Thursday, November 29, 2018


Yup, writing is sometimes a lot like this!

Well we reached the end of writing-- I hope the course gave you some tips as well as the tools you might need to better go forward and create!

Here are some final thoughts;

The ending is the thing.  It's the most important thing.  It's really important, like uber.
Everything else is important too.  Because if you have just a great ending nobody is going to get to it because they'll abandon your story before they get there, right?

So that means you need a good hook.  The hook is the thing.  A hook grabs your reader and makes them come along for the ride.  The hook is the thing.

But you also need good relatable characters.   Good characters engage your reader.  They make them want to find out what happens next because they care about them.  Well defined characters will feel real.  With that in mind make sure they behave in a way that either makes sense or explains to us why they are behaving in an odd way.  The character is the thing.

You need twists and turns.  If the story is too even keeled it will get boring, the pacing will slow to a crawl and your readers will jump off.  Twists and turns are the thing.

You can't have all action or all talking-- beats are important.  Use the story flow chart to see how many pages you have of talking and how many pages you have of action to keep things going.  Beats are the thing.

A good story is like an out of control bus that you realize is being driven by Mario Andretti (apologies if I spelled the legendary race car driver's name wrong you don't expect me to research here do you?)-- and pretty soon you sit back and thrill to the ride as he guides it perfectly into the bus depot and you step off thinking "that was a hell of a ride" because that's the thing.

It's all of this-- like a perfect stew-- every ingredient is nothing and it's everything when its put together with the rest.  It's to be savored when its prepared correctly.

It's hard, but it's worth it.  Go for it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018


Great to see the Pace Maps posted here, from last week's class here is Frank's Pace Map-- so you can compare.

Ostension Pace Map - Sally

Hmm... that's a LOT of talking scenes.  Time to pump up the action!

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 
31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60
61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90
91 92 93 94 95 96



Sunday, November 11, 2018

My story is scientifically boring...

I see now how I have to little action in my story, I've since added a subplot to keep things from getting tedious. I simply need to convey more of these situations through action and it should salve my problems here.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Alternate ending - Car ride

I’ve rethought the ending to the “kids see aliens” elevator pitch.  I’d be interested in comments.
Here is the link to the elevator pitch: I’m writing here more than an elevator pitch - more of an outline.

In the first ending, the kids were the only ones who knew about the aliens, and believed that the parents couldn’t see them.  They loved knowing something that the parents didn’t know and were exciting to learn about aliens in their world.  They were going to go back to school and tell their friends, and also have them keep it a secret from their families.

Alternate ending :  The family is spending the night at a hotel after their day of driving.  They have two connecting rooms.  After the kids are safely in bed that night, the mom goes back to their room where the father is reading a newspaper.  She relaxes into a chair and sighs with pleasure.   She rubs her head like she has a headache. Cut to the father who looks up from his paper.  “Are they asleep? he asks.  “Yes finally!” says the word bubble from an off panel speaker “But they were really excited about their new friend”.
“He was cute” says the dad figure as he get’s up to turn on the TV.
“ They’re getting older Harry” says the offscreen figure
Full picture of the mom figure with alien antenna popping out of her head. “When do you think we should tell them” she asks.
“Not yet” says the dad going back to his chair.  “Let’s wait awhile, it could cause trouble if they didn’t keep quiet.  I’m a bit worried already about what that boy might have said to them. ”

End of Chapter 1

Your thoughts about this alternate ending?

Wednesday, October 24, 2018



Billy Butts and friend Jane Plane arrive at school when all buses arriving.
School is plastered with banners about the homecoming events and the Dance with the new Homecoming Queen.
(2 page)

Inside the school Jane Plane asks Billy Butts who is he going to the Dance with.
Billy does not realize Jane wants him to ask her.
Flashback of both together, Jane defends him from bullies, helps him with math homework, spends time with him at camp and birthdays, and works with him on the school newspaper.  
Billy and his camera are distracted when Jane asks “who are you bringing to the Dance?”
Billy, camera in hand, and a large crowd in the hallway all turn toward an arriving limo.

(4 page)

Hestia Antonopoulos steps out of a limo, banner on limo reads “Miss America competition”.
Two football players offer to carry her books and converse with her.
Everyone stears, Hestia turns to Billy.  After commenting on his camera and asking if he would take her photo, Hestia mentions that she would like a tutor for math and English, could Billy recommend any.
Billy says he gets good grades and could help her.  She invites Billy to tutor her at her house “We can get together tonight, my grandmother and father are home, and they won’t mind).
(4 page)

On his way home, Billy Butts calls his friend Jane Plane when he realizes that he does not have a car and Hestia lives in the other side of town. Jane, although miffed, always aquieses to any request from Billy, she is very fond of him.  
(1 page)

Jane arrives to pick up Billy in her car when the sun is going down.
After they knock at Hestia’s door, an older man and a very old woman answer the door.
When Billy and Jane tell them they came to study with Hestia “Are you Hestia’s father and grandmother?”  The elder couple informs them that they are Hestia’s son and daughter. The elders insist that they are in grave danger and reveal that Hestia is mulch older than she looks.  “Hi Billy, come into the living room, I have my books in here and some snacks.”
(page 3)

