OnTheGoWithAmyO.

"Live The Life You've Imagined." ~Thoreau

Archive for the category “Writing”

Super Patience for the Supermoon!

I finally got one!

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I left the island by ferry boat late yesterday afternoon, then drove over to Rockport Beach to view the Supermoon.

It was a splendid blood red shade as it peeked over the horizon of the Texas Coastal Bend tonight. There were lots of “oohs & aahs” from the friendly crowd who gathered to admire the brilliant celestial globe gliding higher into the night sky.

While it was the second night of Supermoon gazing for some, it was the first time we had a chance to see it!

This past Sunday night, while everyone else was sharing beautiful photos of the Supermoon, Port Aransas was blanketed under a thick layers clouds to the east that blocked our view. But that doesn’t mean I couldn’t find beauty elsewhere in the sky!

The edge of those thick clouds made for a magnificent backdrop as the sun’s final light descended behind the western horizon.

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Later that same evening, the skies tried to clear up. Unfortunately, high-level clouds continued to obstruct my view of the Supermoon like a well-paid celebrity bodyguard.

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Several people I’ve met here on the island say that there will be one last chance to see this historic Supermoon with the moon rise tonight.

Hopefully, those pesky clouds will stay away! If not, I’m sure I’ll still find something beautiful in the sky.

Blessings to you,

AmyO.

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My Journey To The Austin Film Festival!

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Ten years ago, I was a Reader for the 2006 Austin Film Festival’s screenplay competition.

This time around, I’m on the other side of the judging, & attending the event as a 2nd Rounder in the Comedy category for my feature-length screenplay, ParentsMatchU.com.

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PS – Hey Mom,
Thanks for driving me up to Austin today to pick up my Conference Badge for the 2016 Austin Film Festival. You maneuvered downtown traffic like a champ!

2nd Rounder in Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition!

 

It’s Official! This is the good news I’ve been dying to share with you…

It’s an honor to announce that my Romantic/Comedy screenplay “ParentsMatchU.com” made it to the 2nd Round (Top 15%) of the prestigious Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition!

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So, what does this mean?

#1) To *me*: It’s validation for hundreds of hours of work on this script – writing the original draft, the revisions, editing, scene arrangement, dialogue, character-development, etc.

#2) Festival Bonus: Admittance to private events and Round Table discussions that are only open to “2nd Rounders or Higher” during the 23rd annual Austin Film Festival.

#3) The Script: After some additional revisions, I’ll send it off to my industry contacts and other screenwriting contests, which will hopefully increase the opportunity for “ParentsMatchU.com” to be optioned by a studio or director, and eventually produced!

A huge *thank you* to my eagle-eye proofreaders Lorelei, Suzan & Patsy who gave so generously of their time to read the script and provide feedback/corrections prior to submission.

The complete list of 2nd Rounders and Semifinalists is available at this link:https://austinfilmfestival.com/…/screenp…/2016-sf-2rounders/

Write on!

AmyO.

A True Story: Four friends, an old Cajun man, a Hanging Tree, some vultures, a rural cemetery, and- a dog!

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Last Saturday, we found this little dog all alone in a rural cemetery halfway between Seguin and Nixon, Texas. He sitting in front of a tombstone as still as a statue. It was pure luck (or serendipity!) that we found him.

So grab some popcorn, and settle in for a true short story about four friends, an old Cajun man, a hanging tree, some vultures, a rural cemetery, and- a dog!

It all started when Lorelei and her friend Kim drove from Waco to Seguin last Saturday since they had tickets to an evening tour of a haunted hotel. Since they were so close by, my friend Cheryl & I drove from San Antonio to meet them for an early dinner at Tavern on the Creek in Seguin. (So delicious!)

Apparently an “old Cajun man” told Lorelei and Kim about a haunted Hanging Tree on a dirt road near the town of Nixon that was a must to visit if you wanted a genuine hair-raising paranormal experience.

So, with a couple of hours to kill (no pun intended) before their evening haunted hotel tour, we decided to drive in search of this Hanging Tree. (Which in itself is a big deal, because I tend to stay far, far, far away from all things haunted, but for whatever reason I was game for the adventure… anyway…)

As we turned down side roads, traveling farther and farther away from town, we saw a couple of vultures! But Lorelei assured us vultures actually have a positive connotation* (see footnote), so we all took deep breaths, shared a few nervous laughs, and continued on.

