and she was willing to support me for a while if I wanted to write full time. I jumped on the opportunity and resigned from Fox.
      I was able to write two novels with my new lease on available time. I continued to pull in money as an entertainment technology consultant. When we had a son last year, we felt it was time for me to go back full time, so my wife could spend  more time with our child.
      Life is never static. I still write, but the six to eight hours I had my first year away from Fox 
are on hiatus. These days I squeeze in about an hour of writing a day
  
      In an ideal world, I'd love to write  six to eight hours a day.  I'm a morning person, I write around 6am. I treat my writing like an eight hour job with a lunch break,  and perhaps some time to read (every writer must read).  I've been fortunate to  make  money as a writer since my screenplay sold in 1993.  However I have never made enough to make a full transition. Very few authors make a living solely on their writing.  It 's something to aspire to though.

Q.  Sven do you have an agent ? A question from new authors who need to learn the business.

Sven.   I do not have an agent. I have a publicist, Gail Kearns, To Press and Beyond,  in Santa Barbara. Their "book shepherds" and do just about everything you can imagine to promote the book.

Q.  The buzz I'm getting even on Amazon and B&N. The Book Reviewers on line say this would make a great  movie?  STATE OF MIND should be on the top ten best seller's list according to Deb Shunamon?

Sven.  It's currently being shopped and discussed, but I keep my expectations in check. Hollywood has changed dramatically in the past few years. Hollywood doesn't buy spec scripts unless your name is JJ Abrams. Studios want sure things. If you look at this summer it's all sequels, prequels and franchises based on best selling novels, graphic novels and toys. Hollywood wants to know there is a built- in audience before they take a risk. My book is not on any best sellers list, although I thank the book reviewer, Deb Shunamon, for saying it should be.
Hollywood still takes risks but only if it's a passion project introduced by someone with a track record. Basically,  if you have a celebrity who attaches themselves to your work, they'll have a much better chance getting it made.

Q.   That's interesting. Coraline was written in 2002 or copyrights, and they made the movie in 2010. Go figure. I don't think it was well known?

Sven.  That was a smaller budget movie and a passion project. Plus it was green lit before the economy tanked and studios got even more risk adverse. It's all about the budget. Studios do make small budget films and generally have small expectations for them. The movies you see in the summer have massive budgets, and studios expect them to be blockbusters. It's an economy of scale. Sci Fi is generally expensive so there is greater risk. However, State Of Mind is set twenty years from now and would not be that expensive to pull off.
I'd say it could be done for $25 million or maybe less considering how cheap special effects are becoming. However, if you attach stars, the  budget could explode to $100 million very quickly. Suddenly there's far more pressure for the film to perform. Then again, stars get their salaries based on their box office draw. If the actor has a history or track record of opening their film at 30M and finishing at 100M minimum, she/he might be in the 20M salary range.

 Q   Who would play your protagonist, Jake Travissi, in STATE OF MIND the movie?

Sven.   Matt Damon is top of mind. He's a versatile actor and very likable. I'd have to think on it a bit to come up with other choices.

Q.   Character development, is something all  new writers/ authors struggle with. How did you come up with the style and character of  Jake Travissi?  I was shocked by chapter 1 and what happened to his family?

Sven.   Jake was tough for me, because he was my central character, and his mind was so hacked! It meant many of his ideas and emotions were not always his. I had a lot of trouble balancing the real Jake with the hacked Jake in my early drafts. However,  it is always important for me that the reader sympathizes with the hero as quickly as possible. I'm also extremely interested in people  who have experienced loss, are morally grounded and question things around them
Imagine how hacked into he was. I had to keep him human though. People who experience loss, but are morally grounded, and question things around them. I like my characters to have a  solid sense of self and an indomitable spirit.
Jake losses his family in Chapter 1, so the reader does not get a chance to see him as a compassionate husband and father. I needed to show that side of him, so I came up with the dog around the fifth draft.

