Sunday, September 5, 2010

Day Two -- In a Tight Spot

Had a nice brunch with friends this morning. I managed to ask a few questions of one friend who happens to be an engineer.

This is good because the protagonist in the television show happens to work for an engineering company...which requires a bit of design-type stuff. Right now, I have placeholders like, "Ask XX what those things are called," and "Ask XX if this is even feasible?"

I don't actually need to know a lot -- but I do need enough to make certain scenes work -- which requires some technical stuff on engineering. Eventually the main character will spend most of the episode running, but I need to plant some office "real-life" in first, since it will become important later.

...enough of the rambling.

On the progress counter: I wrote 16 pages yesterday. Not bad, considering I usually spend my first day of writing procrastinating. I did make it to the end of Act 1, although I will need to go back and pepper a few extra scenes in later.

Today? Act 2. It involves a chase scene, some subway antics, and a big eye opener for our main character.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Day One -- The Beginning

So, today is Day 1 of my Labour Day Writing Extravaganza.

Miracle of miracles -- I managed to keep the weekend free, at least during my peak writing hours.

I've convinced all my friends I am not allowed to go out between Noon and 7pm. So, I am going to see a movie tonight, going for breakfast tomorrow, and pretty much writing the rest of the time.

I've set some reasonable goals I think:
  • Day 1: Act 1
  • Day 2: Act 2
  • Day 3: Act 3 and Act 4
Seeing as the acts get shorter as you go, I figure this will be doable.

I'll post my progress as I go. Wish me luck!


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Writing a Spec Pilot

About two weeks ago, my brother asked me whether I had any ideas for action shows. At the time, I didn't - but I said I would give it some thought.

Low and behold, an idea popped into my head last weekend. With some brainstorming help from my writing partner, I developed an outline for the show.

All well and good -- except that the pilot episode has decided that it wants to be written....right now. No, seriously...right now. If I could take a week off work to write it, it might've been done by now.

Kind of funny since the concept doesn't actually fit my brother's need (episodic action/adventure).

But hey -- I've never actually written a television show episode before (despite making a number of pitches), so why not? It'll be a nice challenge -- and kind of fun.

So yes -- my next project will be the pilot for a television series. Technically, it's my current project, since I've already started it. Today, I developed the episode template, outlined the scenes, and wrote the first scene (i.e., the teaser).

I think "fast and furious" is going to be the way with this script. Barring any unforeseen circumstances -- I will have all three days of the Labour Day weekend to write it. I have a good feeling I'll have a first draft done by the end of it.

We'll see. Note that I'd still need to make the script good after that. ::laugh::

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Why does this happen to me?

Well, the television saga continues...or wait, maybe this is the start of a new chapter.

Last weekend I went on a writing retreat. I wasn't expecting much because I've been a bit at a loss as to what to work on next. The book is finished and out making the rounds. Nothing at all exciting there. I've gotten some rejections from agents -- but not worried quite yet.

I need to do some good research before I start my next individual book (currently slated to be a Napoleonic sea adventure novel, with magic). Karina is still working on edits to her book, so Empath & Echo isn't in a rush to be written.

In truth, the writing retreat was well on its way to being a vacation (complete with lots of sleep), with no writing at all.

Enter an action adventure television series. Yes, last week my brother mentioned that a certain broadcaster was looking for an action series. I thought -- oh Action! I like Action! But I didn't want spies. Or cops. ...

So one morning of the writing retreat, my fellow writers were talking about getting tattoos (Hell no.) -- when I thought: Tattoos. Tattoos are cool. They are used a lot for secret societies in books and stuff. Wait! Secret societies! What about a show with secret societies? And so, the new concept was born. Unfortunately, I can't give you the plot -- or even the title, because too much would be given away.

Of course, I didn't have just a pitch idea drop in my lap...I had the whole first two seasons show up. With a bit of help from my writing partner, I pretty much have a fleshed out series...complete with an awesome opening scene for the pilot, and a very last scene for the first season. I do love having a friend to brainstorm with. She's awesome.