As Billy and Jane enter the room, Hestia is surprised “Billy, you’ve brought a friend!”.
Hestia sounds friendly towards Jane but soon steals a moment with Billy to let Billy “Pleas ask Jane to go, my father and Grandmother only allow me to bring one friend home at a time, and that she wanted to spend time with him alone.”
Billy asks Jane aside and thanks her for bringing him there “I will get a ride from my parents later and will see her in archery practice tomorrow”.  Jane leaves very angry with a great feeling of rejection but an even greater feeling of impending doom.
Billy feels bad that he had to tell Jane to leave him after asking her to come, but it was the only way to spend time with a beautiful young lady.  As soon as Jane leeves Hestia becomes very friendly “Oh, come sit by me Billy, I have a lot of questions for you”.
(6 page)

Jane peels her tires as she drives away very angry, the feeling of impending doom intensifying with flashbacks of the two old people revealing that they were children of Hestia. At that very moment she sees the bow and arrow on the back seat of her car, that she was carrying for archery practice the next day.  Foreboding and anger rise from her chest to the top of her crown. She makes a U-turn in the direction of Hestia’s house. Without much thought, she stops, picks up the bow and a collection of arrows. She approaches the house quickly but crouching. As she approaches the living room window she see Billy, collapsed on the sofa, a glass with a green liquid spilled on the coffee table, and Hestal approaching whispering soft words to Billy.  Hestia carries in her hand an amulet that wore at all times. The amulet starts glowing green as she lifts it up and says some incantations in her Greek mother tongue. In an instant, Jane instinctively fires her arrow, hitting the center of the amulette. A great deal of flashes and lightning rays are emitted as Hestia starts turning old, wrinkled, and eventually turns into a pile of dust. Jane revives Billy, as she helps him out the door, the two old people thank Jane for liberating them from bondage to Hestia.  End Jane and Billy are seen together in their finery at the Homecoming dance, Billy thanks Jane

(4 page)

Hidden Gift scene list and page count

Ostension Scenes 75pgs - Sally

So, if I did the math right it came out to 75 pages, to make it divisible by 4 it needs to be 84 pages. May as well bump it up to a standard size of 96. However, the publisher talked about having a 200 page book. There is room for growth.