Q. All the way to the end?

Sven.    In the end I wanted to leave Jake  and the reader with this conclusion:  When one is faced with a decision that means sacrificing your humanity...your soul, then you should walk away. Other characters in the book do sacrifice their humanity to varying degrees, but they are not aware of it.

Q.  That's right, you did keep him humane with all the things going on around him, and the way people were acting. Most of the people he dealt with didn't seem to have a natural affection? Take Marta for example?

Sven.    Marta was tragic. She is a  product of her experiences  (mainly her rape).  She escaped her  trauma and pain by diving into academia and then becoming a workaholic. And her personal relationships suffered greatly. She is not able to face and heal from the events prior  to this book, and because of it, she has a very warped view of morality and right and wrong. She becomes part of the group that hack into people's minds, because she is unable to have a human relationship.
 A gigantic sacrifice of self. People becoming machines.

*I left a part of his comment out as it proved to be a spoiler and revealer of too much plot.

Q.   Do you prefer writing in the sci-fi genre? What's next on the agenda?

Sven.  I prefer a really good storyline, and I don't care where it's set. I like John Krakauer, Cormac, and McCarthy, and Bill Bryson to name a few authors.  I read avidly. The last book I read was  Ship Of Fools  which did not impress me with the plot, but the characters and questions about philosophy, and theology were extremely intriguing. I highly recommend it for those reasons
     I have a minor in ancient history,  and I'd like to write historical fiction with themes I enjoy: philosophy, theology and psychology.  The second novel I wrote while on "sabbatical"  is part historical fiction and part memoir, set in the 1850's and 1990's.
I'm told I need a larger audience to sell this book, as it has to do with Mormons, and well, me (although I'm not a Mormon). Basically, I was told the book would be a hard sell, because it was not as commercial as STATE OF MIND.
I have outlined twelve more books in various genres but  right now,  I'm concentrating on the STATE OF MIND universe.

Q.  Do book trailers help book sales?  If a books optioned, then how does a producer or director feel about the trailer?

Sven A book trailer can't hurt. A lot of people gravitate to visuals and want to be sold in 90 seconds or less. A trailer is a good way to reach out to a larger audience. When your talking about Hollywood, a trailer has no impact on the creative vision of filmmakers.
 A producer or director will probably watch the trailer, but in the end, they will take the book and do what they want with it. It is their vision at that point not yours.
      If you're J K Rowling then you get to have a say. The majority of writers have their book optioned, and that's the last time they give input, unless the director asks for it.

Q.  There's a lot of visual minding going on in STATE OF MIND? You didn't use a lot of setting though?  It was plot driven and action adventurous. I liked the short chapters, too.

Sven. I started out as a screenwriter, so I like being brief and to the point. I love authors who have a command of language. If they really know how to craft sentences, I can't get enough. Great authors can make a novel read like poetry.
I try to have balance, I like to be brief, but not to the point of losing all adjectives and similes. Storytelling is an art, how much description an author puts in is up to that author's individual taste. However the trend I see is moving towards the philosophy that less is more. I just hope novels are not reduced to tweets in 140 characters or less.

Q.  Yet the focus was keeping Jake humane by not forfeiting his soul? The time period is 2030, is this what we'll be like?

Sven.  I don't think my version of 2030 is that far off the mark. If you believe in the law of accelerating returns, then all the technology I propose in the book is not only possible it is probable. After publishing STATE OF MIND, I found out about a man named Ray Kurzweil. He's a successful inventor/scientist who says the human mind will be mapped both emotionally and functionally by 2030. He predicts by 2040 humankind and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be joined to create a new hybrid race. A race that is immortal. He paints a rosy picture of this scenario. I explore the dark side of this marriage in STATE OF MIND.
In my book I explore the theme of  the individual versus the collective. I raise the question: What are you willing to sacrifice to become, beautiful, popular, or smarter? As human kind advances, and the basics of food and shelter become a given, more of us turn to luxuries as a way to define ourselves.
The Internet, smart phones, Skype, all these technological advances have made it possible to socialize, shop (hunting/gathering), and live out a life inside our own homes.
In a way, humankind is becoming less of a community than ever before - unless you feel virtual interaction is just as good as the real thing. STATE OF MIND is about questioning our current
 path. It's about taking a step back and asking ourselves: What does the word freedom mean?
  It's about being happy with who you are, and rejoicing in our differences rather than conforming to an ideal.

