Bang2writers recommend

Click onto any writers’ group on social media (such a Bang2writers on FB – join now!) and you won’t have to scroll far to find posts asking “what screenwriting software do you use?”

There are a lot of options out there, some of which I talked about in my Top 5 Tips For The Long Distance Screenwriter article for B2W back in 2014. But that article was written B.W.D. – Before WriterDuet!

There’s my top 5 reasons why you should be using it too:

5) Collaboration

Collaboration with other writers is easier than ever in the digital age, and WriterDuet makes it easier still. You can share files in multiple formats and collaborate in real-time on projects, allowing almost no barriers to creative back and forth. You can also save separate drafts, so if you or your collaborator want to go back on a change the other made, the previous version is ready to upload.

4) Cost

Unlike Final Draft, which requires regular update purchases and new versions, WD can be purchased in either Standard or Pro for a one-off payment. That means all updates and versions current and future, including offline apps for desktop and now mobile, for a single low price. For life.

By the way — if you can’t afford the full version price? The online version is totally free.

3) Compatibility

Worrying about changing your current software or collabing with a non-WD user in another format? Don’t. WriterDuet imports pretty much any document bar ones written on paper and shoved at the screen.

The only doc type it doesn’t recognise is Trelby’s .trelby file type. But since Trelby exports to most other file types, it’s not an issue. More on Trelby software, HERE.

2) Ease Of Use

This software has got hands-down the best interface I’ve ever used. The macros are simple and clear – hovering over each one gives you a little explanation of its function on the page, which is a nice touch – and the backup is exemplary. If the app crashes, or you forget to save a draft, the file will be there, ready to go.

1) Customer Service

But this is the clear reason why WD is the winner of the screenwriting software arms race; Guy Goldstein, the software’s creator, is available online and will most of the time answer and deal with your issues (with the software, he’s not a therapist) personally.

Let me say again; imagine Bill Gates helping you troubleshoot your problem with Windows. That’s what WriterDuet does better than the rest – instead of telling users what they want, they listen to the users and give them what they need.

MORE: Which Screenwriting Software Is The Best? (Paid-For And Free)

Happy writing!

BIO: Liam Kavanagh is a freelance screenwriter, blogger and comic writer. He’s a former Red Planet Prize and Waterford Film Festival finalist and co-writer of the LA Awareness Film Festival short I’m Sorry, But. His work in print includes reviews and features for media websites including WriteSoFluid and The-arcade.ie and comic books published by Red Leaf, FutureQuake and CE Publishing.

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One of the most searched-for terms that lead writers to this blog is ‘productivity hack’. It seems all you Bang2writers want to get things done … and DONE FAST!

Well, you’ve come to the right place — B2W has always advocated working SMARTER, over working hard!

So I love this infographic from Enchanting Marketing, not only because of the easy and straightforward hacks, but because it looks like it’s been hand drawn! The pics are gorgeous, though slightly ironic … In an age of infographic templates, I bet the designer could have got this done a lot faster! Arf!

Looking at the graphic, I’ve realised I use ALL of these techniques … Though I probably use 4, 5 and 6 the most. What about you?

For more on productivity on this blog:

10 Tips On Being A Productive Writer

5 Habits Of Highly Productive Writers

How To Be A More Productive Blogger

How To Set Meaningful Goals And Stick To Them

More Bang2write Resources – free PDF downloads & more

12 Unusual Productivity Hacks: How to Write Faster

12 Unusual Productivity Hacks: How to Write Faster, courtesy of Henneke at Enchanting Marketing

 

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When you spend as long online as I do on social media, you tend to notice the patterns and pitfalls people fall into when trying to get the word out about their products and services, especially when it comes to crowdfunding campaigns and Amazon listings.

Most people seem to know the difference between spam and useful content when they see it, yet there seems to be a weird disconnect between people and what they actually post online themselves! As a result there are places online that are literal no-go areas for finding anything as they’re chockfull of junk!

