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Happy New Year!

This weeks competitions that have caught my eye:

FICTION:

Spring Issue 2012
Category:   Fiction
Closes:   29th February 2012
Fees:   £0 for one entry.
Prizes:   £0 for first place. Publication in our magazine and on our website
Details:   We invite all writers to submit short stories of any genre to our Spring Competition. The best ones will be published in our magazine and on our website. Please submit via email. Your short story must be 2000-8000 words in length. The magazine will be published on March 20th 2012. Multiple entries are permitted but each entry must include your name. See our website for full details.
Country:   United Kingdom
Email:   editor221b@yahoo.co.uk
Website:   http://221bmagazine.co.uk/?page_id=818

Fiction Writing Competition
Category:  Fiction
Closes:   1st August 2012
Fees:   $0 for one entry.
Prizes:   $1,000 for first place. SECOND PRIZE: $500, THIRD PRIZE: $250.
Details:   Fiction Writing COMPETITION for Physicians and Lawyers. FORMAT: A short story or novel excerpt in the fiction genre should be submitted. The submission should be typed and not exceed 2,500 words. (This will be strictly enforced). DEADLINE: August 1, 2012. JUDGING: The submissions will be judged on originality, quality of writing, and the potential of the author.
Contact:SUBMISSIONS SHOULD BE SENT TO: (do not send certified mail) SEAK, Inc. —Fiction Writing Competition ATTN: Steven Babitsky, P.O. Box 729, Falmouth, MA 02541
Country:   United States
Email:   karen@seak.com
Website:   http://www.seak.com/2012_National_Fiction_Writing_Competition_for_Physicians_and_Lawyers.html

Writersbillboard Flash Fiction 
Category:   Fiction
Closes:   27th January 2012
Fees:   £2.50 for one entry.
Prizes:   £0 for first place. Prize is publication on the website
Details:   Short fiction of fewer than 400 words, any theme
Country:   United Kingdom
Website:   http://www.writersbillboard.net

Libboo Bounty
Category:   Fiction
Closes:   30th January 2012
Fees:   $0 for one entry.
Prizes:   $100 for first place. Top five stories will be selected.
Details:   Seeking short stories, word count: 1000(min) – 3500(max), within the comedy or satire genre about Vacation and Holiday Mayhem.
Contact:   Libboo Inc. ONE Marina Park Dr., 14th floor Boston MA 02210
Country:   United States
Email:   fernando@libboo.com
Website:   http://www.libboo.com/bounty

Sentinel Literary Quarterly Short Story 
Category:   Fiction
Closes:   20th January 2012
Fees:   £4.00 for one entry. £8 (2 stories), £10 (3), £12 (4)
Prizes:   £150 for first place. £75 (2nd), £50 (3rd), £10 x 3 High Commendation, plus publication
Details:   For previously unpublished original stories in English Language in any style, on any subject up to 1,500 words long. Stories submitted must not be under consideration for publication or accepted for publication elsewhere, and must not be simultaneously submitted to another competition.
Contact:Sentinel Poetry Movement, Unit 136, 113-115 George Lane, London E18 1AB
Country:   United Kingdom
Email:   competitions@sentinelpoetry.org.uk
Website:   http://www.sentinelquarterly.com/competitions/short-stories-0112/

Valentines Short Story Competition
Category:   Fiction
Closes:   5th February 2012
Fees:   £1 for one entry.
Prizes:   £30 for first place. 1st prize in Amazon Vouchers, website and ebook publication. Other prizes on offer.
Details:   Short story between 100 and 1,500 words on the theme of Love. Check out website for details.
Country:   United Kingdom
Email:   editor@5minutefiction.co.uk
Website:   http://www.5minutefiction.co.uk

What Happens Next?
Category:   Fiction
Closes:   31st March 2012
Fees:   £3 for one entry. or free to members.
Prizes:   £150 for first place. 2nd Prize: £100 3rd Prize: £75
Details:   Using the photo for creative inspiration, your story must be about a man in a library who chooses a book that changes his life. What the book is and why it has such an effect on him is up to you. The story must evolve and can be emotional, action-packed, mysterious or indeed take any direction that you like. Just make sure that it is powerfully written and interprets the theme creatively.
Contact:   Creative1 Publishing 15 Rue Canigounenc, Ceret 66400
Country:   France
Email:   info@creative-competitor.co.uk
Website:   http://creativecompetitor.com/2011/12/28/what-happens-next-writing-competition/

Man on the Train Writing Competition
Category:   Fiction
Closes:   7th April 2012
Fees:   £3 for one entry. Free to Members.
Prizes:   £150 for first place. 2nd Prize: £100 3rd Prize: £75 4th Prize: 3 months membership
Details:   Using the photo for inspiration, create a story that depicts a man on a journey by train, but a journey to where? What happens to him en-route? Who does he meet? What happens when he reaches his destination?
Contact:   Creative1 Publishing, 15 Rue Canigounenc, Ceret 66400
Country:   France
Email:   info@creative-competitor.co.uk
Website:   http://creativecompetitor.com/2011/12/28/man-on-the-train-writing-competition/

