"The universe is made of stories, not of atoms."
—Muriel Rukeyser
____________________________

6 Common Writing Errors Even Bestselling Authors Make



1. Show, don’t tell

This might be the most commonly cited mistake among editors. Authors are naturally prone to telling rather than showing. This means that rather than letting the reader experience a story through action, dialogue, thoughts, and senses, the author summarizes or describes what has happened. They often do this by info-dumping prose or by stating a character’s emotions rather than showing how those emotions are conveyed.

    Though this admonition may seem like Writing 101, I still find myself scribbling in the margins of even professional authors’ manuscripts, “Show, don’t tell!” It’s amazing how easy it is for authors to fall into the trap of intruding on the story through narrative, instead of letting the characters demonstrate by their own words and actions the point they’re trying to get across. Let the characters tell the story, and don’t underestimate the reader’s ability to draw what they need from compelling dialogue. – Marsha Zinberg

2. Weak opening narrative

Ever dropped a book after reading the first few pages? That’s usually what happens when the author starts the story in the wrong place. It’s an easy mistake to make. While the author knows something exciting will happen soon enough, it’s not obvious to the reader. If they’re not immediately hooked, chances are they won’t stick around long enough to find out what “something exciting” is.

    A significant issue I see with many authors is inserting too much backstory [at the beginning]. A reader’s interest has to be developed from the start, which suggests having vivid characterization and action (not meaning explosions, but tension, movement, ideas in opposition) from the get-go. Long, explanatory passages, even if beautifully written, can stop a narrative before it even begins to stretch its legs. – Tom Bentley

3. Over-describing the action

Over-describing is when the author provides unneeded details about the characters’ actions. This slows the pace, lessens tension, and interrupts the flow of the scene.

    I find that many writers have a hard time letting readers intuit action — especially physical action — in a scene. It’s very common to find characters who, for instance, “walk across a room, open a door, walk through the door, and then close the door.” Such detail can become laborious for readers and slow down pacing. All that’s really needed is for the character to “walk through the door.” Readers will naturally intuit the rest. – Laura Chasen

4. Unbelievable conflicts

In many fiction genres, conflicts shape the story. Whether they’re external or internal conflicts, it’s important to give those conflicts substance and believability.

    Basing conflicts on a misunderstanding, something that could be solved if only the characters were to have a simple conversation, is unsatisfying for the reader and something we see time and again from newer authors.

    All stories will have conflicts set out by the plot for the characters to overcome, the peaks and troughs of the journey the characters go on. These external conflicts may be necessary to move a story along, but it’s not what keeps a reader itching to turn the pages. The most satisfying stories also have the main characters dealing with their own internal emotional conflicts — something that is specific to them, that keeps them from the love interest, that makes the case they’re working on personal, that stops the quest they’re on from being easy. This internal conflict is what emotionally involves the reader in the story, in rooting for the character, and seeing the character conquer this in the end is what makes for the most exciting and enticing stories.

    The best way to create internal conflict is to really dig deep into the character. Think about what’s driving them, what their motivations are, what their background is, what has happened in the past to make them who they are. From this, think about the emotions they would experience when placed in situations that tap into their conflict and bring these out on the page.  – Laurie Johnson

5. Viewpoint

Determining the correct point of view for the narrative is a huge part of a story’s success. We know, for example, that most YA is written in the first-person point of view because younger readers identify with the immediacy of the first-person emotional experience. Romance is usually told through deep third-person omniscient, since an author needs the ability to move seamlessly from the hero to heroine’s perspective. POV determines who tells a story and how — which is why getting it right is critical to a book’s success. For more in-depth information, here is an excellent post on how to choose the right narrative viewpoint and narrator.

    Because both omniscient viewpoint and deep character viewpoint can both be written in the third person, inexperienced writers frequently confuse them and allow artifacts of omniscient viewpoint to clutter stories that are otherwise written in deep point of view. Such errors could include describing a ship at sea and then noting that “the captain had no way of knowing a storm was forming over the horizon.” If the captain is the viewpoint character, then the author cannot reveal what the captain does not know. Revealing multiple characters’ thoughts in a single scene is a feature in omniscient viewpoint, but in deep POV, it’s an error. Even the tag “she thought” following a line of internal monologue is out of place in a deep POV story, since if we are in the character’s viewpoint we can’t possibly be reading anyone’s thoughts but hers. – Kristen Stieffel

6. Assumption of knowledge

Authors often write many drafts of their novels. After several revisions, it can be easy to forget that the readers only know what information they’re provided on the page.

