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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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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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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Oops I Did It Again!

OOPS! (I did it again)

Hello, Writers! 

I wanted to chat with you today about the idea of writing fast as CampNaNoWriMo kicked off at the beginning of the month!

Many writing experts will tell you never to do this as it makes us bad writers?? You've heard that right? Well, I have the opposite opinion about it. For me writing fast means getting right to the story and not getting hung up on the words, the style, or anything except telling the story. 

So, I love it. I have joined CampNaNoWriMo--again. I always do the one in Nov and so I decided that as busy as I am in my online business for writers, I needed this push. 

I have some YouTube Videos on writing for NaNoWriMo Vlog style that you can watch by clicking HERE

Here are some tips for drafting a novel fast. 

1. Focus on story 

2. Don't outline just write

3. Go with your gut instincts 

4. Write every day no matter what. 

5. Don't worry about being a great writer, just focus on story

6....

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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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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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