But still - I wasn't planning on writing a script. I was planning to write a mini-pitch, send it off to my brother, then worry about expanding the pitch later.

But this idea refused to settle for just being a pitch. It's pretty much hijacked my creativity and is demanding to be written. And not just "next". It wants to be done NOW. So, I've booked Labour Day weekend to writing a Pilot Episode. I have no idea how it will turn out, but it should be fun. At the very least, it will be good experience. This will be my first actual episode script. Fortunately, I've read a few great pilots -- including the one for 24. I imagine getting the draft down won't be will be making the draft good.

And here I thought it would be awhile before I found my next project. Famous Last Words.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Conquering City Hall

So, on June 19th (A month ago today), Karina Sumner-Smith and I conquered City Hall.

28 storeys....straight down.

It was scary. It was exillerating. It was an adventure I will never forget.

Needless to say, I wanted to share the adventure with you...but words can only do so how about a photo commentary instead?

1. Looking up
Our journey started on the roof of City Hall. Mind you, something made of holey grates doesn't quite qualify as a "roof" to me. But still, it was most definitely the top of City Hall. The very, very top.

2. Ha! The CN Tower doesn't look so tall now.

I can't imagine too many people get this picture -- outside of a kitchy tourist shop, anyway.
We were in this funny pose because the photographer noted she couldn't see the CN Tower very well when we stood together.

3. On the edge ("The Before" picture)
Here's me standing on the roof of City Hall, about ready to make a major leap of faith. I must say, leaning backward over a 28 storey drop is something special (i.e., terrifying!). It definitely had my heart pumping and my hands shaking! This is me about to lean back...

4. Thank goodness for ropes!

I'm smiling because I've just realized that I am not likely going to die. The ropes held me! (What a relief!).
5. Looking up from (far) below.

Here's the angle my friends had of me at the top....they knew it was me because I had capri pants on.

7. The Descent
...And here I am, on my way down. I like this shot, because it gives some perspective. The ridge at the bottom of the picture marks 1/3 of the way down the building. When I reached there, my first thought was, "Wow, I'm only a third of the way!".

8. Just hanging around
Nothing like hanging off a building to make a girl relax...this is me, somewhere around the halfway mark. I have to admit, whenever I lost my footing, I pretty much had a heart attack. Swinging from a rope, trying desperately to regain my footing was quite dizzying. It was during these times that I realised just how high up I was. Very high.

9. I did it!

Here is me, just after reaching the bottom. I was so excited, I was bouncing. Mind you, my legs were kind of jello-like, so I was also shaking like a leaf. I find I am okay when I am in a situation, but once it's over I go into shock. I was definitely in shock here. Overall, the sense of accomplishment right here was unlike anything I've ever felt before. Even now, I can remember the joy and delight in the moment I realised I had done what two weeks earlier I never would have believed I could do. I rappelled down City Hall!

10. We Did it!

Once Karina went down, we celebrated. You'd think we just won City Chase. ::laugh::. In truth, we hadn't even started the race yet. But we began with the best part.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Rappelling Down Toronto City Hall -- Definition of Insanity

I wrote the post below before the grand rappelling adenture...

Unfortunately, I forgot to post it. Now, it's a bit anti-climactic, but I figured I would stick it up anyways, so you could see how I was thinking at the time.

So, it suddenly occurred to me that I might be insane.

Why is this?

As many of you know -- On June 3, 2010, Karina Sumner-Smith and I started fundraising for Right to Play as part of City Chase. Thanks to the wonderful support of friends, family, and complete strangers, we've raised over $2,600 -- more than our target.

Our reward: an opportunity to rappel down City Hall here in Toronto. Talk about the chance of a lifetime. Seriously. I'd never walk by the building again without thinking about it.

The thing is… I've been on vacation for the past two weeks. For the first time since our fundraising efforts began, I came into my office on the 23rd floor of an office building. During a meeting with my boss, I happened to glance out her window (because I don't have one).

You know what I suddenly realized? 23 floors is pretty high up. I mean…VERY HIGH.

