My First Foray into Screenwriting: An Excerpt

If you’ve been following along with me for the last year, you’ll know how much of a struggle finishing my last novel was. With that in mind, I decided to give myself a bit of a break and try my hand at screenwriting. After purchasing a book on how to do it right and realizing with much relief that Scrivener, a program I already own, can handle the formatting for me, I dove in.

I’ve been wanting to write an Oregon Trail story since I was a kid, but I didn’t think I could pull off the history to a satisfying, realistic degree. Cut to a brainstorming sesh with a friend where we came up with a modern Oregon Trail concept based on the game with all the classic trials and tribulations along the way. Think new Jumanji meets Road Trip.

Here’s an excerpt from when the gang of four begin their journey together.

Content warning: Rated PG-13.

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My Number One Complaint about Hallmark Movies

It may surprise you.

I don’t mind the cheesiness of Hallmark movies. I can handle the comfortable, predictable plots. As a writer, I understand genre conventions and their place in gaining viewers’ or readers’ trust. So I’m fine with that. As a viewer, I appreciate that these are nice, sweet movies to watch with wine and big bowl of popocorn and not have to pay attention every second for fear of missing a crucial plot point.

What bugs me more times than not are the male love interests. What a bunch of vanilla cookie cutters! Give me some defining characteristic to latch onto. Some supposed “flaw,” which is actually just cute and unique. Something in place of or in addition to squinty eyes and a perfectly chiseled jawline.

On the other hand, these plots and actors are designed to appeal to the widest possible audience, so maybe that’s the reason for the generic parade of men. They give viewers basically an attractive blank slate to overlay whatever ideals viewers have for the perfect man.

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Authors for a Good Cause

This past weekend, I participated in an Author Showcase presented by The Threshold, an organization in Wisconsin that provides job opportunities and assistance for individuals with cognitive disabilities. It’s a great cause, and the people running the event were all very welcoming, friendly, and game for everything (even face painting!).

Each of the thirty authors donated $25 to The Threshold to have a table at the event where we could meet potential readers and sell our books for a few hours on a Saturday.

Two of my writer friends, Malinda Andrews and M.K. Wiseman, participated last year and had only good things to say about the event, so I figured, why not? I’d have three new books in a series to sell. Well, if you’ve been following me on social media, you know that it ended up only being two since my third book is somehow way more intimidating and harder to finish than the first two, but that turned out not to be a bad thing either.

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Thoughts on Branding: from Fashion to Filters

How much does branding matter, really? The #1 goal of any creator is to provide good content for their audience, right? To tell a good story. Yes, but readers, especially potential repeat readers, want to know what to expect from you. Branding helps with that.

Your brand should represent the emotional response you want from your readers.

The idea of branding used to freak me out. It’s kind of along the same lines as “author voice” that way. How does one even find that? Can it be manufactured? Won’t someone just tell me what the answer is??

But after hearing about “creating your brand” for years at different conferences, I’m finally embracing the idea of fine-tuning my brand. I’d like to break that down for you here, and maybe it’ll help you find yours too, if you’re looking.

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