I have been doing NaNoWriMo for many many years and I LOVE it. In fact, I love it so much that I’ve created a new course all about writing a novel in a month, it’s called
FROM NOTHING TO NOVEL and it’s going to get you from the blank page to a completed novel in just a month—now, you will need to revise said novel–but don’t worry, I’ve got you covered because included in my new course, is a special bonus on revisions. AND, since I run a concierge service for writers, you know I will give you lots of options for courses, workshops, and books on revising that I KNOW you will LOVE. Find out more here https://www.stephaniebourbon.com/from-nothing-to-novel
I’m super excited about this course because after spending the summer with writers and talking to writers of all genres and levels finishing a novel seems to be the thing that they need the most help with and since writing a draft fast is my JAM, I created this course.
I also blog about it on my OTHER BLOG—I know I know, I have more than one blog–I’m a writing slut that way. LOL for lack of a better term.
I will try to reblog my blogs from there to here but the best thing to do is to get on my VIP list so you get notified everytime I have a new blog post–AND You will get exclusive offers just for being a VIP.
Happy Sunday! Usually I blog on Wednesdays but I decided to toss in a bonus blog this week because this has been on my mind a lot! Here’s a little reminder if you are stuck in a rut!
DO WHAT YOU LOVE and accept nothing less for your life and career.
TRUTH ~ when my mother was sick with lung cancer about two months before she died when she knew it was growing again and she would need at least one more surgery that would probably leave her paralyzed from the waist down she said to me “if I make it out of this, I’m going back to painting. I hate graphic design.” I knew she wasn’t making it out of it. I hoped, but I knew she wasn’t going to, and this crushed me. I thought, “I don’t want to be dying and have regrets like that.” It changed the course of my life. You see, society tells us from the moment we are born that we need to do certain things. Get a college degree, get married, own property, pop out some kids, and have a steady career that makes money.Art and everything creative is fine for a hobby but not for a career. Why is that? EVERYONE enjoys art.
Yes even those who pretend that they are so above it all that they don’t own a TV, go to the movies, go to concerts, etc.. and yes all that POP CULTURE stuff? All the commercial films and TV shows, and books, etc.. all that is ART TOO. I once had a friend of mine go off on an article she read about an actor on set who was wasted and he was caught from mandatory drug testing on that set. She was pissed off because she felt that it was a “nothing industry” and wasting money that should be going to something else. I was like, “Um don’t you watch movies? Shouldn’t the sets be safe?” only to get an F you and delete from her FB friends list. Movies are art. TV is art. Comics. Video Games.Books….etc. This is all art! Sorry if I got distracted about this but as a creative, I’m passionate about it and I refused, and have refused my entire life to accept anything less for my career. Full transparency here—I don’t own a house and I don’t have kids. I always thought I would have those things but the kid thing didn’t happen because like in my career in my life I refused to get married just to get married. I watched my mother get divorced in her 40s and marry the man she really loved at 49. She didn’t love my father in the way she should have. I asked once when I was in my twenties, why she married him and she said, “because that’s what we did back then” It made me sad so while I always hoped that I’d get married in my thirties and have kids, when I hit my thirties the universe had other plans and started killing off members of my family almost yearly, it was devastating, and at the time I was working in animation-which I did love-but it wasn’t my dream, it was a great job in the entertainment industry. But dating and marriage? That just wasn’t a priority as I had to survive. Survive grief and survive my career. *** BTW I met the man I love in my early 40s and married him in my late 40s and I’m so happy that I waited.I made it work because I always knew that I had to continue to do what I love. What is that? Working in entertainment. Being a creative. Storytelling and everything that goes with that.
I have a chapter in a new book called She Did It And So Can You that explains what I did to make this work for me. And there are 16 other stories too. You can get that HERE it just hit number 1 on Amazon and is an international bestseller. 🍾❤️ I want you to really think about what you are doing 40 hours a week and ask yourself these things. Is it what I LOVE?Does it bring me JOY? If I was dying today would I have regrets? Be honest with yourself. If the answer to the top two are no and the third is yes, please make a plan of action to do what you love. A friend & colleague sent me this email today “I’ve been studying all kinds of self help things lately, and they all boil down to what you said in your email about the book: Following what makes you happy. I’m so glad you found that out while you are young!” It’s important to always do what you love! In my upcoming career course, STORY CONCIERGE, for female writers who work in (or want to) film, television, and novels I go deeper into this and WHY it’s important to always follow your dreams.