500 Word Writing Competition
Category:   Fiction
Closes:   15th March 2012
Fees:   £3 for one entry. Free for Premier1 members.
Prizes:   £100 for first place. 2nd Prize: £75 3rd Prize: £50.
Details:   Using the photo for inspiration, create a compelling story that make us hang onto every word. You can be completely creative with your interpretation but you must include all three characters in some way. Entries must be completely original and previously unpublished. You have a maximum of 500 words including the title so make sure that you use each word wisely.
Contact:   Creative1 Publishing 15 Rue Canigounenc Ceret 66400
Country:   France
Website:   http://creativecompetitor.com/2011/12/25/500-word-fiction-writing-contest/

Scribble Themed Competition
Category:   Fiction
Closes:   1st November 2012
Fees:   £3 for one entry.
Prizes:   £100 for first place. Shortlisted entries to be published.
Details:   For short stories up to 3000 words on the theme: Friends.
Contact:   Park Publications,14 The Park, Stow on the Wold, Glos. GL54 1DX
Country:   United Kingdom
Email:   parkpub14@hotmail.com
Website:   http://www.parkpublications.co.uk

Writers For Animals
Category:   Fiction
Closes:   31st March 2012
Fees:   £0 for one entry.
Prizes:   £0 for first place. This is a fund-raiser, so contributors won’t be paid.
Details:   Stories of 800 – 8,000 words sought for a compilation book that will be sold to raise funds for animal rescues. Wanted: True-life stories about animals who have touched people’s hearts, and people who’ve helped them. Plus fiction stories for adults and teenagers in any genre that have some kind of animal theme. We don’t want poetry, essays, opening chapters of novels, children’s stories, sexually-explicit content or political rants. Email for submission instructions.
Country:   United Kingdom
Email:   writersforanimals@live.co.uk
Website:   http://writersforanimals.onlinegroups.net

Illness & the Child writing competition
Category:   Fiction
Closes:   31st March 2012
Fees:   £5 for one entry. Fee donated in aid of Sick Kids.
Prizes:   £0 for first place. Hand-crafted Borders glassware, publication and live reading at publicity event.
Details:   Open competiton, poetry (60 lines) and prose (3000 words) on Illness and the Child. Anything linking a child with illness (in the child, or someone known to him or her), otherwise interpretation wide open. Entrants 18 and over; BWF members precluded. Winners announced after 30th May. All entry fees go towards helping children in the Sick Kids Hospital.
Contact:   The Sick Kids Foundation, 20 Millerfield Place, Edinburgh, EH9 1LW
Country:   United Kingdom
Email:   bwfcompetitions@gmail.com
Website:   http://www.edinburghsickkids.org/press-and-news/news-archive/open-writing-competition.html

Birmingham Book Festival Story Competition
Category:   Fiction
Closes: 31st January 2012
Fees:   £5 for one entry.
Prizes:   £100 for first place. Also writing workshop. Ł50 second place.
Details:   For stories between 1,000 and 2,000 words on the theme: clocks.
Contact:   Birmingham Book Festival Short Story Competition 2012, Unit 116, Custard Factory, Gibb St, Birmingham B9 4AA
Country:   United Kingdom
Email:   joanne@birminghambookfestival.org
Website:   http://www.birminghambookfestival.org/short-story-comp-2012

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award
Category:   Fiction
Closes:   5th February 2012
Fees:   $0 for one entry.
Prizes:   $15,000 for first place.
Details:   For general fiction and young adult novels. Opens to submissions January 23, 2012.
Country:   United States
Website:   http://www.amazon.com/b?node=332264011

ROMANCE WRITERS OF AMERICA:

21st Annual Duel on the Delta
Sponsor: River City Romance Writers
Fee: $25.00
Deadline: March 15, 2012
Entry: electronic entries only; first twenty pages.
Judges: trained, published and unpublished.
Final Judges: TBA.
FMI, www.rivercityromancewriters.org; duelonthedelta@yahoo.com.

The 2012 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense for Unpublished Writers
Sponsor: Kiss of Death Chapter RWA
Fee: $15–30.00
Deadline: March 15, 2012
Entry: prologue/first chapter up to 5,000 words. All electronic entry.
Final judges: See website.
FMI, www.rwamysterysuspense.org or email: Brooke Wills at daphnecontest@gmail.com.

SCRIPT WRITING OPPORTUNITIES Via ISA:

SCOUTING FOR WRITER WHO LIVED IN MANHATTAN DURING SEPTEMBER 11TH
Iron Horse Films, LLC is scouting for a writer who lived in Manhattan during the tragedy of 9-11. We are looking for an up and coming writer who is looking to expand their script writing experience. Please submit a sample of your work (i.e. up to five pages either in word or Final Draft with a copy of your resume. Writers will get some compensation for their work. Serious writers only please. Please submit your sample to Iron Horse Films,LLC along with your resume by midnight of January 8th to the following E-mail: info@ironhorsefilms.net. Thank you.

