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Feeling Blue? Top 10 Writing Exercises To Cheer You Up!

Nobody knows better than us crazy writers that the lows are just as necessary as the highs, but that doesn’t mean we like these darker, more tumultuous times any better. So what do we do about it? We write, duh!

Or we sit around smoking cigarettes and talking shit about other people until we feel better.

Bottom line, it’s now time to take out your old-fashioned pen and paper, or open up your newfangled Word document, and git on down to it!

10. You are like Luke Skywalker. Write three different opening paragraphs to your autobiography, trying out very different styles.

9. Write the lyrics of a catchy jingle for a plumbing service.

8. You are a superhero. What are your powers, and how do you use them?

7. Write an X-rated Disney scenario.

6. Drink a beer. Write about the taste.

5. Write a bathroom wall limerick.

4. Create an imaginary friend (human or not).

3. Write about your life among the pirates.

2. Write a poem about a tomato.

1. Go ahead. Write about that time you peed your pants.

Happy writing, and happier times ahead!


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11:11 Make a Wish!

Everyone should dream and dream big. Here’s my list of Top 10 11:11 Wishes.

(Note: I imagine myself as Jennifer Lawrence in my dreams.)

10. I wish ya’ll would read more of my writing samples. Feel free to print them out and share them with your friends. It isn’t copyright infringement if it’s good publicity for me. If you read my blog you know I’m actually a screenwriter just trying to make her own way in this chaotic mess known as the film industry. I strongly believe that I can cultivate a fan base around my writing before getting an agent and getting produced. If you believe in that to, or maybe just in me, I invite you to take a look at my work.

Jennifer Lawrence reads, even when her peers are training to killer her.

9. I wish my heart would stop aching over a dead and beaten relationship.

This is not Jennifer Lawrence, but wouldn't that be nice.

8. I wish I had that body and didn’t have to do anything for it.

Damn, gurl.

7. I wish feminists would loosen up.

See what I mean. Not even a hint of a smile. Yeah, I know I'm objectifying Jennifer Lawrence for my own personal gain, but I do it with love.

6. I wouldn’t mind having something like this hanging around while I knit scarves, and practice my archery.

5. I wish I could dress up like it was the 40’s.

Three words: winter minx pelt.

4. I wish my old boss will invest several hundred thousand dollars into a small my small business schemes so that I can have a day job doing something I actually enjoy.

I'm going to open my own consignment and resale shop, and from the looks of that outfit, Jennifer Lawrence might shop there if she's ever in Philly. (And I ever get my shop.)

3. I wish to sell my first screenplay within 2 years out of grad school at Northwestern.

I sure won't look that glum about it, though.

2. I wish to win $5,000 a week on a scratch off lottery ticket today.

May luck always be in your favor. Riiight.

1. I wish to win an Oscar while I’m still young and hot.

Yup. Just like that. Except actually win.

What are your Top 10 11:11 Wishes?

Happy writing!


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So You Do Want to Be on the Black List: Cornering the Market

I was pondering the whole to be or not to be on the Black List issue, when I had an epiphany. A plan really. One that I think anyone who is seriously interested in being a writer and wants to make a name for herself can do. It’s a simple idea really. Be a triple threat.

Like this cat this is doing yoga, giving itself a bath, and flashing us a look at his goods all at the same time.

Here’s the plan. First, write a YA novel, then get it published, then write the screenplay while you wait for the book to rise to the top of the best sellers list, and finally sell the rights to your book and your screenplay.  This plan is even better if you write a series of YA book, because Hollywood loves a good franchise. Of course all of this will feel so neat and tidy while your in the process, but give yourself, say, 5 years for this plan to come fully into fruition, maybe 10, and you’re outlook will be much brighter.  If you are so inclined to go down this path, as I am, I suggest you sit down tonight and jot down some ideas. As you do, try to keep in mind that you will be translating your own story from one medium into another. Think about what elements of your idea are cinematic and which parts will be better served by the novel. If you do take on this project, make sure you have a true and firm grasp on the major themes, character arcs, and the essential plot points of your story.  If you are lucky enough to get your book published and establish a fan base, those fans are going to hold you to your word. It’s just a fact. Audiences always compare the book and the movie. So fucking pre-empt them. Take responsibility for it. And be happy that you did. If nothing else, you’ll have two strong pieces for your portfolio and will have exercised writing muscles like you wouldn’t believe.