    This is, to me, the greatest pitfall in authoring any novel. We have a wealth of knowledge about our book, from personal experience and observations to careful research. We have saturated our minds with endless details, as well as visions of our story, characters, and environments. We then write from that empowered position; often, assumption of knowledge skewers our story.

    If you wish to expose the spots in your story where you have galloped past pertinent info, do a “character report.” Follow each character in the book and jot down the information you gather from that character — not what you already know, but what you’ve “given” to the reader. Do the same with any world, language, etc. The holes created by assumed knowledge will be laid bare, and you can cleverly fill them up! – Maria D’Marco

Read more at BookBub


Inhabiting 21st-century science fiction

Students discover that the world-making of science fiction is not only a way to envision possible futures, but a powerful way to think about the world we currently inhabit.



In March, literary heavyweights Kazuo Ishiguro and Neil Gaiman — a Nobel laureate, and the beloved author of "American Gods," "Sandman," and "Good Omens," respectively — convened at an independent bookstore event to discuss genre and science fiction.

They arrived at twin conclusions: one, that rigid genre distinctions between literary works promote an unproductive and false hierarchy of worth, and two, that the 21st century is a very tricky time to attempt to define “science fiction” at all. Gaiman said that he increasingly feels genre “slippage where science fiction is concerned” because, he says, “the world has become science fiction.” The hacking exploits in William Gibson’s novel "Neuromancer" or the sequencing of an entire genome overnight no longer belong to the realm of fantasy.

For MIT students, the permeable relationship between reality and science fiction is often familiar territory. In their labs and research projects, students and faculty experience personally the process by which imaginative ideas turn into new techniques, possibilities, medicines, tools, and technologies. (And they learn that many such new realities actually have had their origins in speculative literature.)

Students in the MIT Literature course 21L.434 (21st Century Science Fiction), taught by Assistant Professor Laura Finch, also discover that science fiction is a powerful, useful way to think about and understand the world we currently inhabit. The course, which deals with the imaginative flexibility and speculative potential in science fiction and fantasy, explores how we could inhabit worlds seen through lenses of sci-fi books such as N.K. Jemison’s “The Fifth Season,” Jeff VanderMeer’s “Annihilation,” and China Miéville’s “The City and The City” — all books explored in the class.

Seeing the world in new ways

Arriving at MIT, Finch knew contemporary science fiction would be natural fit for MIT education — which combines perspectives across a wide range of science, technology, humanities, arts, and social science fields. “All literature classes are about seeing the world a different way,” Finch says, “whether it’s Shakespeare or Milton or realist novels.” The 21st-century science fiction course explores a range of worldviews that are free of conventional boundaries.  As students consider seemingly fantastical stories, they rise to the challenge of recognizing characteristics, problems, and potentials that exist in their own societies.

“I was immediately drawn to the opportunity to discuss issues of race, gender, and colonialism through a range of speculative fiction,” says Meriam Soltan, a master's student in architecture studies, recalling what attracted her to the class. “Right from the start, Professor Finch framed the genre in a way that really spoke to a whole range of social justice issues that we are attempting to navigate today.”

The course has an explicit social justice bent to it: Rather than space operas or extreme-tech science fiction, the focus is on authors who rethink the contemporary moment and its various perils, uncertainties, and injustices; authors who use a future space to re-imagine potentials for the present.

The inspiration for the course grew out of Finch’s sense that a cultural atmosphere of despair and turmoil — especially in American politics — was weighing on college students. She thought that the unbounded imagination and fresh avenues of science fiction would enable students to better see that “the present reality is not here forever — and that we have the power to change things.”

Especially in the face of the pandemic, keystone books like “The Fifth Season” give necessary reminders of possibility and resistance, of human and beyond-human nature working in a subtle alliance for positive change. “This isn’t about utopia,” Finch says. “It’s about pushing back in solidarity against a historical, overarching oppressive power.”