City Hall, of course, is 28 storeys tall. I've written this number for the past two weeks without thinking about it. Yesterday, ksumnersmith and I even went to City Hall and stared it down (looking up from the ground).

Sitting up here on the 23rd floor of a building, I'm now getting the downward view.

We're insane. No question in my mind.

Whatever possessed me to want to do this? I mean, really? Okay -- that's a rhetorical question. I know exactly what possessed me.

When an idea comes into my head to do something new -- I tend to jump at the opportunity:

Do I want to spend a year in Japan? Sure.
Do I want to enter City Chase? Sure.
Do I want to go to Hawaii for 5 weeks to write a book? Sure.
Do I want to try and raise $2,500 in donations so we can rappel down City Hall? Sure.

You get the idea.

If I have the time to do something (and the money), I usually convince myself to try.

Aside: Yes, there are lots of exceptions…Do I want to go parachuting? Heck no. Bungee jumping? Never. Do I want to write another story about cats? You couldn't pay me enough.

I kind of didn't think about the actual rappelling down a giant building part of the question of whether I wanted to try and raise $2,500 in 10 days as part of City Chase. I just saw an interesting -- once in a lifetime -- opportunity and said …YES.

Me…the person who can barely climb a ladder. Who has never been on a real roller coaster. Me.

Insane? Heck yes.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Chance to Rappel Down Toronto's City Hall - But there's a catch‏

Yes -- a post not about writing. crazy, huh? No, what's crazy is why I am posting.

Some of you likely know that I participated in City Chase last year with my friend ksumnersmith . Well, this year -- we are doing it again. But this City Chase is going to be like no other. Because this year, teams are getting a chance to make a 28-storey rappel off Toronto City Hall (talk about the chance of a lifetime)...except there's a catch.

To do the rappel, we have to raise $2,500 for charity organization Right to Play -- before Tuesday, June 15th at 12 PM.

Impossible? Yes, maybe (probably) -- but that's not going to stop us from trying!!

I hope you'll consider taking a look at my profile page or our team page (Writers With Day Jobs), and making a donation.

Team Fundraising Page

My Fundraising Page

Every little bit helps. Currently, we are 17% of the way to our goal (not bad for one day of fundraising). If you can't contribute yourself, I hope you'll consider mentioning this to anyone you think might be interested.

Thank you!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Out into the World

My first round of queries went out today for my novel.

The best thing I could have done was plan to submit the queries on the day I left for a trip...after all, now I have other things to worry about besides the resulting rejections (or requests for pages -- you never know).

I am going to be online throughout the trip, so on the off chance I hear back from anyone, I can respond. Although to be honest, I doubt I'll start hearing back for a few weeks yet. So, I can go enjoy Las Vegas without any worries at all. I plan to do all sorts of exciting things beyond my friend's birthday party. Tomorrow, for instance, I'll be headed to the Grand Canyon. I've always wanted to go back.

On the writing front, my attention will shortly move from the book to the screenplay. My goal is to have that drafted by mid-July.

Jana (Never one to be bored)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Busy, Busy

Nothing like being busy to remind me how interesting life can be...fortunately all to the good.

Book Update

The final draft of the book is underway, complete with edits as my third round readers get back to me. So far, all comments have been really positive or very minor (i.e., line edits). No major issues identified to date.

I am currently investigating other options for a title, because pretty much every reader I’ve had agrees that the current one doesn’t fit what the book is now (The original version of Summer of Flight was initiated in 2005 – and included a roller coaster accident).

My current front runner titles are A Breath of Air or A Rustle of Wind, the latter of which is very close to a friend’s short story title that I’ve always loved (Hi Ruth!). Not sure either of these fit better. Maybe I'll leave it as is and see what happens.

Query Letter Update

I had to go back to the drawing board for the two paragraph summary (to go in my query letter). Apparently my version didn’t cut it. I kind of expected this – which is why I am glad I have twenty more days to work on it. A friend took the new version I came up with and actually made it good. It's a bit long, but hopefully I can edit it down without loosing the awesomeness.