You can get on the waitlist HERE and by signing up for that list you will get access to free trainings that are coming this spring. I want you to be happy and never have regrets. Do what you love always! If that is writing, then write. If it’s painting, then paint. If it’s having a boring desk job, then have a boring desk job! Don’t let society or ANYONE tell you what you need to do and or how to live your life. Okay, that’s my extra blog for today. Come back on Wed for some writing craft or career tips to help you succeed and reach your dreams!! xo Stephanie Here is a YouTube video I did from 2019 on this very subject CLICK HERE
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!
Please head over HERE and read all of this and STORY TIPS from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off!
I loved this movie so much when I was a teen and I still love it now. I wrote a blog on the importance of taking time off AND I give story tips from this movie, so here over.
I have loved having this blog here but the other one is my new blog on my website where you can get HEAPS of FREEBIES
thanks for reading and being here for all these years!
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
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
If you are doing it this way, leave the scene # out until you figure it out.
Most novels have roughly 66 scenes
When you are writing them out you are making a narrative plan for your story.
Remember that every scene/beat moves the story forward. When you sit down to write your story you should always think of what is happening now and going to happen at the end.
In novels, it’s always the end of the current book for your beat sheets. In television-it’s always the end of your current episode, unless you are working on your series bible and that’s a horse of a different color–but uses a lot of the same principals here.
For a screenplay, it’s like a novel–your beats take the characters from A–the beginning to Z-the end.
Example. You are writing a story about a man who wins the lottery but must spend it all in a week without giving it away in order to prove his love to the woman he loves–or something like that-just making this up as I go for this purpose.
So your rough beats may go something like (this is when you are just figuring it out)
Scene–man goes into work
Scene–man buys lotto ticket
Scene–woman he loves tells him that all he cares about is money
Scene–he makes a plan to prove to her that he doesn’t care
Scene–man wins lottery
Scene–woman tells him he must spend it all in a certain amount of time
Scene-man buys a house
Scene-man buys a plane
Scene-time is running out scene
Scene-man proves his love
Something like that—you would start with.
your character—this is the first beat sheet.
Harry Potter lives under the stairs
Harry Potter discovers he’s a wizard
Harry Potter defeats Voldermort
(basically book one–this is what happens)
If you want to write a love story, like a rom com it’s the same.
Harry and Sally meet and drive to New York together
Harry and Sally become friends 10 years later
Harry and Sally get together
then you go back and fill it all in.
I use the beat sheet method when I know where I’m going-as I generally am not an outliner-but it works and helps keep me on track.
Why and how to put into action for story planning.
WHY–to get organized and see the story and if it is even something that will work.
HOW–that’s up to you. You can use Word/Scrivener/Contour/Save the Cat on a computer
You can use a notebook or notecards, post its.
Just get it done so you have a road map for your story.
Then you can start drafting.
You can either do the beat sheet PRE or POST writing.
You use it PRE/before drafting to avoid things like writing in circles and having the story go no where.
You use it POST/revisions to fix story issues that you may be having.
There is no right or wrong way here.
For me, I like to pants it out for novels or screenplays with just an idea in my head first but always, and I mean ALWAYS, use beat sheets for making sure that it’s all working nicely.
I highly recommend Save the Cat, and Story Fix both will help you with the concept of using beat sheets. Contour software has specific examples of the hero’s journey on films well known and loved so you can see the beats and calls to action for your main character.
I have a new course for novelists called FROM NOTHING TO NOVEL and I’m inviting you to sign up now before Oct 1, 2020 to get a special thank you gift from me.
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 LAST.
The sequence of writing a novel should go something like this.
NEW FULL DRAFT– I do this from memory with a blank page.
REVISIONS on story, character, at the chapter level.
Then workshop it.
Then critique group.
Then if you are really sure this is the best version of your story you get to line edit. (usually about the 8th or 9th revision)
Sounds like a lot of work right?
Yup, it is.
Writing novels is hard.
Think of it this way, if you were to make a wedding cake, you finish with the tiny details you start with the eggs, flour, sugar, etc.
It’s the same with your story.
Now, for the screen and TV writers out there, this is the same for you.
if you waste your time writing clever dialogue, scenes, and jokes but the story isn’t working, your movie or your episode will most likely suck.
Why? Because story always needs to be first. Great sentences and super clever jokes won’t and can’t carry a story.
I STRONGLY recommend the below two books by Lisa Cron-they are game-changers.