“Sci-fi enables us to world-build a more-just world, outside of the constraints of what is ‘feasible’ in our current political constraints,” says Jocelyn Ting, a materials science and engineering with electrical engineering major. “As an engineer who will help shape our world in the next decades of the climate crisis, it feels vital that I world-build with others, that we listen to each other's thoughts as we dream of a better system together.”   

Beyond the human

Works in the genre of “Indigenous futurism” are specifically pushing back against the settler colonial narrative that Indigenous people belong to the past, and that if an Indigenous person behaves in “contemporary” or “modern” ways they are no longer (so goes the white settler culture critique) being “authentically” Indigenous. Against that background, Indigenous futurism is a way for Indigenous writers, artists, and musicians to counter such violent historicizing. “Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience™” by Rebecca Roanhorse opens the course with the question of who gets to shape and share cultural histories, and who gets to consume them — through the lens of futuristic virtual technology in an otherwise-realistic world.

“The City and The City,” for instance, tells the noir-ish detective story in a city that shares the same space with another, separate city. Each minute of each day, the citizens of one city have to consciously un-see the denizens of the other, ignoring smells and sounds that no societal taboos or boundaries can prevent, as each city continues on in its own distinct habits and cultures. It is deeply prohibited to acknowledge the other city or its people, a measure enforced by a terrifying and omnipresent police force called Breach.

The conceit may seem fantastic, until the reader begins to do the difficult work of parsing how this is already the reality in the United States. Experimental architect Olalekan Jeyifous reflects on his own understanding of “The City and The City” in one class reading, especially in regard to gentrification: “Walking up and down the street every day, I see such a complete disconnect between the two communities of the Black folks sitting on the steps chilling, and then newer gentrifying folks spilling out of bars. They may walk into the same bodega, but there’s zero acknowledgment.”
 
Soltan reflects that the critical class discussions relate to her own research in architecture, as the course grapples with “liberating” discussions of urban form, space, and planning. “I’m always interested in how fictions are formalized into the built environment,” she says. “I think the class material and discussions really help reclaim that process. We’re introduced to a whole toolkit of methods that might expand our thinking and make space for other possible futures.”

Such coded, reframed analyses open up fresh perspectives. For instance, in the unit focused on Jeff VanderMeer’s “Annihilation,” students look “beyond the human” to ask how eco-critical narratives push back against continual, capitalistic growth and work to account for the messy and natural processes of our planet. That reading is couched in dense, rich sentences in the fairly short novel — and as they read, the students hone their skills in deciphering those intricacies.    

“I really want students to come out of this class knowing how to do close reading,” says Finch, “because that’s a skill in life that’s so translatable and important — in everything from political discourse and rhetoric to thinking about your relationship to your own mind.”

The course helps students develop fundamental literary skills — from close reading to essay writing to imaginative world-building — all of which serve problem-solvers well. And it does so with a hopeful, imaginative bent, sharing works that ask, even in times of crisis and uncertainty: what can flourish?

Story prepared by MIT SHASS Communications
Editorial and Design Director: Emily Hiestand
Staff Writer: Alison Lanier

Time: The Writer’s Best Collaborator By Kenneth Atchity

 Managing your work doesn’t work for a simple reason: work is infinite. Good work only creates more work; in fact, bad work creates more work too. So the more you work the more work you will have. It’s basic common sense that you can’t manage an infinite commodity.

               What can you manage? Time. You not only can, but must, manage your time because time is all too finite.

               They say, “If you want to get


something done, find a busy person.”  The busy person succeeds in getting things done because he knows how to manage his or her time. We all have the exact same amount at our disposal: 60 minutes each hour, 24 hours each day, 168 hours each week, 8,736 hours each year. If you put one hour into a project each day for a year, you’d have worked on it for 365 hours—more than enough time to write a book, and a screenplay, and a treatment or two.  “If you place a little upon a little,” explained the ancient Greek almanac writer Hesiod in his Works and Days, “soon it becomes a lot.”  

Where do you find the time?

One memorable day in Manhattan I was delivering a broken antique wall clock to my favorite repair shop. As I completed my drop off and turned to leave, I noticed an ultra-modern stand-up clock constructed of shiny pendulums, a different metal each for hours, minutes, and seconds, all enclosed in a sleek glass case. It was simply the most beautiful timepiece I’d ever seen.

