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Tag: writers

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New Book Cover Unveiled for Romantic Fantasy "The Chamber of Curiosities"

A new book cover has been created by Design for Writers for Romantic Fantasy, The Chamber of Curiosities by Anastasia Blackwell.

The novel, set in a carnival in an ancient land, is scheduled to be published in early Spring. The story begins the night of a full blue moon when a beautiful aerialist breaks into the cage of a carnival freak, known as The Human Beast. Obsessed to see his face, she entices him to to allow her to shave him  His remarkable transformation inflames the superstitions of citizens, and sets the stage for revolution in the seaport town where they are held captive.

dfw-ab-tcoc-cover-3d-nologo copy

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Anastasia Blackwell to Attend Austin Screenwriter's Conference and Film Festival - 2013

Anastasia Blackwell will be in attendance at the Austin Screenwriter's Conference and Film Festival -2013.   Films  will be presented by Jonathan Demme, Elaine May, Shane Black, Brian Helgeland, Barry Josephson, Callie Khouri, Vince Gilligan, Susan Sarandon, and Norman Steinberg, amongst others.

More nfo:  http://www.austinfilmfestival.com/aff/live/

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Pen Densham's 10 Secrets to Writing Success

I would like to thank Signe Olynyk of The Great American Pitchfest, www.pitchfest.com  for forwarding the following secrets to writing success by Pen Densham.

Secrets to Writing Success 

Pen Densham, co-founder of Trilogy Entertainment Group, considers himself a triple-hyphenate: a writer-producer-  director. He and his partner John Watson have been Oscar Nominated twice, have produced 15 features and over 300 hours of television. He writes for both TV and feature films and is personally responsible for reviving 'The Outer Limits' and 'The Twilight Zone' series to television, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and many more. This year he is one of the Producers on Phantom – written and directed by Todd Robinson, starring David Duchovny and Ed Harris. His personal favorite is Moll Flanders, which he wrote and directed, starring Robin Wright and Morgan Freeman. Pen also teaches as an adjunct professor at USC Film School. His book on screenplay writing for publisher Michael Wiese is - "Riding the Alligator: Strategies for a Career in Screenplay Writing ...And Not Getting Eaten”
 
robin_hood_prince_of_thieves1. Write from your heart! As a writer, trust your instinctual creativity and write from your passion. When you don't value what you create, why should anybody else? When you chase a fad or a fashion that is not from your heart in an effort to sell something, there is a danger that when obstacles come, you will quickly abandon your efforts. When you love what you are working on, it feels less like work and more like a personal discovery. It brings your original and unique voice to the front. Even when you are hired to write, bring your authenticity to the game. Passion is a great way to help immunize yourself from the pain and uncertainty of the artistic process. And sometimes it can be enrapturing.

Things are beautiful if you love them.
Jean Anouilh

2. Don’t worry about rules. Collect ideas any way they come. Write the way things feel to you. Have fun! A well laid-out script with no feeling is crap no matter what. I often break the supposed “cardinal” rules. I write my scripts partly as poetry, I write my characters’ thoughts in the descriptions, I write in BLOCK LETTERS to make points. I call it “fusion writing.” Write from your voice. Imagine there is a roof inside your head that limits your upward thinking. Now reach in and toss it away. Your personal creative universe is up there! A fresh, inventive, and passionate script is more likely to sell. More likely to attract major actors. More likely to satisfy and grow you as an artist. 

Rules and models destroy genius and art.
William Hazlitt

3. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Scripts are not as complex as they seem. Movies are really short stories. If you took all the whitemoll_flanders_xlg space out of a feature script and looked at it just as prose, there are probably only 40 to 60 pages’ worth of words. Features usually break down into three acts:  beginning, middle, and end. (Maybe in a shuffled order if you use flashbacks).
 
Act 1 - The characters get into gear.
Act 2 - They explore but fail to reach their goals.
Act 3 - They recover and develop as people as they struggle to reach their ultimate resolution.
 
Scripts are often not as complicated or as overwhelming when you look at them like this. 

I don't think there's any artist of any value who doesn't doubt what they're doing.
Francis Ford Coppola

4. Ignore your inner nagging thoughts. They are seldom accurate perceptions of what you are actually achieving. It is deeply unfair to criticize your navigation skills when taking a journey into unknown territory. Try not to demoralize yourself. I call my first draft the “Lewis & Clark.” Any freaking way that gets you to the coast is the correct way! Do not criticize yourself for the odd wrong turn, the weather slowing you down, having to stop for supplies. There is no bad route when you are on a voyage of discovery. Just keep going! Look at your early script drafts as explorative, until you find solidly what you like. When you get to the Pacific Ocean -- your script’s ending -- celebrate! Next, put the freeway through with a polish, knowing what you have discovered and which signposts are needed to bring your readers on the journey with you.
 

