I hope everybody had a great Halloween! I went to three dance parties, and my belly dancer costume was a success because no one knew who I was until I took off the veil!
I chose this costume because I love dancing and enjoy being flirtatious!
Use Halloween to Discover Your Character’s Secrets
My new character, currently named Natalie, is actually the grown-up version of a little girl in an old screenplay that got optioned several times but never got produced, so the copyright returned to me, and Natalie is mine once again. Hooray!
So I asked myself how Natalie, the grown-up, would want to express herself and why? After ½ hour on Amazon, I came up empty, so I reread the screenplay. In my story, she escapes from the bad place she’s stuck in with a lion cub. In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy escapes with her dog, Toto. It was a no-brainer that Natalie would choose to impersonate her. The exercise opened up a world of metaphor and story comparisons and will help me structure Natalie’s journey. The exercise is to find the right costume for your current or a new character, review the existing story the character lives in, and imagine how you could be inspired by that structure to improve your own. Magic!
The Now Habit
I’m working with a great time management coach named Neil Fiore, who has helped hundreds of people work and play better. He’s written two amazing books, The Now Habit and The Now Habit at Work.
Neil has many great tools to help you become more productive and feel better about yourself. The basic concept of what he teaches is absolutely wonderful: If you focus on having more opportunities for what he calls “guilt-free play” by managing your work time better, it will make you more productive and happier. I enjoy myself much more now that I can determine when I have worked enough to deserve a reward. His advice mirrors the Word of The Day Practice: do the most important thing first, and since we’re writers, writing is the most important task. I love his redefinition of the concept of a “task” as not something you have to do but something you choose to do for what Neil calls “the future self.” Knowing that I’m making choices to take care of a future version of myself gives me joy! This concept is much more attractive than the usual “five-year plan” because you are relating directly to your future self, not some general concept of time. When I ask myself where I want my writing to be in five years, I feel pressured and worried that I am not doing enough right now. But when I ask myself how I see my future self in five years, I happily imagine myself at a desk writing in a beautiful setting with my loved ones in the next room. A pile of my successfully published books and other works is on the desk.
Each morning before I begin writing, I briefly re-imagine that scene as I use another one of Neil’s techniques, which is to take three deep breaths as I tell myself to forget about the past. I take three more breaths to forget about the future, I take three more breaths and ask myself to be present, and finally, three more as I to imagine the aforementioned scene. Please consider getting his book and seeing if there’s anything in it for you.
The Big Apple Film Festival
This is a great annual film festival that runs from November 14 to 18 at the SVA Theater in NYC. I am one of the judges in the Narrative Feature Film category, and I am excited to participate! Please check it out.
Word of the Day Webinar
Our next meeting is this coming Wednesday, November 9, at 7:00 pm. We’ll be working on developing the main characters this week. Please feel free to join, and if you’re not familiar, check out the cheat sheet .
Kim is hosting a daily WOTD practice from 9:300-9:45 EST. Please let me know if you’d like to attend.