A few minutes later, I spotted a Texas Historical Marker sign and asked if we could stop at it. (In hindsight, don’t horror movies always start with someone saying, “Hey, let’s stop”?!)

Lo and behold, the marker was in front of a small, very quiet, gated cemetery in the middle of nowhere with large oak trees that I’m sure look spooky at night.

As we read the historical sign, I saw what looked like a stuffed animal in front of a headstone. “Is that a dog?” (Famous last words to an animal rescuer, ha!)

Yes, it indeed was a little dog. All alone.

He was very scared, and didn’t make any movement until we got close to him, then he crawled submissively to us and rolled over on his back.

We whistled in case maybe there were other dogs or puppies (there weren’t). The little dog had a few fleas, but otherwise looked to be in excellent health.

So we loaded up the pup, and – with fingers crossed for luck – went looking for his family. We drove a quarter mile here, a quarter mile there to see if any neighbors recognized this little guy. No luck, so we ditched our search for the Hanging Tree and headed back to town.

Since everyone else had a husband or boyfriend saying, “Cute, but NO!”, the little dog went home with me.

I named him “Spud” and he is a wonderful dog! He’s about a year old, potty-trained, crate-trained, doesn’t bark, doesn’t whine, doesn’t chew things up or scratch on the RV bathroom door. He’s friendly, walks well on a leash, and all around happy (but like a magnet to me).

I took him to Banfield on Sunday morning for a microchip scan, and since there was no chip, he got a collar, dog food, flea treatment and dog bed at PetSmart thanks to a farewell gift card a couple of months ago from my Waco rescue friends, Michelle, Fallon, Julie, Dot, Kim, Danielle and Casey.

On Tuesday, I took Spud to a Vanguard low-cost vaccination clinic for full vaccinations, heartworm test (Negative! Yay!), heartworm prevention and dewormer. I have requested an appointment from the local low-cost spay/neuter clinic for neuter and microchip. Hope to hear back from them soon.

Spud gets along “like peas and carrots” with my rescue dog Sofie Darla, and people keep asking if I’m going to keep Spud. For now, my answer is “I’m keeping him until he gets neutered, then we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”

I am still checking lost/found pet sites near the area, just in case anyone is looking for him, but I know the odds are low.

On the bright side, this whole experience has spurred a couple of new short story ideas about puppies in the cemetery… paranormal is not my usual genre, but I’m always open to new ideas, especially when there is a happy ending for a little dog.

By the way, I wonder if we were to go back to look for that old Cajun man if he’d still be there. Maybe he was that little dog’s guardian angel. Or maybe the little dog saved us from paranormal ambush at the haunted Hanging Tree… We’ll never know. (Insert Vincent Price evil laugh here!)

#PhotoJournal #WriteOn

* Vulture Animal Totem: The Vulture is the symbol of death and rebirth, the mother symbol, and represents purification. For those with this totem, you will be noticed more for what you do than how you appear… The Vulture promises us that no matter how difficult things are at the moment, rescue and change are imminent. (~http://linsdomain.com/totems-t-v.htm)

Austin Film Festival Submission!

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Scene-by-Scene Analysis, RV Style

With less than a half an hour to spare before the Friday, May 20th, deadline for the Austin Film Festival, I submitted my full-length Romantic/Comedy screenplay, knowing I had given my best!

This was the same script that I sent out to a few contests last year, mainly for feedback critiques and comments, so I could get the story, characters and dialogue ready for Austin Film Festival,  the “big kahuna” of screenplay contests, in my book.

Of all the screenplays (and short stories, for that matter) that I’ve written, this is the one that I’m most proud of.

Since the Austin Film Festival allows screenplays to be entered in both the Drama (Romance) and Comedy categories, I entered the script in both categories.

As you may notice by the photo, there were some unique challenges of the RV Life for hands-on scene-by-scene analysis… but where there’s a will, there’s a way. Additionally, I was lucky that plans to “move on down the road” were delayed, so I didn’t lose any time leading up to the deadline with traveling or break-down/set-up of the RV.

A big shout out to my Muse for the overtime these past two weeks – writing from 7am-3am, around my Day Job hours. Thank you!

Although I admit, by May 20th, my fridge was empty, my laundry pile was sky high, and I had not left the RV except to walk my dog Sofie-Darla… it was all consuming revisions! I’m pretty sure there are many writers who can relate to the manic frenzy of which I speak.