Then I realized: it had no hands. At first I thought, No wonder it’s in the

shop. It’s broken.
But I studied the clock more closely.

No. It was designed without hands. It was a timepiece that Salvador Dali would have been as thrilled with as I was. Time moves in its own way unless we somehow capture it.

It reminded me that time is a free force. It just happens, whether you do anything about it or not.  It’s up for grabs. It doesn’t belong to your family, or to your friends, or to your day job, or to anyone but you! What you’re working on at any given moment is how you control it.

The trick is where do you find that free time?—a question busy people are asked regularly. Here’s their secret: busy people make time, for the activities they decide to prioritize. One good way to wrestle with the problem they’ve solved is to ask yourself, “Where do I lose it?”  You’d be surprised.

I ask writers to make a chart of their weekly hours and use it to determine how many hours they devote to each activity in their cluttered, over-stimulated lives. Maybe you’d be surprised--or maybe not--that most people have no idea where the time goes. They come back to me with a grand total of 182, or 199, or 82 hours of activity—until I remind them that they, like every other human, have the same 168 hours each week to spend. Then we get serious and analyze exactly where they’re lying to themselves about the time: forgetting about the endless phone calls with friends, or the true amount of time in front of the television, or the accurate time devoted to the daily commute, or the time doing absolutely nothing but staring out the window. When we get the time inventory accurate most people are surprised at the truth. But truth is the first step to freedom, and managing your time effectively is the greatest freedom of all.

               I call it “making the clock of life your clock.” I believe in this philosophy so much I haven’t worn a regular watch for nearly thirty years, despite owning a vintage wrist watch that belonged to my father and an even older pocket watch that belonged to my grandfather. The only chronograph I carry around with me is one that allows me to make life’s clock my clock:  a stopwatch.

The stopwatch makes the Spanish proverb, la vida es corta pero ancha (“life is short but wide”) come true. You can get a free stopwatch app on your cell phone!

The stopwatch method of time management

The stopwatch method of time management is simple. You use it to capture time, to make sure that your Priority Writing Project is getting the amount of attention you want to give it to move it—and your career success--ahead with certainty. You know that the wall clock, or the one on your wrist or displayed on your cell phone, has a way of running away with your day. You say you’ll work on Priority Writing Project from seven to eight a.m. and something is certain to come along to disrupt that hour almost as though life were conspiring against you.

What’s really happening is that you’re letting life interfere with your personal time management. Of course when the interference occurs, you tell yourself  I’ll catch up later,  or  I’ll start again tomorrow and this time protect myself from interruptions,  but over the years we discover that  life runs rampant over any and all such resolutions.

               The stopwatch method works best in a life jam-packed with stimuli and distraction. It allows you to steal time.  While clocks on wrists and walls record public time, your private prime time happens only when your stopwatch is running. The stopwatch allows you to call “time out” from the game everyone else is engaged in.

 Simply promise yourself you won’t go to sleep at night until, by hook or by crook, you’ve clocked one hour (sixty minutes) of working on Priority Writing Project on your stopwatch. Turn the stopwatch ON when you’re working on it, and OFF when you get interrupted. Your stopwatch minutes may be gleaned over a six-hour period, or over a twenty-four-hour period. You steal them when you can: waiting at the dentist’s, commuting on the ferry, when your lunch appointment hasn’t shown up yet, when your cell phone dies and no one can reach you until you’ve replaced or recharged the battery, when your date for the evening calls in sick. It takes a few days to get used to this process, but once you do you’ll recognize the power it gives you over time.

Optimum Attention Span (OAS)

How do you know how much time to devote to Priority Project—or to any activity, for that matter? That’s a function of what I call Optimum Attention Span (OAS). For some activities, like watching your favorite sports event or shopping, your OAS might be extremely wide; for others, like listening to your boss complain or to your domestic partner nag, it might be miniscule. The trick is to determine what the OAS is for that Priority Project. At the start of any project, OAS tends to be smaller; as the project gains momentum and begins to appear reachable, your OAS expands. So planning to write that report, give yourself 30-45 minutes on the stopwatch during the first week. But reassess OAS at the end of each week because, like everything else worthwhile in life, OAS changes and evolves. By the fourth week you may well be up to an hour and a half—ninety minutes on the stopwatch.

