Thursday, March 02, 2006

Book, Script, or Both?

Skip Press, in his article on the WritersWrite website, says:

I always advise writers, if they are capable and have a strong enough story, to write a book first and then the screenplay. My logic is simple: (1) your odds of selling a book, figuring number of books written to books published, contrasted against screenplays written to screenplays purchased, is a no­brainer; (2) if your book is published and then sold to Hollywood you'll make money several ways‹(a) book sale, (b) book rights sale, (c) first draft of screenplay (most production companies will let you write it if you ask); and (3) book authors get more respect, period, and particularly in Hollywood.


UI Magic Launches Horror-Themed Mobile Content Service

SAN DIEGO, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 03/02/2006 -- UI Magic, Inc. (, an emerging wireless technology and platform services company, today announced that it has officially launched Bloody Mobile ( Bloody Mobile, the first-ever horror-themed mobile content service for the online mobile community, aims to be the premium source for all things horror on your mobile phone. Bloody Mobile caters to fans of horror, bringing horror-themed contents to the morbid fan's mobile phone with custom made ringtones, custom wallpapers developed by today's best known artists in the horror scene, gothic model pinups, video-casts, and clips of original shows and films.

In Search of my Perfect Home Office

Well, here's the scoop... I am an organizational freak of the first degree. My comfort zone is in having everything in its very own individual proper place. Heck, I don't even like it when the peas touch the mashed potatoes on my dinner plate. Why doesn't anyone ever get that? You want your potatoes juiced up and soggy with some vegetable? Eew.

So why would I want to dig through a pile of unorganized papers to find the exact printed receipt that proves, yes sir, I really did pay my phone bill so take your threats and put them where you do your best thinking. Heh heh. I crack myself up.

I also defy this Universal Law of the Cosmos that declares when one is on the telephone and must write down an important number, no working viable pen must be within reach.

Anyway, I barely manage to make little oases of organization here at my house. All my writing books and magazines have their own bookcase. My computer area is a little niche of a world unto itself but it's crammed into a corner of my bedroom and most of the rest of what would go into a home office is spread out around the house in various other pockets of organization. All waiting for the day when I can make space to bring them all together in one cohesive beautiful unit.

I don't have a whole lot of control over the space issue since I live at my Mom's house and am her sole caregiver 24/7. She is bedridden and on oxygen and requires a lot of attention. So part of my organization problem is budgeting the time to do it. Another problem is that I am myself disabled and am only able to physically labor at the organizing thing in dribs and drabs of energy and strength.

But making the space open for a home office... well, that's the killer for me. It's just me and my Mom now, but this house is crammed full of my Grandmother's life and much of her antiques and furniture brought from the family farm. My brother's whole life exists here, too, even though he also has passed on. Then there's ten years of me living on my own in my own apartment that got crammed into every iota of space that was left.

So, finally, I'm ready to toss out some old stuff to make space for that office. My Mom has agreed. I am going to take the master bedroom for it since my Mom's hospital bed must now sit in the living room to make easy access for paramedics. So that means all her other medical equipment and home health supplies have taken up occupancy in the living room, too. Oh man, it's fun trying to squeeze in a Christmas tree when it's that time of year.

But, we are so crammed full here that I start organizing one area and don't have space so I go to clean another area to make space like I'm just shuffling pieces around on a gameboard. I might love BEING organized but I just can't seem to DO it.

I know when I'm beat. So now I'm on an oddessey of discovery, in search of tips and advice and wish lists and illustrations and one day, the reality is going to match up with the pretty picture in my brain. And I will have my home office.

Then I can start on a sewing room which will most likely have to be in combo with my artist room and craft room. After all, we only have four bedrooms in this house.

So this little spot on my blog is devoted to that voyage of discovery.

Are You a "Grey's Anatomy" Fan?

You might enjoy the Grey Matter Blog, apparently done by the writers and perhaps others involved in the making of the popular TV series. Go have a look-see.

Hollywood Hyperlinks - A Great Resource!