Q. To what super human dome as a tech chip?

Sven   The P Chip offers the recipient many benefits in the book. One is making a child smarter and more competitive. As a manager at Fox,  I was struck by how many people came into my office for a job interview and wanted flexible hours with one hundred thousand dollars to start.
 I am afraid America is raising children who don't know how to work, but are demanding the salaries of those who have spent years developing a skill or craft that should be compensated at a higher level.
I'm also getting a sense the mantra of society is more and more focused on self, instead of being a good, honest, and contributing person.
      In the book the Chip is popular because it focuses on the instant gratification that is becoming so prevalent. It's the best way to get people to say "yes" to mind control.

 Q   Lastly the business side of writing. E books for $0.99 cents and $2.99.  How low should we go short of a giveaway?

Sven:  I believe e-books should be priced at $9.99  There are a few reasons for this:
The first is that a writer spends hundreds if not thousands of hours writing a book. Writing is a skill that is developed over time and represents a colossal investment on the writer's part. $9.99 is fair compensation for all of that time and effort.
 The second is value for your dollar. If you can buy an album for $9.99 on iTunes and get between
50 and 70 minutes of entertainment, a book is a bargain as the average book is finished in about
10 hours.
  The third is the idea that entertainment should be free. Ask yourself if you would do any job
for nothing? What kind of entertainment would we have if those doing the entertainment weren't
compensated? Look at the home movies on You Tube, and you'll have your answer.

    Yes, those uploads can be cute in a slice - of - life mindset, but we'll never be taken on journey's or asked probing questions. Writers work hard to provide entertainment. I don't feel it is fair to ask them to live in a studio apartment and eat Ramen noodles for the rest of their lives as they hold a side job and slave away for nothing to entertain the masses. I feel this way about any artist and their craft.

Q.   Anything I didn't touch on that you'd like to add about  STATE OF MIND?

Sven M. Davison: Yes. Check out Ray Kurzweil and his philosophy. It's fascinating to see how many people are following him and how he paints the future. www.singularity.com/  

STATE OF MIND is my counterpoint to their belief system. www.stateofmindbook.com

Book Reviewer Max Nightjar's    Book of the Month   STATE OF MIND
Technology Is In The Saddle & It Rides Mankind.


WriteStuff-WriteNow by Max Nightjar/T. McKain. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2010-2011

June 01, 2011

STATE OF MIND by SVEN M. DAVISON: 'Technology Is In The Saddle, & It Rides Mankind.'

June 1, 2011

TECHNOLOGY IS IN THE SADDLE AND IT RIDES MANKIND!

State Of Mind was nominated for the 2011  Global EBook Award.

       Author, Sven M Davison wasn't even born when that slogan became popular, but I was.
 It was the first thing that came to mind after I read the first chapter of his somewhat dystopic, adventurous, high powered, very well written and entertaining, SCI-FI slant on America's lifestyle - and the worlds - 50 years into the future. Less than 500 pages, it was a compact good read, with short chapters, and tight prose. I was never bored or confused with techno babble.

     Yeah know, there's something really cool and mind boggling about virtual mind control and our own inner electrical circuitry that can turn our minds into a high-tech human GPS telephone systems and our thoughts into widows in a computer. We can turn pages in our minds all with the insertion of a P-Chip. Imagine that a built in telephone. The P stands for....
www.stateofmindbook.com
     The year is 2030 and a short fused, out of control LAPD officer named Jake Travissi has just committed a faux pas against the powers that be - namely the governor of Los Angeles son. He blundered. It costs him, and he must make amends. Jake agrees to having an implant placed at the base of his skull. He also agrees to work for a special,  Confidentially Enhanced Unit under HLS (Homeland Security).
     The government wants their military and police to be so efficient, that no one in America or any terrorist group in the world will even think about committing a crime against them.
    
