What are your writing goals this week?
I find that writing my goals down really helps me stick to them. Especially if I post on social media!
How about you?
What are you up to this week?
I’m launching my YouTube channel this Wed—you can check it out HERE and subscribe.
I’m also working on course content for my new course-sign up HERE to become a Judanie Bean VIP to get the latest information and FREEBIES as they role out.
AND, I’m off to Orlando for an SCBWI writers’ conference at Disney World which is going to be a great networking event, craft workshop and all around fun. I can’t wait.
Have a super week!!
Hey everyone, special Sunday post today to share a little about the Iceland Writers Retreat I went to last month (April 2019). There’s a link to get the full article too.
How did you find out about Iceland Writers Retreat originally?
I was searching for a writing event in Iceland because I wanted an excuse to visit and this one popped up. I have wanted to go ever since then. (2015)
What were you most looking forward to about the Retreat?
Being in Iceland and meeting writers from all over the world. I feel like international writing events always bring something extra special to the table because we come from every corner of the globe with this one common thing—storytelling.
How has writing influenced your life?
It’s everything to me in so many ways that it’s hard to pinpoint. I wrote my first novel at age 13 after becoming best friends with Ponyboy Curtis and Holden Caufield. I think it was then when I realized that I could escape in any book, whether I was writing it or reading it. It’s made me a storyteller for even the most basic of things.
READ MORE HERE IWR Blog Stephanie Bourbon
When I was about 13 years old, I read two books that I fell in love with and since then have read them both many, many, many times. Because of these two books specifically I decided that I needed to be a writer and so at 13, I sat in my home and typed, on a typewriter, yes it was the early 80s, I typed my first novel about a boy named, Larry Winston. Larry was snarky, sarcastic, and fully flawed with many problems.
Have any guesses which books I am talking about?
Let me tell you more about Larry. He felt like his parents didn’t love him and while I am sure they did in the backstory, in the novel itself, he was on his own, much like I was at that age. He didn’t have a lot of money and he shoplifted his clothes and scrounged up pennies to get lunch at the local taco stand next to his junior high. (Back then we called it junior high not middle grade). Larry was 13. Larry got into fights, got picked up by the cops and wanted to die. It was an intense novel to say the least.
I never attempted to get it published. It’s somewhere in my parent’s-well my stepfather’s house as my mother has since passed away from lung cancer-the disease I had given Larry’s mom too in the story.
*Did I see that coming? Not sure, but both my parents smoked.
Hey maybe someday I’ll revisit Larry and his story. I have most of it still in my head.
Do you know these books? At the time I had no idea they were either ground breaking or popular, I just knew that I LOVED them and I loved the main characters. They are:
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and to this day I still believe it has one of the strongest openings in any novel ever written by anyone in the history of writing.
“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them. They’re quite touchy about anything like that, especially my father. They’re nice and all – I’m not saying that – but they’re also touchy as hell. Besides, I’m not going to tell you my whole goddamn autobiography or anything. I’ll just tell you about this madman stuff that happened to me last Christmas just before I got pretty run-down and had to come out and take it easy. I mean that’s all I told D.B. about, and he’s my brother and all. He’s in Hollywood. That isn’t too far from this crumby place, and he comes over and visits me practically every week end. He’s going to drive me home when I go home next month maybe. He just got a Jaguar. One of those little English jobs that can do around two hundred miles an hour. It cost him damn near four thousand bucks. He’s got a lot of dough, now. He didn’t use to. He used to be just a regular writer, when he was home. He wrote this terrific book of short stories, The Secret Goldfish, in case you never heard of him. The best one in it was «‘The Secret Goldfish.’ It was about this little kid that wouldn’t let anybody look at his goldfish because he’d bought it with his own money. It killed me. Now he’s out in Hollywood, D.B., being a prostitute. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s the movies. Don’t even mention them to me.”
