...  Publishing New Writers

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 February, 2005


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The Basics:


by Sandy Tritt


A story wouldn’t be a story unless it happened to somebody. And that somebody—and all the other somebodies in the novel—are the characters. A good novel—even an action-based, plot-driven novel—must have carefully conceived characters who are able to withstand the demands of the story and who are able to change in some way. I have devoted Section 3 to developing characters, so I’ll only touch on the basics here.

            The protagonist is the main character in the story. He or she is the character the reader should identify with, or, at least, empathize with. The protagonist—and every other character who is integral to the plot—should have a character statement. This is one sentence that says what, more than anything else in the world, this character wants. Examples of character statements:

·        Mike is determined to become President of the United States.

·        Susan wants to marry Mike.

·        Harmond wants to survive, to return to Kansas and marry his high school sweetheart.

·        More than anything in the world, Kerry wants to be a movie star.

·        Jenny wants to be a good mom, to be there for her kids, to give them the love and attention they need to grow into happy and successful adults.


            Of course, in order for a story to be a story, there must be something that is preventing the protagonist from accomplishing his character statement—something he must overcome in order to achieve his greatest desire. This inter-relates with plot, where the three basic struggles are man-against-man, man-against-nature, and man-against-himself.

            The character conflict identifies what it is that your character must overcome in order to accomplish his character statement. Examples of struggle statements are:

·        Mike’s second cousin also wants to be President, and will do anything to defeat Mike.

·        Mike is already engaged to Sally, who insists Susan is a tramp.

·        Harmond is lodged in a crevice near Victoria Falls, alone.

·        Kerry lives 3000 miles from Hollywood and his parents refuse to move.

·        Jenny is an alcoholic.


            Giving life to a character is one of the most rewarding parts of being a writer. It is also one of the most difficult. Too many times in fiction, we witness the “cardboard” or one-dimensional character. Real characters, those we can visualize and root for and love, aren’t created with the snap of a finger. Instead, they develop over time, over many hours spent together. Surely, writing is a spiritual endeavor. The closest any of us will ever mimic God is by our desire to create another human. But when we do, we find out something that God discovered years ago: once you breathe life into a being, he takes on a life of his own

(from Section 2, Workbook)

Want more great tips and techniques? Our Inspiration for Writers Tips and Techniques Workbook is now available. Expanded tips, more topics, reproducible worksheets, exercises to practice what you learn and much more--check it out! Free shipping anywhere in the United States.

(c) copyright 2002 by Sandy Tritt. All rights reserved, except for those listed here. February be reproduced for educational purposes (such as for writer's workshops), as long as this copyright notice and the url: http://tritt.wirefire.com are distributed with the pages. For use in conferences or other uses not mentioned here, please contact Sandy Tritt at tritt@wvadventures.net for permission and additional resources at no or limited charge.

   Keep writing!

Sandy Tritt

Inspiration for Writers tritt@wvadventures.net


Critiquing Special

  • Limited time special, one cent per word.  Just mention Publishing New Writers  Newsletter (February, 2005).

    Critiques by Sandy Tritt

  • Unlike most editors, I consider my role to be a mentor or a coach. Instead of just telling you what is wrong, I explain how to correct the problem, and I work with you to teach you how to write effective prose. More than 50% of my business is repeat business, and I relish establishing long-term relationships with other writers.

  • Treat you with respect and compassion. All criticism will be of the "constructive" sort. My purpose is to improve your writing, not to destroy your confidence.

  • Mark your manuscript, correcting grammatical and spelling errors and suggesting alternative wording where appropriate, line-by-line.

  • Highlight areas that are especially well-written, so you will know where your strengths are.

  • Where appropriate, offer suggestions for plot development, character development or other areas that could be strengthened.

  • Return a two-to-four page written analysis of your work. This will include evaluation of: plot, setting, characterization, dialogue, special effects (flash forwards, flashbacks, etc.), voice, point of view and any other areas particular to your work.

  • If appropriate, recommend reading or resources to strengthen your areas of weakness.

  • Answer any questions you  have via email.

  • Provide my telephone number for a personal follow-up, if you desire.

For Sandy's success stories, see http://tritt.wirefire.com/Manuscript_Critique.html

Write Sandy at tritt@wvadventures.net

(See Sandy's article - above.)

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Publishing New Writers,

February, 2005 (no. 602)


Publisher: Bruce L. Cook, P.O. Box 451, Dundee, IL 60118.  Fax (847) 428-8974.

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Know Thyself - For Those who Want to Write

by Ken Mulholland

Know thyself. What does that mean and why should you investigate such a premise? Well, if you want to write about whatever you have in mind, it might not be a bad idea to find a beginning at the beginning. And that is?


You, the individual. The only person that can ever be you. 

You are inimitable, unique. There can never be another you. Every thought, every action, every written word that you pen is yours. So how do you 'Know Thyself'? 

Here are two simple ways of seeing yourself as all the world sees you, and you do not. 