       Even parents want their children implanted, so they perform or excel above the rest in their schools.
      The Nation Is Secure or headed that way in State Of Mind. But the trick is getting there. You do know that anything man made has defects of some kind and the defects have consequences...Right?

      The bumps in the road are what young and old, male and female will enjoy the most about this exciting book. It puts you in that kind of State Of Mind.

Max Nightjar

Sven Michael Davison's  first novel: BLOCKBUSTER.

Sven was a former head  of 20th Century Fox's Worldwide Home Entertainment Content Production Dept.

Deb Shunamon of Reader's Views said, "This book deserves to go directly to the top ten Best Seller List.
*Film options are being shopped, Deb. An interview is pending on WSWN.

Other comments on the Book State of Mind by Sven M. Davison:

Amazon.com:  A fascinating, action filled cyber-tech-noir that examines the loss of human freedom during post industrial dystopia. It's an engrossing journey across a tortured, emotional landscape of mind control. Nothing is quite what it seems. **** 1/2 stars.



WriteStuff-WriteNow by Max Nightjar/T. McKain. All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog can be copied without written consent from it's author.   Copyright 2010, 2011.

May 11, 2011

The Three Chapter Rule: Minding Your Business

     So far here's what I've learned about the Three Chapter Rule.

       It' s not a statute yet and no precedence has been set in a court of law to establish the use of The Three Chapter(s) Rule. Protecting a novel, play, poetry, music, etc as a legal or legitimate means of defense in plagiarism cases is usually and traditionally performed by the Library of Congress - meaning U should apply for copyright.

    
 However, in the lawsuits I cited in last months
blog and in the case of the screenwriter in California, they both won their cases because enough of their work was used to establish their original authorship. One author's entire manuscript was stolen, which is quite blatant, unethical and stupid. The reason they stole in the first place is because it's a complete manuscript.

     Remember that the Library of Congress is not all encompassing, in fact, it is public domain. So if you want your works kept private, U must request it in writing and state it on the application - as a sort of back-up letter on file. Also, always write a synopsis to accompany the application in works of fiction and art - that describe pertinent scenes that distinguish your work from ....Joe Blows.

According to one editor's March blog, I read: www.Behler.com., three chapters, not necessarily in chronological order can determine the legitimacy of your claim of plagiarism or theft of intellectual property with the help of a savvy pit bull minded attorney. S/He must be a pitt bull, because deep pocket investors are arrogant  and indifferent without the likes of one. Don't drop the ball.
 Entertainment lawyers should be consulted, don't be deterred by deep pockets, no one is above the law, even white collars. or writers with a publishing history.
For years, I've heard entertainment lawyers say an author can attest to the originality of his work by mailing it to himself and never opening it unless something comes up. The logic being the post mark date proves/shows copyright and date of completion....that's a red herring though.some of us take years to finish awork. I started Avian Nation, Crabs In Abarrel in 2004, it was infringed in 2010.

     Include, without spoiling it, a unique event or occurrence. Writing is a business So Mind Your Business!
Who would have though it, all that Legal Nurse Consultant training did pay off after all.

Please bear with me, I have a hacker, who is also a freelance thief, and he doesn't want U to mind your business, Hence I must be doing something right. He is the ultimate spoiler. BEWARE!
Take care,
Max Nightjar


WriteStuff-WriteNow by Max Nightjar/illustrations T. McK. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2010-2011, Writestuff-Writenow is a subsidiary of GACM Inc. 

