Friday, February 8, 2013

Friday Fricassee

It's been another good week for the comment boxes.  Thanks for your feedback on Tuesday's post and your heartfelt response to yesterday's post.

This would be a lonely place, if not for your involvement.  You are the lifeblood of this blog!

One thing I picked up on in your feedback was that it seems I'm not clear enough--probably because I keep forgetting that we're constantly picking up new readers--about what actually goes on here.  One reader didn't realize that WIPs are included in all in-house critiques, unless otherwise stated.  (Only contests that involve agents require completed manuscripts, for obvious reasons.)  One reader suggested I ought to announce the genres of the Secret Agent contests a week ahead of time.  Um, I do.  Every contest month, one week before submissions.

So I need to make sure ALL my pertinent information is easily accessible, so that everyone knows what's going on around here.  Of course, you all need to do your part, too -- read the blog regularly, make sure you're subscribed, pay attention to dates that I throw out.

One suggestion that I love is the idea of a regular Twitter chat.  Feel free to throw out ideas for what those chats might look like.  (I love Twitter.  I Twitter.)

As for the CP "tag" -- this is something I will have to chat about with Michael, my fearless programmer.  The MSFV submission process is completely automated (as you know), and even the smallest change can sometimes mean lots of time for him.  I have no idea how anything works, so I defer these things to him.

So there you have it.  And here's your head's up:  The February Secret Agent Early Info will post on Monday.


Who's writing this weekend?  I actually have half-a-beat-sheet for my new project (hearby dubbed Sacred Doodlefart Draft 1), and...wait for it...I'm hoping to start ACTUALLY WRITING the thing as early as next week.

Couldn't have come this far without you!

Have a joyful weekend!


  1. How can you not have fun writing with a "Doodlefart" in the heading?!!!! Enjoy!
    (Another mood-lifter: the possibility of a box of chocolates less than a week away!)

  2. I'll be writing this weekend! Have fun, Authoress!

  3. I have to ask...what is a half-a-beat-sheet for a new writing project?

  4. Lori -- A "beat sheet" is a method of story planning taken from Blake Snyder's book SAVE THE CAT (see the sidebar). So half-a-beat-sheet means I've got about half of my story "beated" out. :)

  5. I'm going to be spending this whole weekend editing. I was halfway through a full edit of my manuscript (prompted by a helpful rejection to my full) when I got another full request in my email. So I have to finish up so I can send it out again!

    Part of this will require suffering through the writer's equivalent of a root canal: the dreaded 1-page synopsis.

    Wish me luck.

  6. If there's one thing I've learned on the internet, it's that people don't read. Ever.

    Seriously, you have to repeat stuff like 50 times, and even then you'll still have people asking questions that you just answered.

  7. Is there any blogger subscribe button instead of email? I do all my blog stuff using that button :D But a Twitter chat sounds fun!

  8. Beat Sheets and Novels?

    I love Beat Sheets. But I typically call them "outlines" outside of the screenwriting world. Sometimes I use the term "treatment" but I pitch those sparingly.

    I have written two screenplays using the beat sheet format with good results prior to a paid re-write. For me it keeps the page count down on screenplays and forces my dialog to be more focused.

    Authoress, is the beat sheet terminology widespread in Novel land?

    Just wondering...

  9. Angry -- Yes; SAVE THE CAT has made a huge splash in the novel-writing world. There's even a spreadsheet out there somewhere that converts the screenplay page counts to novel page counts (I don't use it). Last year I wrote, for the first time, a novel that I had completely beated out first; it was so much easier that I swear I'll never do it another way again!

    (I don't know that the term "beat sheet" is "widespread", but it's definitely out there.)

  10. Authoress,

    Why do you think it has made such a splash?

    Maybe I am out of touch but 3 act structure is pretty standard. Snyder packages it up well and for standard movie scripts it's dead on. But it appears to be geared for the terse world of screenwriting not novels.

    Example - In scripts description and narrative are minimized. But in novels more description is better (e.g. Steven King's The Stand).

    Granted, B Story and Fun and Games concepts in the Act II pause in action are great. Is it this kind of covering exposition through B Story/Fun and Games that explains the magic of STC?

    *strug* I just am not an expert on Novels so I may be off base here.

  11. Angry -- It doesn't have anything to do with the amount of description, etc. It's about the bare-bones structure. Like I said, the page numbers don't line up, as obviously a novel is a completely different beast from a screenplay, which has no exposition, and so is naturally much briefer.

    The structure of any story, whether movie or the written word, needs to be strong, and the Beat Sheet works for novels because that's exactly what it provides -- a solid structure for a story. It's just fleshed out differently.

    There are many approaches to planning a novel, and this is one of them. It wasn't originally meant for novelists, but it's so effective at creating strong bones that it lends itself well to novel planning.

    I absolutely swear by it. :)

  12. I feel like I may be giving away all my secrets but here goes.

    If you like Save The Cat... try this one

    "your screenplay sucks! 100 ways to make it great" by William M. Akers

    FYI - published by the publisher at Save The Cat. And absolutely required to do proper rewrites.

    And as another tip - Writing Tools by Roy Peter Clark is a MUST... it's the best even better than Zinsser *gasp*

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