Luke: The Angel of Healing

The Angel of Healing, Luke, was actually born a human, long after the rest of the races had been created. He showed tremendous compassion, and worked alongside the Goddess Lumise to eradicate the plague, before he knew her true identity. They grew fond of each other, and she saw his stubborn, unrelenting way of healing those infected, the way he refused to give up hope. As such, Lumise worked with the other Gods and Angels to elevate Luke from a human to an Angel, whereupon he joined them in the Garden of Luas.

Though Luke was once human, his appearance is something of a mystery. There are no records of anyone seeing him in person, which may have something to do with his lowly upbringing.

The Angel of Healing is known best for his ferrying of souls to the Garden of Luas, and his healing of those souls in mourning. He watches over those transitioning to the Garden of Luas, having done something very similar himself, and cares for those that have lost loved ones, as he did for his own family when he joined the Gods and Angels.

He is closely associated with springtime and renewal, and his direct descendants are the Knowledgists. Like him, they constantly seek to understand what they didn’t before, looking to elevate themselves as he did. As such, many libraries and monasteries dedicated to knowledgists are built for Luke.

Not much is known of his demeanor, though he is suspected of being the same driven, compassionate man he was when he met Lumise.

The Vine Yard: Chapter 5

The second day of auditions were interesting. The same three actors from day one returned and read for a handful of different parts. At the end of it, Josh and I couldn’t decide how to cast it. There were 3 problems:

One:

Our one female actor has great chemistry with one of our male actors. We wanted to cast them as a pair; they were so good together! However, the male actor was phenomenal. We could cast him as a tree and he’d knock it out of the park.

The female actor’s performances, unfortunately, were 50/50. Sometimes she’d be incredible, making us truly believe she could carry a show, while other times, she'd be lackluster and bland. She was great as Janice, one of the secondary characters, and the male actor was incredible as Roger, Janice’s bestie. But the male actor was so obviously our lead! We just didn’t know if the female actor could handle landing the role of his love interest.

Two:

There was another actress who auditioned that was PERFECT for the love interest. If I closed my eyes and listened to her speak, it was like I was standing in a room with the character.

But that was just it. I had to close my eyes. She didn't have the look that fit the role. Plus, she lived out of town. She would've had to fly into Gainesville for filming, which was majorly expensive. Besides, I didn't want her to fly in and then find out she had absolutely no chemistry with our male lead. There were too many what-ifs involved for us to commit to her.

Three:

The second male actor had some great lines in all the male roles, but was not 100% in any of them. He had good and bad moments in every role he tried out for, which made it difficult to cut him, but also to cast him. I actually considered making him the lead for one scene, because he was great! But in the next scene when he read for the lead, he was lame. There wasn't a happy medium that we could work with. So, ultimately, we couldn't put him in the lead role.

Overall, auditions were a lot of fun. Unfortunately, all the other auditions we had were via video. Given that Josh and I were graduating in two months, we didn't have the time to schedule chemistry reads for everyone and figure out our film schedule. So we just had to go on our gut instincts.

On the first day of auditions, I looked at Josh and my friend Anna and said, "I know who my lead is." After reviewing the first auditions, and seeing the second ones, however, I felt like I had to retract my casting, simply because there were other factors to consider. We had to think about schedules, availability, and chemistry. It felt like we were going by the seat of our pants, and I didn't like it. But we still had more audition videos to watch before we made our final decision.

Considering filming started the next week, we'd have to work fast! I honestly couldn't believe I was starting filming/directing a short film of mine. It was crazy!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017, The Vine Yard became a reality.

Publisher Interview: Andy Lee

After reaching out for author interviews and guest blogs in a women's writing group on Facebook, I met Andy Lee, one of the founding members of Pub518, an all-female tiny press in New York. We decided to exchange interviews, and got to know a lot about each other along the way!

You started Pub518 back in 2016. What was the turning point for your group that finally made you decide to go into publishing?

The four of us met during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in 2014. I’d done it seven or eight times before, finished it three times. Shannon Kauderer, one of our co-founders, is the Area Leader for Albany NY, she does an amazing job setting up neighborhood write-ins and other events. We kept up our friendship, and our write-ins! At one point, we were moaning about how hard it is to get published. One of the prizes for completing NaNoWriMo is the opportunity to send in work to publishers and editors, but even those folks rarely get published. We decided we wanted to open up opportunities for local writers, many of them are really good! It really has taken off, in terms of submissions, the hard work now is selling enough books to pay for the next one.

What hardships did you face when building Pub518 versus the difficulties or issues you may face now?

Our first year was full of potholes! None of us had ever started up an LLC before, so it was a sharp learning curve getting our business and tax status squared away with New York State and the Federal Government. We also spent a lot of time figuring out what we wanted to do, or start doing, with Pub 518. Obviously we wanted to give local and other writers a chance to get in print, but we also wanted to create a quality product, and we didn’t want to go ‘boutique’, charging writers to publish their work. We decided to initiate a Kickstarter campaign to get the money for our first anthology, Dark and Bitter (https://smile.amazon.com/Dark-Bitter-518-Publishing-ebook/dp/B077QNV838/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1548269800&sr=8-2&keywords=Dark+and+Bitter). That was a pretty intense time. There was a lot of excitement generated around the anthology, and people were amazingly supportive. Even Neil Gaman tweeted a link for us!