Don’t forget “Linkage”

               Isn’t it hard to work in fits and starts? You might very well ask that very good question. The answer is that it’s actually easier to work that way than it is to work without stopping if you employ my time-management technique of linkage, what Hemingway referred to as “leaving a little water in the well.”

Here’s how linkage works. The phone rings, so you have to turn off your stopwatch. But you let it ring one or two more times, taking that time to make a mental decision about what you’ll do when your stopwatch is running again—that is, in your next Priority Writing Project session. And here’s an interesting secret: it doesn’t matter what decision you make. The minute you make it, as you answer the phone and go on from one activity to the next, your mind starts thinking of better decisions than the one you made; in fact, your mind becomes increasingly motivated to get back to that Priority Writing Project because it knows exactly what it will do when the next session begins. You’ve created an automatic linkage--that makes restarting when your stopwatch is next running no longer an occasion for blockage. Instead, you’re fully ready to jump in and get as much out of that next session as possible before it’s interrupted by life’s next distraction. 

And, yes, have a desk drawer filled with stopwatches so you can employ a different colored one for each major project you’re engaged with.

The stopwatch method will truly make the clock of life your clock.

 _____________________________________________________________

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Dr. Kenneth Atchity (Georgetown B.A., Yale Ph.D.) has been teaching time management throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe for decades. His twenty books include A Write’s Time: A Guide to the Creative Process, from Vision through Revision (ebook: Write Time); How to Quit Your Day Job and Live out Your Dreams; Writing Treatments that Sell (with Chi-Li Wong; ebook: Write: Treatments), Sell Your Story to Hollywood: Writer’s Pocket Guide to the Business of Show Business and, with Ridgely Goldsborough, Why? Marketing for Writers. Dr. Atchity’s more than thirty films include Meg, the Emmy-nominated Kennedy Detail, Hysteria, Erased, Joe Somebody, and Life or Something like It. His companies serving writers include www.thewriterslifeline.com, www.storymerchant.com, and www.storymerchantbooks.com. His most recent novel is The Messiah Matrix (messiahmatrix.com) and his teaching sessions can be accessed at www.RealFastHollywoodDeal.com, Master Class in Achieving Your Dreams, and Master Class in StoryTelling. For updates on writing, visit Ken Atchity’s Blog

 

 

Thank you Leaders Press

 

Ken Atchity

Author

Awards & Accolades

Amazon Best-Selling Author
About

About

I believe we can change the world through stories. ‘The universe,’ says Muriel Rukeyser, ‘is not made of atoms, but of stories.’ I believe in making a difference in the lives of others through the power of storytelling, both as a story teller myself and as a “story merchant” who enables other storytellers to make a difference.”

Dr. Ken Atchity loves being a writer, producer, teacher, career coach, and literary manager, responsible for launching hundreds of books and films. His life’s passion is finding great stories and storytellers and turning them into bestselling authors and screenwriters–and making films which send their stories around the world.

His books include, most recently, novels THE MESSIAH MATRIX and SEVEN WAYS TO DIE (with William Diehl) and nonfiction books for writers at every stage of their career. Based on his teaching, managing, and writing experience, he’s successfully built bestselling careers for novelists, nonfiction writers, and screenwriters from the ground up.

Atchity has also produced 30 films, including “Hysteria” (Maggie Gyllenhaal and Hugh Dancy), “The Expatriate” (Aaron Eckhart), “The Lost Valentine” (Betty White), “Gospel Hill” (Danny Glover), “Joe Somebody” (Tim Allen), “Life or Something Like It” (Angelina Jolie), “The Amityville Horror: The Evil Escapes,” “Shadow of Obsession” (Veronica Hammel), “The Madam’s Family” (Ellen Burstyn). Full film bio at http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0040338/

He was born in Eunice, Louisiana; and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, where he attended Rockhurst High School (and was editor in chief of The Prep News). After undergraduate work at Georgetown (A.B., English/Classics), and getting his Ph.D. in comparative literature from Yale, he served as professor and chairman of comparative literature and creative writing at Occidental College and Fulbright Professor at the University of Bologna. He was Distinguished Instructor, UCLA Writers Program, and a regular columnist-reviewer for The Los Angeles Times Book Review.