"Hollywood Hyperlink" is a service provided by and includes links to websites in the following major categories:

Industry Resources
On Location
Producers Distributors
Web & Multimedia

And, there are multiple sub-categories under each of the main headings. For just one example, the Main Category of "Pre-Production" has the following sub-categories:

Casting & Actor Resources Computer Services & Information Technology Financial Services Legal Services Literary & Talent Agencies Management Services Promotion & Marketing Services/Product Placement Scripts & Screenwriting

The Hollywood Reporter posts the following disclaimer:

Links in Hollywood Hyperlinks are provided as an informational service only. The Hollywood Reporter does not monitor any web sites linked from this service and is not responsible for the content or services provided by the owners of such web sites. A company's appearance in the Hollywood Hyperlinks does not represent an endorsement from The Hollywood Reporter in any manner.

No one write way

No one write way

Speak to any of the writers of 2005's acclaimed movies -- especially scribes of original screenplays who have had to develop their stories from scratch -- and they will say that they wrestled with issues of plot, character and structure, often with great difficulty, before their movies were shot.


This is truly a very informative and fascinating article for all writers.

Screenplays that go for the heart

Write wing
This year's unflinching screenwriting nominees go straight for the heart.
By Anne Thompson

When it comes to landing an Oscar screenplay win, several forces come into play, but the most crucial is passion.

In addition to the strong emotions that shape a script's creation, the way that a movie makes 5,798 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voters feel is as important to them as it is the average moviegoer. That's why the screenplays favored to win on Oscar night March 5 are the same ones that won the recent Writers Guild Awards: adapted screenplay "Brokeback Mountain" and original screenplay "Crash." While these two films go straight for the heart, they, like many of the other nominees, sidestep easy sentimentality to tell hard-edged stories filled with loss, regret and suffering. These two films, especially, move audiences to tears.

None of the nominees took an easy road. As these writers crafted grown-up movies about grown-up issues, they often threw Hollywood screenwriting rules right out the window. In fact, the only reason that many of this year's contenders -- none of which are overtly commercial -- got made was the power of their scripts to lure top talent.


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Mental Constipation aka Writer's Block and why I think it happens to me

Every writer has their quirks. I have mine. For example, when I start a novel or screenplay, I must have a fresh ream of paper set aside to print out the first draft. That block of paper will sit untouched throughout the creative process until I reach, "The End." If I need to see pages printed out, that's fine, any old paper will do for that. But that first full printing of that first draft... only a freshly-opened package of clean virgin paper will do.

And when the gears in my brain grind to a creative halt, I know the subconscious me has just quirked itself into a major short-circuit. It's not that I've all of a sudden forgotten proper format or even run out of ideas. But, somehow I've laid a giant mental turd and now it's just sitting there in the creative pipeline. Mocking me. Nyeah, nyeah, I'm not gonna let you write...

So why does this happen?

For me, the problem seems to be an invisible (to the conscious mind) fault of logic. If I have needs as a writer to get from Point A to Point Z, I notice that I will get on the I-Have-Control-Issues-So-I-Must-Micro-Manage-Everything kick. Characters tend to get pissed off when you do that. Sometimes, they even go on a sit-down strike and refuse to cooperate in any way.

It's usually that my needs as a writer have collided with who my characters ABSOLUTELY KNOW they are and what's true to them and would they really do that, say that, react in just that way. But, I need them to do/say/feel/act just that way or I'll never see Point Z. Hence, the micro-managing. No doubt, in that circumstance, any reader and most likely any audience member would be able to feel the writer writing.

What I'm trying to "force" is not natural or logical for that character.

The screenplay form does not have one ounce of forgiveness for extra wordage. It's not a pretty little story, dears. It's a movie blueprint. So there are no time-outs in a movie for a character to address the audience to explain themselves. They just have to be themselves and by being just that, they cause the action (drama) of the story to unfold. Sometimes, they know better than I do who they are. My living breathing flesh-and-blood three-dimensional people populating my writing need to understand that I need to tell a story but, I need to remember it's actually their story that's being told.

Perhaps I see my page count thickening up with too much fat content and I know how much still needs to get itself told and that last page is looming and what can I do but try to squeeze in the essentials in the amount of pages I've got left. Somewhere in all that I sometimes manage to send my characters off in directions they would not naturally go.

Another hazard along the logic trail are wayward dominoes. You know how every line trips into the next one and every scene trips into the next story element like a perfectly set up row of falling dominoes? Well, if it ain't shaking out right, your whole structure gets a bit wayward, a bit whacked, and the dominoes start disappearing out of the chain and since logic is perfection itself, it knows itself, and it will know ahead of time - before you even get there as the writer - that there's a missing domino... or two or three.