There have been a couple of people ask, “Do you think you’ll win?”

My reply, “My goal for this script is to at least make the 2nd Round; any higher than that will be gravy!”

Write On!

AmyO.

 

 

 

NaNoWriMo 2015 Is Here!

‪Ever dreamed of writing a book?

National Novel Writing Month (‪aka NaNoWriMo‬ or NaNo) is here!

This annual world-wide event encourages writers of all levels and all ages to get your fanny in the chair and crank out 50,000 words in 30 days.

No editing, no revising, and no judgement – simply get the words out of your head and onto paper or Word doc.

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You can write the suggested 1,667 words a day, or you can write 5,000 words once every few days; it’s completely up to you.

The finished product is the satisfaction that you did it (victory!!!), along with a tangible rough first draft that you can then revise, edit, rearrange and clean up during the month of December.

For info or to get signed up, visit www.nanowrimo.org (If you do, feel free to become my “Writing Buddy” at amyo1027.)

MY 2015 NANO PROJECT

  • Title: “Ten Dragons & The Angry Mermaid Queen”
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • YA Category: Upper Middle Grade
  • The Goal: 50,000 words by Nov. 30th
  • The Reward: A full rough draft of a book or novel, with a splash of satisfaction, pride, and victory.Dragons

Write on,

~AmyO.

Are You Still A Writer Or What? The Struggles of a Writer/Photographer

For the past month, my life has been consumed with photography – bordering addiction, I happily admit. When I’ve got a camera in hand, I find myself excited, soothed, inspired, focused and alive!

My newfound passion for photography has left little time to write fiction.

So am I still a writer?

Since childhood, I’ve enjoyed dreaming up stories about characters who cross my imagination, then putting those visions into words on paper. So why would I question whether I was still a writer?

Back in June, I completed a feature-length Romantic/Comedy screenplay that I’d been working on for about 18 months. It was a joy – and a relief – to send it off to three screenwriting contests.

My plan was to jump right in to the next major project, yet I could not seem to “commit” to any one story. I tried a variety of tactics to force myself to choose a new writing project: bribing myself with goodies, denying simple pleasures, and everything in between.

So I picked up my camera in order to redirect my frustration.

WOW! I had forgotten how much fun this could be!

Granted, my Journalism degree required several photography classes, and my job as a sports editor and reporter at newspapers and magazines usually required that I provide my own photos for the articles. However, so much has changed with the introduction of digital photography that it’s been like a whole new adventure!

With my camera in tow, I could spend hour after hour taking pictures of sea shells and sand dollars…

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…or capturing images of photos of sailboats on a sunny Saturday afternoon…

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…or dolphins as they bring a ship into the channel at dusk…

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…or a pelican on the jetty waiting for a fisherman to throw her a fish…

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…or delicate flowers radiant after an island shower…

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…nightly festivities at a popular marina hangout…

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…or slow shutter speeds to create unique “painting with lights” images.09222015_AntiqueWhiteLights_BEST

The hours spent taking photos seemed to fly by in a blink of an eye – much like when I’m writing.

Therefore, instead of fighting this passion for photography, perhaps my current project isn’t writing, but instead seeing the beauty all around me with fresh eyes and new perspective though the lens of a camera.

Artistic expression is limitless, abundant and evolving. I am and always will be a writer, but that’s only a part of my creative soul.

Where will photography take me? I have no idea, but I promise you that I’m going to enjoy the ride!

Make it happen,

AmyO.

Writing Time! August 2015

Inspired by the monthly tweets of author Jamie Todd Rubin (@jamietr), I’ve been tracking my own writing time for the past few months.

Not only does this help ensure daily writing accountability, but it’s also helpful to have handy on those days when I find myself feeling frustrated for “not writing enough.”

While some writers like to track the number of word written, I prefer to track time, since screenwriting and some of my other projects can’t be accurately tracked by word count.

Writing Tracker for the Month of May

My sole focus during this time was to finalize my Romantic/Comedy screenplay to make the June 1st deadline for the New York Women In Film & Television Writers Lab competition.

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Fueled by the looming deadline and copious amounts of coffee, I fired up the tubro engines for the last half of the month!