As CEO of www.storymerchant.com, his Story Merchant companies, www.aeionline.com and www.thewriterslifeline.com, provide a one-stop full-service development and management center for commercial and literary writers who wish to launch their storytelling in all media–from publishing and film and television production, to Web presence and merchandising & licensing.

PRESS:

Newtopia Magazine Interview

Mongrel Patriot Review: Producer and Writer Kenneth Atchity by Tamara Spivey

A dreamer who realizes his dreams and helps others do the same, Ken Atchity has impressive credits in the worlds of film, television and publishing.

Published Book

Your VIP Biography: How to Write Your Autobiography to Land a Hollywood Deal

Amazon best-seller

Discover the not-so-secret Hollywood formula to a movie-worthy story! There’s a big market that’s hungry for a wide variety of personal stories.Yet for all the memoirs that grab Hollywood’s attention, many, many more fail to make a mark. Why do some stories get passed over while others are snatched up by Hollywood producers? This is what you’ll find out in Your VIP Biography!

A Write Time Reviewed by The Screenwriting Struggle

 BOOK REVIEWS

REVIEW: WRITE TIME: GUIDE TO THE CREATIVE PROCESS BY KENNETH ATCHITY




I’ve reviewed many books about the writing process, from the broad and overarching to the highly specialized, focused on a singular step of the journey. I’ve read the greats’ musings on everything from formulating the idea, to plotting it out, to emphasizing the emotional element, to remedies for writer’s block. Each is great in its own right, but what if I want a mentor to really make it personal, get in my head, delve into the intricacies of my own unique process, troubleshoot my pet neuroses that seem to chronically hold me back from reaching what I know to be my true potential, and clue me in on how to harness and optimize the writer’s most precious resource; time. Simple request, right? Simple for Kenneth Atchity, author of Write Time: Guide to the Creative Process, from Vision through Revision – and Beyond.

This book reads like a writer’s counseling session (the constructive kind), in every sense of that term; from cold hard business prudence strategies to processing deep-seated self-defeating thoughts. It grabs you from the Author’s Note which, as with any great forward or introduction, does more than just preview what’s to come. Dr. Atchity‘s credibility is firmly established here. He lets us know that 1) he feels our pain, and understands what we’re going through as creative souls who want to be professional artists, and 2) he’s been around the block enough times to know how to get us to where we want to be.

Once we get rolling, Atchity dispenses with the BS right out of the gate and lets us know that, while writing might be based on intuition and creative passions, it’s a craft and a discipline that must be honed through a rigorous and deliberate regimen. But here’s the good news – he’s going to take you by the hand and lead you through the process of establishing a productive and rewarding routine, and he’s going to leverage your own psychology to do it, turning your debilitating issues and hangups to your advantage. The book takes a deep dive into the human mind, points out how its natural workings must be considered, accommodated, and manipulated to develop habits and tricks to make your mental apparatus work for you instead of against you in achieving your creative goals, and some of his strategies will really surprise you!

Atchity provides an intriguing illustration of the interplay between parts of the brain that activates the motive power of creation. Just as conflict is the foundation of story, so it’s also the spark that sets your creative will into motion – this is the conflict between your rational faculties (which he nicknames the Continent of Reason) and your free-wheeling intuition (dubbed the Islands of Consciousness). The original quirky ideas of the islands are translated into the comprehensible and relatable language of the Continent through the intermediary function he calls the Managing Editor. Getting a grasp on these dynamics allows us to work toward striking a balance between “tricking” our brains into action and riding the wave of their natural functioning to channel our mental energy into our writing. Sound intriguing? That’s just the beginning!

As the title indicates, Write Time charts a detailed path to writing success, leaving no stone unturned, from initial dream all the way to polished product. It’s a comprehensive guide to the creative, technical, business, and personal aspects of the craft. Sound too rigid and formulaic for your taste? What if I told you it entails A LOT of variation at the numerous stages, and more than a few mandated vacations? The aim isn’t that you match a prescribed workflow to the letter. It’s to show you a proven real-world model and leave you to dovetail what’s useful with your own strengths, fill in any gaps in your process, make adjustments, and replace what’s not working for you. This section is all about establishing a writing agenda that your mind is geared to stick to and thrive on, and how to not become a statistic who perpetually and eternally has a “work in progress.”

