Friday, November 27, 2015

Tips on Writing a High Concept Story

Dear Readers,

Following are 3 articles from Writer's Digest. I got them in my e mail this morning. The particular article that I really want you to read is THE 7 QUALITIES OF HIGH-CONCEPT STORIES.


The 7 Qualities of High-Concept Stories
Stumped by submission guidelines calling for "high-concept" romance, suspense, young adult or other popular fiction? These 7 qualifiers will help you gauge how (and where) your work fits in. 
Read more ...


How to Create Instantly (& Instinctively) Recognizable Characters
Meeting characters in a novel is very much like meeting people in real life. When we start reading a book, it's as if we moved to a new town and were meeting a whole bunch of new people at the same time. Your job as a writer is to create that town and populate it with characters that live their lives before our eyes. 
Read more ...

wd-logoWriting Tips from Robert Beatty, Bestselling Author of Serafina and the Black Cloak 
Recently I had the honor of interviewing local author Robert Beatty to discuss his debut novel, Serafina and the Black Cloak. Myself and my children have enjoyed the novel immensely and I was thrilled when he agreed to give us a glimpse behind the scenes. 
Read more ...

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Literary Agents Seeking Fantasy Novels Now


This will be my last post for today.

7 Literary Agents Seeking Fantasy Novels NOW 
In celebration of my three new books released this September (what an awesome autumn!), I'm doing a lot of special lists of agents seeking queries right now. I've already done lists on picture book agents, thriller agents, and women's fiction agents. Below find a list for agents seeking adult fantasy novels NOW. (Note that this list is for adult fantasy, not fantasy for kids or teens. That will be a different list.) 
Read more ...

Write a Compelling Short Film Script

Write a Compelling Short Film Script
imageplaceholderJeanne Veillette Bowerman
Online Editor

This week's screenwriting tip is about writing a short film from writer/director
Kim Garland. I've been honored to have Kim as one of our contributors for the
 past few years and am sad to see her move on to other adventures, but her
column,Write, Direct, Repeat, will live on the site. Be sure to catch up on
 her great advice!

There's still time to sign up for Kathy Berardi's online class Creating the Short Film.
 It starts today, but as long as you register this week, you can still have access.


by Kim Garland

For the most part, good writing is good writing, and the skills you’re developing to
write feature scripts will also apply when you write shorts: a three-act structure
 (but for shorts, simply think setup, conflict, and resolution); a universal theme; a
clear dilemma and stakes; and an active protagonist.

But there are challenges specific to writing a great short film that can be overcome
 by understanding what makes shorts — and the audience for shorts — unique.

Create a Dynamic Opening Scene

If asked for just one piece of advice for creating a successful short film, I’d have to go
with the old, “the shorter, the better” mantra. Because it really is true — most short films
can be improved by making them a little shorter.

But the one place where you can benefit from not trying to build in too much information
 is your opening scene. Even though you have a limited amount of time to tell your story,
 you don’t need to front-load your film with all of your setup at once.

Use your opening to establish tone and introduce your characters in a fascinating way,
 but don’t weigh it down with backstory and exposition. Entice your audience to want to
 learn more.

If the opening can double as a “before” shot of your protagonist’s life (i.e. before the
 transformative event of your story), so much the better, but be sure even the most mundane
life is portrayed in a curiosity-inducing way.

Layer Your Storytelling... 

Read more tips on writing short films... 

BUY NOW  |  The Writers Store | Screenwriting Software | Screenwriting Webinars
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Free Class on How to Get an Script Agent!

Looking for an agent?
You'll love these breakthrough strategies!

 To design this class, Hal Croasmun interviewed 120 Agents and Managers in Los Angeles.
In this two hour class, you will learn:
  • Strategies from over 100 interviews with agents and managers.
  • Step-by-step process for landing an Agent or Manager.
  • The Rules of Engagement with Agents.
  • 8 ways to gain ACCESS to Agents and Managers.

Sunday, November 21st, 2015
at 12:00pm (noon) Pacific Time

All classes conducted by

New Literary Agents 11/19/2015

Good news for writers.

I got another email listing new literary Agents seeking writers

2 New Agents Seeking Queries 

Click on any name below to see the full mini-profile on the GLA Blog (with submission
 instructions). Good luck querying!

1. Kara Leigh Miller of Corvisiero Literary

She is seeking: - romance for adults or teens or new adult (contemporaries and romantic
 suspense are her forte, but she's willing to consider just about anything as long as it's well
written [except things comparable to 50 Shades of Grey], including paranormal and urban fantasy
- mystery (teens and adults)
- thrillers (teens and adults)
- horror (teens and adults)
- inspirational fiction (open to all forms of inspirational fiction, not just those that are
focused around the Christian faith, for teens and adults).