I read that and I was hooked. I went to mom “Do you know about this book? It’s goddamn amazing listen to this.” Of course she did but she listened to me go on and on about it and how I had great plans to name my first child Holden.
You can read the whole first chapter if you haven’t here-but go pick up a copy, it’s really a GREAT book. http://chabrieres.pagesperso-orange.fr/texts/salinger_catcher.html
Then there was this book which deals with the social bullshit that I was dealing with at the time. It wasn’t the 50s and I wasn’t a “greaser” but that was how things were at my school. Since we left my father and our secure life and we all of a sudden didn’t have money, I was thrust into this life. Also I had (fake) red hair so everyone called me “Cherry” for Cherry Valance. You got it! The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton.
Here is how this book hooked me in the first paragraph.
“WHEN I STEPPED OUT into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home. I was wishing I looked like Paul Newman— he looks tough and I don’t— but I guess my own looks aren’t so bad. I have light-brown, almost-red hair and greenish-gray eyes. I wish they were more gray, because I hate most guys that have green eyes, but I have to be content with what I have. My hair is longer than a lot of boys wear theirs, squared off in back and long at the front and sides, but I am a greaser and most of my neighborhood rarely bothers to get a haircut. Besides, I look better with long hair.”
You can read more here http://theoutsidersbook.blogspot.com/2005/09/whole-book.html
I must have read that book 15 times in a row. I liked the other books she wrote as well, but this was my favorite.
I now have completed two TEEN FICTION books. One is older MG/YA and the other is definitely YA. I am actually doing a final revision on the second one. Both have male leads, both are told in the first person. I have always been drawn to books that have both. Sure I enjoy chick lit (heck, I have two chick lit novels published under a pen name), but I love my boy stories so much. I highly recommend that you read them both.
Since these, of course I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Harry Potter series (also written by a woman) and anything by Dickens-most are boy leads as well.
People are always asking me how I managed to write and publish novels, and have a screenplay and have spec scripts and short stories and pilot scripts-not bragging-this is 10+ years of hard work-done and I always say, “Well I just wrote them.”
Or I get, “How did write your first novel?” I say, “I had an idea and I wrote it.”
If want to be a writer it’s really simple, it can’t be any easier if you tried. You know what you need to do? WRITE!
BOOM! You’re now a writer. Okay to be a quote un-quote professional writer you need to get paid to write, but if you don’t write you will never do that.
When I meet new aspiring writers I always aks them what they are writing. When they said nothing but they have an idea, I lose interest real fast. We all have ideas, but to be a writer you have to write them down. This isn’t information that I gathered from a book about writing it is the simple facts to be a writer you need to write.
You should also be writing every single day. If you aren’t feeling creative, write a blog, or a short story for yourself, just get something down on paper-WORD, FINAL DRAFT, whatever you are using.
If you are trying to finish a novel-just do it. Write, tell the story and don’t worry about being a great writer-worry about telling a great story and don’t even worry about that, just write it and then go back and tweak it.
If you are on a screenplay-same thing-just get it out.
I run into so many writers who tell me they are worried about structure and all those things that you read in every screenwriting book so they aren’t writing. Listen, all those things are important, but if you have no story to write then none of those things matter.
You want to write a screenplay? Write it! Or at the very least spend time writing about your characters. Who are they? What do they want? How do they feel? Just do an exercise and write it down.
There are many ways to become a writer, but the basic most simple way is to write and do it all the time. If it’s work to write, then maybe you like the idea of writing more than actually writing. Me? I love to write. I love to work on any project and yeah I write lots of dud scenes or boring chapters that get tossed, but at least I write them.
There are lots of writing groups out there and things like NaNoWriMo-which also has a screenwriting one in April that are there just for the purpose of getting you writing.
I joined a writing group that used to meet once a month and I was surprised at how many people actually didn’t write. I was always shaking my head like, what?
So my advice-take it or leave it-is if you want to be a writer, WRITE.