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
Scott Adams

 
Backdraft-movie-poster5. Give your main characters a major flaw in his/her back story. I struggle to find my
character’s inner demon. Usually one, defining horrific incident in their lives that they have not recovered from or invested their courage in changing. I call these back story incidents “Nuggets.” Like the seed in a fruit, my story is really servicing the character overcoming this damage and becoming who they should be. The character is defined by the effect of his or her demon. When the character struggles to change, we see the conflict in his soul and root for him to become the fulfilled person that is crumpled inside. Even villains are heroes in their own mind and can have a potent back story issue, a nugget that drives them. I firmly believe we are creatures who are evolutionarily conditioned to pay deep attention to the behaviors of others as a survival and success strategy. It makes the writer’s task much easier when you realize you are exploring a nugget, a single very simple, but compelling, internal human story. 

And by the way, everything in life is writeable about if you have the outgoing guts to
do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self doubt.
Sylvia Plath

6. Don’t judge your progress by other finished movies. Evaluating your fledgling work in comparison to the successes of others can be demoralizing. You don’t know how they got made. Maybe their journeys were more perilous than you think. Regard your first draft as a pencil sketch. When museums x-ray the paintings of great masters like da Vinci, they find many false starts, sometimes total compositions that have been erased or painted over. Does that mean that Leonardo was an indecisive idiot? Being perfect is impossible! Expect some speed bumps on your creative journey. Writing is naturally a series of discoveries, growing your vision is a normal part of the artistic process. 

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.
Pablo Picasso

7. You are never too overwhelmed to write! Here is the best way to fight procrastination. WRITE A SINGLE LINE A DAY. Thisphantom_xlg is the most undemanding and easiest way to overcome resistance and writer’s block. Make a point to open your files and write the least threatening amount of work. One line! It keeps your mind primed. Even on a day filled with the clutter and debris of modern life, you will have assigned a portion of your personal processor to the task of your creative passion. It will be working away in the unconscious.
 
Truthfully, we don’t write, we get out of the way and let our inner mind free. And some days when you are only going to write “just one line,” you will find a treasure of new thoughts pouring forth.

If you hear a voice within you say 'you can not paint,' then by all means paint,
and that voice will be silenced.
Vincent Van Gogh

8. Choose carefully who you share your early work with. I never show a first draft to
the outside world. I share it with trusted people who I call Story Midwives: Empathetic kin, who understand the artistic process. Sensitive people who want to help you push through the pain of creative birth without making demands about what the child should be. Midwives help my child grow with supportive comments. Eventually my writing gets strong enough to face the less caring and dogmatic business world it will eventually have to succeed in.

Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.
Jonathan Swift

9. Trust your brain to solve your problems. It is normal not to have all the solutions at once. Take a break when you run into a block. Sleeping on it works! Tell yourself you are just playing. Don’t make the stakes gigantic. I find I get some of my best ideas in the shower. Using my muscles seems to free my mind. All art is built on the foundation of the discoveries of others. Sometimes I watch other movies that feel like they might inform me. Ideas often ricochet from the screen into my head and come out as entirely different but powerful contributions.

The_Dangerous_Lives_of_Altar_Boys_movieLesser artists borrow, great artists steal.
Igor Stravinsky

10. Treat your work with the respect it deserves. You have invested a lot of time and effort. First impressions are important. You need that financier, star, director, etc. to see the best version of your work. To sell a script that is the foundation for a large investment, it must make sense to the widest audience. Before your script goes into the wild: Proof the spelling. Make the layout as eye-friendly as possible. Make sure that your story points are really clear; I call this “A-hole Proofing.” Every obstacle you remove to a good read is one less reason for a pass. Use trusted readers to give you feedback to make sure you have achieved your goals with clarity. Then share it with the rest of the world.

True art is characterized by an irresistible urge in the creative artist.
Albert Einstein

11... Huh? I said no rules!
 
Find an emotionally powerful title. A great title is like the wrapping on a gift. It makes you want to open it – Did the word SECRETS and SUCCESS in this email’s Subject line get you to read this?
 
I love to share my observations, philosophy and hopes with fellow artists. I consider it a great honor to be a literary Story Midwife to others. But, I also have a rule: “Ignore everything I say that goes against your natural creative instincts.” Your process is sacred to me.
 
If you would like to see videos on selling and creating, and to download a free chapter designed
to fire up your creativity, please visit the website for my book, RIDING THE ALLIGATOR (ridingthealligator.com). Good hunting!


 

 

 

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Screenplay Reading of "The House on Black Lake" Offers Taste of "Fifty Shades"

From PRWeb:  Scenes from the Erotic Suspense, The House on Black Lake, by Anastasia Blackwell, will be read at Beyond Baroque Theater, Venice Beach, on Sunday, February 10, 2013, at 7:00PM.