And that part of my brain that exists in registers so high my conscious mind can't hear it (like a psychic dog whistle) gets that misfire approaching, danger Will Robinson signal. And it sends a Work Shutdown Notice to the rest of the gray matter and that really is, "all she wrote."

So when the words don't come and since there really is no easy version of mental Ex-Lax, when I get to that point where it all grinds to a screeching halt and nothing else is forthcoming, the well is bone-freaking-dry...

I know I've lost a domino. Or maybe the whole chain just fell apart only it's further ahead in the creative process where I can't yet see it.

What that means is, I have to PAINstakingly work backwards, unweaving the tapestry until I discover the point at which it all started to go wrong. If I'm lucky, I'll find it. If I really am a for-real writer and not just role-playing at it, I should be able to find it.

A LITTLE TRICK I USE: Since my character(s) have now become suspicious of me and aren't willing to cooperate in the making of my story, sometimes, I'll take them out for a little R&R. Maybe we'll pick a story out of the headlines or maybe we'll revisit a favorite vacation or other real-life memory of mine and my character will live it or maybe my character will just go on a little road trip of his/her own. No pressure, darlings. You are not required to perform your screenplay duties. Take that break. I just sit back and watch. More times than not, little flashes and bits of inspiration shake out. I scoop them up, to be used in the current story or saved and savored for the next one.

In one novel/screenplay combo I wrote, what I thought was going to be a "secondary character" had so much juice to him, was so incredibly real with a hundred stories of his own that needed telling, that's exactly what I had to promise him after taking him for a little out-of-screenplay R&R. He's going to be the central character in at least two more novels.

So. Logic is key. Logic of character or logic of structure or logic of any other element of writing, if you just made your logic take a nosedive, you..are..screwed. So go back, unravel the mess, and begin again from that point forward. If that task seems overwhelming, go ahead and take a break from the whole writing scene. Step back from that computer. Get up and move. Treat yourself to a little R&R. And, maybe, take a character along for the ride.

It's all good.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Submission Guidelines

Submission Guidelines

PURPOSE: To include submission guidelines to magazines, anthologies, agents, e-zines, book publishers, management firms, prodcos, and anywhere else that a writer's work (be it poetry or screenplay or magazine article or whatEVER) can be submitted. I do see that most of these guidelines pertain to publishing magazine articles, however.

Telos Publishing Submission Guidelines

Telos Publishing Ltd have several ranges of titles, and we are looking for original submissions. The ranges that are open for submission are as follows: horror/dark fantasy novellas; the "Time Hunter" range of books; and our range of unofficial "guide" type books to television series and films. Publication format will vary dependent on the submission and range.Please note that these are just guidelines. Telos has on occasion published, and will continue to publish, titles which have deviated from these (for example our novella The Human Abstract is a science fiction thriller; and Alice's Journey Beyond the Moon is a children's book). But an unsolicited submission needs to be very special and distinctive for us to accept it if it does not fall within one of the ranges detailed here.We are not looking for short stories or collections of short stories, anthologies, essays or critiques, we don't publish poetry, screenplays or scripts, and we are not literary agents and don't represent authors to other publishers or provide extensive critique or feedback on manuscripts or outlines.

Cemetary Dance Magazine
Writer Submission Guidelines

AlienQ Sci-Fi Magazine
Submission Guidelines

Analog Science Fiction & Fact Magazine
Submission Guidelines

Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine
Manuscript Guidelines

Black Gate

Black Gate publishes epic fantasy fiction at all lengths, including novel excerpts, as well as articles, news and reviews. We're looking for adventure-oriented fantasy fiction suitable for all ages, as long as it is well written and original.

Strange Horizons
Guidelines Page

Art: for inquiring about art and illustration submissions.
Articles: for inquiring about interviews, science and technology, critical articles, history and culture, and other article submissions.
Fiction: for inquiring about speculative fiction submissions.
Poetry: for inquiring about SF, fantasy, horror, and "slipstream" poetry submissions.
Reviews: for inquiring about submitting reviews of works of speculative art and entertainment (especially books, films, and games).