First off, you must grasp this truth. What you see and what you perceive of yourself is not what all others see and perceive of you; at least not in the physical sense. When you speak, you hear your voice as a familiar, everyday kind of voice; a voice that you have become used to over all your life. Your ears are tuned to your particular voice, and you are accustomed to the sound of it. But when you hear it back through, say, an answer phone recorded message, you are surprised and sometimes even shocked, because mostly you have never heard it as others always do. 

Now, what do others see of the physical you? They see you as you seldom, if ever, see yourself. That's right. You rarely ever see yourself as all others: mother, father, brother, sister, wife, husband, child or friend do. 

Why is that? Because you only see your own reflection. Through all your life, what you envision as your own image is reflected through a mirror, and it is untrue. What everyone else sees is the other you, the reverse of what you see. 

To get the effect, stand facing a mirror with your brother or mother or whoever you know well. Look at their image. Yes it's slightly different to the way you normally see such a familiar face, and what you see of them in the mirror is what they see of themselves all the time, but as they look at you and see your reflection the same thing happens, they see a different you to the one they are used to, and yet that is the image you have always been familiar with. So what? 

So my point is this. You go through your life knowing how you feel on the inside; all those hidden emotions that you keep to yourself, all those secret thoughts and fancies, desires, hopes, motivating forces belong solely to you, and unless you care to share them no one else will ever know they exist inside your head. 

Now writing mainly is a solitary pursuit. Solitary, but not lonely. How could it be when your mind is at work, dealing with characters; people, animals, whole cultures, tiny communities, cities, countries and so forth. When you are deep within the realm of writing you are delving inside your self, conjuring up all manner of tales, of emotions, of actions both beautiful and violent; you are entering the perilous world of names where once it was considered far too dangerous to ever tell one's own name to a stranger, lest they use it to gain some advantage of power against you. 

And the names of things do have a power of their own. As J.R.R.Tolkien so wisely indicated, the names of things such as grass and sky and tree and leaf, the colours, red of blood and fire, green of sea and forest, leap out and renew themselves in the eyes and minds of those who still can visualize them, who still have the inner consciousness to revisit the things that once were so fabulous, before we began to take them for granted, before we lost the ability to 'see' those things for what they really are, and not what others would have them become: mundane, tedious, plain, uninspiring, boring. 

And even those words have power, the power to create a world where imagination lies defeated, and all has become stagnant and stale. And again, so what? 

So, if you choose to write, you enter that perilous realm at your own risk; for not only will you encounter all the dangers, joys, disappointments and sorrows that inhabit such a realm, you will also encounter another peril that dwells not on the inside but on the outside of all your flights of fancy. 

You will be tempted to write as secretly as you can, for fear that others will see and know, and in the seeing and knowing, will react in a way that sets you apart as someone slightly oddball. 

"I should write a book one day." How many times has that been said? How many people that said it actually went on to do exactly that? 

"She can't be a writer. She doesn't even look like one." How many times has that been said. I wouldn't have a clue, but I bet it's been thought a million times. 

And the only way to break through to them that You can and do write, is to get on with it. Make a beginning and see it through. Get that first work into print. Note the reaction when you finally have an article published. 

"Always knew he had it in him, doesn't look like a writer though." What does a writer look like? After all, we know what doctors are supposed to look like, and nurses and policemen and plumbers. But if you strip them naked, apart from having a lot of shivery people or an all out... Well, best we not go there. You do get my drift though? 

Writers might have a vague identity with some fellow in a garret, scratching away at a parchment with his quill or some prim young woman, carefully rounding out the flowing script of her heart-throbbing romance in a corner of her cottage, but by and large, writers come in all shapes and sizes, strongly now in both genders, with a dazzling array of subject matter and styles. 

Yet there is that persistent stereotype that dogs those who profess to write. It appears that only "other people" write, never You. 

And yet You know yourself from the inside. You know what you want to do, no matter whether you're the local dog-catcher, that shivering, naked plumber, or the kid fresh into high school. 

A writer by the name of Hendrik Willem Van Loon once said, 'Don't make the mistake of looking too eagerly for the so-called "soul" of the artist. He, or she, may have one, but you won't find it very different from the souls of the rest of us. 

The Psychology of the artist is always a very fruitful subject of discussion among people who could not draw a line or invent a tune if they tried unto the end of their days. 

The really good artist is likely to be a very simple fellow who is much too occupied with the work he is doing to worry about the psychological substructure of his immortal soul.' 





