Peggy Bechko: Getting Under Your Characters’ Skin

by Peggy Bechko

 

Characters!

They’re pretty darn important to story whether novel or script. I mean, let’s face it, we’re not telling stories about a tree that just stands there. Heck, even the Ents in Lord of the Rings were developed characters.

But there are a lot of problems with characters in stories and how they’re developed.

Fact is, women think differently and act differently than men. It’s tough either way – whether a woman writer is developing a male character or a man is developing a female character it gets tricky.

Traditionally, it’s been the female character who’s gotten the ‘short end of the stick’.

In case you haven’t heard, many female stars complain they can’t find strong female roles out there. Lots of readers complain about the female leads in novels turning out to be little more than some kind of appendage to the stronger male lead.

Not surprising, really. Think about it. Stories so very often focus on a male hero. Whether in books or scripts. That’s the way it is.

All too often the woman has a minor role or is constantly in need of rescue or screams a lot, or is some type of arm decoration for the hero or villain. Female stars have been known to take over what was written for a man. Remember Evelyn Salt? How about Ripley in Alien(s) etc.?

So let’s talk about how to write better characters for those favorite female stars you love, or for that matter how to write better female characters for your novels.

Where to start? How about by considering your characters a people, individuals with lives before you think of them as man or woman? Hard to do? Well, if it was easy I wouldn’t be writing this.

Here are some things to keep in mind. As a human being, your character needs to be well rounded and whole. There are times when the character is funny; other times when that character is serious. Success finds that person and so does failure, and there are times when the character does something really, really smart, and times when she or he does something pointless or stupid.

Don’t forget your character has a past, like any other real, live person. And, if he or she doesn’t end up dead by the end of your script or novel, a future. The things your character has done in the past influence what they do now and forevermore.

Always remember that the characters are existing within the framework of the time you’ve delineated. BUT to be real they also have to exist outside of the framework of the story you’re telling.

Now, since we’re focusing on punching up the female character here, I’ll just say it. Don’t create a stereotype.

We’ve all done it. But from now on, don’t. Of course there are stories and situations that lean toward a male or a female. Period pieces can be even more difficult if the writer remains true to the period. For example, if the story is set in world war II women were nurses and did heroic things during the bombing of cities and other places, but they simply were not soldiers.

Unless the story is going to be set in an alternate timeline or some other SciFi trick, it will be awkward for a woman to be a grunt soldier in that context. Just something to keep in mind.

Another little trick to help with writing a female character is to keep in mind that if you have two female characters talking to each other – it should be, at least some of the time, about something more than a man. Seriously, using the war setting – there would be more to talk about between women than a man.

Think about it. People, all of us, talk about a whole lot of things. Hobbies, books, things we’ve ready, the latest political debacle, family stuff that drives us crazy, you know, the stuff of our lives. Remember that when writing for your female lead.

Since your characters are people they deserve the depth real people have. Unless your story hinges on some guy being a mindless, empty macho man, don’t make him that kind of guy – and if the story hinges on him remember to reveal why he’s like that.

Same goes for our woman character. Sure, there are lots of brain-dead bimbos who only want nothing more than marriage and a guy to support her, oh, and babies! But the same goes for her – whether novel or script – if she is that person and important to your story, WHY is she that way? And make that bit of backstory good!

And lets ’pull back on the physical details. Only if it’s very important and pertinent to the script do you use something like “she’s a stunning blonde”. Scripts are short. Are you going to waste those precious lines on an unimportant physical trait when you could better use the space to indicate something about her?

There’s a bit more leeway in a novel, but how many times have we waded through pages and pages of unnecessary description? Give your readers and audience more solid information about who the character really is. Give them something better than stereotypes.

Give them depth.


Peggy Bechko is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor. Learn more about her sensational career HERE. Peggy’s new comic series, Planet of the Eggs, written and illustrated with Charlene Brash-Sorensen is available on Kindle. And, while you’re at it, visit the Planet of the Eggs Facebook page and her terrific blog.

