Weekly Check In: Week 43 19 comments

two bees in a yellow flower

Hey, folks. Instead of our standard check in I have a few updates and questions for you this week.

1. No-Goal Writers Are Welcome, Too!

I was chatting with one of my favourite writers last week, and he mentioned that he’d been meaning to join the weekly check in but he wasn’t really a “goal-oriented writer” so he felt a bit out of place.

Goal or no goal, everyone is welcome! If you’re not a goal-oriented writer (and to be honest, I’m more of a Ray Bradbury-style optimal behaviorist myself),  go ahead and let us know what you’re working on, how it’s going, and if you have any questions or calls for resources that other writers here might be able to help you with. And if you are a goal-oriented writer and you want to share your goals and progress, that’s good, too.

I don’t know how to get it across to all y’all but I love to hear about your writing. Whatever your process is, whatever you’ve got going on, if you feel like sharing, please do.

2. Teaser: Updates Ahead

I bravely peeked into my “things I want to post” file and realized I’m overdue to share some of my own writing news with you, including my work appearing in some great publications and an international interview a while back. Once I get through this crazy-busy period, I promise to write them up on the site.

3. Speaking of Crazy Busy…

My slate runneth over these days so Mark Walker will be your host in the weekly check in again this week. Go on and make his job easier by cheering for each other, okay?

Have a great writing week!

19 thoughts on “Weekly Check In: Week 43

  • Mark Walker

    Hi All!

    I’m having a quiet week this week as it is the school holiday in the UK and I off work entertaining the kids! So my writing time is a bit limited. However, I have managed to get some more work done on my sci-fi outline as I wait for NaNoWriMo to kick off on Sunday!

    Hope you are all having a great week and I am looking forward to hearing more about your teasers Shaula!



      • Mark Walker

        Thanks Shaula! So far so good, but there is some rain coming in for the end of the week…still, good opportunity to stay inside various restaurants and eateries! :-)

    • John McNab

      Mark, I found your blog! The write up on the pixar rules are fantastic. Lots of great insights and I’ve read some of the posts two or more times. Good luck with your writing for the week.

      • Mark Walker

        Thanks John, glad you enjoyed them! They all work in different ways for different writers and different stories, but I hope you find something useful in them!

  • Debbie Moon

    Good luck with NaNoWriMo, Mark!

    My goal for this week is to curl up and sleep, actually! I’ve finished work on some projects since I last checked in, including locking off the final production drafts for Wolfblood season 4, but I’ve been asked to do another Hinterland episode at very short notice, so it’s a mad scramble to get that finished – pre-production December, shooting in January!

    And on Saturday, I and my writing team won the Best Children’s TV Writing Award at the British Screenwriting Awards, which was lovely – not least because Nicole Perlman was presenting another award, so I got to meet her! As expected, she was lovely…

    I really need to start thinking about new projects, but I’m not sure when! :)

    • Mark Walker

      Thanks Debbie!

      And great news on the award! I did see something in passing on Twitter, but I am away at the moment with the kids and a little distracted from the outside world, so Congratulations! Did I also see another BAFTA nomination?”Multi Bafta award-winning Debbie Moon” does have a good ring to it!

      And excellent news on the Hinterland front – doesn’t sound like you’ll have much time to be working on new projects!

      Great stuff!

    • Shaula Evans Post author

      Congratulations again on the British Screenwriting Award, Debbie! It is well, well deserved. I’m so pleased for you and your team.

      Looking forward to when your Hinterland episodes are available over here.

  • Sabina

    Yaay for entertaining the kids, Mark (does it get easier as they get older?), and congrats Debbie! Must watch both Wolfblood and Hinterland – they are on a ridiculous hydra-like Netflix list.

    I tried to stay away from screenwriting but I got blasted bored.
    I was looking for a paragon film for my pyramid screenplay, but I don’t think there is one. I can look for the way other films solved the story problems I might come across and see if I can use/adapt that tool.

    This week, I worked a little on my character. Discovered some interesting avenues for conflict.
    Also fine tuned my one-location concept. I purposely relegated the men to supporting roles. Not because men wouldn’t be in this story realistically, but because I’m sick of men’s stories being told every which way.

    Keeping up with movie watching is a bit of a struggle, especially since I’ve been mainlining Game of Thrones and have also started on the books which are also rather well written though even more brutal and regressive. But I did watch Bernie. Interesting character. Truth is obviously stranger than fiction here.

    Is anyone trying for Zero Draft Thirty? I might try and write my very first treatment.

    This week it’ll be more of the same and hopefully I can get my characters in shape for that treatment.

  • Shelley Gustavson

    Sorry for being MIA for so long, everyone. Debbie, congrats again!! Mark–I hear you. After a month of my husband being sick I was 24-7 mom all of October and think I crafted myself to death….

