Friday, October 23, 2009

Back Away from the Chaos!

Wear your favorite pink dress for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  You have a few more days.


...If it seems slow, do not despair, for those things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day! Habakkuk 2:3 - The Old Testament

Vera Bradley Designs, Inc.

A producer friend told me that once you make a networking contact don't let too much time pass before you follow up.  This was sage advice, of course I didn't initially follow it.  Believe me, I've learned my lesson.   Now that I see a flicker of light at the end of my tunnel, no longer a rabbit hole... I won't make that mistake again.   (running woman)

If I'm going to write for a television show and have my book in production in a year, I have to make it so.  

Let it never be said that Joan B. Average doesn't learn from her mistakes.  Okay, I still wear plaid with stripes, but most mistakes I'm a quick learner.

You're probably still wondering what I meant by let them see your sweat.  I'm not suggesting you forego baths and Lady Speedstick. (please don't)  I'm talking about the fruits of your labor.  Producers, agents and all other gatekeepers want to see your efforts in quadruple form.  One or two scripts simply won't cut it. 

(ABC - Ugly Betty)

As I toil in three different... no, four different areas, I'm a little overwhelmed... scratch that... a lot overwhelmed. 

I wish I can concentrate on one project at a time, but like so many writers who work nine-to-five while writing that novel or script -- I must also toil at freelance gigs with fierce discipline.  I like to call them  independent writing gigs rather than freelance, because nobody's giving their work away for free, so why should writers be any different.  I'll spare you my rant and save that topic for a future post. 

As a writer, you often feel like your feet are stuck in mud and you move this way and that way, but you're still in the same place, a year later.  Not a good feeling.  So, what's a girl to do?  Pray.  Always.  And...?  Keep writing.  Keep Reading.  Keep talking up what you do, whether you get the "glazed-over look or not."   And write a plan.  No, not a business plan... well maybe that's the way we should look at it... as a business plan, because writing is a crazy, competitive business.

My producer friend told me about a friend of a frend she referred to a TV exec  halfway up the entertainment food chain.  He contacted her not once, not twice... but three times with the same one script. 

Sorry to say, she read him the riot act and told him she needed to see that he had penned no less than five television spec scripts more than three spec features, a pilot treatment and one or two scripts for that pilot before she'd think about talking to him again.   Ouch!  In other words, she wanted to see his sweat.  Ah, you liked how I worked that into my story?   I do what I can.

(I Love Lucy)

In the frantic world of book publishing, it makes since to start writing your second book as soon as you write "The End" on the first.  I didn't know it at that writing stage, but three books immediately unfolded in my novel I turned into a family saga.  When I was done writing, I had a whopping 1,100 pages of manuscript.  I am not kidding  Whoa! 

I realized as I read the engaging monstrosity, that the story fell neatly into three books.  As I see it, I'm already ahead of the game.  Hopefully, my dream publisher will see that too and whip out a contract with a Mont Blanc pen poised in the coming months.  I'm in the final editing stages as I take a break to talk to all of you.

I didn't have a plan when I decided to write a novel, but my sweat led to a plan that I hope will become profitable.  This family saga sprouted from the seed of a novel, and now there are shoots growing into a young adult series and a television pilot.  Who knew?  

Of course, the  decision to do a YA series' spin came after a visit to my local Barnes and Noble almost sent me screaming out the door with nightmares. 

Will you enlighten me... when did young adult fiction take a walk on the dark side?  Did somebody forget to hug the writers or what?  What happened to Sweet Valley, 18 Pine Street, The Cheetah Girls, Sunset Beach and my girl... Nancy Drew solving her whodunits.  I'm sure The Cheetah Girls are still around, but I couldn't find them with my eyes half-closed.  Don't Generation Y like a mystery that doesn't involve a serial slasher? 

I guess not, because that day... vampire teens, children of serial killers... and other gruesome covers stared back at me.  I'm getting queasy just thinking about them. 

Look, I know times have changed, but can we still take a trip to happy land now and then?

I do love my visits to Happy Land, but I always return back home to the real world.  I know that order, not chaos will give my dreams of a book jacket and movie credit a fighting chance. 

So again... we start with a plan.  Call me prophetic, but I know what you're thinking, us creative folks don't need no stinking business plan.  Uh, yes we do, if we don't want to stink as a writer. 

Come on... there's a seat for you at the grownups table.  Now let's see abut that creative business plan.  Does that sound better?  I thought so.

Now that we're at the grownups table, let's look at wikipedia's definition of a business plan for inspiration.  You know how we love to begin with inspiration, even Average Joans and Joes.

A business plan is a formal statement of a set of buisness goals, the reason why they are believed attainable and the plan for reaching those goals.  It may also contain background information about the organization or team attempting to reach these goals.

Wake up... there's more...

Business Plan Content
1. Background Information
What do you bring to the literary, broadcast, cinematic or dramatic table?

2. Marketing Plan
How will you market yourself as a professional writer?  How will you get your creative project to the decision-makers?  No, a singing telegram is not what we have in mind.

3. Operational Plan
Devise a writing and research schedule and stick to it... like the mail person and that rain or shine mantra.

4. Financial Plan
Write down funding plan, funding needs, cash flow statement.
How will you upgrade your equipment?  Find the cash flow to enter contests, attend writing conferences, join organizations...?

With that said, back away from the chaos, embrace order and productivity.  And have a plan and make it plain.  Happy hunting!

Miracles and Blessings!

P.S. -- Check out iCafe Woman Moderne's,
The Little Pink Dress Designed for a Cure

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