WIRED FOR STORY & STORY GENIUS
They will help you get to the root of your story and the exercises she has are invaluable
EXERCISE Make a list of your top ten favorite books or movies (or both) and then write down what you love about it. I bet ya, it’s the story. It may be all the clever jokes or the witty dialogue but at the end of it, it’s probably the story. Example–THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN–very funny, lots of hilarity–but why do we love this movie? The STORY is solid. The character has a want and a need that isn’t happening for him until he is forced to change. Another example is the GILMORE GIRLS--talk about your witty dialogue but is that why you tuned in? Nope, it was the story of a mother and a daughter in a small town. The witty dialogue was just the flower on the icing on the cake. One more. TWILIGHT. Is the writing brilliant? Is she a wordsmith? No, but the story of two teens in love and one of them having a dark secret that is dangerous is one we know and instantly want to know more. Also, 50 SHADES OF GREY.
Now, are you ready to make your STORY stand out?
I know that you are. It’s hard because it’s been drilled into our heads that we have to be these perfect writers to be successful but honestly, that’s part of it but more importantly is the STORY.
Don’t forget that.
Then pretty words.
If you like this blog please share on social media and with other writers.
Hey everyone, I created a new e-book called the 5 Stages of Being a Successful Writerand you can grab it HERE
I created this to help you get past those mental roadblocks and limiting beliefs you may have around submitting your work and being successful. As a creative, we are taught to repeat the mantra of “I’m a starving…..” enter writer, artist, actor etc.. we have been trained to be the “broke….whatever” and I call BS on that. You can be a successful writer. I hope this is helpful to you!!
so I have started a new blog that is attached to my course and membership site which is hosted on Kajabi and I’d love you to head over there and check out my blogs that post every #writerwednesday but it’s okay if you still love it here too!
This week I wrote about CRUSHING YOUR QUERY LETTER.
It’s not a difficult task to talk about our stories, right? You love telling friends and family and co-workers all about your novel, screenplay, or new idea for a TV pilot–it flows easily but for some reason when we go to write that query letter we get completely locked and it never comes out right.
This is like playing golf or any sport really, it’s a MENTAL GAME. You psych yourself out that this query is the most important piece of writing and your life depends on the outcome and then you forget how to write and you forget how to talk about your manuscript in a way that draws people in.
The pressure is too much!
It shouldn’t be.
So what I want you to do is change the way you think about queries and trust me, they will get easier.
Also, it is not the end of the world, whomever you are sending it to may or may not be the agent for you, so stop pressuring yourself.
I want you to be successful and I know you can do it! You can, you just completed and revised your screenplay, your novel, your children’s picture book, your TV pilot so you can do this!
I want you to head up to the link I posted before and to make it easy, here it is again.
And if you still need more help, I’m offering a FREE look at your query for the entire month of July–meaning you can email me your query and I will look at it and give you some general feedback to help you get it right!
You can get in touch by emailing me at Stephanie@judaniebean.com and put CRUSHINGMYQUERY in the subject line.
Okay, that’s it for this edition of #writerwednesday and I hope you have a super day, week, month, and get that query written!!
So I started a new blog that is on my website and I love this one so much that I promise not to go away forever but all my business coaches tell me that I need to focus on the one connected so I will do both!
I also hope that you are writing down your writing goals for the week ahead. I find that when I have my plans or goals written out in a list I tend to stick to them and actually make them much more than when I say, “I’ll write whatever whenever I have time.”
That’s why for me #NaNoWriMo is so great. I always get an entire novel drafted. It pushes me to stick to daily word count goals.
Here are some quick and easy tips to make those writing goals work for you so you will accomplish more and get that draft done faster.
Make daily goals-this can be word count or page count or scenes, whatever you need. Write them down somewhere that you can see them.
Get an accountability partner to check in with. You don’t have to check-in everyday-there are no rules but whatever you want just check-in.
Make the goals fun. Maybe you meet with your partner at a coffee shop every day for an hour, maybe you chat on the phone or via social media. Mix it up and have fun.
Cross them off as you do them-this is like getting a star in school-just feels good.
Now for some don’ts.
Don’t edit your writing as you go
Don’t compare yourself to other writers you see on social media
Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t make the daily goal–today is a new day.
I hope this is helpful and that you all have a very productive week!!
BONUS for reading. I have created a writer’s GOAL sheet JUST for you and it’s FREE!!!
You can get it here, make as many copies as you want, hang it up so you can see it and check off those goals as you make them!