2. Sergei Tsimberov of Ayesha Pande Literary

He is seeking: As an agent, he represents both literary fiction and nonfiction. He is
 looking for imaginative and polished voice-driven writing, and is particularly interested
 in narratives with historical, political and international themes.

Bonus #3. Elise Capron of Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency

(Unlike the other agents on this list, Elise is not a new agent, but she was interviewed
by WD recently, and confirmed she is open to submissions. Query her.)

She is seeking: adult literary fiction, multicultural fiction, debut novels, story collections,
and, on the non-fiction side, trade-friendly cultural and/or environmental history.

14 Literary Agents Seeking Adult Science Fiction Novels NOW 

In celebration of my three new books released this September, I'm doing a lot of
special lists of agents seeking queries right NOW. My most recent list (on the Writers
 in the Storm Blog) is 14 Literary Agents Seeking Science Fiction Novels NOW.

All the 14 agents listed below personally confirmed to me as of October 2015 that they
 are actively seeking science fiction submissions for adults NOW. (This is not YA/MG sci-fi.
That will be a different list). Some gave personal notes about their tastes while some did not.
Good luck querying!

1. Paula Munier (Talcott Notch Literary)
Notes: "High concept only."
How to submit: E-query editorial [at] with "Query for Paula: [title]" in the
 subject line.

2. Kaylee Davis (Dee Mura Literary)
Notes: "Word count under 120,000."
How to submit: Send query, synopsis, and first 25 pages to query [at]
 No attachments please.

See the full list here.

Resources From Screenwriter's Goldmine

Following is an email from Screenwriters Goldmine.

I want to Share it with you.


If you haven't already entered, you might want to know that the contest moves to its Late Entries phase at 1.00pm today, when the price will go up.

There are now just three weeks to go before we close the doors for 2015, so don't miss out. You still have 21 writing days left, so, if you haven't entered yet, now is the time to really get down to finishing what you're writing. 

Send us your scripts, we want to read them!

Why be a screenwriter?

Last Friday was Robert McKee day in London. Ten hours of lectures, with Mr McKee being his usual, provocative, fiery, ornery, and deeply challenging self.

And I say that in the best possible sense.

I'll report on all that in a later newsletter (there is a lot to process!) but one startling thing is how inspiring the day was: I came out completely charged up with the possibilities.

The passion with which Mr McKee speaks about the craft was immense, and it reminded me why we do this game.

So I've written up up a pretty personal blog post to go over some of the benefits - and unexpected pitfalls - of what it's like being a professional screenwriter. 

You can read that here.

Write to me 

I started this site in 2007 to be a platform for genuine screenwriting and industry information.

Eight years later, there are now so many screenwriting blogs and videos and interviews and podcasts and tip sheets and software tools out there that I wonder whether you may feel you have all the information you need.

And yet. I can't help thinking that there will be gaps. I still see misinformation being broadcast. I've always made sure that people who get platforms on this site are experienced, with multiple relevant professional credits. The goal has always been to cut through that misinformation.

So tell me. What kind of help with your writing, or your writing career, are you still missing? I want this site to serve you better in the New Year, but I don't want to double up on stuff you already know.

Is it more articles? If so on what? Or is it more interactive help in some way? Is it business advice? Is it getting your scripts read by actors? Writing retreats? Short film contests? Script feedback? Or something completely new and radical?

When you get chance hit reply to this email and let me know what you need to get to where you want to be. 

Free courses

Creative Skillset are the industry skills body for the Creative Industries, and well worth a look. They wrote to me this week with news that they have just launched a range of brand new and FREE online courses designed specifically for the Creative Industries.

There are some great choices but (probably because I am in social-media/getting-the-word-out mode at the moment) one stood out in particular:

"Brand Storytelling: How to Use Narrative to Sell" is aimed at people in advertising, design and marketing.

It was developed by design and advertising non-profit D&AD with Creative Skillset and it explores the power of storytelling in creating brand success.

They tell me the course will especially help develop skills in creating narratives, communicating a brand by telling stories, engaging an audience and generally amplifying a message through digital media.

The course contains insight and practical advice from high profile talents (including Sir Alan Parker, Peter Souter and Al MacCuish) on how to create compelling stories that sell products, brands and values. Students get the chance to work on a live brief with a cash prize, with industry mentoring available for the winning project.


Speaking of digital media, we're just getting going on social media at the moment. It's early days, but come and join in:

Twitter: @screengoldmine
Instagram: @screenwritinggoldmine
Pinterest: @screenwritinggm

Till next time,


Producers Seeking Novels For Movies!

Hello, everyone!

This morning I got a very interesting email about a contest you may be interested in if you have written a novel. I won't explain. Read below for yourself.

A message from our trusted partners.