Now things seem a little calmer, we know what we’re doing a little better, but there are always ripples we are dealing with. We switched to a new web server recently, and have to make more time for conferences, workshops, readings, and other events. Trying to sell books to make enough for the next publication is a challenge. We’re thinking about taking on individual novels, which is a lot to add, since none of us are able to dedicate ourselves full time to this. So far, all our profits have gone right back into more publishing, paying for advertising and recouping expenditures for conference and other expenses. Our second book is Exploits in the Adirondacks ( https://www.amazon.com/Exploits-Adirondacks-Shannon-Yseult/dp/1720619905/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1548272830&sr=8-1&keywords=exploits+in+the+adirondacks ), it came out last year.  Our third is already in production, we’ve been reading submissions and will be out later this year.

As publishing is a full-time endeavor, how do you manage to balance work and writing creatively?

None of us work full time at this, none of us could, yet! We divide up the work, and most weeks all we have to take care of are our marketing commitments. Obviously we get busy when it’s time to decide which submissions get into the next anthology, sending emails, marketing, and so on, We can only give the time we have. We make time to attend conferences and fairs, as well, to sell our books and to network. There are a lot of little details that we divide and conquer. Finding writing time for all of us is a challenge. We still meet weekly, not just the four of us, all the NaNoWriMo folks! It’s a super supportive community of people. I go when I can, and it’s always very satisfying when I can make progress on my own work.

You have a degree in Creative Writing and Anthropology, as well as an MFS in Forrest Science. How did having knowledge in such different fields help with your career and/or personal works?

I’m not sure it’s helped much with my career, but having a diverse background has been a real blessing in many ways. Mostly, it’s fed my curiosity about things, from human culture to ecosystems. How things work, especially interactions, interdependencies. I love when I write about something, delve in and mine a gem, bringing up a little nugget of understanding that I can share with others. It’s so satisfying!

All the women that are on the executive board for Pub518 have such different collegiate and career backgrounds. How does that influence the jobs you do at Pub518?

Not sure how we decided who does what, it’s more about what we were good at, how much time we each have, and what we want to learn how to do (because we all had to learn a LOT). We all have a lot of respect for each other, we’re different in a lot of ways but it’s brought a vastness to our interests and skills. I think Pub518 has seen some terrific success so far because we each bring a fresh and deep perspective, and commitment, to our work.

How does your work differ from that of a larger press? What are the pros and cons?

Pub518 is a Tiny Press. Our intention is to give unpublished writers a chance to build their resume. We don’t charge (we try to compensate at least a little), and we provide final editing (we do an initial read and recommend edits that the author has to do) and a cover as part of our service. It’s really satisfying to get to know these wonderful writers who haven’t yet been ‘discovered’. Authors may not get much money from us, not right now anyway, but we do try to get out in public, market the books, and give folks a chance to start writing more professionally.

Writing TV Show Treatments

In March, I’ll be heading back to StoryExpo, a screenwriting conference in New York. These past few weeks I’ve been getting my scripts together, to pitch to production companies at the conference. As such, I figured it would be a good topic of discussion for my Monday blogs! Today, I’ll share my secrets for writing TV show treatments.

A TV treatment, also known as a show bible, is a breakdown of a TV show’s first season. It’s something you hand to interested parties (like agents or producers) that details the show. It lets them know that you’ve thought past the pilot episode, and have conceptualized what this show could be in the long run. Basically, it’s a way to let people see that this isn’t merely a hobby, but rather something that could be monetized.

Now, the most important part of any TV show is the logline. It’s a two-sentence (maximum) overview of the show. It should tell you the main conflict, who the characters are, and what the point it. You’ll have a longline for the show itself, and for each of the episodes in the season. The best way to think of this are the descriptions of shows on Netflix or Amazon. They’re a couple sentences that tell you what’s up. Loglines are the exact same thing, if not a bit more polished. It should give whoever is reading the longline all the information they need about the show. Think of it as a hook to get people interested.

Once you’ve got the logline down, the rest of the treatment is a piece of cake. You’ll have a one-paragraph synopsis of the pilot episode, which is self-explanatory.

Next, you’ll breakdown the entire season in a detailed synopsis. I’d keep this down to a page, maximum. While you do need to show everything that happens in the first season, don’t make it too detailed. The best way to think of this is to check out a movie plot on Wikipedia. Iron Man is a fantastic example. Follow that format and you should have a great synopsis.

After, you get to my favorite section: character breakdowns. This is where you describe your main cast. A good character description should tell you the essence of a character in three-to-four sentences. What are they struggling with? What’s their character like? Why are they essential to this show? Once you’ve got that, you get to find a well-known actor that best resembles your characters. This is necessary for producers to get an idea of what you see in your head, seeing as you can’t provide in-depth character descriptions in the script itself. This has to be my favorite part. I love going through my favorite TV shows and movies and finding the perfect actor or actress to portray my characters. It’s a lot of fun!

Lastly, you need to include titles and loglines for eight to ten episodes in the season. And you can have fun naming the episodes! Be creative, show them your imagination!

I recommend doing this section after you’ve written the first season, so it’s a little easier to summarize. And it is important to note that you should have a complete season written if you’re looking to pitch it to anyone. Producers like to buy complete projects. It doesn’t even have to be well-written, so long as it’s complete. So, put your fingers to the keys and get it done!

Now, you’ve got a complete treatment! Make sure you have other people read over it. It’s always better to have feedback, and make sure what you’ve put down on paper makes sense outside of your head. Once it’s complete, make sure you register it with the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA). Then, you can share it to your heart’s content, and you don’t have to worry about anyone taking your idea. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

I actually find the process of writing a treatment to be pretty cathartic. It keeps me organized, and allows me to better understand the story I’m trying to tell. 

As far as advice goes, however cliché, all I can say is to enjoy it. This treatment is the entire first season of your TV show in a few sheets of paper. It’s everything your story could be; it’s a culmination of your hard work. So relax and just have a good time.