Synopsis Update

I have one page of my synopsis done (courtesy of my grant application way back when). Next, I have to write the second half. I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to writing it. ::laugh::

Television Show Pitch Update

This morning, I finished my last three television show pitches – this time for family dramas with a specific twist. Technically there are only two pitches – but one has two versions (a mainstream audience version and a speculative audience version). If you recall, I was asked to write concepts for a show I would watch. It was kind of fun, actually, trying to figure out what kind of show would make me tune in every week. I think these ones would.

Needless to say, I believe these are my best ideas yet - probably because of the vested interest. Mind you, I also think these are going to be the hardest to win support for - so I don't have my hopes up too high. At least I won't have long to wait to see if the development company is interested. Apparently, there's a meeting tomorrow to discuss them. So, if it's a "not quite right" (which I wouldn't at all be surprised by) I'll know by then.

Goodness, I love the speed of their decisions. No time to even be worried.

I’ll let you know what happens.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Well, that was a Surprise

The completion of Draft #3 that is. It was supposed to take me to the end of next weekend. I thought I'd need to do a fair bit of re-work to address feedback on my second-to-last chapter.

No, I just needed to not to be dumb. In other words, I needed to put in the real reason for why X occurred...which just happens to link to the whole giant story arc.

Funny how that works.

So, Summer of Flight has the right ending, two characters that I had made "not themselves" are back to being who they were supposed to be...and I can go about being a surprised, yet happy, writer.

Draft 3 Word Count? 78,823.

Edited to add: Wow. Amazing what words I use way too much. I just did a search for "At Least" and "Even." These two must join "just" on my list of overused (way too much) words.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Quick Update

May 1st.

Considering June 1st is my (personal) deadline for getting the book out to my first round of Agents - I had better get to work. Not too much time to blog.

Did I mention I have to take five people for High Tea if I miss the deadline? Yikes. Talk about incentive. Mind you, I won't send it out unless I am ready...but still, that would be a painful penalty! On the positive side, if I do get it out the door, I am the one who will be taken out. Much nicer option.

Currently working on Draft 3. Most changes at this point are finicky - to address points of confusion, etc. Last weekend I did have some real fun when I added a thousand words just beyond "X" in order to build a relationship up a bit more. Nice to have something fun and easy to do.

Today it's back to the more challenging bits. Those are fun to address too - just in different ways.

Other things...I've pretty much given up hope on the television pitch going anywhere. That's okay. Like I said, I've learned a lot from the whole process -- more so than most new writers in the field. And, seeing as I knew zilch about TV going in, I can't really complain. I now am that much farther ahead for next time.

I have been asked to write another pitch...this time, for a show I'd never want to miss. This is kind of fun, because it'll be like writing for an anthology. I'll create something just for me. I figure it'll be the most fun to write yet, if the least likely to go anywhere. ::chuckle:: To a degree, it's a blank slate with a theme.

This new pitch also needs to get done before the end of next weekend. Yea! Nothing like multiple deadlines to make me work harder.

So -- looks like I am in for a busy few weeks. I'll let you know how it goes!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Where I've Been, What I am Doing

I had a lovely time at Ad Astra. Met some interesting new people, saw some folks I know but never see often enough, and spoke about all sorts of interesting things…like taxes for writers. ::cough::

Overall, a very productive convention.

Right before I left for the convention, I received comments on my second draft from someone whose opinion really matters to me. I admit to having been terrified while I waited – hoping this person wouldn’t say it was dreadful.

Instead, it sounds like this person liked it. Sure there were suggested edits – but nothing really crazy (yea!).

My favourite part of the comments? Having my book called “exquisite and entrancing.”

::smile:: That compliment will carry me through many a month of wondering when I do get this out to agents (Yes, I am still on track for end of May).

Speaking of which, I’ve been making a list of good YA agents, and then ranking them according to personal preference.

I’ve been reading blogs and documenting contact information, submission requirements, and the like.