Gerry Conway on “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and the Death of the American Middle Class.

by Gerry Conway

There are many reasons to watch this show on Amazon Prime set in 1958 New York City – terrific writing and direction, wonderful and funny performances, and mouth-watering art direction – but one possibly unintended benefit is the view it provides of a vanished American species: the upwardly mobile, culturally secure, highly educated middle class.

Midge Maisel’s father is a professor of mathematics at Columbia University. He earns what I would assume was considered at the time a reasonable middle class salary as a tenured professor (he’s not a department head). With that salary, he put a daughter through Radcliffe College, employs a maid, lives in an expansive Upper West Side apartment, and supports a stay-at-home wife.

I’ve read reviews by younger Generation-X and Millennial writers who apparently think this is a ridiculous fantasy. Sadly, that says more about those writers’ experiences and expectations in post-Reagan America than it does about the realism of a show set in post-World War II boom-time United States.

My first wife’s father was an attorney in New York City in the 1940s, ‘50s and ’60s with a modest one-man practice. He didn’t consider himself particularly successful, just comfortably middle class. He put my wife through college, owned a lovely co-op apartment in Greenwich Village four blocks from Washington Square Park, drove a BMW (which he parked in a private garage), and supported a stay-at-home wife. They enjoyed Broadway theater and Lincoln Center concerts, spent winter holidays skiing in Vermont, and lived the kind of New York lifestyle only investment bankers can afford today on an income in the mid five figures.

What the fuck happened?

Reagan Republicanism is what happened.

Until the 1980s, it was quite possible for a University professor or a solo-practice lawyer (or a professional writer of comic books) to imagine and achieve a lifestyle similar to that of Midge Maisel’s family.

(In 1975 I lived on the Upper West Side in an apartment that wasn’t very different from the apartment Midge Maisel and her erstwhile schlemiel of a husband enjoy in the series. As we were leaving New York, in 1976, the building was about to go co-op, meaning we could have bought our apartment for $50,000; at the time, I was making about $40,000 a year, so it would’ve been easy. Today that apartment is worth upwards of $3,000,000– plus $2000-3000 monthly maintenance.)

It was not inevitable that the dream of the educated, upwardly mobile middle class in America had to end. It was the deliberate consequence of political decisions designed to favor financial industries like banking and investment over creative and artisanal and industrial industries like the arts and manufacturing. Undermining unions, reducing funding for the arts, discouraging philanthropy in favor of familial wealth accumulation, cutting spending on education, aggravating class conflict between blue collar workers and the middle class (Hardhats versus Eggheads) was all part of the right-wing Reagan Revolution plan to crush the ability of educated progressive professionals to oppose the slow gutting of the New Deal social compact that powered postwar American prosperity.

The Reaganites won. They won so thoroughly that a depiction of typical, moderately successful educated middle class life in 1958 seems to contemporary viewers as silly and unrealistic fantasy.

It wasn’t a fantasy then; it shouldn’t be a fantasy now. The fact that many in my children’s generation see that life as unattainable is one of the saddest results of four decades of Republican economic dominance I can imagine.

There are many reasons we can’t and shouldn’t try to recreate the postwar America depicted in “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (that postwar social system supported and depended on gender and racial roles that would be anathema to us today) but there’s no reason to believe that as a country we’re doomed to a continuing spiral of downward expectations.

The aspirational, educated upward mobility depicted in “Mrs. Maisel” shouldn’t be perceived as an impossible fantasy. It should be viewed as a stolen birthright.

We know who stole it. Reaganites, Republicans, Investment Bankers, Financial Wizards, Inherited Wealth, Corporations, and the One Percent.

It’s time we took it back.

 

 


Gerry Conway is one of the Kings of TV and film and comic book writing and also one of our Beloved Leader Larry Brody’s longest-lasting and closest friends. Everybody who comes to TVWriter™ should be reading his insightful blog, where this article first appeared. Learn more about Gerry HERE.

Kathryn Graham: ‘You’re No Hemingway’

by Kathryn Graham

When I was a freshman at Marist College, I was deeply insecure about my writing.

I didn’t trust the people I knew who said I had talent. Of course they did, I thought, they loved me. They were hopelessly biased (hi mom!), and even if they wanted to be objective, they never could be.

