Manuscript Monday: S.F.D.

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Hey, lovelies! I’m back again, and with school being out for the summer, hopefully I’ll be able to focus my attention more on this blog as well as my writing.

Today’s topic is going to be about SFDs. And for those of you who didn’t have the privilege of having a Professor Oxendale, a SFD is what we referred to our screenplays during the first stages of writing; Shitty First Draft. Referring to our first draft screenplays as SFDs made me seem like we had permission for it to be as shitty as possible because we were going to be rewriting it anyway; and this made me love and appreciate my SFD even more.

At this point you’re probably wondering what screenplays have to do with novels and who the heck is Professor Oxendale? To answer the last question, Professor Oxendale was one of my favorite professors at the Academy of Art University, and she taught Feature Film 2:  Writing Act I. She taught more than that, but this class was my favorite. It was one guy and myself in there, and because it was only the two of us, it allowed me to really focus on their feedback, appreciate it, and put myself (and my work) out there without fear of judgement.

Anyway, the reason I’m bringing up all this screenwriting stuff is because I pulled a Christina Aguilera. And no, I didn’t belt a great high-pitched note; I went back to basics. What does this mean exactly? Well, to focus more on dialogue, character development, and less on tedious things, I decided to write the screenplay for The Family Secret.

This will allow me to make sure I have good dialogue versus description balance, all characters will have their own voice and can be tested by hiding their names on the script and writing which character I think said it. Lastly, I can double check to insure all my scenes don’t take place in all internal or external settings.

Does this mean I’m giving up on my dreams of becoming an author? ABSOLUTELY NOT! This is simply another step of the writing process before I jump into writing another novel.

In the meantime, it’ll make the process of read throughs and edits for Sliding into Love easier because I’ll be working on two formats of writing; a screenplay and a manuscript.

I’ll be updating y’all throughout the processes of both. Wish me luck!

Manuscript Monday: Big, Messy Synopsis

messyGood morning, lovelies. A few Mondays ago, I spoke about my writing process with you guys. Well today I’m sharing one of my steps with you. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that this is done during the process of all the stories I write, but this has been working for my current work in progress.

I’m not sure about for you, but for me, characters are almost always the first element to pop in my head when I’m plotting a new story. For my most recent project, The Family Secret, I plotted all my characters first. Depending on how in depth you want this to be, it can be a lengthy process. I know for me, it took me a good two weeks. I wanted to ensure all the characters were unique in their own special way. Next up were the locations that were going to be detrimental to the plot of the story.

Aside from plotting characters and locations, the first thing I did was came up with a big, messy synopsis for my story. What did that entail exactly?

I’ve been sitting on this idea for years, so it wasn’t hard to write down a general idea of what I wanted to happen in the story. The hardest part for me was taking off my editor cap, so to speak, and just write whatever came to my mind.

I wrote my big, messy synopsis at least two or three weeks ago. Once I was done with it, I put it away and indulged in Backstreet Boys and New Kids on The Block YouTube videos. This gave me enough time to step away from my story and obsess over two of my favorite boy bands. I read the synopsis a few days ago, and it wasn’t terrible, but I’ve also came up with changes while it was resting.

I’ll admit I was a little hesitant at first to write a big, messy synopsis. When you’re a perfectionist like me, you tend to stay away from anything that has the words messy in it, but I’m here to tell you that it wasn’t bad at all. What you write in your big, messy synopsis doesn’t have to be set in stone, so give it a try. What’s the worst that could happen?

Manuscript Monday: Writing Process

114a1ccb5f9c59a54ffbf79a7a8b94ebGood morning, Lovelies. For today’s topic I’ll be discussing my writing process. I apologize in advance if this post is all over the place, but so is my process. I used to think I was a plotter, but then one day I sat down and just started writing a brand new story; I must be a pantser. Recently I’ve discovered it doesn’t matter whether you’re a plotter or a pantser. What matters most is whatever works for you. Because at the end of the day, only you can write your story. So here are my top 6 staple things that usually occur at some point in my writing process.