Of course, one of the main threads of the book is the teaching of time management. It’ll show that you don’t really lack the time to achieve your writing goals. The time is there, you’re just not coordinating your cognitive resources in such a way to generate the necessary output within that time. Maintaining a reasonable perspective on the work/ time relationship is paramount. There are methods of mindset, planning, strategy, prioritizing, and step-by-step exercises to optimize your available chunks of time (even if you have to steal them). This chapter alone is worth the price of the book.

From there the writing process begins, and we’re off to the races. Here’s what’s in store as you make your way through Write Time:

  • Approaching drafting and revision
  • Style – how it comes about, and its rightful place in the writer’s hierarchy of values (pretty low, but valuable)
  • A sample step by step process of creating a nonfiction book, explaining the reasons for the order, actions, and method at each waypoint; with an accompanying comparison to fiction writing
  • The most important elements of fiction, and how to pack your story with maximum drama by tapping into your intuition to find its natural shape and structure (which has nothing to do with chronology)
  • What your main priority should be to succeed in writing (Hint: It’s not using big words and feeling clever)
  • A lengthy chapter on getting your book published. Don’t make the mistake of dismissing and skipping this one as irrelevant to the plight of a screenwriter. There’s a wealth of information here about…
    • Dealing with gatekeepers with respect and professionalism (in person and through correspondence such as query letters and emails)
    • Legal forms and contracts for deal-making
    • Handling rejection, and the higher pressure situation of handling acceptance
    • Seeking representation, consulting attorneys
    • Customizing your workspace.
  • The importance of understanding mythology for shaping and clarifying your story, with a striking illustration of how a film can go astray due to the inconsistent retelling of a myth.
  • Methods and tricks for getting in touch with your subconscious through dreamwork and other avenues, along with some brilliant case studies of psychological techniques employed by writers having story problems, that’ll leave you inspired and cracking up.
  • Overcoming psychological traumas of the past by channeling them into our writing and bridging the gap between conscious and unconscious.
  • Some nice practical nitty-gritty stuff on screenwriting – character development, structure, twists, layers of effective storytelling; all through the prism of the key questions on the minds of the producers/ executives evaluating and vetting your work for production and/ or broadcast.
  • The card system revisited, with workflow tips distinguishing the processes of novels vs. screenplays.
  • Insights about revising (keep a particular eye out for the “conflict or cut” rule), and how many revisions are enough.
  • The crucial golden Hollywood skill of pitching and how it must not be overlooked in one’s pursuit of a screenwriting career, with a really fun illustration of the pitch-to-production process (it involves a relay race).
  • A baker’s dozen of straightforward rules for breaking into Hollywood; covering the personal, psychological, mindset, business, and more.
  • A critical therapeutic chapter on Recapturing Creativity – what to do when your motivation to create (inevitably) wanes. A veritable troubleshooting manual for the writer’s perspective. Something to be revisited any time you feel you’ve lost your way.
  • He closes with an amazing collection of his favorite quotes from great figures to leave the reader feeling inspired, encouraged, and motivated to carry on with the struggle.

Overall, Write Time amounts to a rather economical mentoring session with a writing sage who’s been there, done that, and wants us to get there too. It’s a premium blend of tough love, advice, encouragement, clarification, and delusion-busting. It approaches the needs of the writer from every angle and gives us what we’re yearning for, whatever that may be. For the writer at any stage of the game looking for guidance, this one is not to be missed.

Matt Atchity Joins SoCal Approach to Head Up New Media and Entertainment Division

Boutique agency adds industry veteran to spearhead relationships with studios, filmmakers, industry powerbrokers and multi-media outlets.

January 17, 2023, Los Angeles – SoCal Approach Marketing and Consulting Group today announced the appointment of Matt Atchity to lead their newly established media and entertainment division. The last five years have created massive changes in consumer behavior related to how they search for, access, and consume entertainment content. As we enter a new year, SoCal Approach is poised to bring their data-driven approach to help content creators, studios, and distributors develop precision marketing strategies and maximize their opportunity for engagement with the audiences they hope to reach.

Atchity’s background includes being the long-time Editor-in-Chief of Rotten Tomatoes, GM of Moviefone and Head of Programming at TYT Network (the largest online news network in the world for millennials). He will lead the team applying SoCal Approach’s suite of solutions to help the entertainment industry understand the environment through consumer measurement and insights, audience targeting, marketing strategy, segmentation, content marketing, branding, and new program development.