WRITER WANTED FOR SITCOM
Writer wanted for a sitcom about an Indian Immigrant experience taking place in New York. Each episode will be standard sitcom length 23 minutes. We would prefer previous sitcom experience, multi-cultural themes a plus. It’s a comedy/drama/satire with lots of emotions. Send a cover letter with either a link to a sample of your writing or a sample in the body of the cover letter to: info@nritvfilmclub.com. The producer Tirlok Malik is a New York Emmy nominated filmmaker. You can learn more about his work at www.nritvfilmclub.com.

LOOKING FOR FEEDBACK ON HORROR SCRIPT
Just completed a rough draft of a horror script and am interested in getting some feed back to assist in my revisions.   The script is a more traditional style monster mash-up, combining elements of Frankenstein and Mummy lore.  If you think you might be able to offer some free coverage, please drop me a line at kevinmglover@yahoo.com.  Thank you.

LOOKING FOR SCI FI BUFF FOR FILM IN ESPERANTO
If you are a science fiction buff who has an idea for a film in Esperanto, give me a ring. I can barely speak a word of it but if it is written down, or in subtitles, I can actually make out the sense of it fairly well. If you don’t have any command of Esperanto whatsoever, but would like to try your hand at helping write a script along the lines of a futuristic domed city, robots, at least 1 personal sized spaceships, a slave revolt, and a lasergun battle, give me a call. This could be a lot of fun. Call Matthew, late evenings 503-771-3307.

LOOKING FOR JUNIOR WRITER
Oak3 Films, Singapore, is looking for a junior writer. The job scope includes: generate innovative ideas for TV and new media; research and write scripts; pitch & sell ideas to broadcasters and investors. Requirements are: read widely, & sensitive to local & international TV trends; thrives on tight deadlines; awesome written and spoken language skills, especially in Mandarin; good presentation skill, especially in Mandarin. Need not have media background, but must love to watch TV (good & bad ones.)  Send inquiries to info@oak3films.com. Only Singaporean, Singapore PR need to apply.

SCREENWRITER NEEDED FOR AZ FILM PROJECT
Looking for screenwriter in Arizona feature film project. Compensation can be discussed over phone or email. Outline of story can be discussed. The film is drama/comedy. No professional experience necessary. For more information email tallent.stephen@gmail.com.

ACCEPTING SHORT SCREENPLAYS
Pro Digital Group is now accepting short form screenplays. Please submit thriller, crime, and horror scripts only(a flavor of love story OK) with a running time of no more than 20 minutes. Must be unique and original to you and registered with the Copyright Office or WGA. We will produce and provide the financing. Option/Purchase price and rights to be negotiated. Reply by email to us at jobs@prodigitalgroup.com with subject line “SCREENPLAY”! Thanks for your consideration and hope to hear from you soon.

Please remember to check out legitimacy of all contests before you enter and to copyright all work.

Good luck and let me know how you get on.

If you want more of me, you can also find me on FacebookTwitter, Google+ and Linkedin

 

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This weeks competitions that have caught my eye:

FICTION:

Express Yourself 2012 – Write your world 
Category:   Fiction
Closes:   12th January 2012
Fees:   £0 for one entry.
Prizes:   £150 for first place.
Details:   For fiction or any other type of creative writing by a deafblind child or adult, a carer, or any other individual on the subject of deafblindness.
Contact:   Colin Anderson, Sense, 101 Pentonville Road, London, N1 9LG
Country:   United Kingdom
Email:   colin.anderson@sense.org.uk
Website:   http://www.sense.org.uk/media_centre/latest_news/august_2011/express_yourself_2012

The FFW Flash Fiction Contest
Category:   Fiction
Closes:  9th March 2012
Fees:   £0 for one entry. Multiple entries, all free.
Prizes:   £25 for first place. 2nd £15 and 3rd £10.
Details:   Flash fiction stories up to 1000 words in any theme.
Country:   United Kingdom
Email:   comp@flash-fiction-world.com
Website:   http://www.flash-fiction-world.com/flash-fiction-contest.html

World Audio Short Story Writer 2012
Category:   Fiction
Closes:   31st March 2012
Fees:   £3 for one entry. £3 until 31st December 2011. £4 thereafter.
Prizes:   £0 for first place. Professional recording of winning story plus promotional author podcast with interview and reading.
Details:   Theme: Open – any genre/theme. Word Limit: 1500-2000 words. Rules: stories must be written in English; must be previously unpublished in text (including internet)or audio form; the entrant must own the copyright to the story they have submitted.
Contact:   Wyndam Granite, PO Box 1302, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire HP4 9AE
Country:   United Kingdom
Website:   http://shortstoryradio.com/short_story_competitions.htm

Emerald Writing Workshops
Category:   Fiction
Closes:   31st August 2012
Fees:   £1.80 for one entry. 3 entries for a fiver.
Prizes:   £65 for first place. Second £20; third £15; three runners-up win a book of short stories.
Details:   Maximum 500 words excluding title. Open theme so you can write about anything you like. Maximum 3 entries per person. Open to anyone in the world of any age. Postal entries only.
Contact:   4 Abbott Street, Long Eaton, Nottingham NG10 1DF
Country:   United Kingdom
Email:   edwardjohnwalsh@hotmail.com
Website:   http://www.emeraldwritingworkshops.co.uk