Romance Publishers

Avon Romance Submission Guidelines
Lionhearted Submission Guidelines
Genesis Press
Red Sage Publishing
Dorchester Publishing
Avalon Books
Whippoorwill Press

Playboy Magazine

Thank you for your inquiry regarding submission of fiction to Playboy. We accept unsolicited manuscripts of up to 5000 words that include stamped, self-addressed return envelopes. Manuscripts should be typed, double-spaced and legible. Hand-written submissions will be returned unread. Writers who submit manuscripts without a stamped, self-addressed return envelope will receive neither the manuscript nor a printed rejection. We will not consider stories submitted electronically or by fax.

Open Spaces Quarterly

Open Spaces is a quarterly which gives voice to the Northwest on issues that are regional, national and international in scope. Our readership is thoughtful, intelligent, widely read and appreciative of ideas and writing of the highest quality. With that in mind, we seek thoughtful, well-researched articles and insightful fiction, reviews and poetry on a variety of subjects from a number of different viewpoints. Although we take ourselves seriously, we appreciate humor as well.

Writer's Stew Submission Guidelines Editorial Submissions

Fifty Plus Writer's Guidelines

While much of our content is written in-house by staff writers, we do occasionally assign stories to freelance writers. 50Plus magazine is published six times a year - February, April, June, August, October and December - with three special focus issues appearing in May (retirement and lifestyle options), September (travel) and November (holiday). The magazine is distributed to paid subscribers who are members of CARP, Canada's Association for the Fifty-Plus.

Weekend Adventures Freelance Writers Information

Weekend Adventures Magazine is a regional travel magazine –its focus is almost exclusively on vacation destinations in Western Maryland, The Potomac Highlands of West Virginia, The Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania. The magazine was launched in January 1997, and attracts over 100,000 readers annually. 15,000 copies are printed quarterly on newsprint, and are distributed free at visitor centers, resorts, businesses, state parks, and events.

Writing for Family Tree Magazine

Family Tree Magazine is a general-interest consumer magazine that helps readers discover, preserve and celebrate their family's history. We cover genealogy, ethnic heritage, personal history, genealogy Web sites and software, scrapbooking, photography and photo preservation, and other ways that families connect with their past.

Articles are geared to beginners—our readers don't necessarily think of themselves as "genealogists"—but never talk down to the audience. Readers may be experts in one area of our coverage, yet novices in another. We emphasize sidebars, tips and other reader-friendly "packaging," and each article aims to provide the resources necessary to take the next step in the quest for one's personal past.

Mysteries Magazine Writer's Guidelines

We accept unsolicited manuscripts related to historical/ancient mysteries, the paranormal, conspiracies, recent archaeological finds, lost treasure, UFOs, new discoveries and scientific breakthroughs, or the occult. Before pursuing any topic, please query first at Average feature article is approx. 3,000-5,000 words in length although longer work will be considered (when writing historical articles, please include a list of reference material used in research). Sidebar information is also encouraged, as well as graphics, including copyright-free illustrations and original photographs. Mysteries Magazine takes full North American serial rights on all work accepted. We also reserve the right to post—either in part or in full—any articles or reviews on this web site. All mailed submissions should be set up in the standard manuscript format (title, name, address, phone number, approx word count on title page, double spaced and every subsequent page fully numbered). A bibliography is requested for historical articles, and/or a list of recommended books for further reading. Cover letter should include a brief bio and credits, where you heard of Mysteries Magazine, and any other pertinent information. An SASE must be included with all submissions and/or revisions to be considered and/or responded to. However, we encourage writers to email us their articles directly, to save on mailing and paper costs, to Although writers will be notified of acceptance within a few weeks of submission, we cannot guarantee a publication date. However when the article is scheduled for a particular issue, we will attempt to notify the writer before publication. We reserve the right to reject previously accepted work at any time and for any reason

Colossal Directory of Children's Publishers
(and submission guidelines)

Reminisce Contributors' Guidelines

WE LIKE TO SAY that Reminisce and Reminisce EXTRA have the largest magazine staff that’s ever been assembled—over 1 million writers and photographers! Of course, we’re talking about our subscribers, who send us great personal memories and photos from their family albums.

We do not publish fiction. Instead, we want folks to tell us their true-life stories—personal reminiscences of years gone by. Published memories are edited, and in many cases, only an excerpt of the original memory is used.

Payment is a model car, there is no money.

Links to Online Submission Guidelines

The Top Ten Pet Peeves of Literary Magazine Editors

Average Response Times for Submissions to Various Publications

So, that's the first installment, folks. There's a WHOLE lot more where that came from.

