Wednesday, February 28, 2018

10 Writing Tips from Author Nina Sadowsky’s Presentation on Film Techniques for Novelists

by Shari Held

I recently had the good fortune to hear Nina Sadowsky, author of thrillers Just Fall and Burial Society speak at the Indiana Chapter of Romance Writers Association. This author knows her business. She's been a film and television producer and writer most of her career as well as an entertainment lawyer and now an adjunct professor, teaching producing and writing, at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Art.

Sadowsky is also an engaging speaker, drawing humor from even serious subjects such as sexism and ageism in Hollywood. She recalls attending a business meeting as a producer and realizing she no longer fit the standards for being taken seriously in Hollywood - she didn't have a penis and she wasn't getting any younger. Since she didn't plan on having a sex change and didn't possess a magical formula for turning back the clock, she said "adieu" to producing and began writing thrillers. Her first book is being turned into an original series for STARZ - and of course, she's writing the screenplays!

Sadowsky packed a lot of information into her two-hour presentation. Here are a few tips fellow authors should find helpful.

Tip # 1 - Write what you know about emotionally, and then build upon that with research and extrapolation. It's what you've experienced emotionally that counts.

Tip # 2 - Begin with a theme. Find the universal truth of your story (e.g. man against nature) and create a one-sentence statement that tells what your story is about. Tape this to your computer to help you stay on theme.

Tip # 3 - Prepare yourself to write. Open your channels of creativity prior to each writing session. Try a few things and see what works best for you - yoga, meditation, music, etc. It's different for everyone.

Tip # 4 - Once you're prepared, show up and do your work. Treat writing like a 9 to 5 job. That's the most important thing and one of the most challenging things you can do as a writer.

Tip # 5 - Protect your time. Once you've set a writing schedule, don't let anything or anyone interfere with it.

Tip # 6 - Make character sheets for all the main characters and even minor ones that appear in only one chapter if their interaction with the main character is meaningful. A fully fleshed-out character sheet can reach up to 100 pages. This is especially essential for a series. Doing the work upfront will save you time and frustration during the writing process.

Tip # 7 - The two things your protagonist must be are: relatable and active. An active protagonist makes things happen! A relatable protagonist draws your reader into the story.

Tip # 8 - Make the audience work for information. Tease them with just enough to get their attention. Knowing when to withhold and when to reveal information is an essential skill for a writer. This is one place where character sheets are essential.

Tip # 9 - Clarity and brevity is the best way to communicate.

Tip # 10 - Choose critique partners who don't feel obligated to love everything you write. Your best friend, partner and mother will find it difficult to be impartial. And honesty is what you most need from a critique. Learn how to take criticism you receive from your critique partners. Don't shut down. You must be open to criticism if you want to improve your work.

Shari Held is the co-author of Indianapolis, IN: A Photographic Portrait.  She is a contributor to The Fine Art of Murder

Monday, February 12, 2018

Lillie Evans' Play "Take My Hand" Set for 6 Performances at IndyFringe Onyx Festival

TAKE MY HAND (A Blues Man's Path to Gospel), written by Speed City Sisters in Crime author and playwright, Lillie Evans will be presented at the 7th annual Indyfringe Onyx Festival.  There will be six performances beginning March 23, 2018.

The drama centers on the life of Thomas A. Dorsey, a self-taught piano man, singer, and composer, who struggles with the fact that he is not recognized, appreciated or compensated by white music publishers during the 1920's and 30's. 

Dorsey struggled for years, straddling the fence between blues and gospel, in an effort to combine the two styles in a way acceptable to churches.  He remained uncertain which path to take until an unfortunate tragedy threatened to end his career and possibly his life.  Through the ordeal, emerged one of the best known gospel songs of all time, 'Take My Hand, Precious Lord.'

Lillie is an author and playwright, and a long-time member of Speed City Sisters in Crime. Her writing includes the comic mystery Grandmothers, Inc. series, co-written with fellow Speed City Sisters In Crime member Crystal Rhodes.  The series includes two novels (Grandmothers, Incorporated and Saving Sin City) and two plays (Grandmothers, Incorporated and Stakeout). The play Grandmothers, Incorporated was produced Off Broadway at the Billie Holiday Theater in New York City, where it enjoyed a twelve week run.  Lilly also wrote the play Is God Calling My Name? Her play Take My Hand was selected for a reading at the prestigious National Black Theater Festival.  

You can find out more about Lillie at www.lilliebarnettevans.com or www.grandmothersincorporated.com 

Take My Hand in part of the IndyFringe Onyx Festival celebrating  African American playwrights.  

The 7th Annual OnyxFest Onyx Fest is Indianapolis' first and only theater festival dedicated to the stories of African American playwrights. The inaugural Onyx Fest in 2012, was developed in response to the lack of diversity on stage and in audiences of Indianapolis' theaters; except the IndyFringe Theater. IndyFringe has actively worked towards embracing diversity in the Indianapolis theater scene and these efforts have yielded fruit by working with African American playwrights to change the Indianapolis theatrical landscape of storytellers, actors and audiences at the IndyFringe Theater. Onyx Fest is another step in the IndyFringe Theater's commitment to provide support and a performance venue that is inclusive of all playwrights who make up the Indianapolis community.  

Dates:  March 23/24/25 - March 30/31/April 1
Location:  Indyfringe Basile Theater, 719 E. St. Clair, Indianapolis, Indiana

Tickets information:  www.indyfringe.org or /317-308-9800

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Speed City Authors Will Discuss Writing and Books at Bloomington Event February 11

Speed City Sisters in Crime authors will appear at the Monroe County Public Library in Bloomington on February 11 for The Art of Mystery Writing.  The event will take place from 2-4 pm, and is free to the public.

A panel discussion will cover a wide range of topics, including writing genres, publication, and books for your reading list. 

Authors scheduled to appear include:

Crystal Rhodes, playwright and author of six novels including the recently released Someone Like Me.

Brenda Stewart, editor and contributor to the Speed City Sisters in Crime anthologies, including The Fine Art of Murder.

Stephen Terrell, author of the legal thrillers Stars Fall and The First Rule

Russ Eberhardt, author of Dead Drive and Formula Murder

Michael Dabney, contributing author to each of the Speed City Chapter short story anthologies. 

The authors will also have a book signing. Books will be available at the event. 

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Book Release: Maiden Murders, the Latest Mystery from Speed City Member CL Shore

It's hard to focus on your marriage when you're chasing a serial killer. 

That is the premise of Maiden Murders, the latest mystery from Speed City Chapter member CL Shore. The novel was just released on Amazon, where it is available in both ebook and print formats. 

A sunny Friday morning flirts with promises for the weekend, but one young bride-to-be doesn’t live to see her lunch hour. Detective Mark Forbes and his partner, Jed McCracken, are called to the scene of her murder at an Indianapolis retail store. The death of the nineteen-year-old salesperson leaves Mark simmering with uncomfortable emotions, accentuated by his knowledge that his wife, Sarah, will not be home that evening.

Sarah’s considering a return to graduate school. While accompanying a group of forensic anthropology students, Sarah discovers a murdered shopkeeper in a souvenir store. A skeleton is found in the victim’s back yard a few days later, but those remains are at least a thousand years old. The fiancé of the Indianapolis victim is an obvious person of interest in the murders; he's on the field trip with Sarah. Mark devotes his energies to the case, while Sarah tries to unravel the secrets of the prehistoric backyard skeleton. When the killer strikes again, Mark is concerned about Sarah’s safety. She tells him to focus on his case and not worry about her.

But he should.

For a closer look or to order Maiden Murders: CLICK HERE.