Malahat Review 2012 Novella Prize
Category:   Fiction
Closes:   1st February 2012
Fees:   $35 for one entry. $40 (US); $45 (RoW).
Prizes:   $1,500 for first place.
Details:   For works of fiction between 10,000 and 20,000 words.
Contact:   The Malahat Review, University of Victoria, P.O. Box 1700, Stn CSC, Victoria, B.C. V8W 2Y2
Country:   Canada
Email:   malahat@uvic.ca
Website:   http://www.malahatreview.ca/contests/novella_contest/info.html

ROMANCE WRITERS OF AMERICA:

More Than Magic
Sponsor: Romance Writers Ink
Fee: $25–27.00
Deadline: March 2, 2012
Entry: All romance books with a North American copyright date of 2011.
Judges: Romance readers.
E-mail: jackie.rwimagic@netscape.com
Website: http://www.rwi-rwa.com

BBC:

Little Pieces of Love
Deadline: 20 December 2011
Writers are invited to submit their short plays for a Valentine’s themed event at the Southwark Playhouse.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/opportunity/little_pieces_of_love.shtml

Immersive Writing Lab Competition
Deadline: 21 December 2011
Create a cross-platform storyworld and win a £6k development fund.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/opportunity/immersive_writing_lab_2011.shtml

Red Planet Prize
Deadline: 16 January 2011
£5,000 cash prize and entry to a mentoring scheme for an original TV script.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/opportunity/red_planet_prize_2011.shtml

Script Space 2012
Deadline: 31 January 2012
Open competition that invites submissions of new, unperformed one-act plays from UK-based writers.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/opportunity/script_space_2012.shtml

Theatre Trail Writers Competition 2012
Deadline: 31 January 2012
Have your play performed at next year’s Arundel Festival Theatre Trail.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/opportunity/theatre_trail_2012.shtml

One Act Playwriting Competition
Deadline: 31 January 2011
The Drama Association of Wales’ One Act Playwrighting Competition is now open for submissions.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/opportunity/one_act_playwrighting_comp.shtml

The BBC Writersroom Future Talent Award for Writers
Deadline: 01 February 2012
Opportunity for north-based student/recent graduate drama writers to access development opportunities and mentoring from the BBC.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/opportunity/future_talent_award_for_writers.shtml

TenFour Theatre presents – A Table for Six
Deadline: 20 February 2012
TenFour is now accepting submissions of monologues for its Spring production of A Table for Six.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/opportunity/tenfourtheatre_spring20121.shtml

Saturday Shorts 3 – Scriptwriting competition
Deadline: 01 March 2011
Bristol Folk House are looking for fifteen-minute scripts for a performance event in summer 2012.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/opportunity/saturday_shorts_2012.shtml

The Windsor Fringe Kenneth Branagh Award 2012
Deadline: 05 March 2012
The Windsor Fringe is now accepting unpublished one-act plays from amateur playwrights for its 2012 Award.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/opportunity/windsor_fringe_2012.shtml

SCRIPT WRITING OPPORTUNITIES Via ISA:

New Devil Productions Looking For Next Short or Feature Project
We, New Devil Productions, are looking for our next project.  We are in post for a short film called “the party” and have worked with AmericanDreamMachine Productions and have worked with the producers of the film Echoes.  We are looking for any projects that would be of interest to us and create a world just around that script/story.  Please contact us with ideas any genre any type of script but no tv shows or anything like that.  Shorts are welcomed. Once we can get funding for projects there will be funds. Send inquiries to us at Brandonsndp@gmail.com. Thank you.

Indie Film Production Company Looking for it’s Next Project
Seattle area  indie film production company looking for its next project. We are in post production of our current film and looking forward to our next project. We have a good idea about the setting and other elements but we need someone to bring the script together. If you have a flair for situational comedy and catchy through-line (possible McGuffin) then contact us! We’re paying in percentage of future revenue. We want someone who wants to see their script made into a film. While we have some ideas about the story, the script would be yours and credited as yours. Call Michael at 206-372-7274.

Looking for Experienced Writer to Collaborate on Script
I am a film maker trying to put a story together for my new short film “Love on the Dance Floor.” I am looking only for an experienced writer to collaborate on the script. We will be shooting on canon 5D MII, and sending it out to the film festival circuit. It is a no budget short film so its unpaid project but in consideration for your collaboration, we can provide you with credits and film material for your show reel. If you are interested, please send me your CV and samples of your work to info@shadikhalilvisuals.com.

Seeking Female Scriptwriter in New Jersey/Philadelphia Area
Seeking a New Jersey/Philiadelphia area female script / screen writer to work with the executive producer of an original musical. College seniors and recent graduates ok. For more info write to musicjarproductions@gmail.com. Thank you.

Looking for a Horror/Fantasy Script
New York Film Academy producer seeks original horror or fantasy screenplays for potential production. Chosen screenwriter(s) will partner with a NY Film Academy producer who will create an entire producer’s package for the script. Which package will include a business plan, a look book, a budget, a schedule, and a marketing and distribution plan. Please submit a log-line and synopsis in the body of an email message to Muriel Moraes at script.nyfa2011@gmail.com. If the project is funded compensation will be at customary low budget independent film rates.