This Week's Top 150 Bestsellers

Here's the webpage and here is this week's Top 10:

1. 5th Horseman
James Patterson, Maxine Paetro, Little, Brown
Patients at a hospital suddenly turn deathly ill (F) (H) $27.95
Weeks in Top 150: 1
Last week: --
Entered Top 150: 2/23/2006
Peak: 1

2. Cell
Stephen King, Scribner
Cell phones transmit horrific phenomenon (F) (H) $26.95
Weeks in Top 150: 4
Last week: 1
Entered Top 150: 2/2/2006
Peak: 1

3. Night
Elie Wiesel, translation by Marion Wiesel, Hill and Wang
Memoir: Nobel Peace Prize winner's classic about the Holocaust is based on Wiesel's experience at Nazi concentration camps; Oprah's Book Club, announced Jan. 16, 2006, picked this translation (NF) (P) $9.00
Weeks in Top 150: 5
Last week: 2
Entered Top 150: 1/26/2006
Peak: 1

4. Marley & Me
John Grogan, William Morrow
Life with a lively 97-pound yellow labrador retriever (NF) (H) $21.95
Weeks in Top 150: 18
Last week: 3
Entered Top 150: 10/27/2005
Peak: 3

5. The Closers
Michael Connelly, Warner Books
Detective Harry Bosch returns to work on unsolved murder case (F) (P) $7.99
Weeks in Top 150: 11
Last week: 4
Entered Top 150: 5/26/2005
Peak: 3

6. The Da Vinci Code
Dan Brown, Doubleday
Murder clues left inside Leonardo art at the Louvre (F) (H) $24.95
Weeks in Top 150: 153
Last week: 12
Entered Top 150: 3/27/2003
Peak: 1

7. Memoirs of a Geisha
Arthur Golden, Vintage
Fictional memoirs of a geisha; movie (F) (P) $7.99
Weeks in Top 150: 189
Last week: 8
Entered Top 150: 10/30/1997
Peak: 2

8. The Third Secret
Steve Berry, Ballantine Books
Historic religious secret rattles the Vatican (F) (P) $7.99
Weeks in Top 150: 6
Last week: 9
Entered Top 150: 5/26/2005
Peak: 8

9. A Million Little Pieces
James Frey, Anchor
Memoir: At 23, Frey spent six weeks in rehab to save his life; Oprah's Book Club, announced Sept. 2005 (NF) (P) $14.95
Weeks in Top 150: 23
Last week: 6
Entered Top 150: 6/5/2003
Peak: 1

10. The World Is Flat
Thomas L. Friedman, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Subtitle: "A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century" (NF) (H) $27.50
Weeks in Top 150: 46
Last week: 10
Entered Top 150: 4/14/2005
Peak: 5

Sunday, February 26, 2006

GENRE: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller Writer's Resources - Part Two

Well, I did say back on November 30, 2005 that I would get around to adding more links to this category so here they are (below). Be sure to check out Part One here.

Oops. I have so many more links. Looks like there's going to be a Part Three. One of these days.

Some More Help with Characters

Please do see my other post here titled, "A Little Help with Characters." This post is, I suppose, a continuation of that post. I hope you find the following links to be just as helpful.

These links come from the website for Typing Chimp Software:

Science of a Good Character
Simple Motivation--What Would YOU Do?
Define What's Missing
Relating Character to Story
Is Your Character an Adult or Child (not age)?
Creating Adult and Child Characters for Juvenile and Adult Fiction
Beginning to Understand Great Dialogue
Fluffing up a Boring Secondary Character
Give Every Character a Theme
What Exactly is a Character Arc?
Finding the Perfect Tragic Past
Top Ten Character Tips
How to Differentiate Characters
Using Stress to Reveal Character
Giving a Minor Character Life
The Seven Deadly Sins and Character Motivation

Robin Kelley's website has quite a good section on "Character."

More articles and tips on "Character" from around the web:

Understanding the Psychology of Character
Characters and Cliches
Editing Characters

Characters and Subtext
The X-Factor: The Key To Creating Believable Characters
Character in Fiction
Character and Storytelling
How to Create a Character
Developing Your Characters


Well, that's it for now. I hope this links prove helpful to some of my fellow writers. Good luck to you in pursuing your dream. Never give up!