Ghostwriting and folding egg whites in batter: a tale of two Julia Childs

How do you blend the idealist writer in you with pragmatic demands of  ghostwriting? Kristin Johnson draws inspiration from none other than Julia Child.

In ghostwriting, how do you blend your own ability and insights with your client’s story and voice? You could learn from America’s greatest ghostwriter, who has a hit musical named after him.

Also, you can learn from Julia Child (we’ve already discussed in this post on how Joan Rivers can help you become a better writer), and from the movie “Julie/Julia,” starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. [Read more…]

How To Dazzle With Dialogue

Screenplay writer Kristin Johnson offers five key principles of dialogue, with an example of all five from the movie “Steve Jobs”.

On February 9 I had the great fortune to speak to the Desert Screenwriters Group (DSG), a special interest group (SIG) critique group under the umbrella of the Palm Springs Writers Guild (PSWG). [Read more…]

What Words With Friends can teach you about writing

If you plan to procrastinate, you might as well do so with something to challenge your inner wordmaster.

Neurolinguistics professor Alice Howland (Julianne Moore) played it as a way to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s in the movie “Still Alice”.

Many of your writer friends probably play it.

You might, too.

Words With Friends. Better than Solitaire or WoW (World of Warcraft) as a procrastination tool, you rationalize. I mean, at least this game has something to do with writing. Welcome to the moral high ground. [Read more…]

Are You A Writing Hoarder?

We all know what hoarding is, but have you ever heard about writing hoarders?

Digital hoarding is “a thing”. Haley Cue of XoJane.com writes:

Technology has made collecting things so much easier, more attainable, creative, customizable. Filters! Hashtags! Sharing! We can get to know another person’s life by scrolling through a collection of images we’ve been granted access to. I am certain I would be doing these things regardless of time and medium, but I am thankful for the conveniences of my generation. I’d be terrified to find out how I would function without it all. [Read more…]

Top Memorable Writers Conference Moments

Kristin Johnson, our writers conference junkie, reports from the Southern California Writers Conference.

Once again I’m packing manuscripts, new business cards and prose in need of medical attention, to go to another writers conference, this time the Southern California Writers Conference. I will reconnect there with Ara Grigorian, subject of our “Story Packing” blog post and winner of the Gold in Sports Fiction at the 2015 Readers Favorite International Book Awards for his breakout success Game of Love (Curiosity Quills Press), who, by the way called the blog post “My favorite writeup on my Story Beats workshop.” He will be teaching that workshop again, as he did at the June Santa Barbara Writers Conference, as well as his “Romance, Bromance and Beyond” workshop, which I will be attending. And he’s a keynote speaker. His Secret Service code name? Nutella. [Read more…]

Story packing: Ara Grigorian’s Finding the Story Beats workshop (spoilers)

There is both an art and a science to setting the pace of your novel. Here is what Kristin learned at the Story Beats Workshop in Santa Barbara.

In a previous post we gave recommendations as to what to pack for a writers’ conference, in this case the Santa Barbara Writers Conference. Your humble correspondent spent last week at #SBWC15 and her bags proved to be well-stocked.

Packing for a trip is a great analogy for constructing story structure. You need to know your must-haves without which your vacation, a.k.a. the journey in the story, can’t succeed. [Read more…]

8 Must-Have Items to Pack for a Writers Conference

Kristin is off to the Santa Barbara Writers Conference, and – ooh, look what she’s packing!

It’s that time of year. To quote Alice Cooper, “School’s out forever.” Unless you happen to be packing your bags for the Santa Barbara Writers Conference, as I am. [Read more…]

The Best Worst Thing That Ever Happened

Every hero faces that moment when they are cursed – The Worst Possible Thing happens. It is upon the ruins of that curse that the hero can burst out in triumph!

“This is the worst day of my life.”

So says your main character, or a key character, at a critical moment.

“I’ll never get out of this.”

Same character says this.

“I am undone!” [Read more…]

Meeting your writing muse on the mountain

The exhilaration of writing is met with the fear of leaping into uncertainty. Listen to your muse and jump when she says to.

Marvin V. Acuna of The Business of Show Institute is on my radar for screenwriting information. My routine in the morning is as follows:

[Read more…]

Can We Talk? What Writers Can Learn From Joan Rivers

Joan Rivers had Botox. Writers have editors. Everybody needs a helping hand to perfect their craft.

“I enjoy life when things are happening. I don’t care if it’s good things or bad things. That means you’re alive. Things are happening.”

“I have become my own version of an optimist. If I can’t make it through one door, I’ll go through another door—or I’ll make a door. Something terrific will come no matter how dark the present.”

[Read more…]