Screenwriting and Story Mastery with Michael Hauge

This past weekend, a dear friend invited me to attend a screenwriting workshop at the library. I’m no stranger to screenwriting. Jericho Rising started as a script, and I helped write a few scenes here and there with Star Trek: Osiris. Everything I’d learned had been on my own or with friends, so to learn from a professional like Michael Hauge would be exciting.

We showed up Saturday morning and took our seats at a table just for us, after receiving a handout highlighting the key points of the day’s workshop. Looking around, we saw quite a few students from our local college (who later admitted that the only reason they were there was for extra credit – Michael joked about that for the rest of the day). The first thing we did before any introductions or anything was watch a couple of film clips (The King’s Speech and About a Boy, to be specific). Then, we got down to business.

For the first couple of hours, he spoke on his six-stage plot structure, easily adapted for film or prose. It was quite indepth. After a break, we learned about the hero’s outer journey. The “hero” is simply the protagonist. The “outer journey” is the visible goal the hero must achieve. After a brief break, we moved on to discuss the inner journey. The intangible stuff.

Wow. It was…wow.

There are two parts of us: Our identity (the “self” we show to the world), and our essence (our true selves, stripped of fear). The inner journey is leaving one’s identity to live fully in one’s essence. The character arc.

See? Wow.

We stuck around for the second presentation. It was a shorter version of the earlier meeting, but this time, we watched selected moments from the movie Hitch and discovered exactly when each step in the process occurs. It’s really formulatic, but works very well. All in all, it was a really good day. I highly suggest ANY writer take part in this event if they have the opportunity.

That’s my quick run-down. I didn’t want to get too involved in what we learned. Go grab one of his books/DVDs/etc! You won’t be disappointed. We did each pick up a book: Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds. The tag line: “The Guaranteed Way To Get Your Screenplay Or Novel Read.” Oooh…! I’ve yet to dig into it. Vacation prep is keeping me busy!

If you read this, thanks for the talk, Michael!

It was great meeting him!
It was great meeting him!
Michael Hauge
Michael Hauge
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Pitching, Editing, & Baking…Oh, My!

I’ve been pretty quiet lately, I admit. I guess this will have to be an epic brain dump to get everyone caught up on what I’ve been doing. Things I’ve learned. Stuff like that.

At the end of August/beginning of September, I entered my YA (young adult) fantasy “Dragon’s Curse” into a contest on Twitter called #PitchWars. Pitch Wars is the brainchild of writer Brenda Drake (www.brenda-drake.com). She’s pretty much an angel in the writing community. Along with our entry, which consisted of the query letter and first chapter, authors select five potential mentors from a pretty extensive list. I chose my five, and the game was on. In the meantime, Twitter lit up with #PitchWars tweets. Questions about characters, plots, etc. popped up as part of the conversation, and so many people took part! I made a ton of new Twitter-friends. Inspiring, awesome people. Sadly, I didn’t get selected for the second phase: the mentor round. It’s okay, because I did receive lovely feedback from a couple of the potential mentors I’d chosen. I was actually kind of relieved that I wasn’t chosen, because the very next week was one of my FAVORITE times of the year.

#PitMad!

PitMad is another of Brenda’s babies (see? the woman is amazing!). Authors tweet “pitches” of their books to try to gain the interest of agents and publishers. If the pros like your pitch, they give you a star. That’s an invitation to query. Earlier in the year, I took part and had the interest of an agent. Lightning struck twice, apparently, because no sooner had I tweeted my first pitch, I got a star. Color.Me.Floored. I immediately sent off my package. I still have to resubmit to the first agent, who very graciously said that if I did a revision, I could and resub to her.

Full disclosure: I’m a chicken poop!
I’m getting better…

Onto EDITING. Wow. That’s all I seem to have been doing lately! First, Dragon’s Curse, because it had to be ready for #PitchWars and #PitMad. Now that it’s in Queryland, I’m back at working on the revamp (haha!) of Cake or Death.

Speaking of cake, I made my co-worker’s wedding cake. Wow. That was an adventure. Up until the morning of the wedding, it looked like CRAP. Inspiration struck, and I was able to save it. Kind of like editing. But editing isn’t edible.

weddingcake1
The wild wedding cake in its natural habitat