The 2nd Annual Book Pipeline Competition is searching for authors with
 material well-suited for film or television adaptation. The winner receives
circulation to Lakeshore Entertainment (Million Dollar Baby,American Pastoral),
 Energy Entertainment (Extant), Benderspink (We're the MillersA History of Violence),
 Darko Entertainment (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), and other companies
 for potential development.

Building upon the success of the Script Pipeline competitions and a 15-year history
of launching writing careers, Book Pipeline aims to continue discovering new talent
and delivering unique, compelling stories to the industry--with the specific intent of
getting projects on the fast-track to production.

2015 Book Pipeline Competition

Deadline: December 1st, 2015

Entry Fee: $65 per submission

Results Announced: March-April 2016

Acceptable Entries:
  • Novels and non-fiction books (up to first 5,000 words)
  • Plays
  • Graphic Novels
  • Book proposals or pitches (fiction only)
  • Short stories
Feedback: Every entrant will receive brief feedback on their submission once
 semifinalist results have been announced in March 2016. There is no extra fee for these general comments. Feedback will typically cover your story's adaptation
 potential for film or TV, as well as some thoughts on the overall
 writing and story elements.

For additional details, including judging criteria, awards, announcement
 dates, and other FAQs, visit Book Pipeline.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Writing Contests!!!!

Do you want to enter a writing contest?

I got a list of contest from an email today. Click on Browse the Database

78 Writing Contests With Deadlines Before the End of 2015
Our Grants & Awards database currently lists seventy-eight writing contests with deadlines before the end of the year. Check out a few of these, or explore the database for more:

Nowhere Magazine Travel Writing Contest -- A prize of $1,000 and publication in Nowhere Magazine is given for a short story or essay that "possesses a powerful sense of place." Submit a story or essay of 800 to 5,000 words by December 15.

Letterpress Poetry Chapbook Competition -- A prize of $500, a weeklong residency at the Millay Colony for the Arts, and letterpress publication by the Center for Book Arts is given annually for a poetry chapbook. Submit a manuscript of up to 21 pages December 16.

Lascaux Review Prize in Short Fiction -- A prize of $1,000 and publication in Lascaux Review is given annually for a short story of up to 10,000 words. Submit by December 31.

Before Columbus Foundation American Book Awards -- Awards are given annually for books published in the United States during the previous year that contribute to American multicultural literature. Submit two copies of a book or galley published in 2015 by December 31.

How to Improve Your Writing Style in 10 Minutes or Fewer


I said the previous post is my last one for today. However this post will be the last for today. I just finished reading an article on the Writers Digest site titled :

How to Improve Your Writing Style in 10 Minutes or Fewer


Writing Tips: Writing Descriptions & Fix Manuscripts

This is my last post for today. Following is some free writing advice regarding fixing your manuscripts and writing descriptions in novels.

wd-logoThe Five Cardinal Sins of Description 
There are two kinds of description that will have your reader waking up his or her spouse to read a line out loud: really good description and really bad. In order to make sure your descriptions fit in the former category rather than the latter, keep an eye out for the following spouse-elbowing sins of descriptive language and do everything in your power to avoid them. - See more at:
Read more ...

wd-logo7 Ways to Fix a Messy Manuscript 
The first draft of my YA novel BLANK was a complete disaster. I had taken a random approach to writing it, jotting down whatever I could between diaper changes and other distractions. I tried not to concern myself with structure or plot, thinking I would fix all that "later." When "later" became hundreds of pages that somewhat resembled a novel, I knew the task ahead of me was not for the faint-hearted. I experimented with many approaches to get BLANK ready for submission (and eventual publication), and survived, only slightly traumatized, to share these tips for repairing even the most chaotic of first drafts. 
Read more ...

Need Help Developing Your Novel or Script?

Good morning, readers.

Today I posted some writing resource courses that are being offered. One is for writing fantasy novels and the other is for developing the world in a film script. I advise you to check them out. The are online courses put on by experienced writers. If you're having trouble developing story for your script or novel these courses can help.

We are committed to bringing writers around the world quality resources and career opportunities.
What's the best way to get selected for a Writing gig?
2.Double check that your submission falls in the genre requested.
3.Have your materials edited by a professional and triple check they are uploaded in your account before sending. (Find a Consultant HERE!)
4.Submit to MULTIPLE gigs on the ISA and on other sites too!
5.Submit and forget about it... Move on with your life!
In Other News:
  • Apply The Visual Mindscape to your script on TODAY'S FREE Curious About Screenwriting LIVE teleclass!
  • November 19th - Join ISA members and guests at Third Thursdays in LA & London!
  • December 3rd - Shoot Your Short on a gifted budget - ENTER HERE!
  • December 10th - Walk the streets of a high profile film festival this January as a VIP Grand Prize winner - ENTER HERE!
This and more brought to you by,
Your Friends at the ISA

Short         Action/Adventure/Crime/Drama/Horror/Thriller/Adaptation
We are looking for a script for a short film (10-20 minutes). The story must be interesting and fast-paced. We are very open to ideas, in general but my preference is for Drama, Action, Crime, Horror (not blood and gore, more psychological), and coming-of-age stories. To keep production costs reasonable, the script should have limited number of locations (4-5 maximum)...
TV Pilot     Drama

We have completed the treatment for a television drama series that tells the intriguing story of an extended family that creates a business empire but gets morally corrupted with their newfound wealth. It is cleverly structured but needs your experienced guidance in completing the pilot script...