April 23, 2011

The Three Chapter Rule: Is It Legal In A Court Of Law

         Everyone knows that incidents and happenings tend to occur in threes. Don't
they? Things occurring in threes is an old belief of how things occur in life or seem to. Is it an old wives tale, a hand me down fatalistic belief or does it ring true? Is it a natural phenomena like H20 - with a lot of legitimate history under it's belt. Is it a psychological twist of related or unrelated episodes like, me, myself, and I?  Or is it a solid, that with deep thought turns into a liquid - that's full of gas?
     The Rule Of Three is the belief in things occurring in threes. For example: red, white and blue (flags), or ABC's representing the alphabet or lights-camera-action: terms used in a movie production. Lastly, snap crackle and pop is a cereal commercial. Many people even believe that deaths occur in families in threes. Superstition... coincidence...bacon, lettuce, and tomatoes (BLT)? Is that how it works?
    So what does all of these 3's have to do with writing fiction or non fiction or plays or screenplays? Think about, a good book, movie or play requires three things in order to be considered a work of: a beginning, middle and an end. Sound familiar?
     For the past 2 month I have focused on legal matters concerning your manuscript, poetry and books, and how to protect your work from freelance thieves, cyber pirates and writing contests - who can and will steal your ideas and make millions. Remember, you are a business and the business of protecting your work should always be in the forefront of your mind.
  Contracts, finding the right agents, publishers and promoting your work is all about the business of being a published author and the writing profession. Pay attention to yourself and your surroundings.
     In May, I will bring all of this together. All that matters about releasing your work into the public domain, in the form of an excerpt, synopsis, outline, submission of a manuscript, or by publishing Three Chapters of your manuscript or book on a blog or website you publish from. Are you legally protected? Does it serve as your off Broadway published play ( so to speak), and is it a way of legally  and uniquely defining your work? Will it stand up in a court of law? This month I read two books on mind-time travel both quite different and so was the movie i watched on mind travel.

 Hint! Hint! So far in two cases one in New York (Supreme Court) the author won her case because her agent breached her contract and literally stole her manuscript. That was blatantly dumb. In California, however a screenwriter partially won her case because she was able to prove that the work was her original piece that she showed to Warner Bros Studio and they produced but it was altered.
     So don't think because U are a writer no one knows, that no one is interested in your work.
That is the furthest thing from the truth. People have connections with connections.  In this day and age and in this economy with writers block and a need to create something fresh and new to keep your gig...believe me,  they will.
Remember, every idea has great potential and so does every writer out there.  

Take care,
Max Nightjar

     



WriteStuff-WriteNow by Max Nightjar/T. McKain. All Rights Reserved.  Copyright 2010-2011. No part of this blog may be copied or reproduced without express written consent from the publisher, GACMInc

April 02, 2011

Plagiarism & Legalese: Issues Every Author Should Investigate

4/2/2011

by Max Nightjar

Greetings fellow authors, illustrators and publishers,

     How much time should an author spend protecting his copyrighted works from infringement, and his book from plagiarism?
     I recently went in search of answers to these questions after reading about an author in New York City, who sued her literary agent, (at the supreme court level), after the agent published her cookbook in her (the agents) name. Basically, she told the author the deal fell through, then published the book.
     That's pretty bold. Blatant plagiarism should carry an automatic jail sentence if the person is convicted and found guilty. That is someones business, and lively hood, and the long hours put into a work should not be blown off or pooh-poohed like most white collar crimes. The thought of handing your work over to someone who is suppose to be representing you... Well, that type of betrayal is pretty frightening don't U think?  It's the second article I've read about plagiarism.  Sorry to report it's common in the entertainment industry. The other incident involved a screenwriter and well known movie studio, where the person on the other side of the table betrayed the author/writer.
     The WGA has a large legal department to handle these cases for their screenwriters and authors however, U must be a member. To be a member you need a writing gig with a studio...or production company.
     Next week, I will reveal the results of my research into the Three Chapter Rule, copyright infringement law suits, the difference between and idea and a complete work of fiction or non fiction and how they all work together.

Take Care of U,

MN

February 26, 2011

write stuff-write now: Guard Your Work From Freelance Thieves

write stuff-write now: Guard Your Work From Freelance Thieves: "Greetings Fellow writers, authors, and literates: "We wrote the exact same story verbatim, and I live on the east coast, and he lives on the ..."