I needed real answers. A psychic. A guru. I didn’t want to pour my time, my heart, my agony into something that was going to amount to nothing more than ‘personal growth’ (yuck, who needs that?)

So I looked for another, more impartial judge. I went to the Writing Lab.

The Writing Lab’s main purpose is to help students who have trouble writing papers or need an extra set of eyes on an assignment. It is not to be the arbiter of skill or to encourage young writers. But I didn’t know where else to turn.

The man on duty that day was a greying older gentleman. I don’t recall his name. I handed him some poems, short stories, some semi-fanfiction. At the time, I rarely wrote without being motivated by class assignments.

I’m sure that he was expecting to help people construct a simple paragraph that day, not to hold the dreams of a kid in his hands. This wasn’t something he was prepared to answer, and he was deeply uncomfortable. I pressed him anyway.

Did I have talent? Could I be a professional writer?

His verdict: “It’s no Hemingway.”

I admit what I gave him wasn’t the best writing in the universe. I was eighteen years old. I always had potential, but I needed a lot more work, more guidance, more learning. You know, education.

Still, he could have encouraged me to seek out someone who could help me improve. He could said ‘I see potential here’ even if he saw none. He could have at least commented on the fact that I could write in complete sentences.

Instead, he broke my heart.

I never should have asked him. It was stupid. I know that. It didn’t stop me from carrying that around like a ‘shard of glass’ that cuts me even now. That’s the problem with ‘knowing’ something in your mind. It doesn’t always communicate well to your heart.

Instead of giving me the validation that I craved, he inflicted on me the wound I’d asked for. I gave this random guy in the Marist College Writing Lab the edict of the gods, and he had found me lacking.

I’ve never read Hemingway. Or if I had, it hasn’t stuck with me. This certainly didn’t motivate me to start.

Fifteen years later, in an interesting twist, my dad setup a new writing laptop for me and named it “Hemingway”. I feel like there’s a message here, but I don’t know what it is.

I want to say something inspiring, like: I didn’t let him stop me! But, I kind of did. At the very least, I let him slow me down. This guy whose name I don’t even remember. This guy who didn’t deserve the power I gave him.

I’m not Hemingway. I don’t want to be. But I’m still here, still writing, still hurting, still starting and stopping, and going slower than I’d like. Still wondering if I’ll find an audience – a genuine human connection – and a career that I ‘wouldn’t trade for the world’.

In the end, I’m not that much different than that insecure kid now. I just have more help to push past it. I hope one day I forget all about it. Maybe it’ll never go away, and that’s all I can do. Take it and keep going, no matter how bad it feels.

For me, it at least reminds me to take extra care to be kind when someone presents me a piece of their soul. It’s the least I can do.

NOTE FROM LB: For the record, Kate, from my keyboard to your eyes: Hemingway sucks. Just another moderately talented show off who parlayed his ability to make his life sound like one God would’ve wanted to lead into a highly overrated literary career. If I told you, “You’re no Hemingway,” I’d mean it as a compliment.

ANOTHER NOTE FROM LB: So I think I will. Congratulations, Kate! You’re no Hemingway!


Kathryn Graham is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor and munchman’s secret fav. Learn more about Kate HERE

Kelly Jo Brick: The Write Path With Marc Zicree, Part 2

A series of interviews with hard-working writers – by another hard-working writer!

by Kelly Jo Brick

EDITOR’S NOTE: Part 1 is HERE

Aspiring writers often wonder how the pros got where they are. The truth is, everyone’s story is different, but there are some common elements: dedication, persistence, hard work and not giving up.

From animation to science fiction, Marc Zicree has written hundreds of hours of TV for shows including SMURFS, SUPER FRIENDS, SLIDERS, STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION and BABYLON 5. His drive and desire to learn from the writers he most admired helped Marc develop his career in television. Currently, he is writing, directing and producing SPACE COMMAND, a series of science fiction features starring Doug Jones, Armin Shimerman and Mira Furlan.

WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU RECEIVED AS YOU WERE STARTING OUT?