Seeking Collaborator/Writer for High Concept Political Thriller
Looking for experienced writer to help develop and write political thriller. Must have experience in this genre with a good sense of story and structure. Please send BRIEF (10 – 15 pages) writing samples in .pdf or Word format to links2movie@gmail.com.

Looking for Drama/Comedy Screenwriters for Feature Film Script
Director/Producer looking for a great writer in the drama/comedy genre to collaborate on a feature film script. The subject involves a struggling band set in LA during the 1970s. Knowledge of that era is a plus, but not a must. Looking for a writer with a dry sense of humor. The film would be a “Bottlerocket” meets “Almost Famous” meets “Spinal Tap.” For more information write to Brandon LaGankea at brandonlaganke@gmail.com.

Looking for Character Driven Short Scripts
I am a director/producer searching for a simple 5-10 minute script. More than anything, I am looking for a character driven piece with no more than 3 locations, containing 2-4 characters. My preferred genre for the script is either comedy, drama, horror, crime or action. The reason for this is because the big budget FX of science fiction or fantasy are way out of my budget. My desired script would be a strong dialogue driven comedy/drama, but I will consider any crime, horror or action stories depending on what FX they require. As long as the FX occur on-screen and do not break the bank too much then I will consider your script. If you are based in or close to Manchester then that is a plus but don’t worry too much if you aren’t. Please e-mail your scripts to jonnycof@hotmail.com.

Looking for Gritty, Original British Short Scripts
Independent Filmmaker requiring original Short Films Scripts (Up to 20 mins long) to be made on a low/no budget basis. I am looking for Gritty British scripts of any genre that contain: Minimal characters (2-5); Minimal dialogue; Only a handful of locations; Gritty themes (Love, sex, loss…etc) Low budget scripts only – you must know a rough estimate of how much your script would cost to make, so please only send your script if you think it could be made for practically nothing. The film will be shot on a Canon 550D camera and edited on Final Cut Pro. Please send formatted scripts and story breakdowns via email to filmprojectuk@gmx.com and we will get back to you with further details.

Seeking Romantic Musical Story for Hindi Feature
Kopy Cat Films ‘N’ Entertainment is registered with WIFPA and going to make a Romantic Musical Hindi Feature Film. We need a good Romantic Musical Story from writers. Please send us One Line Story idea. The shortlisted story writers will call for detail story sitting. Payment will be as per industry trend. You can mail your story idea to script.kopycatfilms@gmail.com.

Seeking Collaborators/Writers for Dynamic Youth-Action Flick
A dynamic, action and sports based digital feature film, starring kids in their late teens and early twenties, is looking for above line collaborators. We have an immediate opening for an experienced co-writer to become part of the development process and work with the director/producer and his writing partner. Will offer equity for the right person, possible stipend upon funding.
If you have a great sense for structure and are a team player, we invite you to help us combining the best ideas into a great story before we write the scenes. The shoot and story is based in NYC, the genre is action/comedy/drama; and it features skateboarding, stunts, teen slang, hacking, gadgets and MAVs. Please send your links/info to nospa3-00@yahoo com.

Please remember to check out legitimacy of all contests before you enter and to copyright all work.

Good luck and let me know how you get on.

If you want more of me, you can also find me on FacebookTwitter, Google+ and Linkedin

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A while ago, we talked about how a novelist should write a log line (see: What is a Log Line). Well, today I thought we could talk about how a screenwriter should write a log line.

Wouldn’t the log lines be the same? Well, kind of, I suppose.

A literary agent wants to know what your novel is about. Here’s mine for my current novel.

A vengeful Reaper, hell-bent on finding the key to unlocking Heaven’s Gateway, must choose between good and evil before the town mayor sacrifices the girl he loves and overturns God himself.”

But, a producer wants to be hooked from the outset. Hook them and you’re on your way.

So, how can we do that?

Basically, a log line consists of three things. Seems simple doesn’t it?  Nothing in life worth having is simple. *Cheesey grin*.

So, lets take a closer look at what these three things are.

1.     A main character, who
2.     Has a mission or a goal, but
3.     Faces a major problem or some kind of opposition.

First, our protagonist is our main character . The goal is what he/she wants and the obstacle is what is stopping he/she from reaching it. 

Two things to remember,

1.     The main conflict MUST be clear.
2.     Main logline is 25 words or less.

Remember, a log line is usually one sentence, 2 at the very most.

For example:

In the movie, ‘The Crazies’, the protagonist is the town Sheriff.
His goal is to find out why some towns folk are going ‘crazy’.
His obstacle is he must fight off hundreds of ‘infected’ people to do it.

This can also be turned around and looked at like this:

In Wrong Turn, the protagonist is a newly graduated doctor.
The problem is he’s crashed his car in the middle of the wilderness and is being hunted by the local inbreeds.
His goal is to find a way out of the woods so he can get help.

In my story, The Legend, the protagonist is a Reaper.
His goal is to open the gateway to heaven and exact revenge on the entities that imprisoned him.
The problem is, to do this, he will have to kill the girl he has come to love.