FINAL Deadline: December 3rd
Emerging Screenwriters is providing you with pretty much EVERYTHING YOU NEED to Shoot Your Short!
$15,000 Filmmakers Package will be readily available upon your win.
SAVE $10 on your entry with code: MT5ISA

Short    Action/Crime/Drama/Fantasy/Mystery/Suspense/Science Fiction/Thriller

We're an active independent production team in Canada looking for a short film script.  Genres of interest to us include: Action, Science Fiction, Crime, Fantasy, Mystery/Suspense, Drama and Thriller. Please send us only your logline and/or synopsis and page count to begin with. Also, let us know if you are Canadian (for grant application purposes)...
Web Series     Comedy/Drama
We are introducing a teen web-sitcom similar to "Saved by the Bell" and "Boy Meets World." We are currently seeking writers with a knack for comedy and drama. Filming will take place in spring of 2016 in Montclair, NJ but we're still looking for writers to help write episodes and give feedback on scripts...

FINAL DEADLINE: December 10th
A Table Read can improve your screenplay, one of ours could jump start your career!
Ready to attend a festival as a VIP? YOU could be flown out to join us at the Sundance Film Festival to have your screenplay read aloud by professional actors at the TRMS Grand Prize Showcase in Park City, UT!
SAVE $5 on your entry with Code: HT4ISA
Feature     Science Fiction
My writing partner and I are looking for an experienced, award winning professional Sci-fi screenwriter to build on our treatment and create a feature script. Previous feature film Sci-fi credit is necessary...
Feature   Science Fiction

I'm working turning my latest completed short film (featuring Rutger Hauer & Deobia Oparei) into a feature film. I came to LA a week ago to develop the script at UCLA but in my first meeting with a producer he told me he loved the concept and wants to do it. So I need a first draft as quickly as possible. I'm especially looking for a hungry writer who has won competitions or reached finals but doesn't have an agent...

Join John DeChancie for
Writing the Science Fiction & Fantasy Novel

November 19 - December 31, 2015

Seating is Limited - Claim Your Spot Today!
Course Details:
Date: 11/19 - 12/31
Length: 6 weeks
Price: $299.99
Instructor: John DeChancie
Register Now

Do you daydream about distant worlds and mythical creatures? If so,
take this six-week workshop and transform your ideas into creative
science fiction and fantasy novels. You'll discover the essential elements
 of fictional worlds, how to write a science fiction novel with intriguing
characters and plot, and write up to 2,500 words for your science fiction or fantasy story.

You'll take an in-depth look at How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy by Orson Scott Card and learn  how to break into the field of science
 fiction and fantasy writing, the basics of science fiction and fantasy,
tips for creating imaginative settings, and ways to develop winning
story ideas. Plus, discover how to get your work published.

Enroll in Writing the Science Fiction and Fantasy Novel workshop
and draft an intriguing story!

Explore this popular genre in depth with a published author!

This course is open to anyone interested in science fiction and fantasy
. Michael J. Sullivan will be available to answer all of your questions. No
 question goes unanswered!

See syllabus here »

Who should attend:

Short story writers and novelists who love the science fiction and
 fantasy genres
Students of any level who want to explore the science fiction and
 fantasy genre in more depth and gain key insights from a published author

Work with John DeChancie to Master Sci-Fi/Fantasy!

John DeChancie is the author of two dozen books, both
fiction and nonfiction. His novels in the science fiction and
 fantasy genres have been attracting a wide readership
 for more than fifteen years, and over a million copies of
 his books have seen print, many in foreign languages.
 His humorous fantasy series, beginning with Castle
Perilous, became a best seller for Berkley/Ace. Booklist
described John's novel MagicNet (William Morrow) as
 "a welcome sigh of comic relief...shamelessly droll, literate,
and thoroughly entertaining. Magicnet is the fantasy genre's
 whimsical answer to Neuromancer." John's other science
 fiction novels include From Prussia With Love
 (Prima Publishing), Masterminds of Falkenstein
(Prima Publishing) and Innerverse (Avon), as well
 as his anthology of original fantasy short stories
co-edited with Martin Greenberg-Castle Fantastic
(DAW Books)

View his full bio>>

Register Now