Thursday, April 30, 2009


I LOVE this title!

Helen Hemphill stated in her Nashville workshop this past weekend that studying screenwriting was one of the most constructive things she's done to learn about the craft of writing. She recommended reading SAVE THE CAT! The Last Book On Screenwriting That You'll Ever Need, by Blake Snyder. I've taken her advice to heart. My copy came in the mail today!

As I peruse the Table of Contents, the first thing that catches my attention is the title of chapter one: WHAT IS IT? It gives a short description: "The importance of 'the idea' - What is a 'logline' and what are the four requirements to creating a better one? - What is 'high concept' and why is it still relevant? - Test pitching your movie for fun and profit - Plus five games to jump-start your idea-creating skills." If I can come away with a better understanding of how to write my logline, the book purchase is justified.

One more resource before I sign off for the night. Check out the Tennessee Screen Writing Association website. Click on "Writer's Tips" on the toolbar at the top of the page. There are all kinds of worksheets to help you plot the perfect novel.

Keep Writing!

Monday, April 27, 2009

"Plotting the Novel" - Workshop with Helen Hemphill

I attended a fabulous workshop this weekend in Nashville titled “Plotting the Novel,” sponsored by the SCBWI-Midsouth group. The speaker was Helen Hemphill, author of three award-winning books published by Front Street and edited by Stephen Roxburgh: The Adventurous Deeds of Deadwood Jones, Runaround, and Long Gone Daddy.

Helen is an excellent presenter. She divided her workshop into sections – 1) Premise, loglines, opening lines and opening page, 2) Defining the protagonist/antagonist, sequence of story, self-realization and theme. After each section we were given writing assignments that we later shared with the group.

I am not a trained writer, no MFA in literature or such, so I am always looking for workshops or seminars on the craft of writing. I find the interactive workshop very helpful. Helen discussed specifics, gave examples, and required us to apply what we learned immediately to our own work in progress. If you have the opportunity to hear Helen – go. If you would like to schedule her as a presenter for your school, writer’s group, or other group, you can contact her through her website listed above.

Lunch was also informative. One of the questions that came up at my table was, “How do you find your writing topics?” Several people said they peruse newspapers and magazine articles –old and new, for interesting stories. They find an obscure or strange aspect to the story and run with it. Others brainstormed fun titles first, or played 20 questions with a character. My first novel just “came” to me. I free wrote for several days before I decided I should probably have a plan. Like I said – not a trained writer. This time around I’m plotting first. I have a premise and logline, character sketches and an outline. Now I need to do a bit of research and begin writing.

How do you generate topics for your books?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

It's Official - I'm a Trenchie!

Yes, I have now officially jumped into the submission trench! It's a bit scary - looks somewhat murky in here, and I like to see where I'm going. I'm patient (mostly), but I hope I'm not one who has to wait for years or forever to become published. I plan to take the advice of my fellow Blueboarders - submit and move on to the next project. Wish me luck!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Lemonade Stand Award

Rena has awarded me the Lemonade Stand Award for great Gratitude and/or Attitude. Wow - Thanks Rena! To accept the award I must follow these rules:

1. Post the logo on my blog.
2. Nominate 10 blogs with great gratitude/attitude.
3. List and link my nominees.
4. Alert them of their nomination on their blog.

This is hard! There are so many good blogs to read. I enjoy reading about your thoughts on literature and writing, your adventures, and family. It's tough to narrow just to 10. Here goes:

1. Mary Whitsell
2. PJ Hoover
3. Chocolateer
4. Lady Glamis
5. Brenda
6. Ann Spollen
7. Christy
8. Green Girl
9. Linda D
10. Cinda

I am now on spring break. Woo hoooooo!!!!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Crazy Week...

Writing and blogging took a back seat this week. It was a tough one. I lost a dear friend to pancreatic cancer on Tuesday. She was also one of my choir members. She will definitely be missed. Friday, my son was in an accident. Both he and the other driver are okay, but both cars were totaled. It's the stuff of parental nightmares...

On the writing front - I'm heading to Nashville April 24th for the SCBWI-Midsouth Plotting Workshop. I'm making it a personal retreat weekend with designated writing assignments while I'm there. I'm pumped!