Anastasia Blackwell’s screenplay, based on her novel, will be presented along with other notable screenwriters at Venice Beach’s oldest and most venerated literary center. The evening’s presentation will include two scenes from The House on Black Lake with shades of Fifty Shades of Grey, as control, domination, and power are explored.

The screenplay is set in an enclave of summer homes for the wealthy of Montreal. It illuminates the tale of a world-weary American AlexandraBrighton, whose vow at a shrine leads her on a transformational journey in the French Canadian underground, where she is drawn into a web of dark secrets and deadly intentions by her charismatic host, Ramey Sandeley and his unstable wife, Ruth.

The novel was published in 2010 and was visionary and unique in its use of a cinematic trailer and multimedia videos, including the first documented music video based on a scene from a novel.  A screenplay was completed by the author in 2012.

Beyond Baroque is one of the United States' leading independent literary/arts centers and public spaces dedicated to literary and cultural production, contact, interaction, and community building. Founded in 1968, it is based in the old City Hall inVenice,California, near thePacific Ocean. It offers a program of readings, new music, free workshops, publishing, bookstore, archiving, and education. The Center launched its own imprint, Beyond Baroque Books, in 1998, dedicated to emerging, overlooked, out of print, and experimental writing, as well as the history and legacy of experimental and alternative writing, poetry, and the arts in Los Angeles.

Some of the most famous artists and poets of the last century have performed and read their works at Beyond Baroque.

A reception follows for audience members to mingle and talk with screenwriters.

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The Cure for Writer's Block

        Most writer's say they have suffered from "writer's block".  However, in reality, the malady does not exist. There is nothing actually blocking them from writing. There is no paralysis of the hand, or amnesia of the mind. What they are actually referring to is their stubborn conscious mind attempting to edit and control their subconscious impulses. Most writers who have written extensively will attest to the fact that the story and the characters take on a life of their own once the tale gets going. The subconscious and the collective consciousness have powerful drives and impulses, and once the creative juices unleash the raw animal passion lurking beneath the cerebral control, their needs come fully alive. Whether we like the results, or not.  There may even be greater forces at work here, but that's for the metaphysics experts to figure out.

        So, the problem is not that the author is blocked, the issue is that the writer is blocking himself.

        The Cure:  Throw up and Clean up.   First, you throw up.  Write whatever comes to mind, anything, everything, no matter how crazy, wild, or unrelated to the scene at hand. If you wish to remain firmly inside your scene, then write an outrageous turn of events, bring in a new character, turn everyone's motives upside down, be dirty, nasty, and/or cruel. Turn on some inspiring music and write.Write, write, write. There is no "perfect" in the world of creativity. Describing the minute details of a landscape, or other such boring details, will drive the subconscious mad, and like a stubborn child, it will refuse to cooperate, resulting in a very bad case of the dreaded malady.

        Once you have thrown up, clean it up. I guarantee you will find some very useful material, lyrical passages, insights into the needs of the characters, and the landscape will come to life in a way it never could have in the controlled, sterile vacuum of your mind. In fact, it is likely you will find a jewel in the remains, priceless and fresh. It could be that the key element to the scene is clarified, a hidden secret of a character in illuminated, an intriguing new characteor has come to life, or fresh themes and insights are revealed that your logical brain could never have imagined.

       Get drunk on tequila if you must, but do it now.  Shut off your mind and let your inner spirit take the reins. That is the only cure for "writer's block".

Anastasia Blackwell

 

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Anastasia Blackwell Interview on Venice Poet who Inspired First Page of Novel

In a series of interviews set in historic Jacksonville, Oregon I talked about the Venice Beach poet who inspired me to begin to write 'The House on Black Lake, a story inspired by a powerful personal experience.  Here are my thoughts:

 

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San Mateo County Fair Seeks Authors for Publication in Anthology

 

ATTENTION ALL WRITERS!!!

300-Toryfinal

The San Mateo, Ca County invites you to include your work in our first published collection!

I have personally worked with the founders of the "Carry the Light" literary festival and can vouche for their passion and commitment to helping writers find an audience for their work.

Below is a description from the San Mateo county Fair Website:

“CARRY THE LIGHT” – THE SAN MATEO COUNTY FAIR LITERARY ANTHOLOGY 2012 will be published by Sand Hill Review Press.
Be part of the 2012 literary anthology and you will be a published author in a 6x9 soft cover trade paperback that will be available for public purchase at the fair, as well as Amazon.com! Every entrant will have at least one piece published; all winning entries will be included, even if a writer has won multiple awards.
NOTE: If you do not wish to be included in this anthology, you must click the designated box on the entry form.

