OnTheGoWithAmyO.

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

Archive for the tag “WriteOn”

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!

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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)

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.

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.

Scene Flip Flop!

It’s amazing how a simple change in the order of scenes can make or break a storyline.

For the past three weeks, I’ve been poking and prodding at Act 1 (Sequence 1-3 for Writers Boot Camp alums), but something just wasn’t right. Something was off; it wasn’t working.

PMUStoryboard_FirstHalf_ForPostingRevisions can only go so far when a scene sequence isn’t working. As writers, we all want a nice easy transition from one scene (or chapter) to the next.

Luckily, I have my story board cards, and on a whim, I asked myself those awesome words, “What if.”

What if I flip flop the first and second scenes?

So, I shuffled the cards around, and PRESTO! It was as if a spectacular Roman candle exploded! I could hear the applause from my characters (and maybe one or two silently muttering, “Finally, sheesh!”).

In any case, having a story board of color-coded index cards allows me the flexibility to have a visual road map of my story.

Flip flopping those two major scenes, and adding a couple of minor scenes a little further on, has been like a breath of fresh air for inspiration and motivation.

My goal is to have this full-length feature film script completed by Oct. 1st. I believe this Scene Flip Flop has me back on track. #WriteOn

Make it happen!

Amy O.

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