Guard Your Work From Freelance Thieves

Greeting Fellow writers, authors, and literates:

We wrote the exact same story verbatim, and I live on the east coast, and he lives on the West Coast.

Anyone ever heard of Remote Access?
  
      I think we all agree that storytelling is an awesome profession. It requires a lot of work and time to develop your work into a readable, enjoyable piece of prose. We struggle to develop our characters into likable, unlikable, and hero status characters. After it's all said and done, some of us look up and a year has passed by, but we love what we do. We enjoy it. Don't let anyone steal your joy!

     There are all types of copyright infringement laws on the books to help, but U  have to pay attention to the issue of copyright infringement by a different type of predator. Their called freelance thieves and what you need to know is they are people who steal your work from your computer by remote access. Or you tell them about your story on your blog,  or  when applying for a writing contest. They can be struggling writers or working screenwriters who can't think of a thing to write about until you come up with an idea asking them for help. It could be your English professor in college. Writing is a business.
 
   Cyber Thieves  steal from- new, published, and unpublished writers. They steal from unsuspecting authors, who are about to submit their work or writers agonizing and waning about whether they should submit their work. Look around  and over your shoulder, because they are gaining on U. They visit your blog for ideas,  and they may invite you to be their friend, and follow U.
  
  Copyright your work as soon as possible, and make sure someone knows your writing the piece, because their is always someone out there who will say maybe it's a coincidence we wrote the exact same story- verbatim. Well maybe not and most likely if you did you have a parasite on your hard drive called spyware or malware.
     I recently had a visitor to my home to investigate a robbery and the thief stole pages from a story I was working on, Beehive,  and had the nerve to make copies on my printer. That's what I'm talking about!

No matter how much you do to protect your work it's never enough when your dealing with issues that can afford you lots of money. The potential is there if you write well and a lot of other people write badly, or are blocked or can't write period - unless they steal someone else's  work or are just hired thieves.

     Piracy is a billion dollar business. Don't let the literary thief  take away you right to receive payment, monetary as well as recognition for what you love to do and work so hard to create...write compelling stories.

Better in his pocket than my pocket....I Don't think So!

Writing is rewarding , so don't let anyone steal what you worked so hard to produce with your time, your mind, and your positive creative energy.

Write Stuff - Write Now

T. Max Nightjar

February 18, 2011

Character...Development......And Credibility

Greetings,

The Character(s) drives the plot. We have all heard that at some point in our writing endeavors.
If the character doesn't drive the plot, then fire him/or her.
No one ever told me to fire my main character before, but there were times when I should have, because they just weren't up for the part. We just couldn't connect.

" I see U as an Action Hero Dog, Arnold."
The word Character has many meanings.
Quote: Character is doing what is right when no one is watching.: Chinese proverb
That is also referred to as integrity and sometimes character and integrity are used interchangeably.

A world where a man is judged by the content of his Character, not the Color of his skin.:  Martin Luther King.

In Summary: Character development is based on your main character's (protagonists) ability to drive or move the plot along at a reasonable pace so the reader or viewer doesn't become antsy and bored. If s/he can't, then find a character who will. Because, in order for your book, movie or play to be credible, your character must be credible, sometimes incredible. Your movie, book or play will be judged, not by the Color of the character's skin, but by the Content the character brings to the story's plot.
     I wrote about character development two weeks ago on my blog at wordpress.com. Since then I've decided to use this blog for sounding off about what makes a good book or movie or play, because this blog seems to be, (based on it's title), the right blog to write about writing. It took me a while to figure out why I had three blogs, and what I planned to do with them, but with time I figured it out. So I walked away from http://www.writestuff-writenow.blogspot.com/ to give it a chance to convince me it was better suited for blogging about writing and http://www.smalltalkcards.wordpress.com/ was better suited for blogging about crafts. That's what we have to do when we write.

     Sometimes we have to walk away and let the dust settle on a gung-ho idea with the wrong character or blog or idea in place, and give it some time. Time is not your enemy.

Toni McKain/Max Nightjar