It’s been very interesting to learn about all the slight differences that make individual lives easier. As someone who is finicky about formatting, I am more than happy to oblige by giving each agent what they ask for.

But still – definitely no standards in terms of preferences. From 3 pages to 3 chapters, Times New Roman to Arial (Yuck), email to hard copy, synopsis or no synopsis…its all over the map.

Once draft three is done, I’ll be starting to develop my submission packages. I can already see that will be fun!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Seems like "waiting" is the order of the day.

Waiting for news. Waiting for readers. Waiting for Air Canada to to be less dumb with their ticket pricing.

Okay, I figure the latter will never happen, but it's a thought. ::laugh::

Waiting. Still, there's the long weekend this weekend...then next is Ad Astra. So plenty to keep myself busy.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Summer of Flight - Draft 2 done like dinner.

Okay, maybe not like a dinner I've made, since I can't cook my way out of a paper bag. about done like a plate of delicious gnocci from DaVino's though? (the best Italian restaurant in the Windsor - Essex Region).

Writing retreats -- oh how I love you.

Yes, I just got back from two nights in London, Ontario.

London -- Cheap, close, and I don't know anyone who lives there. What more could I have asked for? The weather was even dreadful, making me have no desire to go outside. It's like everything was in my favour.

Funny thing -- I wasn't actually intended to finish the second draft this weekend. I wanted to get the mass of niggly edits done, so I could focus another retreat on writing the two new scenes I wanted to add. Apparently, my brain thought that wasn't enough work.

I am not complaining.

I don't actually know my final word count for the weekend, since I know I got rid of a lot of words -- especially some bumf (is that a real word?) at the beginning.

I did up the word count to 76,991 from the first draft tally of 74,325. This still lands it nicely in the YA target of under 80k, which is good.

The scary thing is that now I'll need to let people who aren't my awesome writing partner read it.

Scary. Scary. Scary.

I do think it's to the point where it's not dreadful. At least, I can hope. But the people I'm going to ask likely won't pull any punches if it is. Not that I'd want them to.

I guess I'll find out soon enough.

As to the Television Show thing -- the big boss of the company was out of town last week, so not much was happening. Apparently the main topic is over the best target audience (i.e., the 8pm or 10pm crowd). This is one I don't have a clue about, so it should be interesting to see what the verdict is.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What am I Going to Do When...

I have to wait months (or years) to hear about a novel I submitted?

I can't even tell you how anxious I am getting about the whole pitch thing -- even though I do *know* full well the chances of it ever going anywhere are minuscule.

Seriously. I really do. You'd think I'd just tell myself to shut up.

But I can't help the What if? Factor. What if? It's the nebulous, I don't really know -- that makes it so tantalizingly interesting.

Thank goodness things move quickly. I may find out tomorrow if the Development Company's going to run with it.

Either way, it will be over soon. Likely in less time than it would take an Agent to even consider asking me to submit a Full Manuscript.

In other words...I should enjoy the What if? Factor while it lasts...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ad Astra Schedule

For something different - I got my schedule for Ad Astra, which runs April 9 - 11 in Toronto. I asked them only to put me on panels Saturday and Sunday, because I am not sure when I'll be arriving.

In any's where you'll be able to find me:

Sat 11:00 AM
Ballr. East
Editing Your Own Work: Authors and editors share tips on how to spot the problems that are so easy to miss in your own work, how to add a bit more polish to your writing, and how to prepare your draft so that editing goes as smoothly as possible.

Sun 1:00 PM
Ballr. East
An Editor's Dream: Learn the characteristics that editors appreciate in an author.

Sun 2:00 PM
Salon 243
Business Basics of Writing: Learn about all the business-side and organizational jobs that come with starting up a writing career, and good resources for getting that done.

Play it Again, Sam

Yup - Version #2 of the series pitch is out the door.

Initial response received this morning was: "Wow - a hundred percent better." They like both the new structure of the team and the tone of the pitch itself. They also like the new Pilot episode, and the way I've handled conveying information.

Note to Self: A synopsis can't just state the facts - it needs to carry the same tone and tension as the real thing.