Now we have that down, is there anything else we need to create that great log line? Hell, Yes!

First, we must be perfectly clear. We may understand what is going on, but the agent/producer is reading our log line for the first time. They have absolutely no idea what our story is about.

And, we must reveal our biggest hook. What is the most exciting or compelling thing about our screenplay? The log line is your time to reveal it.

Last but not least, we want our reader to picture our movie the moment they read the log line.

Here’s an example from the movie Law Abiding Citizen:

The protagonist and the goal:

A family man killed the member of a gang who murdered his wife and child. 

The hook is:

Once jailed, he escapes to kill off the rest of the gang, one by one, before returning to his jail cell and thus having the perfect alibi.

So my log line would be: “After centuries of searching, a vengeful Reaper finally uncovers the secret that will open the Gateway to Heaven, only to find that in doing so he has to sacrifice the woman he loves.”

The hook is what will have your reader wanting more. It’s what will make it stand out from everybody else’s.

So, how do you start to write a log line?

Write the hook first. Then you will be able to write the log line so it’s delivery is clear and precise.

Remember, an agent or producer will only request our script if our log line is good. Only then do we have a chance at selling it.

There is a really cool video via ScreenWritingU which will tell you all about this in a super fast three minutes.

Well, what are you waiting for?  Start writing those log lines in the comment section.

Have you had a script requested of the back of a log line? Do you find writing log lines hard or easy? Come on, don’t be shy….you know how I love talking to you guys.

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Last week I was listening to Heart Essex Radio and the realisation that many traditional names we once used are being abandoned for much more ‘funky’ ones.

For example, David, Jean, Margaret, Sally, Theresa, John and Tracy are a thing of the past and being replaced with names such as Mercedes, Chantelle and River.

This got me thinking about the names we, as writers, choose for our characters. Does the traditional ‘us’ stick with traditional names for our heroes, or like the totally normal named David and Victoria Beckham,  do we take this opportunity to go a little crazy and name our little darlings Brooklyn, Cruze, Romeo and Harper?

Maybe he just found out what his name is.

According to the Bounty Parenting Club, children nowadays are being named purely because their parents feel the wackier the name, the more their children will stand out.

I gues that does have an element of truth to it. Afterall, look at movies such as the Step Up franchise and its leading men. Tyler, Chase and, okay, Luke (I’ll let the last one slide), are not what you would call traditional names. Or are they?

75% of parents who choose traditional names for their children, such as Jennifer and Robert believe these ‘extreme’ parents who insist names like Armani are cool are setting their children up for a school life of misery and bullying.

But, if you watch shows like Disney’s ‘Suite Life on Deck’, you’ll see characters named London, Bailey and Woody. Again, not the normal names you usually see on a school register, but also not characters who are tormented by their peers.

The 1995 film ‘Clueless’, shows the protagonist as a school girl named Cher and someone who is not only caring and popular, but also who proves to be extremely smart.

But, back to Bounty’s poll. Six in every 10 people reckon a good strong name is sensible and the best way to go, and parents which proceed to use these outrageous names are nothing by selfish and not considering their children at all.

Disagree?

Hmmm…. Bruce Willis’ portrayal of John Mclane in Die Hard. Now you don’t get much stronger than that. Well, okay, James Bond played by Daniel Craig.  All traditional names which conjure up handsome features, rugged jaw line and muscles to die for – *slaps face* quick, change the subject before I pass out.

And, just to prove how wacky they are getting, here Bounty’s “Most Unusual Names of the Decade” list:

1.  Shy
2.  Unity
3.  Bean
4.  Zowie
5.  Puppy
6.  Ice
7.  Victory
8.  Porsche
9.  D’Andre
10. Denim
11. Diesel
12. Armani
13. Rooney
14. Bowie
15. Cobain
16. Stone
17. Gift
18. Echo
19. Heaven
20. Maroon

So, what do you name your characters? Do you go for the traditional, strong names, or do you take a more unusual and exotic stance? Do you think that traditional names are more stronger? Do you take into consideration the era your character was born and the most popular names at that time? Do you know anyone who has named their children Romeo, Cruze or Levi? Let me know. I want to find the most wierdest name EVER!

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Some people read the book first, others saw the movie first. I belong to the latter club.

Some people are Team Edward, some are Team Jacob. I am Team Bella’s Dad.

The phenomenon surrounding this story is almost as big as Harry Potter….almost.

So, why is this? The movie adaptation clearly helped Meyer buy herself an extra house or two. But, is the story really strong enough to warrant my mate getting herself an Edward Cullen lunch box?

I have already admitted to watching the movie first. And for the first half (and majority of the second), I wondered when the story was going to get a much needed shot of adrenaline. Where was the excitement? This was a vampire film after all. But, even after saying all this, I still sort of enjoyed it. Once I knew it wasn’t an ‘action’ type film, I watched it a second time for what it was….Basically, a bad romance.

Still, is it romantic enough to be one of the biggest hits of 2005 and then again in 2008? It’s not exactly Pride and Prejudice or Brief Encounter.

