Sunday, March 29, 2009

Yesterday



So yesterday I attended the SCBWI Spring Retreat at the beautiful, and extremely busy, (weddings--writers--bus loads of wine tasters--oh my!), South Coast Winery Resort and Spa in Temecula, where I got to hang out with super cool authors like Debby Garfinkle and Stacia Deutsche, and give a little talk about how using the screenwriting technique changed my life. (Yes, Robert Mckee, I owe it all to you!)

Or at least it changed my writing, which lead to my first two-book deal with St. Martin's Press, which ultimately changed my life by allowing me to do what I love for a living (well, that and my awesome husband's unfailing support!) 

I have to admit, several months back when I was first asked to speak at the even I was thrilled, but as the day crept closer, I began to panic about what I was going to talk about. I'm not a "look under the hood" kind of writer. I just sort of immerse myself in the world I create, become the character, and feel my way though--somewhat like a method actor--with only the roughest, most barest, outline by my side, which is really no more than a list of the plot's most major turning points. And since there are so many industrious authors with their charts, outlines, and storyboards who do really great, visual, presentations, I had no idea how I'd fill up my own 50 minutes without all those tools.

But once I started thinking back on my publishing journey, I remembered how the shift came just after reading STORY by Robert Mckee (I later went on to read SAVE THE CAT by Blake Snyder, and love it just as much!). And the reason this worked for me is because film is an expensive medium with no time or $$ to waste on unnecessary scenes, and as FAKING 19 began as a story about a girl who did far more thinking than acting (kind of like me back then!), applying these lean, mean, make-stuff-happen-or-kill-it, methods, transformed it into a totally different manuscript that snagged my first book deal.

Are these methods for everyone? Probably not. But they worked for me, and hopefully, I was able to impart something helpful to a wonderful group of writers!

Happy Sunday everyone!

A


15 comments:

Reverie said...

you sure do immerse yourself, from the interview we had u totally went for it and that is quite courageous. you rock!

Caryn Caldwell said...

So wish I could have been there. I bet it was wonderful. I remember you talked me into seeing Save the Cat at RWA, and it was probably the best session at the entire conference. I ended up reading the book, and I have recommended it to several people since then. I'll have to check out Story, too.

kbaccellia said...

Sorry I couldn't go!

I also love Syd Fields' SCREENWRITER'S WORKBOOK.

Alyson Noel said...

Waving to Reverie- thanks!

Caryn- Blake is speaking at my local RWA mtg next month--I can't wait! I'm also signing books there so maybe I'll get to sit next to him and then some of that SAVE THE CAT magic will rub off!

Kim- Aw, yes, Syd Field- the man who started it all! I really need to read that book!

Neha said...

hi,i wish i could be there. i also wanted to know when blue moon is coming out. i have the book evermore at home and the date says in august but amazon says july so which is it?

Jen Jones said...

Alyson, it was great meeting you and I can't wait to read Laguna Cove and Evermore. Good luck with your writing and I hope to see you at another SCBWI event soon!

Jenna said...

I'm glad that everything went well! I wish I could have been there, but I live on the east coast...

The suprise party I went to (I mentioned it in the comments of the last blog) was AMAZING! We had so much fun!

Alyson Noel said...

Hey Neha- It was going to be August, but it was recently changed to July 7th! Sorry for the confusion!

Jen! It was great meeting you too! All the best on your writing!

Jenna- I am not surprised--that sounded like the makings of the best party EVER! Glad it went well!

Caryn Caldwell said...

So jealous! He was a wonderful speaker. Your chapter sounds amazing. Good luck with getting that coveted seat.

Pamela Cayne said...

Alyson--wish I could have been in the audience. As you know, I'm a fellow follower of the screenwriting craft and am so jealous Blake is going to be at your next RWA meeting! Wah!

And I have to keep saying congrats--I love opening up the USA Today and seeing your name in the Best Seller list. I yell and shriek every time. :)

(It's still Pam of Pam Writes Romance, but am breaking in a new pseudonym!)

Alyson Noel said...

Hey Caryn- Oh yeah, the Orange County chapter rocks!

Hey Pam- Thanks so much, and yeah, Blake is the best--such a good speaker--with concepts that work! Love the new moniker!

cindy said...

congratulations on a successful talk and i'm sure fun weekend! will look into blake's book!

Alyson Noel said...

Hey Cindy- Blake's book is great! He's speaking at my local RWA chapter in April--you should come!

Jessica Brody said...

Save the Cat is THE Best! I use it to outline every single one of my novels. Actually, I'm starting book 5 today so I look forward to my date with Blake Snyder later on today. Yep, just me, a cup of tea, a few scones and Blake. We're tight like that.

Alyson Noel said...

Jessica-- Book 5--wow!!! You're on a roll!
Say hey to the Cat Man from me!