When I was growing up, the three shows that made me want to be a writer were the original STAR TREK, the original TWILIGHT ZONE and the original OUTER LIMITS. My heroes weren’t the actors, they were the writers: Richard Matheson and Theodore Sturgeon, Harlan Ellison, D.C. Fontana, Charles Beaumont, George Clayton Johnson, Rod Serling and Ray Bradbury. As soon as I was old enough, I started going to science fiction conventions and meeting a lot of these writers.

They became mentors, many of them. So the thing I think served me the best was recognizing who are the best people doing the work I wanted to do and then learning from them directly and learning from what they were doing. Really studying how they did these things. Reading their scripts, talking with them, finding out what the ins and outs were of both the art and the craft and the business too, because you need all three to have a career.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR WRITERS TAKING THEIR FIRST MEETINGS?

Be present. Many, many meetings you’re so in your head and you’re so thinking about the past, the future, you’re not present. There are many pitches I took as a producer where I would ask a question and the person would answer a different question because they weren’t present. So be present. Be friendly.

Be warm, be genuine. Authenticity is very important. Don’t flake. You’d be amazed at how many people flake. All you have to do is do what you say you’re going to do when you say you’re going to do it.

AND ONCE YOU GET ON A TV STAFF?

Have a work ethic. Work hard. I know some people who have done very well because when they got on staff they were the first person at the office and the last person to leave and that was noticed.

Be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Be pleasant. Be positive. Be upbeat. Don’t complain. Don’t gossip. It’s pretty obvious stuff, but you’d be surprised by how many people fall into negativity, complaining, all that stuff.

ON GROWING YOUR CAREER ONCE YOU GET IN THE DOOR.

It’s not an easy road. You want things to go smoothly, but they don’t. People ask me how I broke into television and it’s more like a burglar working a neighborhood. It’s always about reinvention and I’ve always been extremely ambitious. My goal from when I was 10, 11, 12, 13 years old was to create and run my own science fiction series and now that’s what I’m doing with SPACE COMMAND.

You have to break in and break in and break in. It’s an ongoing process and I’m still doing that even now. You have to be endlessly inventive. You have to be driven and enthusiastic and surround yourself with people who will believe in you even when you falter.

WHAT’S THE MOST COMMON QUESTION YOU GET FROM ASPIRING WRITERS?

Often people want to know how to break in and what I say with that is right now the best way is to apply to the writing fellowships. The real question is how can people know you’re a good writer without reading you. Everyone hates to read and there’s not enough time in the day to read everybody’s scripts and so if it’s like, well, I’ve won this ABC Fellowship or I was in this Sundance Screenplay Lab or any of these things, then it’s like, well, OK, let’s check out this person’s writing.

Also with a lot of these studio and network writing fellowships, they’ll give you money and they’ll give you a career. So that’s one way, but the main thing is to not expect some agent is going to take you on board, wave a magic wand and make it happen.

You have to figure out how to kick the door down, how to get attention. It might be making a web series; it might be doing an indie film that wins at a festival. It might be writing a spec script that you get to some actor and he starts blogging and tweeting about it because he loves it and he has several million fans. It’s anything that’s going to get you attention. It always starts with the work.

THE IMPORTANCE OF FEEDBACK.

What I would urge writers to do is first of all, write well. Get feedback from professionals. Make sure that you’re getting feedback because most scripts aren’t strong enough. They’re not well written enough. Write and write and write and get feedback.

Ray Bradbury told me he wrote every day for 10 years before he wrote a single word that he thought was worth anything. So don’t just assume that because you’re working hard that you’re accomplishing what you’re setting out to do. Writing is a two way street. It’s what you intend to say and what the audience perceives, so you have to make sure what you intend to say is what they’re getting.

HOW CROWDFUNDING HAS BEEN A GAMECHANGER.

There are two things that really sabotage writers. It shouldn’t be this way and the other is, it used to be like this. It used to work, why doesn’t it work now? Those two things you have to totally let go of. Say to yourself, what’s the problem? What are some actions I can take? One of my bosses, it was Richard Manning, an executive producer on STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION, he said, “Sometimes it doesn’t matter which direction you choose as long as you choose a direction and march.” I believe in that. So you say, okay, let’s take an action, if that doesn’t work we take another action. If the old things don’t work, try something new.