Theme

Carry the Light of 2012 is the published anthology of short story, poetry, essay, and sponsored contest submissions. Themes range from free form poetry to science fiction short stories to personal essays, all of which tell a story. Do you have such a story to share?

Special Note

In exchange for being published by Sand Hill Review Press in a soft cover trade paperback available for public purchase, writers will authorize their work to be printed without compensation, and will retain all ownership rights. Writers are invited to participate in local promotions and book signings.

New this Year

Because we are publishing an anthology, we prefer entries to be submitted in a .doc or .docx file but you will not be excluded if you don’t have access to the Internet. See General Literary Contest Rules for all entry requirements.


Note
: We also offer a cover art contest for this anthology in the fine arts dept. PREORDER NOW! A limited number of books will be available during the fair for the special promo price of $10.00 (deadline May 9, 2012). Preorder now on the guidebook entry form or fair website to ensure your copies at the sale price; regular price will be $12.00 plus tax and shipping, and order will take approx 7-10 days.
There will be an Anthology Book Signing Event (day and time tba on our website, you do not need to purchase a book in order to attend.
Carry the Light of 2012 will be available to purchase online at Amazon.com. See similar books at www.amazon.com and www.sandhillreview.org


NOTE
: In order to print this book in time, our new entry deadline for all literary entries is April 16, 2012

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"You Can't Be What You Can't See" - Miss Representation

Miss Representation is a documentary film by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, first screened at the 2011 Sundance Festival that explores women's under-representation in positions of power and influence in America and challenges the limited portrayal of women in mainstream media.

Women are:

3% of clout positions in the mainstream media

3% of 'Fortune 500 CEOs

7% of mainstream film directors

16% of film protagonists

17% of Congress

While women make up 51% of the population

Next time you see a movie, ask yourself . .

How many women to men are in the cast?

How often do the women talk to each other?

How many women appear in non-traditional roles?

How many women writers, directors or producers were involved in making the film?

Information provided from misssrepresentation.org Miss Representation features Barbara Berg, Caroline Heldman, Catherine Hardwicke, Condoleeezza Rice, Cory Booker, Daphne Zuniga, Dianne Feinstein, Dolores Huerta, Gavin Newsom, Geen Davis, Gloria Steinem, Jackson Katz, Jane Fonda, Jean Kilbourne, Jim Steyer, Katie Couric, Lisa Ling, Margaret Cho, Nancg Pelosi, Pat Mitchell, aul Haggis, Rachel Maddow, Rosario Dawson

Other data to consider is that women bear the weight of creating 100% of the human life on this planet. So, shouldn't their voices be heard?

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No-Fi - The Hot New Novel Genre

Many people have asked me if my novel is truth or fiction. Most seem to believe it is actually a work of non fiction disguised as fiction. They say the scenes and characters are a bit too realistic to be fabricated.

It is a fundamental fact that every book written was sparked by a passion to  explore ideas, concepts, and experiences. Some writers live their lives inside their imaginary worlds. When their work is complete, they bring readers in to meet the cast of characters, visit their lands, and become privy to philosophies, while  sharing in hopes, dreams and desires. These authors write fiction.

Writers of non fiction dive into the worlds of others and expose every  fact (and more than a measure of fiction) that can be culled for the delight of the reader. They also often hire others to write about them, or do so themselves, while being certain to edit away the more unsavory details.

Other writers might be said to write  No-Fi. Not to be contained in the world of the armchair adventurer  they seek out experiences, mine  dreams, cull over ancient and modern writings and create worlds where they funnel their own experiences and observations about philosophy, government and social institutions, while writing under the umbrella of fiction. That is, it's all made up folks - would never think those horrid thoughts or perform such disgusting deeds.

My novel is a journey that began with a true incident. I spent a week on Black Lake with my son. The first night we were rowed out to spend the night on an island in a haunted victorian. It has been twelve years since the event took place, and six years since I began the novel. Black Lake is an alternate universe. Within the structure of the book is the journey I have taken. It is laced with dreams, experience, research, and observation. My characters came to life and took me on a journey. The adventure has not ended. In some ways it has only begun. I like to think of my book as a ride in a carnival,  a seductive and terrifying experience enjoyed, as you are belted safely inside.  Then, when it's finished, you long to take your own crazy journey.

I believe there is a delight in knowing that a writer has been bold in action rather than in keyboard or pen. So, I will gladly accept my N0-Fi writer title. It's all true, it's all me, living in an alternate world, absorbing and reflecting on what surrounds me, taking chances, throwing caution to the wind, flying with abandon into the abyss. Figurative or literal, imagined or dreamed, it becomes real when we are bold and make things happen for ourselves.

No-Fi Writer Extraordinaire

AB