Contest Advice for Screenplay Writers

by Lynne Pemroke


Article Summary/Headline: Help to the writer by a judge of several major TV script and screenplay contests.  Advice and tips on preparing a script before entering a contest.
There are many screenplay contests available to the aspiring screenwriter. These contests can be a good avenue to getting one's work noticed and/or make a sale. So, it's important to make certain that you have written your screenplay to the best of your ability and according to industry standards.
The most important thing to do for any aspiring screenwriter is to first learn the basic techniques of screenwriting before sitting down to write one.  I come across many hopeful writers who think that all it takes to write a script is a good story idea and a lot of explosive special effects.  While a good story is important, with or without the special effects, writing that story using proper industry standards is equally important.  (Please visit http://www.coverscript.com/education.html -- Tips for Screenwriters link for further information.) 
There are specific techniques to the craft of screenwriting involving everything from act structure to proper screenplay format, which must be followed.  It's difficult to write engaging characters, focused plots and entertaining screenplays without having a solid framework in which to bring it all to life. 
Before any money is spent submitting your work to a screenwriting contest, it would behoove the writer to first educate himself in the "tools of the trade".  There are many, many screenwriting books available as well as workshops and seminars, both online and in live classroom situations.  My advice is to take advantage of them.   Then, armed with the basics, write, write and then write some more. 
Then before submitting your work to any screenplay competition have it copyrighted and WGA registered.  (United States Copyright office: http://www.loc.gov/copyright  Writers Guild of America: http://www.wga.org/).

Advice and Suggestions 
I am a judge for many contests and as such, have read thousands of TV scripts and screenplays.  I can assure you that the winners are chosen because their screenplays or TV scripts contain great stories and are written to industry standards. Therefore, putting your best foot forward is a must. Below are some pointers to keep in mind before you submit your screenplay.
· If your purpose is to "break into the business", make certain that the script contest you enter offers meetings with agents and/or producers as part of the prize for winning and not just cash prizes. Of course, if it is just the extra cash you're after, then go for it!
· Make certain, before you write that entry fee check and send in your material, that the screenplay contest or TV script competition is a reputable one and indeed has, in the past, delivered to its winners what it promised in its promotion. 
· Presentation of your screenplay does count so make certain your screenplay follows the accepted industry standards.  This not only includes using the proper screenplay format but also such things as a typo-free screenplay and the correct binding.
· Keep in mind that the industry professionals who sponsor some of these film and TV competitions do so in order to find good producible material, hopefully for lower rather than higher budgets.  Therefore, entering a screenplay in a genre with a story that screams "high budget" lessens the writer's chances of winning. This means that
(1) Sci-fi special effects stories taking place on purple planets populated with giant, paisley-skinned, seven-armed, Plasmanian Wooglegorps who magically float through the air using anti-gravity belts or
(2) a 1920's Period Piece necessitating Model-T's, Zoot suits and flappers or
(3) an action/adventure story that has the bad guys blown to smithereens, along with their Lear jet, over the ocean, followed by a high-tech nuclear submarine underwater search and rescue mission while the oil slicked water burns out of control, may not be the best way to go.
· Make certain that your story is told visually. Film is a visual medium. 
· Make sure you don't have "on the nose" dialogue or too much dialogue and that all the dialogue sounds natural.
· Check to make sure that your characters are interesting, engaging and have good character arcs. Nothing worse than having an unlikable hero, a wishy-washy bad guy, or a protagonist who starts out angry at the world and by the end of the story is still angry at the world having learned and changed nothing in his nature.

Once you've gone through your screenplay and are satisfied with it, have it read by someone else. After all, your story is intended for a movie-going audience so honest opinions from friends and family members will give you a feel for that audience reaction.
Then do yourself a favor and have your screenplay read by an industry professional that has experience and good credentials in the area of script analysis. A writer can become too close to his work and not be able to "see the forest for the trees". It is to your advantage to have any possible format, story, character, dialogue and structure flaws found and corrected before it is submitted to a movie or TV script contest.
While there is never any guarantee your screenplay or TV script will be a winner, writing one to the best of your ability and which meets industry standards is a must, as the competition is fierce.
I wish you great success in your present and future story-telling adventures.
Lynne Pembroke
URL: http://www.coverscript.com

Copyright © 2004 Lynne Pembroke, Coverscript.com

About the Author

Lynne Pembroke is a writer, poet, screenwriter and owner of Coverscript.com, with over 18 years of experience in screenwriting and screenplay analysis helping individual writers, screenwriting competitions, agents, studios, producers and script consulting companies.  Services include screenplay, TV script and treatment analysis, ghostwriting, rewriting and adaptation of novel to screenplay.  Visit http://www.coverscript.com for more details.

Lynne Pembroke and Jim Kalergis
URL: http://www.coverscript.com

God Created You: A Guide to Temperament Therapy

New AuthorMe Paperback...   (Released 2005)

By Dr. Rick Martin

From chapter 2... "How a person behaves is a combination of temperament, living in the strengths and/or weaknesses of their temperament environment, decisions they have made or not made, conclusions they have drawn about right and wrong, their relationship with God or the lack thereof..."


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In other words, You. While others are busy deciding who could or could not be a writer, You, if you would Know Thyself, must put that aside and make haste in your work. 

Life is too short to wait. Every moment is another thought, another experience. And that must all come from the inner You. 

The one others cannot tell is there. Until You show it to them. They may refuse to see it, attempt to ignore it or snigger at your efforts. You must not allow that to deter you. 

Know Thyself. Know the ability that you have. It will only fail You, if You fail it. Write! Do it!













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