I mentor a lot of people through my roundtable and through classes that I teach. I started hearing about Kickstarter and Indiegogo. So I looked into them and saw that things were getting financed and because it frustrated me that executives at the studios and the networks were gatekeepers, I turned toward crowdfunding. I thought let’s try something else. Let’s see if I can raise money on Kickstarter and then I sold investment shares. With that I was able to shoot the first SPACE COMMAND movie.

It’s inventing an entirely new way of doing things. I love the new methods, the new modalities because I can utilize them and don’t have to ask permission. The lovely part is that I wrote the script exactly the way I wanted to write it. I cast all the actors I wanted to cast. I shot it exactly the way I wanted to shoot it. I didn’t have to ask anybody’s permission and if I’d gone to the network with the cast that I wanted to cast, I probably couldn’t have gotten most of these people, because the networks wouldn’t have wanted them.


Kelly Jo Brick is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor. She’s a television and documentary writer and producer, as well as a winner of Scriptapalooza TV and a Sundance Fellow. Read more about her HERE.

Audio Script Competition

by Bob Tinsley

As you may have noticed, TVWriter™ has been generously allowing me space from time to time to enthuse about the opportunities for writers in the Audio Drama field. Pursuant to that – and before LB decides to pull the plug – here’s something I think everybody who comes here should know:

The Audio Drama Production Podcast is holding a competition for new audio drama scripts. The bare bones are these:

They will be accepting scripts in any genre except fan fiction in three categories: 10-minute, 15-minute, and 30-minute scripts. For those of you unfamiliar with audio scripts a decent rule of thumb is 165 to 185 words of finished script to one minute of run time.

The submission window runs from January 8 to the 21st.  The links to the place to pay and upload scripts will be posted on the website and FaceBook page on January 8. (see below)

The winning scripts will be performed live at The Vault Festival in London on March 7 and at the Edinburgh Podfest in August. The other scripts will be placed in a repository from which 20 producers will choose scripts they like to produce and distribute on the Interwebs.

The submission fee is $6 for up to three scripts.

Don’t worry too much about format. Celtix and, I believe, Final Draft have templates for audio (radio) plays. There are two accepted formats: one is the old radio format, also known as BBC format. Most dedicated voice actors that I have talked to prefer this format. Sample scripts and a Word and Wordclone compatible template can be downloaded from

http://www.ruyasonic.com/rdr_main.htm

The other format is the standard screenplay format. Most high-budget audio productions, such as Bronzeville with Laurence Fishburne and Homecoming with David Schwimmer, use this format because most of their actors are either film or TV actors.

The most important thing to remember is to pitch the action toward audible rather than visual cues. “John grabbed Mary and shook her,” doesn’t translate well to audio. “John grabbed Mary and shook her ’til her teeth rattled and her cheeks flapped like a dog with its head out the window of a speeding car,” on the other hand, does.

The audio drama field is growing by leaps and bounds, creating opportunities for those of us willing to give it a try. Even if you don’t win this competition, having your script chosen for production afterward will provide a nice hard-point on your resume.

All the details of the competition can be found on the Audio Drama Production Podcast website at http://audiodramaproduction.com/2017/12/adpp-audio-drama-script-writing-competition-2018/

The Audio Drama field is particularly nice because of its low cost of entry, but the nicest part about the Audio Drama community of producers and actors is how welcoming and helpful they all are. Give them half an excuse to choose your script, and they will.

So, get to writing, and be ready to submit starting January 8, 2018. You’ve got nothing to lose other than your unproduced status.

My Favorite Audio Dramas of 2017

by Bob Tinsley

In case you haven’t run across me before, I’m a big fan of Audio Drama (think radio shows with better – mostly – production values). Considering that most Audio Dramas are put together with production budgets of nothing (less even, usually, than web series), the quality of writing and acting can be surprising. That doesn’t mean all Audio Dramas are put together on a shoestring. Some of them, like “Bronzeville” with Laurence Fishburne, have real budgets, SAG contracts and Big Names attached.

