Story Concierge

a blog for writers with tips, tricks, & all things writing 

It's Okay to Take A Day Off & What We Learned From Ferris

Writers!! 

Some days it's just too hard to do anything, especially in 2020. 

Last week I hit a wall, and thus I skipped everything-including my blog which is a day late this week too. This is a big no-no in the business world but I'm only one person. 

I felt guilty about it all last week, all weekend, and yesterday when I literally crashed out for 8 hours in the middle of the day. 

You see, in life "shit happens" and I am one of those, like the great Cristina Yang in Grey's Anatomy who always says "I'm fine" even when I'm not. I won't bore you with the details but just apologize for being absent for these few days. I'm sorry, do you forgive me? 

NOW, let's talk about the importance for creatives to take a day off! 

It's important for creatives to take a day off. See, our brains work harder than normal people who don't create stories, art, etc., because no matter what we are doing there is that something in the back of our minds that is building. This...

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Tips for a Successful NaNoWriMo

Hey, writers!! Are you doing #NaNoWriMo this year? 

        #NaNoWriMo tips!

Yay, so am I. Every year I write blogs about doing it, articles, and I share tips because I want YOU to be successful. Well, this year is no different!!!! 

Add me as a buddy at https://nanowrimo.org/ I am stephnewyork

Here are some quick and easy tips!!

  1. Be open to whatever story you are writing--meaning--just be free and free write
  2. Don't edit--just write
  3. Make a schedule. Usually, during NaNo I set aside a couple of hours every month to write BEFORE I do anything else. Well, maybe you can't do that but try to schedule this in--you will be more likely to do it if it's on your calendar.
  4. Make a daily word count goal.
  5. Aim to finish before the end of the month so you have time to spare.
  6. Do NOT compare yourself to others
  7. Don't expect this to be perfect right out of the gate.
  8. Don't outline in October---I find those who do this often fail because they are trying to stick to an idea, whereas...
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The World Lost A Legend

and it rocked my world (no pun intended)

Hello Writers, I hope your week is going well! 

My day has been filled with a bit of sadness and reflection 

Eddie Van Halen has died--

I've been sending out emails because I have a new course that is open for early-bird registration and I want you to write your novel so I've been in your inbox every day this week encouraging you to sign up and then yesterday after going to VOTE and drop off my ballot I heard the devastating news of Eddie Van Halen's passing. 

My world was suddenly in a whirlwind of sadness and grief. 

You see, I never knew Eddie personally but he affected my life in many ways. 

1. He always did what he loved-MUSIC-that was it for him, he never wanted or imagined that he would do anything else. 

2. His happiness doing what he loved always shined through in his performances.

3. He was genuine and authentic--he had a voice...

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How to Write a Novel in a Month & Win NaNoWriMo

Hello, Writers!! 

This month I'm going to focus on how to write a draft fast and complete NaNoWriMo, which is coming up in just a month. 

Today is Sept 30th! Wow, how fast this year has flown by has been crazy, but here we are. 

 NOW, onto some things you can do to get ready to write your novel fast. 

If you are signed up for NaNoWriMo or in any groups for that challenge, you will learn there is now a thing called "Preptober," which is for prepping your book. 

This is not my style at all. 

When I first starting doing NaNoWriMo, you couldn't have any more than a title on November 1st, when we started, and I'm old school, so I never know what I'm writing until that day when I sit down. 

That's just me, and it is the method I'm going to teach you in my coursebut you can do what makes you happy as long as you finish a novel. 

The five steps that I use to prep are these. 

1. Decide WHO your story is about & WHAT will happen to...

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How to Use A Beat Sheet

Even for your novel!

and finish that work in progress. 

 

In film and especially television writing the "beat sheet" is something that is needed to show your showrunner or director the beats of the script so they can approve the story before you spend hours and hours writing it. 

It helps them "see" it. It also helps you see the big picture. 

The beat sheet is an outline of your story in beats. What happens in the story beat by beat.

You open your notebook, notecards, or even Word/Scrivener (I like to use Scrivener for this) and literally write out the beats like this. 

Scene 1--this happens

Scene 2--this happens

etc.

Now, you may not know what happens in perfect order--so then just write what you want to happen out. This is why I love using post-its and or notecards and the stickies in Scrivener 

Scene-character finds out....