Only comments so far have been minor nitpicks about the new Pilot -- but all very quick fixes. Most of these resulted from my lack of understanding regarding a particular hierarchy in the US (i.e., who would be called in when in a given situation).

I am talking to them this afternoon to nail down the last few details -- and then it will go to their full development team tomorrow.

Assuming it gets approval -- my job will be done (I think). Well, until they sell it that is.

Who knows how that will go -- but it's fun to imagine.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The "Notes"

I received the written notes today from the development company. I have to admit I liked getting these as it let me view their comments in a more holistic manner than I received from the phone call.

Overall, the comments made very good sense. Key thoughts outside of the ones mentioned the other day included:
  • A need to ante up the tone of the show...apparently I aimed it too young. I wonder if that's because I've spent so much time writing a young adult novel lately?
  • A need to show more about how the characters would interact. It wasn't readily apparent in the episode synopses (synopsises, synopsi?) and the character sketches were individually focused. Kind of obvious in hindsight. I'll be adding a "Team Dynamics" section to address the issue.
  • A need to mention key sub-plots (where I'd just focused on the major theme of each episode).

Overall, I should be able to address their comments fairly easily. Fortunately it wasn't so much about what they didn't like, so much as about what else they wanted me to mention. I figure that's not bad at all, considering how much I am still learning.

Wish me luck for the next draft -- which I'll be doing this weekend.

Oh...and as an added note: you have to love the quick turn around times I've been getting on the review of materials. The desire to be "first out the gate" is really working in my favour at the moment.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Next Steps

I got the extended pitch submitted on Sunday...yes, it was late Sunday -- why do you ask?

Did I write it on Sunday? Of course I did. Funny how that works. I did do a week of research first though.

Either way, the company had a meeting about it today. Apparently they liked it (Thank goodness). They do want a few tweaks -- but from conversation, there didn't seem to be anything I wouldn't agree with. Changing one character's profession. Adding more back story to another character. Nothing crazy.

They also want a different pilot episode because apparently the concept I sketched was a little too much like another show -- fine as an episode, but not as a pilot. They picked one of my other episode ideas and said run with that instead.

No problem! I can do that.

I am supposed to get "written notes" in the next day or so -- and will turn around the next version this weekend.

Have I said how much fun this is? Seriously -- I love that people like my concepts enough to give feedback and want to see it gel together. It makes me kind of giddy.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Extended Pitch

I just finished the Extended Pitch for the TV show concept.

This one was much harder than the first -- mostly because I had to do a lot of research on the concept. It was easy to come up with a pitch, but sketching out all the characters was complicated. Not to mention coming up with episode ideas, each of which had to revolve around a specific case. I am the one who managed once to write a mystery that had no mystery at all, so you can see where I might have trouble.

But, all is good. I got the pitch done -- and even had a chance to review it with a friend first.

So, off it goes to the company. They'll be speaking about it on Tuesday, so I should know shortly if they like it, if they are going to keep moving forward with it, and what -- if anything -- they want to change.

Keep your fingers crossed.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Development Meeting


I had my first Development Meeting.

I have to say that because it was the first -- something to be remembered. From what I've heard, getting a meeting can sometimes be hard. That the meeting was to discuss my ideas for an original TV show? Kind of awesome.

Anyway -- the meeting.

First off, it was over the phone. This was useful, considering people were in several cities, including both LA and Toronto. It was also hard, because I couldn't see the people I was talking to. I couldn't read the visual cues they might have been sending.

Mind you, my friends would argue that I'd have missed them in any event, so not a big loss.

In general, the meeting was basically a long, open discussion. Everyone on the call had different ideas and different thoughts. I had been warned about this in Austin -- but being on the receiving end of it was odd. It was like a weird form of deja vu -- being in a situation I had heard about, but never expected to be in.

One thing I was surprised by -- they kind of deferred to me when it came to the concepts. People asked questions, gave comments, said what they liked, offered open ended questions about where things could go -- but they made a point of saying I would have a lot to think about, and should use what I thought was most right for the story.