I mean how cool would it have been if Suzanne Collins had written the screenplay for The Hunger Games?

Now at this point your head is probably reeling with swirling thoughts and exploding synapses ‘cause you’re like, “Shhhhh-ugar, how did I not think of this before!” And all these ideas are swarming forward calling out to you, “Write me! Write me!” But before your itchy hands reach for that pen let’s address the fact that I said this plan requires one to be a triple threat, and thus far we’ve only addressed two of the three routs of attack. The last one is simply to really really think about how you want to brand your writing style, your story, and you as a motha’ fuckin’ writing machine.

No, not that kind of writing machine.

Branding yourself and your work is perhaps one of the most important factors to consider when taking on a project of such size. It won’t work if it’s sloppy and all over the place and you don’t really know what you’re doing or why. So, that said, take a moment and think to yourself, “What kind of writer do I want to be? What are the characters that I want to be associated with? What do I want to say to the world above all else?” If you can answer those questions you’ll be off to a bangin’ start. But if you’re itching to write right now, then do it, and worry about this component later. You can always talk about it with Random House.

Anyway, that’s what I’m gonna do to corner the market. And also have a lot of fun along the way.

Happy writing!


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Who knew people like babies?

If you like babies, this post is for you. I was thinking today how Hollywood loves babies and families.

And Disney loves dead moms.

Uh…what? Moving on. Kids are a great market. They’re fun to write for, and they enjoy pretty much everything that you do. And don’t worry. Crying is natural.

Seriously? Cute.

Who wouldn’t want to write for that? And it gets better. Writing for babies and small children is fun and easy because they like simple things with interesting visuals. Screenwriting at its basic fundamentals.

I watched this YouTube video “Who’s Your Favorite?” and thought, what a lovely example of a short film. I know that’s not what it was meant to be, probably, but it actually has a nice arc, a fun premise that is explored, complicated, and resolved (though not really to Daddy’s liking), and it left me with that satisfied feeling I get when I watch something that has a beginning, middle, and end. I love that this is set up as an interrogation (just from the one BUM! from the opening of every Law & Order episode ever made), and it’s of a baby about which one of her parents is the favorite. So simple it’s genius.

 


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Top 25 Unsung Christmas Characters of All Time

Since there are already too many blogs about the Top 10 Christmas movies, or Top Whatever Whatever lists that glorify the already famous and well known, I’ve decided to compile a list of the the top 25 average people whose holiday photos place them solidly within the category of “characters.” This list might make you appreciate your own family just a smidge more, so without further ado…

#25. This trio of Christmas hipsters.

#24. Zombie Santa and the little girl that loves him.

#23. This baby that is just overflowing with the Christmas spirit. And vomit.

#22. This kid for doing whatever he did to end up in Christmas lights jail.

#21. This family of Christmas trees. Not for their costumes, but for managing to look happy about wearing them.

#20. This guy's wife, for putting up with him.

#19. This family that thinks they need special glasses to see life in 3D.

#18. This Santa for his unrelenting patience.

#17. The kid in the middle for not being afraid of shrinkage.

#16. This homicidal toddler in a plush velvet track suit.

#15. Dad, for lettin' it all hang out there.

#14. Hunky Santa for managing to keep a straight face.

#13. Mom, for wearing Frederick's of Hollywood in and out of the bedroom.

#12. The kid in the back for having the cajones to ruin a family photo.

#11. The property owner with enough enthusiasm about Jesus to buy and install the sign, but not enough to repair it.

#10. For everything about this picture, but especially the baby goat.

#9. This family for confusing Genesis with the birth of Christ.

#8. This couple for saying, "Baby Jesus, bulldog. Potato, pot-ah-to."

#7. This guy, for convincing the cops to let him keep his hat on for the mug shot.

#6. This woman, for her will to live.

#5. These guys, 'cause I want them to come over to my house and do the same thing.

#4. That cat, for being a trooper.

#3. This guy, for livening up the holidays with his sweet gymnastics skills.

#2. Because who doesn't love a gay Christmas elf?

#1. Because Jesus loves winners!