Scene--character makes this decision 

Scene-resolution 

If you are doing it...

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You Can Write A Novel in A Month-or Less

Have you ever dreamed of writing a novel but believe that you don't have the time? Well, I'm here to tell you that you can do it!

I've been writing novels during NaNoWriMo since the early 2000s because um, it's amazing. It's like running a marathon in sprint time. 

Really the best thing I ever started doing for myself and I do it every year. I also usually do CampNaNo in the summer and it's taught me so much about myself as a writer and how to draft quickly which comes in handy if you do any work-for-hire or ghostwriting. 

Now, will you have a perfect ready to submit novel after 30 days? Not unless you are super lucky and if you are--OMG awesome!!! I wish that for everyone but what you will have is a FIRST DRAFT and or a revision. 

**I love to rewrite from scratch my novels at about the 4th revision and that way I leave out all the crap that doesn't move the story forward. 

Some people like to take their time and I once had a mentor tell me to slow down BUT the...

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Why You Should Stop Focusing on Being A Good Writer

Forget About Being a Great Writer and Focus on Story First

Have you ever picked up a book that has been on the bestseller list for months and months and the author is all over the publishing news because all the movie deals coming in and how rich they are---and then the writing is bad, like really bad, and you think---WTF???

Yup--been there, done that. 

Have you ever gone to the movies and so many things are wrong and yet the film is bringing in millions and millions and you cringe at the story mistakes? 

Yup--been there, done that. 

 

This has been my philosophy for as long as I can remember. 

There is nothing wrong with being great with words or wordsmithing. I admit, it's not my thing, but if you allow it to get in the way of the story, that is where you will have problems. 

The reason is that people come to you for the story not the words. 

STORY IS ALWAYS FIRST. 

The words should come...

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Why Having Pets for Your Characters is A Great Idea

It's National Dog day! And it got me thinking about the importance of adding pets to our stories. 

Do you do this?

I ALWAYS do. My characters always have pets, usually dogs, but sometimes parrots, cats, ferrets, and fish. The reason is not just for the cute factor but because it's CHARACTER TELLING--or SHOWING. 

Think about it. Ever see someone walking their dog? They look like the dog and or you just know immediately they are owner and pet because they fit? 

Right? 

I have a terrier, see the above photo. It takes a special kind of dog mom to have a terrier in their lives as they are demanding, needy, stubborn, wilful and can be a pain the arse. Westies also need a lot of activity. This says a lot about me, who I am as a person!

So who I am based on my dog? 

Let's see.

I'm athletic & active. I have no movement limitations. I like challenges, I can handle the high maintenance dog, I can be stubborn, and also loving-just like a Westie. 

When I say...

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Stop Writing JOKES (and focus on character)

Happy Writer Wednesday!! 

I have a great blog today that will help you if you are writing any story that has characters----so ALL of you!! 

But first, here is a new eBook that I have created and I'm giving it away for FREE. 

GRAB IT HERE!

If you want to write something funny the very first thing you need to do is to STOP WRITING JOKES! 

"But, Stephanie, every film writing guru says 3 jokes per page??"  SIGH---they are wrong. 

And here is why. 

Have you ever watched a show or film or even read a book that was supposed to be a comedy but it fell flat? Yes, you have, we all have and it's like time we can never get back--unless you are a writer and then you can use it to understand more about the process. 

PRO TIP--everything is learning how to be a great storyteller--everything. 

In Steve Kaplan's workshop for comedy, he talks at length about this and why character drives the story AND THE COMEDY. It all comes from character. 

Let me...

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New Membership for Women Writers

Happy Wednesday Dear Writers, 

today, I'm talking about something new that I am creating for all the women writers out there who want a special place to go talk about writing, career, characters, movies, books, share some wine or coffee, and hang-out with other female writers. 

A new membership just for US! 

In May I launched a membership for writers and it's really been great but we aren't connecting as I had hoped and I realized that it was the model of the membership which is focused on craft masterminds and not as much as the social aspect. 

AND

I went back to the 10 years that I have been coaching writers and more than 90% have been women, and as a woman writer, it's important to me that WE HAVE A SAFE FUN SPACE to connect, share, support, and grow together-no matter what stage of our writing career we are in. 

I love men, some of my closest friends are men but I think for this we need our own Ya-Ya-Sisterhood so to speak. 

This is the official...

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