Whatever budget, Audio Dramas are fun. Here are some of my favorites from 2017 in alphabetical order:

“A Scottish Podcast.” (https://scottishpodcast.com) A tongue-in-cheek horror series detailing the activities of a couple of ne’er-do-well musicians who decide to do a paranormal investigation podcast.  

From the website: “You’ll walk through the long-forgotten catacombs under Edinburgh. Sail out to the lonely and abandoned island of St.Caillic. Visit dingy pubs, run-down industrial estates, and obscure non-league football grounds.” They are at the end of their 18-episode first season and hard at work on the second season.

“arsPARADOXICA.” (https://arsparadoxica.com) A time travel story with people getting stranded in unpleasant places and the machinations of a secret government agency across time — in both directions.

From the website: “When an experiment in a time much like our own goes horribly awry, Dr. Sally Grissom finds herself stranded in the past and entrenched in the activities of a clandestine branch of the US government. Grissom and her team quickly learn that there’s no safety net when toying with the fundamental logic of the universe.” They are into their third season with 27 regular episodes and another 15 extras.

“Jarnsaxa Rising.” (https://jarnsaxarising.wordpress.com)  “Just above the 60th parallel in the Baltic Ocean, a team of researchers arrives at an abandoned wind farm, to investigate some unexplained energy surges.”

The team is sent to this remote and frigid location by a multinational corporation with an agenda far beyond a simple service call. Norse gods and eeevil corporations. Oh, my! The first season of 10 episodes is complete, and I understand work is beginning on the second season.

“Steal the Stars.” (https://tor-labs.com/steal-the-stars/) From the website: “Steal the Stars is the story of Dakota Prentiss and Matt Salem, two government employees guarding the biggest secret in the world: a crashed UFO.” But there is much more than just that: a heist of incredible complexity, a story of forbidden love, loyalty and betrayal, and a completely unexpected (at least by me) twist at the end.

Complete in 14 episodes. As might be deduced from the URL, this Audio Drama was sponsored by Tor Books from a pitch by the series creator, Mac Rogers. There is also a novelization of the series published by, you guessed it, Tor Books.

“TANIS.” (http://tanispodcast.com/) A docudrama currently in hiatus at the end of the third season (of 12 episodes each along with numerous extras). From Wikipedia: “Nic Silver, a former radio host, discovers references to something called Tanis in two disparate sources. He begins hosting the podcast in an effort to determine what and where Tanis may be . . . . His search . . . leads him to confront a variety of mysterious groups and organizations . . . .” Conspiracy theory abounds!

In 2017 TANIS was acquired by Universal Cable Productions and Dark Horse Entertainment for development into a TV series . Writers will be the podcast creator, Terry Miles, and TV writer Lee Shipman. The producers will be Sam Raimi and Debbie Liebling.

“The Black Tapes.” (http://theblacktapespodcast.com/) Another well-done docudrama from the same folks that produce “TANIS.”

From Wikipedia: “The story begins as a biography of paranormal investigator Dr. Richard Strand (voiced by Christian Sloan), an ‘evangelical skeptic’ on a mission to debunk all claims of the supernatural. Reagan becomes interested in his collection of unsolved cases, which she begins calling his ‘Black Tapes,’ and the podcast evolves into an exploration of these cases, paranormal culture, and the mysterious life of Dr. Strand.” The series was concluded this year after three seasons, a total of 30 episodes and numerous extras.

“The Bright Sessions.” (http://www.thebrightsessions.com/) Think the cast from the TV show, “Heroes”, in therapy. What we have here is the story of a therapist whose clientele is made up exclusively of people with paranormal abilities, everything from telepathy to teleportation in space and time. I don’t know about you, but I find it comforting to know that superheroes are as dysfunctional as the rest of us. And if you think these folks are wandering around untethered, rest assured that there is a shadowy government agency out there keeping a close eye on things.

The creator and writer of this show, Lauren Shippen, was chosen by Forbes Magazine for this year’s “30 Under 30 – Media” list. Universal Cable Productions and Dark Horse Entertainment (remember them?) are developing the show for TV. So far, in four seasons, 47 regular episodes and numerous extras.