Is it that women (I wish I could say teenagers, but seeing as most my friends are lusting after these characters, I really can’t), are obsessed with the idea that loving a vampire is sexy? Or, is it just an unhealthy obsession with Taylor Lautner’s six pack and Robert Pattison’s…..er, what does he have?

So, armed with all this information, and while waiting for my flight at LAX, I took the plunge and purchased the paperback version. I’m ashamed to admit, I’d read half of it by the time I touched down at Heathrow, and finished it the following day.

Now, I am not a reader of young adult. I am 40 years old and prefer characters my own age – or a least a little closer to it. That’s not to say I don’t like young adult stories. I just sometimes think writers forget the kids are supposed to be teens, and as such let them run around like adults (not mentioning any names **cough cough** Vampire Diaries).

So, what’s this book about?

if you didn’t already know. Even my mum knows what this story is about. But, for the one person who’s been stranded inEureka for the past eight years, let me explain.

Twilight is a romance about a ‘human’ girl called Bella, who falls in love with a, more white than sparkly, vampire called Edward. And, wouldn’t you just know it? Her life becomes endangered; although it takes until the end of the film to get to this issue.

So, what kept me interested?

Honestly? I am still trying to figure that out. This story has been done a thousand times before, and much, much better. Let’s see, for one there was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Angel sent hearts fluttering across the nation. Mine, though, belonged to Spike, and, umm, Giles :)

And, I don’t believe for one minute Stephanie Meyer’s inspirational story of I dreamt of two people one night and when I woke up I just had to start writing to see who they were. If there is any truth to that statement, you can paint me blue and call me Smurfette.

And……., even though I am NOT a fan of the Vampire Diary books, I do feel sorry for their author L J Smith. Twilight is a complete rip off!

And……., Stephanie is so repetitive; I kept thinking she’d started the novel again.

And……., Bella is horrid! What kind of protagonist is she? There is nothing endearing about her at all. She is the biggest wimp ever! I mean, how many times can a girl faint for crying out loud? No wonder Hollywood toughened her up a little for the movie….albeit into the nastiest bitch going. Still, anything has to be an improvement, right?

Would I read another Stephanie Meyer book?

After much deliberation, which took all of a split second, I would have to say ‘no’. After I finished the Twilight novel it was ‘yes’, as I read the whole series. However, now it is ‘no’. In fact it is ‘HELL NO!’ I’ve only read the book once and have no desire to read it again. I’d rather watch the film for a couple of hours and then get on with life again. And, I’d only watch the film again if I’d already finished polishing the coal in my fireplace.

I don’t actually think Meyer is a particularly strong writer. When I reflect on Twilight, I don’t see the characters as very strong. The Twilight franchise went on two books too long, three if you count the Edward version. There was an Edward version, wasn’t there? I didn’t dream that. Or did I? And, I’m certain that if you cut all the repetition, you’d have a novel three quarters the size.

Rant over!

Now, I know I’m going to be hung, drawn, and quartered, but I have to ask….

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Have you read any other Stephanie Meyer novels? Have you seen the movie version? Let me know.

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I had never heard of the author, Ken Bruen. Perhaps not the best of starts, but I honestly don’t know where to begin with reviewing this book.

I picked ‘Blitz’ from the book shelf purely because it had Jason Statham on the cover. Okay, so I’m shallow, but Statham’s rugged stance was too persuasive and I buckled in a moment of weakness. It would appear this 2002 book was picked up by Hollywood and hit our screens in June of this year. I confess I totally slept though this period, but the promo on YouTube looks pretty good.

So, what’s this book about?

Basically, a tough cop has to find and stop a psychpath from killing police officers. It’s neat and it’s simple.

Then, I turned to Chapter One. The first paragraph reads:

THE PSYCHIATRIST STARED at Brant. All round the office were signs that thanked you for not smoking.

      The psychiatrist wore a tweed jacket with patches on the sleeves. He had limp, fair hair that fell into his eyes, thus causing him to flick it back every few seconds. This doctor was convinced he had Brant’s measure.

So, nothing wrong with that. Then it continued –

    He was wrong.
    Said:
    ‘Now, Sergeant, I’d like you to tell me again about your violent urges.’

‘Huh?’ I had to back up and re-read. I’d never seen a layout like this before and it threw me. In fact, for the first thirty pages it kept throwing me. Eventually, I came around to Bruen’s way but it wasn’t without a fight.

So, what kept me interested?

The story. There are three stories going on here. Well, actually there are four if you count the killer. And each story lets its character have its own point of view. There is Brant, who I thought would be the main character given the picture on the cover and the blurb on the back. How wrong was I! It’s a bit like Tarantion’s Pulp Fiction and, fortunately, I like this format. Plus the stories drew me in.

What I didn’t like was the ending. I won’t reveal what happens, but I felt very let down.

Would I read another Ken Bruen book? I would have to say ‘yes’. The strange layout aside, I found the story engaging, fast paced and the characters very real. I just hope the next Bruen novel I choose finishes with more of a bang.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Have you read any other Ken Bruen novels? Have you seen the movie version? Let me know.