  • I’d wake at 5:30 a.m. (without an alarm clock), dashing to the laptop, ready to write.
  • I’d force myself shut off the laptop around 1 a.m.
  • There was a notebook with me everywhere I went to capture ideas and notes as they hit my mind.
  • I also took two personal days off from work during the last week of May.

As a result, the completed and polished Rom/Com script was submitted to three national screenwriting contests, and I was pleased with it.

Jump to August: A Horrible Start!

There were a couple of RV travel days, as well as the unexpected back-to-back losses of a few dear friends in June and July, so I was working through the emotional gut punch.

Through sheer determination, I was able to get back into a daily writing routine after the first week of August.

Since Aug. 8th, I’ve met my minimum 30-minute per day writing goal (as indicated by the green field).

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Tracking Three Writing Categories

Since there were three separate categories for my creative writing, it seemed logical to break it down respectively.

(1) Screenplay: Although it’s already been submitted to the three contests, it still needs revisions based on feedback from the Blue Cat Screenwriting competition. Deadline for resubmitting is in October.

(2) Blog/Other: This category includes blog posts, website updates (OnTheGoWithAmyO.com), and writing involved with my new photography project.

(3) WIP (Work In Progress): From August 12-24, I browsed through my Story Inventory for a new project. I “interviewed” each story in longhand on paper, along with its characters, plot possibilities, concept, theme and my interest level in order to decide which one was the most ready to be told. A decision was made, and the writing began on Aug. 26.

August may have started like snail, but it ended like a cheetah!

Top 5 Writing Goals for September 2015

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  1. Complete a character analysis and detailed storyboard for the current WIP.
  2. Continue to write for at least 30 minutes every day.
  3. Complete revisions to the Romantic/Comedy screenplay and finalize contest submissions for the year.
  4. Finish website content (OnTheGoWithAmyO.com)
  5. Tie in On The Go With AmyO. Facebook page posts with this blog.

Hope to have a good report to share in about a month.

By the way, if you’re a writer, do you keep track of your daily writing time/word count? If so, how?

Write on!

AmyO.

Thank you NYWIFT & Meryl Streep!

As some of you may know, I was a “hermit” for the month of May to complete my Romantic/Comedy screenplay for the New York Women in Film & Television​ Writers Lab mentor program’s June 1st deadline.

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Partial storyboard for my feature-length Romantic/Comedy screenplay.

On Aug. 1st, I received an email stating that approximately 3,800 submissions were received (wow!), but unfortunately, mine was not one of the 12 selected.

Courtesy photo from a Facebook post by Final Draft regarding the New York Women In Film and Television results.

Courtesy photo from a Final Draft Facebook post re: NYWIFT; The Academy.

Yet I still have a smile as big as Meryl Streep’s at the Oscars!

Why?

That June 1st deadline inspired me to get my butt in the chair to finish a feature-length script I’d been working on for about 18-months. Better yet, I feel is my best work to date!

Thanks to this contest, I also had a completed script ready for the deadlines of Blue Cat Screenplay competition and Final Draft’s Big Break screenwriting contest.

A huge thank you to both NYWIFT & Meryl Streep (who funded the mentor program). It was worth it!

Write on,

Amy O.

Fastest Little Yorkie in the West! (Based on a true story)

FASTEST LITTLE YORKIE IN THE WEST!
(Based on a true story)

Bella the little Yorkie was trotting down the middle of a busy street one Sunday morning, minding her own business, when all of a sudden, two trucks and a car started chasing her!

Bella stole a quick glance over her shoulder hoping they’d leave her alone, but the people then started yelling, “Come here!”

“No way,” barked Bella, and she fired up her Yorkie Turbo Engine, and the race was on!

Several times, people jumped out of their vehicles to chase her on foot. Ha! Nice try, humans. Up ahead, Bella spotted the perfect getaway from these crazies… oncoming traffic lanes!

Unfortunately (but luckily) for Bella, at that exact moment, one of those crazy humans following her in a big blue truck slammed on the brakes, jumped out of her truck and yelled, “STOP!” Bella had no choice but to obey.

Bella04Thanks to a HomeAgain microchip, Bella did not have to do “hard time” overnight in the Aransas Pass city animal shelter.

Knowing there are such insane humans in the world who would stalk her so persistently, Bella wisely decided that life was much better with her Mama, and retired her wanderlust for unsupervised Sunday morning strolls forever.

The End.

(c) Amy Oakley, 1027 Productions

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