Why You Should Focus on Story First!

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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. 

FIRST DRAFT

REVISIONS

REVISIONS

REVISIONS

NEW FULL DRAFT– I do this from memory with a blank page.

REVISIONS on story, character, at the chapter level.

REVISIONS

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. 

STORY first! 

Then pretty words. 

If you like this blog please share on social media and with other writers. 

As well, please get onto my VIP email list so you are first to get weekly writing tips, announcements, and exclusive offers just for you.

XO happy writing!

The 5 Stages of Becoming a Successful Writer

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Hey everyone, I created a new e-book called the 5 Stages of Being a Successful Writer and 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!!

xo Stephanie

#writerslife #amwriting #writingcommunity #storytelling #screenwriting #TVwriting #novelwriting

How to Crush That Query

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Hello, Writers & Storytellers,

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. 

Here is the link to the blog over there. TAKE ME THERE NOW

Now, I’ll write about queries here as well! 

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.

Why?

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.

TAKE ME THERE 

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!!

YOU GOT THIS! 

XO Stephanie

It’s Been A While & I’m Celebrating

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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!

Today I posted this

https://www.stephaniebourbon.com/blog/i-m-celebrating-the-positives

And I’d LOVE you to hop over and read it!!

More tomorrow, I promised.

Meanwhile, I’d love for you to come check out all the new things I am offering for writers just like YOU HERE

and please make sure to choose one and sign up so you will be on my list to get all the specials early for being a VIP.

Thank you for reading and being with me all these years!!

I couldn’t do any of it without you!

celebrate the small things!

 

XO XO Stephanie

Writing Goals And Why You Should Have Them

Happy Friday my darlings!

I hope you are amazing! I have a new website and blog but I’m also going to continue to post here–but you should swing by my other blog and get on my listTime for your writing goals for the week!

https://www.stephaniebourbon.com/blog/writing-goals

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Cross them off as you do them-this is like getting a star in school-just feels good.

Now for some don’ts.

  1. Don’t edit your writing as you go
  2. Don’t compare yourself to other writers you see on social media
  3. 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 heremake as many copies as you want, hang it up so you can see it and check off those goals as you make them! 

Happy Writing!

XO

Stephanie

Are You Writing A Novel? The NOVELRY Can Help!

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Hello fellow novelists!

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As you know I am building courses to help you reach your dreams.

Part of my concierge service is recommending amazing courses and workshops with other coaches because I believe that there is enough to go around and not every course is for every writer. When I work one on one with you we go over in detail what your dreams and goals are but when I’m not with you I can still recommend GREAT places for you.

In my new workbook coming winter 2020 (so in a month or two, or three MAX) you will do exercises that help you get to your storytelling path that you create or we can create together when we work one on one.

In the meantime, I am going to continue to share amazing places for you. One of them is THE NOVELRY and you can find out more and sign up HERE 

 

I’m super excited to share my affiliate link with you and I wish you the best in your writing. Please subscribe to this blog so you will be up to date with everything I am building for you.

As well, find me on social media, and grab a FREEBIE here as a GIFT as a token of my gratitude for your support.

Story Concierge Main Course Website HERE

Please follow me on social media

Twitter https://twitter.com/stepholivieri

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/stepholivieribourbon/

Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/JudanieBean/

and join the Story Concierge FB grouphttps://www.facebook.com/groups/StoryConcierge/

XO

Stephanie 

“Plot Twist” Sorry for Being Gone

Hello everyone! OMG, so I have been MIA for months.. seriously, SORRY.

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We had to move on the fly, so there was that and after seven years of living in one place we had MANY boxes–MOST OF THEM BOOKS–you know, I’m a writer, so that took a while to get settled into our new flat.

Which is AMAZING. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it.

I live in Los Angeles, but outside of it in the burbs–the studio burbs. I first moved to Burbank to work at Disney and stayed for the trees, the small-town feel of it and pretty much most of the writing and or animation jobs I did were in the area. I LOVE Burbank, but wow it’s getting STUPID expensive and people are getting greedy. We moved to the neighboring Glendale and it’s just as great as far as the studios and the added bonus of it being slightly cheaper. We can walk to everything and it feels almost like a city–I mean, it’s no New York but New York isn’t even New York the way I remember it growing up.

This all said I hope you are following me on YouTube. I took one month off but for the most part, have kept up with my videos for writers.