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There is no way to sugar coat this so I’ll give it to you straight. I like to talk. Anyone who knows me will agree. Sometimes, I just don’t shut up.

But, to us novelists and scriptwriters, dialogue is an extremely important factor of our work. Dialogue is good. Dialogue is a major player in forming our personality and creating our character. Just ask my husband. He will tell you that my dialogue sums me up as a nag :)

So, writing dialogue should be a walk in the park, right? After all, we all talk on a daily basis, some of us even in our sleep. We are knowledgeable experts in the field of speech. We’ve been using words to argue and laugh our way through life for twenty, thirty (or us old ones) forty plus years. We know what we’re doing. We don’t need help in this area. Right?

Wrong.

Elmore Leonard and Quentin Tarrantino are arguably two of the best dialogue writers around. If you’ve read any of Leonard’s novel’s (and I do advise you to, if only for the dialogue), or watched any of Tarrantino’s movies, you will understand what I mean. They give their characters a ‘voice’.

By a voice, I mean your characters need their OWN voice. New writers often make the mistake of giving their characters THEIR voice, meaning all their characters sound the same as their author.

But how do I know when you’ve done this? What are the tell tale signs?

In his book ‘Save the Cat’, Blake Snyder talks about a simple test you can do to check whether you have bad and flat dialogue. Take a page of your script and cover your character names. Then, by reading the dialogue, see if you can tell which of you characters are speaking. It’s simple, but extremely effective.

So, just how do we go about distinguishing Bob the Postman from Betty the Accountant? Doesn’t all the dialogue look same, and it’s the movie actors who breathe life into them?

Hell, no! Novelists don’t have the luxury of actors. The dialogue we give our characters to speak can be the difference between novelists and screenwriters getting published or ending up on the slush pile.

Take these examples:

“If Mr Johnson catches you with that, you’re certain to be suspended, maybe even expelled.”

“Yo, dude. If Jonno sees ya, you’ll be outta here. No messing.”

See how both lines are saying the same thing, only in different ways?

Dialogue is conversation. Make it real. However, don’t forget the ‘show, don’t tell’ rule. You don’t need three pages of a husband and wife discussing their marriage problems, when a husband eyeing up the sexy waitress is enough.

Now, I thought I’d have some fun and set you a little quiz. Below, I have listed fifteen lines of dialogue from various films. All you have to do is guess the movie and the character saying it. It’s so easy, I don’t really know why I’m bothering :)

I’ll post the answers in the comment box on Monday.

OH, and no cheating on Google.

  1. “You can’t handle the truth!”
  2. “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”
  3. “You had me at ‘hello’.”
  4. “What do they think I am? Dumb or something? Why, I make more money than – than, than Calvin Coolidge! Put together!”
  5. “I know what you’re thinkin’. ‘Did he fire six shots or only five?’ Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I’ve kinda lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya punk?”
  6. “They’re not gonna catch us. We’re on a mission from God.”
  7. “Get away from her, you BITCH!”
  8. “Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
  9. “I am not an animal! I am a human being.”
  10. “…I’m NOT gonna be ignored.”
  11. “Wendy…darling. Light of my life. I’m not gonna hurt ya… I’m just gonna bash your brains in. I’m gonna bash ‘em right the f–k in.”
  12. “The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms - greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge – has marked the upward surge of mankind.”
  13. “They’re here!”
  14. “Fellas, last year I made three million dollars. But your fifty thousand was the most fun. Are you ready? Then, let’s go get ‘em.”
  15. “I was a better man with you, as a woman, than I ever was with a woman, as a man. Know what I mean? I just gotta learn to do it without the dress.”

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We often forget about the things we did as kids, maybe because our memories are not as sharp as they used to be when we hit middle age, but probably because these memories are so embarrassing, we choose to block them from our minds.

A couple of days ago, I was searching for some photographs. Now, if your parents are like mine, your whole life is packed into boxes and stored in the attic, and when I say your whole life I mean it. From the love letters you wrote to your first crush in maths class to the hideous video footage of your first sports day when you won the 100 metre sprint but all you really see are my skinny legs and knobbly knees. Anyway, my mum retrieved some of these boxes and, together, we began to go through them. I can tell you, while a mystery to me at the time, I look back at my school photos and now fully understand why I couldn’t get a boyfriend! Just when I didn’t think I could feel any worse about myself, I found something I really couldn’t remember writing. Of course, my hubby quickly took a photograph of it and threatened to publish it on Facebook…Who said a relationship stales after marriage?

So as a bit of fun (and I wanted to beat him to it), I thought I would share it with you.

 

In case you cannot read it, it says, “Dear John Travolta. I like your records very much and I like Grease. Love Donna. xxxxx”

Oh, how I can feel myself regretting this already. Notice there is no date. This is so I can adamantly deny I was older than five when I wrote it. Unfortunately I was 8 when Grease hit our cinemas, so I reckon I had to be 8 or 9 when I penned it. It reads a little like my query letters now, actually.

Ok, that’s enough laughing at me. I want you to comment with an equally embarrassing story or memory from your childhood. If I get over 15 replies, I will tell you of another TV couple who I do remember writing to, and I was a lot older too. :D

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