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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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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Crushing Your Query: Part Three

 Crushing Your Query Letter Part 3! 

So, honestly, I didn't even know that I was going to do a part 3 to this blog serious but as I am reviewing more and more queries for clients and writers who have taken advantage of special offers to review from being on my VIP list I can tell you that part three is NEEDED. 

Have any guesses to what it is about?

This is one of the BIGGEST mishaps that writers make and I see it over and over and over again---and, I used to do this too. 

Do you know? 

It is---drum roll please!! When a writer queries way too soon. 

I understand you've written that book or screenplay and in your head it's completely perfect because you can see it oh so clearly but usually it's not ready. 

Now, I want to interject here on waiting too long too--that happens a lot too-but not quite as often. 

You need to find that balance between wanting every single word to be perfect and sending out when it's just not ready. 

Here are some...

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Query Mishaps & How To Fix Them

Hello, Storytellers!! I hope you are having a fabulous day, morning, evening-whatever! 

This is part two that I just decided to add to last week's blog about crushing your query which you can find HERE or just scroll down after reading this! 

query-letters

So it's time to submit, but you now have to write your query and your mind goes blank. You can't form a coherent sentence, and you just write something too long, too boring, or just plain bad. Why is that?

I think it's like a game of GOLF-all in YOUR HEAD. You put the pressure on yourself to write something amazing and BAM! just like that, nothing good comes out.

woman-golfer

There are tons and tons and tons of resources for how to write a good query, so I won't bore you with those details. GOOGLE how to write a query and I promise you tons will come up. I have some favorites, which you can see in my earlier blog,  but everyone is different, so I want you to do what speaks to you.

That said, as someone who used to run a query clinic, and I...

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How to Crush Your Query

Hi there, Writers! 

So many people come to me for query help that I put together this blog to help you crush it because I know that you can! 

Writing your query shouldn't be so scary!

Writing queries is something that most writers find terrifying but I find it fun. A chance to get to talk about my novel??? AWESOME! 

I know that they seem hard, but really you can craft a perfect query with some very easy steps.

Remember always be personal to the agent you are querying and always FOLLOW the submissions listed on the agent's website. This is super important.

Then your pitch needs to be quick and concise and contain a GREAT HOOK. This is what will sell your story.

I have taught writing queries for many years and worked 1:1 with writers perfecting theirs.

You can also find information just by googling. I have also included some links for you.

Eric Smith is an agent and writer who has given his expertise on his website. Check it out. ...

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Do I Need To Copyright My Novel/Work?

Happy Wednesday Dear Writers! Woot! 

 

Do I Need To Copyright My Novel/Work? The answer is NO. 

But before I get into it here I just want to invite you to subscribe to my email list where I will send out freebies, information about courses, my membership for writers and you will get tips and tricks before others! YES I WANT THIS

So ONTO the COPYRIGHT issue. 

The other day in a massive FB group a new writer posted the question when do I need to copyright my book? And as FB is always a place for arguing it got heated so I decided that it was needed to write a quick blog about it to help you! 

The answer is that you do NOT need to copyright your work. 

There are many reasons. 

1. No one is trying to steal your story. It's great that you think it's so perfect that lines of people are waiting for you to show it so they can steal it--this simply isn't true. 

2. There are only 5 stories anyhow---in other words, there are NO NEW STORIES----so no...

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All The Things That Are Wrong in Your Screenplay

Hello, dear writers of the world! This is from a post I did on my first blog for writers about 7 years ago, but as I was about to write about things that go wrong in scripts today I came across it so I'm sharing it here as everything still holds true!! 

 

I used to be a script reader for the studios---in other words, if it didn't get past me, it didn't go anywhere. 

 

My biggest issues when reading scripts are:

STORY There needs to be a story-period. It has to have a strong beginning, middle, and end.

No amount of special effects is going to help that no matter what Disney, Sony, and other big studios show you. It's one of my biggest pet peeves when people tell me they love a film and I ask them why and they say the 3D was awesome, or the FX were awesome.

A screenplay needs to have a solid story.

Why are you telling this story?

What are you trying to say?

Why is this important to you?

Ask yourself these and more questions, and then you should have a good story.

...
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How to Stay Positive & Porductive--Still WRITE--During Dystopian-Er, I Mean, Tough Times

OMG, what a couple of months right? F*%$!! 

What is going on in the world? Is it ending? 

Do we all need to channel our inner Katniss? 

I seriously have never wanted to live in a Cormac McCarthy novel and I don't intend on starting now! 

So...how do we stay positive and continue to write when the world is crashing down on us? 

Well, I have a few tips for you! 

The first one is just to FOCUS ON THE GOOD---whatever it is, focus on it, grab it, and hold on. Seriously it's so easy to get wrapped up in the chaos and devastation happening and walk down that doomsday path but rather it's best to stay focused on the good or have gratitude. 

The second one is to remember why we write. You may do it just for your own pleasure and if that's the case, see above. But most of us write because we have something to say to the world. If you write for children it is your job to help them come into their own with a sense of security, hope, and understanding. This is...

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Bye Bye Bye What I Learned From NSYNC & You Should Too

In Feb of 2018, I was bullied online by friends & colleagues who I trusted and I was crushed especially because it all happened because they assumed things that were absolutely NOT true about me.
 
 
I was slut-shamed, lied about, slandered and bullied. Other "friends" denied it was even happening to me, so you can add gaslighting to that list.
 
I was really sad and then I realized---whatever! It's on them. If someone believes a lie about you and acts like that, you don't need them in your life.
It only took me 40 some odd years to understand this.
 
When that happened I was right back in high-school needing to fit in and being terrified of what would happen if I didn't immediately make it right. That is NOT healthy.
 
 
Then last fall someone I considered a really close friend decided to cut ties with me and mutual friends spent 3 months sending me messages telling me to leave certain areas of my life that I have spent 7 years...
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