    Sabina, I’m doing the Zero Draft 30 challenge too, as I needed a fire under my butt to get me going in my next spec. First original, very, very excited. Have my beats and outline all ready. But, mostly I focused on this one as I am heading to the Austin Film Fest and conference this week (I fly out this afternoon), and I’m trying my hand at the pitch fest–and you can’t pitch adaptations. So, had to ensure I knew my story backwards and forwards for this pitch–and it’s been shockingly surprising how well it’s gone. I’m used to adaptations where the beats, plot points, or character relationships are already there, like a skeletal frame… then you decide if you’re honoring the tonal themes, or the pure plot with your own spin and world. With this one I’m prepping and pitching? Complete new world, character-driven, and I can tell I’ve learned so much as the prep process seemed much more liberating.

    As for the adaptations? So, while the Bacchae draft sits and waits for a few notes and hearing from Sundance, I’m letting it ride. Want to revisit it with a clear-er head and it’s just not a priority right now. It’s opened some doors with potential production folks with the “let us know what else you have” kind words… The Lear overhaul into a grounded scifi is going well. But, as I’m pushing it more as a TV product (too many b-level plots and characters I love), I stopped revising a massively-too-long feature draft, and am focusing on the treatment materials outlining the epiode breakdowns, events, and revising a pilot….

    Goal is to have that treatment and pilot ready for eyes before the end of the year. But for now? “Ronja of the North,” my next spec.

    Sorry for being long winded. I drop off radar and then forget where we all were.

    Have great Halloweens and ends to October.
    love, shel

    • Mark Walker

      Hi Shelley, nice to hear from you – sounds like you have plenty on your plate at the moment! Good with Zero Draft 30, sounds like you’ll be in good company! And a trip to AFF! Hope you have a great time and good luck with the pitch-festing!

      That’s a lot of exclamation marks!

      And another one….


      Don’t worry about being MIA or dropping off the radar. It’s always great to hear from you but, as long as you are writing, it’s all good! :-)

      I hope you husband is better now.

    • John McNab

      Hi Shelly,

      Good luck with the pitch. Jealous about AFF — sounds like a blast.

      And, yes, Happy Halloween to everyone! I forgot to add that in my first post.

  • John McNab

    Hey everyone!

    I’m working on a short now. The thing I’m focusing on is a plot twist without it becoming gimmicky. And something new I’ve been playing with is telling/acting my story out orally. So far it’s been fun and keeps me on my feet, although it can be weird when someone is the same room or nearby. But my family already knows I’m crazy! I’m glad to hear everyone is doing well.

    • Mark Walker

      Hi John, nice to hear from you! Plot twists can be difficult I have found too….it is often tricky to come up with something new, so good luck with yours!

      I haven’t tried reading my scripts aloud to myself yet, although Final Draft does have a facility that will read the script back to you. Sometimes the pronunciation can be a bit “off” but it is a good way to listen to your script “blind” so that you are not reading along. Also helpful if you don’t have a handy group of thespians in the house!

  • Angel Mirou

    Hello everybody! Lots of people here this week, so lots of yays to do. Yay, Shaula ! Hope your writing is going well. Yay Mark for a week of indelible memories of ponies dropping in slo mo beneath you that you will be able to include in your scripts. The lengths that you go for your craft and your children’s amusement… Also, only two days for NaNoWriMo… :)

    Yay John McNab for your working on your short script. I think your acting out your story orally is a great approach that will help you a lot. I’m always thinking of trying pitches of my work in progress to acquaintances just for the sake of testing the storytelling, but I never get around to doing it.

    Yay Debbie Moon for your multiple writing projects, and congratulations on your award!

    Yay Sabina, good luck with your different projects, and your tackling Zero Draft Thirty! I’m sure that’s gonna be lots of fun. Crazy but fun all the same, especially if you enjoy writing fast.

    Yay Shelley Gustavson, good luck with your pitching at Austin, and hope you enjoy the festival and all. Like John McNab, I too am jealous… Also, I’m very intrigued by that Bacchae adaptation you’ve made.

    Yay, Angel! No, wait, that’s me. Oh what the hell, two weeks in a row making the check in? that means I’m making progress! Yay, me! To cut a long story short (as if), yesterday I finished my treatment/notes document, which now runs all 204 pages. It’s a mixture of elaborate scene sketches, dialogue and all, meandering inner monologues about plot points (the keywords are “one option would be…” which is usually followed by the one idea I like best among dozens), notes about characters motivations, some research, etc.

    It’s taken me two months and I’ve been many times on the verge of despairing, especially when I had to rethink whole chunks of the story, but I kept whispering to myself “less drafts, Angel, less drafts”… I hope this compost will produce a healthy script. I’m still keen on sending the first draft to Bluecat. I hate the expression vomit draft, but I guess that’s exactly what I’m going to accomplish in these next two weeks. I only hope it won’t make me hate my story so much I won’t be able to refine it afterwards.

    I’ve been rewatching the third season of The Wire, because one must eat healthy while straining oneself. I also finally watched Selma today. The sadness lingered for hours afterwards but I really loved it.

    Hope to see you all here next week with more good news!

    • Mark Walker

      Hey Angel! Yep, I’ll always go the extra mile for the kids!

      204 pages! That is one hell of a treatment! I’ve found that planning helps me writing the actual script, so fingers crossed for less drafts for you this time around – let us know how you get on!

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