If you haven’t subscribed please drop everything and head straight over there and do EET NOW! Please and thank you! MyYouTube

Here are a few updates…since I’ve been gone…does anyone else hear Kelly Clarkson singing? No? Just me? LOL

 

  1. I completed a brand new novel—well, it’s not new in the way that years ago I came up with this idea but never finished it. I wrote it all over, from the blank page last month during NaNoWriMo—it’s a COMEDY! It is chick-lit–even though no one says “chick-lit” anymore–that’s like so ’00s so let’s call is mainstream fiction. I’m excited. I love it and I hope you will too when it comes out.
  2. We moved. 4 miles east to a “city”. It took 6 weeks of packing and unpacking from the crack-arse of dawn to the wee hours of the night to get settled and I’m still unpacking.
  3. I put my courses and stuff for writers on hold but LOOK HERE I have a new website.
  4. My husband and I went to Hawaii for one week to celebrate our ONE YEAR WEDDING anniversary!!! Yes, I’ve been married for one whole year. It was really fun and needed, especially with the move.

 

So that’s about it.

I apologize for being gone, sometimes life just gets in the way of things but I’m grateful that you are here and for everything I have in my life.

Story Concierge Main Course Website HERE

Please follow me on social media

Twitter https://twitter.com/stepholivieri

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/stepholivieribourbon/

Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/JudanieBean/

and join the Story Concierge FB grouphttps://www.facebook.com/groups/StoryConcierge/

Writing Goals Aren’t Just Important-They Are Invaluable

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Time for your writing goals for the week!

Good morning writers,

I hope you are amazing!

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Cross them off as you do them-this is like getting a star in school-just feels good.

Now for some don’ts.

  1. Don’t edit your writing as you go
  2. Don’t compare yourself to other writers you see on social media
  3. 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 writers 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! 

Happy Writing!

XO

Stephanie

BTW I’m taking a holiday with my husband for our first wedding anniversary AND we are moving apartments this month so I may post less than normal but you can find me on social media and I hope you join the STORY CONCIERGE FB group!

Tips for a Successful NaNoWriMo

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Hello WRITERS

#NaNoWriMo tips!

First of all, I apologize for taking some time off from this blog. As many of you know, I am in the process of creating my signature online course STORY CONCIERGE and several mini-courses that will be budget-friendly and take less time to complete as we are all so busy and a lot of us don’t have a ton of money to spend on courses.

This said, I am rolling everything over to my course platform KAJABI and even this blog will roll over, so please be patient with me.

I also started a YouTube channel this summer and am taking the month of October off as life has gotten so busy and if you follow me on social media, you know that we are also moving apartments AND jetting over the Pacific Ocean to enjoy our one year anniversary in Hawaii.

There are no enough hours in the day.

SOOOOO I am doing #NaNoWriMo as I have done it every year since 2006 and one year when it first started before that. I love it.

I am going to be posting weekly videos AND FB lives AND Instagram stories all November giving support, tips, insights, and anything else that YOU need to have a successful month. 

You may 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 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 it’s better to just write. If you must outline, just do it as simple as possible as a guide, not a detailed map.
  9. Do go to write-ins online and in-person with other writers.
  10. HAVE FUN!!

Here is a FREEBIE—a goal sheet download for writers-—this can be so helpful for NaNoWriMo or any of your writing goals WRITER GOAL SHEET DOWNLOAD

Happy Writing xo 

Stephanie

BTW I’m taking October off from this blog as well but you can find me on social media

Join the STORY CONCIERGE Free FB group https://www.facebook.com/groups/StoryConcierge/

Twitter https://twitter.com/stepholivieri

Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/JudanieBean/ 

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/stepholivieribourbon/

 

Writing For Children!

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Hello writers! 

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This fall is going to be insanely busy for me, so I’m going to cut back and only post once a week to go with my YouTube videos. Then, hopefully, after things calm down I can get back to more than once a week.

This week’s video (YOU CAN WATCH IT HERE) is all about writing for children, and more specifically writing picture books.

This is something that I am asked about all the time, I see questions asked in kid lit groups on Facebook and other social media sites, and when I meet people out in the world.

It seems that everyone has an idea or wants to write a picture book. 

That is amazing. I believe that picture books can change the world. They are important, they are fun, they can teach lessons, they open up reading to children and the list goes on.

So YAY, you want to write one? 

Well, there are things that you need to know about writing them.

Please pop over to YouTube and watch the short video I created for YOU. AND grab your free PDF just for watching—and for being someone who reads my blog you can get your copy here too. 

I want to share this information with you because I want you to succeed AND I want children to read your book.

Let’s go!! 

Thanks for reading xo Stephanie

www.judaniebean.com

www.twitter.com/stepholivieri