In other words, they treated me like a real TV writer, with all the confidence that entails.

Now, I just need to prove that their faith is well-deserved.

So -- next steps. I need to write an extended pitch, similar to the first one I wrote back in the fall. This will be a bit more complex, because of the type of show -- but will follow the same basic premise.

Then, we'll likely have another call. After that -- who knows. I guess we'll see.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


The call is now tomorrow morning.

Thank goodness --- a bit more time to prepare!


So apparently, the next step in the process is a call with the development company to discuss my concepts...

Like, in an hour from now. Nothing like advance notice.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Development Update

I finished my three new television show concept sketches right in the nick of time.

What amazed me was that I had initial comments the very next day (the first time around it was months before I heard). Comments were quite positive. Mind you, they're apparently having a meeting next week to discuss this in more detail -- so I am sure the hard comments are still to come.

It's interesting -- because I'm treating this like a fun, kind of awesome project. And yet, the experience (even more than the first) is following the traditional early development path, which I learned when I went to the Austin Film Festival last year.

And that makes me smile. I love that I am getting the chance to see the process from the inside -- getting a chance to be a part of it. It makes it more real, more doable.

I'll let you know what happens next.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Where did the month go?

I don't actually remember most of January.

You can blame that on some wacky cough medication. Now, I am on several inhalers, and -- while still sick -- feel I may have finally hit the bottom of the slope and can now start the long journey back up to to full speed.

It better not take another six weeks. Seriously.

On the good side, the TV pitch (formerly known as the secret project) is still under consideration for development. Things were slow moving in January but it seems they may hold interviews with potential writers in the coming weeks. In other words, it isn't a "we gave up" yet. So that's a good thing.

In the interim, I was asked if I'd be interested in throwing out some concepts for another type of show. Similar to the first request, this one seems to have originated from a "broadcasters are interested in [fill in blank] shows.

Did I mention my brain hasn't worked properly in six weeks?

I said I'd see what I could come up with. It just might take a while. After all, I need a chance to recover first.

In the meantime, I probably have the brainpower to watch a bunch of procedural dramas.

After all, it would be research.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Blog Title

Considering my three month journey is officially over, it seems appropriate to change my blog title. After all, I've decided to keep this blog up.

Yes, I will admit it -- I haven't found this exercise nearly as bad as I expected.

In truth, it's been kind of fun and I've learned a lot doing it. OK, mostly I've learned that keeping this blog is more for me than anything. It's a way to capture my thoughts, so that one day I can look back and see the whole journey. If other people come along for the ride...well, I don't mind a bit.

So, back to blog titles. I figure in keeping with the theme of being illustrative, I'll dub it The Year of Discovery.

This, of course, means I will likely be changing the name of the blog every year. I figure that's okay.

Change is good after all.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Dawning of the Year of Discovery

This is the fifth anniversary of a spur of the moment toast on New Year's Eve that has since evolved into a major undertaking. That initial toast -- and every one thereafter -- has become an agent of change in my life. Who knew a single word could act as such a motivator and catalyst for the year to come?

But it does. Every year, the "Named Year" leads my choices, my dreams, and my ability to forge ahead into the unknown. I go places, I try new things, I focus on certain projects -- all because it is "the Year of..." The word gives me courage when I may falter, or question my own decisions.

There is no time to regret because every year I want to live "The Year" to the fullest.

So far, I believe I have.

In the Year of Change, I found a new job. A job tailor made for me. I love the work, I love my boss, I enjoy solving people's problems. Even four years out, I am not bored at all with what I do. Every day brings new challenges and new projects. I also helped run an election campaign that year. I may have worked for politicians throughout school and for two years afterwards (and attended policy conferences and AGMs) -- but there was nothing like working in an election campaign headquarters. It was insane -- and yet great fun at the same time.