Ostension Scenes

  1. Panning through the woods, a swampy area with frogs.  A man is seen catching frogs. He comes out of the woods and walks toward a middle school. (3pgs)
  2. Entering the school, pan through the hallways and into a math class.  The teacher is lecturing. FEATHER fails to answer a simple problem and the class ridicules her. (3pgs)
  3. Bell rings and Feather is asked to stay behind. Class declares “umbers” *Umbers = a phrase spoken when one is in BIG trouble or about to be disciplined severely. (1pg)
  4. Teacher is concerned about Feather’s performance in class and asks if something is wrong.  Feather denies this and quickly excuses herself, she is clearly uncomfortable staying in the classroom. (will be explained later in the story)(1pg)
  5. Feather walks by the science lab and over-hears another teacher and 3 classmates discussing preparation of freshly caught frogs for dissection. (1pg)
  6. One of the frogs escapes and makes its way out of the lab.  The boys chase after it, and fail to keep hold of it. (it’s slippery) Feather is able to scoop up the frog and runs away before anyone spots her.  She is a kind and gentle person. Cruelty to any living thing upsets her. (2pgs)
  7. The science teacher calls the boys back, there are still plenty of frogs left. Feather is on her way out of the school when she is confronted by Cora and her two friends “Ashley” and “Lorraine”. (2pgs)
  8. The “mean girls” are disgusted to find that Feather is holding a frog.  They taunt her about getting warts, etc Mean girls leave and talk about their evening plans for the night, a slumber party at Cora’s. (2pgs)
  9. Feather releases the frog into the woods nearby the school.  At least one frog is safe for now. After it hops away Feather goes home.(1pg)
  10. Later that night at Cora’s house the girls are deciding on what movie to watch. A conversation about “urban legends” starts. (1pg)
  11. Lorraine mentions that “Creepy Keith” told a story Bloody Mary. (3pgs)
  12. As a joke Cora dares the other two to perform the ritual. (1pg)
  13. An argument breaks out about how they always do what Cora wants. (who died and made her boss?)(1pg)
  14. It’s decided that they will all do it together. (1pg)
  15. The 3 girls go into the bathroom and turn out the lights.
  16. Before they can say her name a 3rd time the lights come on and the girls scream.  It’s only Cora’s mother, “Rin”. Rin informs them that the pizza is here and they can eat in the dining room.(2pgs)
  17. As they leave Rin asks Cora to stay behind.  She shows Cora her recent report card and says that she is disappointed. Cora interjects that she only got 1 B. Rin responds with “If you had prepared better, that B could’ve easily been an A.” (3pgs)
  18. Cora sulks and begins to leave but is called back by Rin. Rin hands her a pair of glasses she found in the wash and asks why Cora isn’t wearing them. (2pgs)
  19. Cora is very vain and hates the way she looks with glasses.  The claims that they are DORKY and begs to wear contacts. (1pg)
  20. Exasperated Rin explains that Cora’s eyes are not the right shape to wear contacts, and not to about corrective surgery because she is not old enough for it. (1pg)
  21. Back with her friends, Lorraine says that Cora’s mom needs to “lighten up”.  Cora defends her, saying that her job is very stressful. (1pg)
  22. Later that night everyone is asleep except for Cora.  She is intently looking at the bathroom door. She gets up and goes inside.  She stands in front of the mirror and says “BM” 3 times.(2pgs)
  23. She is about to leave when something grabs her and covers her mouth before she can scream. Fade to black (1pg)
  24. Cora wakes up, relieved that it was just a bad dream.(1pg)
  25. She joins the household in the kitchen for breakfast and is shocked to see herself sitting at the table.(2pgs)
  26. Cora tries to get the others attention but no one can see her.  When she tries to touch them her hand passes through their bodies.(2pgs)
  27. She follows “herself” and friends to the beach.(2pgs)
  28. Cora confronts “herself” while Ashley and Lorraine are out of earshot. Cora discovers that Bloody Mary is possessing her physical body and has no plans on giving it back. (3pgs)
  29. Angry, scared, and frantic to get someone to notice her, Cora spots Feather.(3pgs)
  30. Feather is looking at her in shock, she has seen the dispute between Mary and Cora. Feather quickly looks away and tries to pretend that nothing has happened. (1pg)
  31. Cora chases Feather.  She must convince Feather that she isn’t crazy and her “powers” are the only thing that can save her.(2pgs)
  32. After an argument on why Feather should help Cora they decide to team up and figure a way to stop Mary.(1pg)
  33. In the meantime Mary is enjoying the freedom of being in a physical body.  She craves attention and self gratification. She has no empathy or regards for others wellbeing. Through her actions Mary begins to alienate the people closest to Cora. (ie Kissing the boy Lorraine likes, skipping cheerleading practice, defying her teachers and parents)(5pgs)
  34. “Jamal” is a popular boy and a star athlete.  His interest lie in music much to his father’s disapproval. (3pgs)
  35. Jamal’s father wants him to pursue sports so he can get a scholarship to an ivy league school.  He feels that music is a waste of time and useless. (2pgs)
  36. On his way to practice he overhears Cora talking to Feather, only to discover that Feather is seemingly by herself.(2pgs)
  37. Jamal confronts Feather, curious of her behavior. Because of Jamal’s openness for music he is able to hear Cora and after learning of their situation decides to help. (3pgs)
  38. They stage an intervention with Mary, hoping to drive her back to her mirror realm, but they fail.  They are missing a piece of the puzzle. (4pgs)
  39. Going back to the beginning they realize that this all started because of a story “Creepy Keith” told. (2pgs)
  40. They track Keith down. (1pg)
  41. Keith uses his differences as shield to push people away. (3pgs)
  42. A final confrontation with Mary comences and her “spirit” is set free by the power of self-acceptance. (5pgs)
  43. In the aftermath the four new friends are left with the mess that Mary has made.  These events set up the potential for new adventures into the paranormal. (5pgs)

Saturday, October 20, 2018

The Car Ride

Most of the Car Ride posts are over on Undercover Fish, but these three I've done in the past few weeks - all digital.  I've used the "post it note" idea that Andy talked about where I either drew a rough sketch of a panel or an idea or a page, and then moved things around in my notebook until I liked the idea.   Here are the three pages., the first page with the black background is just an intro

I do notice lots of discrepancies and will have to use the character model better - who can remember short sleeves or long sleeves from page to page!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Ostension script writing and rewriting. -Sally

1st Draft:

scene: Late afternoon outside a middle school bathroom.  Three girls, CORA, ASHLEY, and LORRAINE are gathered around a fourth FEATHER.

CORA: You know the rumor of the girl's bathroom right?

CORA: It's haunted by a ghost named Mary.

CORA: If you stand in front of the mirror and say Bloody Mary three times... She appears.

LORRAINE: I heard she shows you your true love.

ASHLEY: I heard she lets you talk to someone who died.

FEATHER: Why don't you do it then?

CORA: Do you want your locket back or not.

2nd Draft

scene: Early evening at CORA'S house.  In the basement turned into a den area, sleeping bags are in the center of the room in front of a large TV.  Three girls CORA, LORRAINE, and ASHLEY, are sitting around a stack of various horror movies.

ASHLEY: Hmm... which do you think is scarier, werewolves or vampires.

CORA: Zombies the answer is always zombies.

LORRAINE: Hey have you guys ever heard of Bloody Mary?

CORA: That yucky tomato drink?  Yeah my dad makes them all the time... blech.

LORRAINE: What? No!  Bloody Mary, the ghost in the mirror.


LORRAINE: They say if you stand in front of the mirror in pitch black and say her name three times she appears.

CORA: Where'd you hear this?

LORRAINE: Keith Warren said-

CORA: EWW! Creepy Keith?! You were talking to Creepy Keith?!

ASHLEY: Now THAT'S scary!

CORA and ASHLEY: *laughter*