“The White Vault.” (http://whitevault.libsyn.com/) If you liked “The Thing,” the original, of course, you should love this one. A repair team is sent to an unmanned mining outpost in the Svalbard Archipelago, far north of the Arctic Circle.

Trapped by a severe storm that also cuts off their communications, they find something under the ice that shouldn’t be there. Something unfriendly. Seven episodes so far.

“Wolf 359.” (http://www.wolf359.fm/) I reviewed this one more fully, and you’ll be seeing that here at TVWriter™ soon. You could call this one “Good Morning, Vietnam” meets “Alien” — and “Aliens.”

From the website: “Wolf 359 is a radio drama in the tradition of Golden Age of Radio shows like Escape! and Suspense. Take one part space adventure, add one part character drama, mix in one part absurdist sitcom, and you get Wolf 359.” Episode 61, the series finale, just dropped.There are also a number of mini-episodes and extras.

And these are just scratching the surface. The number of Audio Dramas available has exploded over the last couple of years. Whatever your taste in storytelling you can find something to binge on with little effort.

Peggy Bechko: A Writer’s New Year’s Musings

by Peggy Bechko

It’s the beginning of calendar year 2018 but the end of my 2017 writing year, and I’m tired.

Got a lot done, but so much left to do. And I’ll bet they’re all on a collision course.

What’s my meaning here?

Well, I don’t know a writer who doesn’t have more than one project going on. Do you? And, at least in my case, I swear, just when things seem to be flowing smoothly, settling into place like an asteroid that misses collision with earth, suddenly several things MUST get finished at the same time. Or Kaboom!

So suddenly I’m in high gear with no days off in the near future.

Sometimes this is caused by outside forces, other times by my own set deadlines. (Deadlines are important for writers – they keep us going – whether self-imposed or outside demands).

Ever happen to you?

There’s no way to plan for it. It just seems to happen like heavenly bodies orbiting – and then slamming into each other.

What I want for 2018 is simple – none of what I just described.

No collisions.

No launch into hysterical super high gear.

But I can see all my projects out there, and somehow I think the laws of physics – as related to career times past – are going to bring them together no matter what I do. The best I can tell myself is that this is a problem for another day, but I know that day is coming soon.

On another note, I started using Scrivener this year for writing not of the screen or TV variety though I understand the program has some screenwriting formatting abilities as well.

I’ll admit, it has quite a learning curve, but it was worth it for many of the projects I’m involved with. And there are lots of YouTube videos out there to help the newbie.

Here’s a link to the Scrivner download on amazon: http://amzn.to/2CMOCzq (and yes, it is an affiliate link so if you don’t want to use it, just go to Amazon and put Scrivener in the search bar or do a web search instead). For myself, I must admit the $40+ it cost was well spent.

Scrivener keeps things straight. Lets you work with research from the page. Formats for various venues easily.

Yep, I’m a fan.

As the New Year dawns and I slow down just a little to regroup, I can’t help pondering this writing thing I’ve done all my life. I’m sure other writers reading this do the same thing on occasion even if not at a certain time of year.

I’ve had people ask me, why do you write? I often ask myself the same question, of course, and I don’t really have an answer other than the deep-seated, never-ending urge to do the writing thing. To create worlds for others to share.

Although writing is my primary force in my life, the general urge to create spills over into many different arenas. No matter what else is happening to me or the world, I can’t stop myself from making something. Even when I’m stealing a bit of leisure time, my mind is creating something with whatever is at hand.

Must keep creating. Keep giving of myself…

Don’t know if it is the same for you, but I’d sure like to hear more if you care to post in the comment section. Is there a common motivator of any kind for the determined writer?

Meanwhile, this is Peggy Bechko, working hard to recover from 2017 and wishing us all a fantastic and creative 2018.


Peggy Bechko is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor. Learn more about her sensational career HERE. Peggy’s new comic series, Planet of the Eggs, written and illustrated with Charlene Brash-Sorensen is available on Kindle. And, while you’re at it, visit the Planet of the Eggs Facebook page and her terrific blog.