In the Year of Opportunity, I visited both of my host families from previous student exchanges. In May of that year, I went to Japan (where I spent 2000-2001 on an exchange at Konan University) -- while in August, I went to Barraba, Australia (where I spent 1996-1997 on a Rotary High School Student Exchange). In December, I went to the Pirates in Paradise Festival in Key West -- where I saw the Green Flash (something I thought fictitious), and learned how cannon are fired. I got to dress up as a pirate, shoot a blunderbuss, and attack a fort -- I learned a lot which will eventually make it into my writing. I crossed the Pacific Ocean twice that year. I saw four (four!) oceans.

In the Year of Transformation, I changed my lifestyle. After realising that an office job did nothing for motivating healthy living, I decided it was better to change now than to try and change in twenty years. I taught myself to eat healthy, to figure out proper portion sizes, and to either pack a lunch or find healthy places to buy foods (because I hate cooking). For months I counted every calorie that went into my mouth, and every minute of exercise. I lost 30 pounds in three months -- showing people if I could do it, anyone can. I learned that it is possible to have a sustainable lifestyle. More important to me, I inspired people at work to transform their own lives. Compared to travel, this was a low-key year -- but it will also be the year I remember as shifting the course of my future health.

In the Year of Possibility, I received a grant to support my writing efforts -- my first grant ever. I took three months off work to write -- time off my company fully supported. I went to Hawaii twice, once with my Dad on a trip of a lifetime. I took a helicopter ride over an active volcano. I wrote a second (better!) novel. I wrote most of a second screenplay. I wrote a TV show pitch. I attended my first screenwriting convention. I even participated in my first CityChase (which was awesome!).

So what does this coming year have in store? I've known for months that this would not be a simple year. I did so much during the Year of Possibility that I have a hard act to follow. What I do know is that having opened up so many possibilities -- the next year could well be one for discovering where these possibilities will lead. Discovering. Discover. Discovery.

The Year of Discovery.

It resonates, doesn't it? It is filled with positive energy -- with the aura of untapped potential. Moreover, it is an action oriented word with millions of interpretations -- from new priorities to to new projects, to new people. Who knows what else? The possibilities are endless.

So here is to 2010 -- The Year of Discovery.

I can't wait.

The Year Of Possibility - Recap


It's a word that carries a lot of weight. After the Year of Transformation, I truly did not think I would have another year so momentous, so perfectly reflective of the word we toasted to one year ago today.

Instead, I look back on the year with gratitude -- with a realization that more possibilities unfolded than even I could imagine. Many still await final outcomes -- but that's the joy of possibility. It's the opening of a door labelled "potential". I opened up new possibilities for the future that may take years to reach fruition -- but I will always know that they got there start here.

There was obtaining the Canada Council for the Arts Grant in February -- which opened the door to serious progress on the writing front.

There was taking my dad to Hawaii for a trip of a lifetime.

There was going back to Hawaii for 5 weeks of writing -- a possibility I never would have dreamed of.

There was getting up the courage to go to the Austin Screenwriters Convention -- when I knew not a soul in attendance -- not to mention taking part in my first live pitch contest. I learned more there than I would have in five years otherwise.

There was writing a pitch for a TV show -- when I know next to nothing about TV.

There was finishing my second novel (and the first *hopefully* good one).

There was coming close to finishing my second screenplay (which I plan to finish by Jan 15th).

There was switching jobs at work -- from a focus on the government to a focus on climate change and sustainability.

There was WorldCon in Montreal and Ad Astra here in Toronto (which saw the launch of Ages of Wonder -- containing my story "A Swift Changing Course").

..and I am sure there were many small things even I can't recall right now -- but which may show there significance at some point in time.

Heck, I even started this blog. A year ago, I'd have said you couldn't pay me enough to do this. But you know what? I've enjoyed it.

Sure, I didn't come close to meeting my goals for my three months off -- but that's okay. I still made more progress than I would have in three years otherwise. And as my friends tell me, I put a lot of pressure on myself. I never realised just how much I also needed time to rest, sleep (seriously), and just have fun.

I figure I am coming out of these three months (and this past year) more balanced -- more ready to face life with a smile and challenges with a "Sure, why not?" than ever before.

I am ready for a new year.