“Matt was at the helm in establishing Rotten Tomatoes as the industry standard for film and TV reaction and the quality of entertainment content,” said George Owens, President of SoCal Approach. “Our clients desperately need those insights as they attempt to harness the complicated matrix of modern media, and Matt’s experience will greatly benefit producers, filmmakers, studios, streaming services, and content creators seeking to understand their audiences and set content direction.”

Atchity has hosted and produced videos, radio shows, and podcasts related to various aspects of the entertainment industry, and brings decades of experience inside the entertainment industry, helping define the way we use insights and measurement into the world we know today. His experience across media channels will create value at a time where content creation has been revolutionized and the definition of entertainment and how we consume it continues to evolve.

“The entertainment industry landscape is evolving faster than ever, as both audiences and creatives discover new platforms while simultaneously reevaluating their relationships with traditional entities,” said Atchity. “I’m very excited to join the SoCal Approach team and work with creators to find the best ways to reach their audiences.”

About SoCal Approach Marketing and Consulting Group

SoCal Approach Marketing and Consulting Group is a full-service marketing and research agency founded to measure and deliver data-driven market insights businesses can use to understand and reach their target audiences. For additional information on SoCal Approach, visit www.socalapproach.com.
"Writing must have an element of magic to it. When that magic takes over, the writer himself loses track of time during the writing—and the reader will lose track of time during the reading. If you’re happy at work and think of it as your own private briar patch—a place of escape from the world in which time is your time—the clock of life becomes your clock, and even the thorns in that briar patch are of your own choosing.”


― Kenneth Atchity, Write Time: Guide to the Creative Process, from Vision through Revision-and Beyond

'CAPESTERS: A Hero Bureau Thriller' Releases From Story Merchant Books and Author Peter G. Bielagus

 A new, grounded spin on the increasingly popular superhero genre.

A book cover that depicts a man in black holding a motorcycle helmet at his side looking over orange lights emanating from a city at night. The title: ' CAPESTERS: A Hero Bureau Thriller' reads across the cover.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES, February 2, 2023 /EINPresswire.com/ -- From Story Merchant Books and author Peter G. Bielagus, comes an innovative take on the vigilante-superhero craze, 'CAPESTERS: A Hero Bureau Thriller'. The page-turning novel explores a world where alternative policing has become commonplace and for-profit crime fighters patrol the streets.

For anyone who ever wondered what the world would be like if Batman was legally allowed to exist, 'Capesters' is the book for you.

It's 2025 and the United States Federal Government has passed The Vigilante Act, allowing private citizens to operate as for-profit crime fighters. Within weeks, America is under "Cape Craze."

The Hero Registration Bureau never had to worry about unlicensed heroes—Rogues—and neither did disgraced NYPD detective Stan Magreen. But when a seven-and-a-half-foot armored Rogue—Lahmi—begins a nationwide killing spree, Magreen is coaxed into the case; not just because he's a good detective, but because he was the first Rogue.

As the FBI and the HRB scour the country in search of Lahmi, others join in, including the brilliant criminologist turned vigilante journalist, Maria Gomez. Magreen and Gomez meet in Boston for the final showdown with Lahmi, where Magreen wonders if his past has finally caught up with him.

Author of 'CAPESTERS: A Hero Bureau Thriller' wearing a gray suit and glasses, holding a microphone speaking at an event.
Peter G. Bielagus has been an author and a professional speaker for nearly twenty years. He has written four non-fiction books on the topic of personal finance. 'Capesters' is his first novel.

A Note From The Author:

"I had been kicking around the idea for 'Capesters' for years. (And I mean years.) I’ve always been a huge fan of the superhero genre and I asked myself, if the government actually passed some sort of Vigilante Act; how would society react? After all, we have for-profit colleges. We have for-profit prisons. What if we had for-profit crimefighters?"

After years of rewrites, 'Capesters' was born.

Peter’s first novel, ‘CAPESTERS: A Hero Bureau Thriller’ is available now on Amazon.

To request a review copy or inquire for an interview with author, please email atchity@storymerchant.com

Ken Atchity
Story Merchant Books
atchity@storymerchant.com
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