Join me at Pitchfest!

Leo and Carey Great Gatsby

Hey, if it happened to F. Scott Fitzgerald, it can happen to you.

One of America's most celebrated authors died penniless, his greatest opus, The Great Gatsby, nearly forgotten…

Except by Hollywood.

Since his death, his book,  has been adapted for the screen an extraordinary five times.

It's also been an opera, a ballet, a musical, a straight play, and get this: two video games.

 Can you increase the odds that your book will find its way onto the silver screen?

Is a novel an alternative route to get your screenplay into the hands of producers?

The answer to both these questions is a resounding yes. To find out how, join me in Los Angeles on Saturday, June 1, 2013, where I'll giving a workshop with the incomparably divine Laurie Scheer at Pitchfest called, "Adapting your Screenplay as a Book" .

Details are below.

It'll be worth it,

— Josie

 

Photo: Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan
in Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby 

Adapting Your Screenplay as a Book
4:30pm – 6:00pm – Academy Five
with Josie Brown & Laurie Scheer
So, you’ve pitched your screenplay and a few agents have said, “I could sell that idea if it were a novel.” Know that you’re not alone. So, what should you do? Josie Brown, best-selling novelist and Laurie Scheer, d-girl extraordinaire and publishing mentor, guide you through a workshop presentation that includes in-class exercises, tangible examples, and an extensive Q&A segment to help you determine how your screenplay will look as a book. With the majority of studio projects being produced from existing properties and franchises (books, comics, games, apps, etc.), adapting your screenplay into book form is an option many screenwriters have found success doing—and many others are considering it. Before you begin the process of writing prose vs. script, there are a few elements you need to know.

 
Click here to register for Pitchfest 

Click below to see a trailer from the movie, THE GREAT GATSBY


A Sneak Peek AT THE GREAT GATSBY

  

F. Scott Fitzgerald is one of my all-time favorite authors. His words are prose as poetry, and from that standpoint, The Great Gatsby is considered is best work (albeit I'm partial to the book he was still writing upon his death, The Last Tycoon.

If the film is as good as the trailer, Baz Luhrmann, the director of the cinematic musical Moulin Rouge (talk about a fully encompassing cinematic experience, despite the tongue-in-cheek pop music mashup) may very well consider this his masterwork.

The movie stars Leonardo Di Caprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire, and the usually funny Isla Fisher in a very serious role. Oscar nods all around.

Depicting the roaring twenties the way Fitzgerald wrote about it (or, I should say fantasized about it) does the author proud.

 

— Josie

 

  HAH Hanging Man V2

The Housewife Asassin's Handbook

Buy it today on
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"You've got a book that won't be putdown – so go pick it up now!"  — Cat's Thoughts
"As a housewife myself, this book was a fantastic escape that had me dreaming "if only" the whole way through. The book doesn't take itself too seriously, which makes for the perfect combination of mystery and humor…" –Curled Up with a Good Book and a Cup of Tea

 

NaNoWriMo Tip #15: Recognize these three ways in which you sabotage your writing goals.

fitzgerald-zelda1

Yay! It's November 15th, and that means you've made it to National Novel Writing Month's half-way mark.

If you've been hitting (or exceeding) your daily word count of around 1,650 words, then pat yourself on the back. You drank the Kool-Aid and thrived.

If, on some of those days, you've found yourself staring at a blank screen, my guess is that your problem isn't that you don't make the time or effort, but that some subliminal self-sabotage is at play.

Here are three ways in which you may be holding yourself from reaching your NaNoWriMo goal — and more importantly, your life dream of writing a novel:

1. You haven't done your (creative writing) homework.
Like every task, there is a skill set to learn. In creative writing, this includes plot structure and character development, not to mention such basics as sentence structure and grammar.

Words are your tools. The artistry of fiction comes with knowing how to use them: when to chip away at paragraphs that ramble, how to use less words to create more nuance. 

Take time to read other authors who have succeeded with these skills. (My personal favorites, to name a few, are Edith Wharton, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Margaret Mitchell, Martin Cruz Smith, and John LeCarre.) By immersing yourself in their stories, the art of word play will soon be second nature to you. Eventually you will develop that sixth sense all great writers have: to craft moving sentences from the simplest words.

 2. You are writing during a time when you can be easily distracted.
The best time of day to write may not necessarily be when it is available to you. That said, consider the time of day (or night) in which you have the fewest distractions.

If it's while your children are at school, chances are you'll be at work. Make your lunch hour that time—but get out of the office, so that co-workers can't distract you.

If it is at night, turn off the TV and write, write, write. If, like me, it's late at night when everyone else is asleep, take a nap, then set the alarm for midnight and write for a couple of hours. By accepting the fact that your creative clock is different from the rest of the world's, you'll make your goal after all.

3. You are afraid of failing.
Most of the never-been-published authors I know have written wonderful stuff. The writing part isn't their problem. It is fear of rejection.

What they tell me is, “It isn't perfect…yet” or “I'm still tweaking.”

Bullshit! Their manuscripts have been tweaked to death: every word scrutinized, every phrase agonized over.

In fact, they have read other author-pal's manuscripts — those who have been published, and continue to succeed — and have given great feedback to make those unpublished manuscripts even stronger. They have the chops. We've read their manuscripts, too.

Whereas they consciously know that writing is a subjective art and that everyone gets rejections, they don't feel they can bear that rejection themselves.

Are you this person? If so, I want to give you a mantra: “If I don't let an agent read it, it will never be sold, and read by millions.”

Yes, you are holding your book hostage.

I've just played hostage negotiator with you. Set your manuscript free, and enjoy the accolades it is bound to receive.

One issue, which is not self-sabotage, can still get in your way: when the rest of your world is in crisis.

I've known many authors who have been under deadline to deliver a manuscript, but before they could do so, real life got in the way. Let me make this clear: this is not a form of self-sabotage.

It happens to all of us. The fact of the matter is that real life (as opposed to those lives we create on the page) brings with it some real problems. And real life takes precedent over your creative writing goals.

Some of my own deadlines had to be met during a time in my life when those closest to me were going through major health perils. Forget the word “distraction.” During a life-or-death situation, all you can think about is the pain your loved one is suffering, and the heartache you'd feel should you lose them.

As much as you may want to write every day, you have to face the fact that you may not be able to accomplish this goal.

Time to punt.

Deal with the ordeal. Take a breather. Then get back to your writing.

Because, like a true friend, it will always be there, waiting, for you.

IMAGE: F. Scott Fitzgerald, with his wife, Zelda. Talk about a man who wrote, despite adversity! His wife's mental illness was always a distraction, as was his alcoholism. And yet, Fitzgerald wrote until his dying day. Even his unfinished manuscript, The Last Tycoon, is a masterpiece. Talk about consummate word play!

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READ YESTERDAY'S TIP, HERE…

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— Josie