 

  1. Brainstorming with my sisters. This usually consists of a general idea thrown into the wind and bouncing around ideas and components between the three of us until I have a feasible story idea created.
  2. A secret Pinterest board is created. On this board, my dream cast is formed. Also, items that are imperative to the story are also pinned.
  3. Reading an infinite amount of writing skills’ novels to try and figure out the ‘right’ way to plot, outline, etc.
  4. An array of plotting usually happens. This is normally filling out character sheets, stream-of-consciousness with the main characters, creating a step outline, and things of that sort.
  5. A playlist for the novel is created on Napster. I have so many novel playlists on my Napster account that it isn’t even funny. And when I’m working on a specific novel, I have to listen to the playlist for that novel. If I’m working on Sliding into Love, but listening to The Family Secret playlist, I feel like I’m cheating on my novel!
  6. Last, but not least, when I finally get my act together and realize there’s absolutely nothing wrong with my writing process or me, I begin writing my novel. I use the Pomodoro technique, which I find really works for me. I write for 25 minutes, and allow for a 5 minute break to surf the net, read, get lost in thought, or whatever it may be.

As I was writing this post, I was not a fan of my writing process. But now that I’ve reached the end of this post, I find my process is unique and I’m okay with that. Next week, we are going to go more in depth about my writing process and how my screenwriting knowledge forces its way into my novel writing process. I’d love to hear what your writing process is like.

Manuscript Monday: The Family Secret

dt8ajmateGood morning, lovelies! Over the weekend, I shared some pretty heavy stuff that had been going on in my life, and it was refreshing to finally be at a place in my life where I felt comfortable enough to talk about it. Today’s post is going to be on a happier note.

Just a side note, if the title of today’s post led you to believe I was going to be divulging secrets about my family, think again. The Family Secret is the newest novel idea I’ve had.

The Family Secret is an idea that I sat on for about four or five years, but it wasn’t a story I jumped at to write. Looking back on what my original idea was, I’m glad I waited. Sometimes it’s best to let work sit and marinate so it can be the best you have to offer.

I don’t want to give an extreme amount of the plot away, but I can tell you the book will follow four siblings and how they each cope with the death of their grandma. And, of course, along the way of coping they find out a secret their beloved Nana had been keeping from them.

Here are sixteen songs, from my playlist of 61 songs, I’ve been listening to while working on different aspects of this novel:

  1. Never Gone by Backstreet Boys
  2. Miss Independent by Ne-Yo
  3. Glamorous by Fergie
  4. Real Men Love Jesus by Michael Ray
  5. Run The World (Girls) by Beyoncé
  6. Optimistic by Sounds of Blackness
  7. We Don’t Talk Anymore by Charlie Puth ft. Selena Gomez
  8. Misses Glass by Leona Lewis
  9. Secrets by OneRepublic
  10. Fighting Gravity by New Kids On The Block
  11. Darlin’ by Backstreet Boys
  12. God, Your Mama, and Me by Florida Georgia Line ft. Backstreet Boys
  13. Disconnect by Kristinia DeBarge
  14. I’m Still In Love by New Edition
  15. I’ll Be There by S Club 7
  16. Good Life by OneRepublic

What other songs do you think are on my playlist? See you on Wednesday!

Manuscript Monday 6:

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Hey lovelies! I saw this quote floating around on Twitter this past weekend, and it stuck with me. What I love about this is that it has a lot of truth to it. With all of the recent killings that has been going on in the past few months, we as writers have something that no one can take away from us. When the world around us proves to be too hectic or too real, we can use our writing as an escape. We don’t have to limit ourselves to one story, but we don’t have to bog ourselves down with ten; just having this option is what makes the writing world so great. So my advice to you today, writers, are to let go of your fears of not being good enough, not thinking your story matters, or the fear of that no one needs to read your story and just write. You’ll be happy that you did.

Manuscript Monday 5: Word Count


Good morning, lovelies! Today’s post is going to be short because I had a busy weekend, and an even busier work week coming up. So, I’ll leave you with this. I started writing Every Breath I Take back in May, and my current word count is 15,778. After taking a fellow follower’s advice (Candace), I decided to break my 85,000 words in 3 months into a smaller goal. So we’ll see how 85,000 words by December 31st works out for me!