But what IS spam? Okay …

This is spam:

– Writing & posting the same words, links and images over and over and over on your profiles, pages and in groups

– Asking others to do things for you, despite you never doing stuff for them

– Popping up in DMs, PMs and emails asking for £££ or referrals when you’ve had no contact before

– Giving no added value to your posts

This NOT spam:

– Writing and sharing your blog posts and articles

– Cross posting your articles online to different groups and sites

– Writing and sharing your spotlights, guest posts, giveaways and competitions

– Sharing others’ blog posts and articles, spotlights, guest posts, giveaways and comps

– Making and sharing infographics and cartoons

– Sharing others’ infographics and cartoons

– Facilitating discussion online on your profiles, pages & in your groups

– Creating and sharing video content

– Discussing various talking points online about your industry in others’ sites

– Sharing your good news and praise

– Retweeting and sharing others’ good news and praise

– Recommending others’ books, movies and shows

– Helping other people in your industry

You get the picture!

So, if you want people to take you seriously and actually take notice of what you’re posting? You need to do the following:

  • Create a reputation and/or platform for your subject (yes, this takes time)
  • Find your potential audience online
  • Engage with them FIRST; don’t just ‘sell, sell, sell’

Otherwise, you’re literally shouting into the wind. For more on this, check out:

How To Do Social Media … And How NOT To!

How To Build Your Own Online Platform

How To Use Social Media To Market Your Novel

Top 5 Social Media Mistake Writers Make

5 Ways Writers Kill Their Credibility Online

Good Luck!

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Procrastination can be a huge problem for writers. Here are some easy tips and tactics from professional writers to banish this monster forever!

1) Rise up and move

You need to change your mindset so you can get back to work as soon as possible. Challenges will only prove difficult when you don’t attempt to solve them. And in this case, all you need is a change of mindset. So rise up, keep moving! Do some jogging, running, stretches or any exercise that will help you change your POV and then get to work. MORE: 7 Motivational Quotes From THE Shonda Rimes Herself

2) Set a reminder

Set daily reminders if possible as this will help you stay on the right track and remind you of the goal you set to fulfil a task. You can set reminders daily, weekly or monthly.

Also, based on what you want to achieve, you can set hourly reminders to help you manage time properly. As a writer, setting up an hourly reminder can help you achieve much before the day runs out.

3) Just start something!

Many who procrastinate are looking for ‘that’ perfect time to do something. But there is NO such thing as a perfect time to begin that task. Just start from anywhere!

4) Set realistic goals

Do not set crazy goals you cannot achieve. Set goals you know you can achieve within a certain time frame. Unrealistic goals only feed procrastination.

5) Have good night’s rest

You will become a procrastinator if you don’t rest very well. You need to rest your body properly at night, so you can have full energy to work the next day. Also, do not strain your neck or sleep in a bad position. This will only reduce your performance and give room for excuses.

6) Find inspiration

You need to find things that inspire you. Focus on them while you tackle the given task. When you always remind yourself of the reason you are working, you will have better reasons to stay inspired. MORE: Top 10 Tips For Finding Writing Inspiration

177) Quit social networks

There is time for everything. There is time to chat with friends and you can always reply to messages in your spare time. You have to quit social media and concentrate on the task at hand. Turn off Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, everything.

8) Take breaks

You don’t have to keep on working till you become completely drained mentally and physically. Observe breaks in between tasks to re-energise.

9) Reward success

Reward yourself for tasks successfully completed. This will motivate you to always strive to achieve your targeted results.

10) Go easy on yourself

When you fail to achieve certain tasks, pick yourself up and move on. Do not be hard on yourself. Learning to forgive yourself can help to improve future results as well.

11) Know it will never be perfect

There is no such thing as perfection. Chant this to remind yourself, if necessary! Do the best you can do, then move on. Remind yourself you’re getting better all the time.

12) Know yourself!

You know yourself better than anyone, so don’t try to impress anyone. If you are setting goals, make sure they are what you can achieve. Trying to go past your limit is counterintuitive. MORE: How To Set Meaningful Goals And Stick To Them

Good luck!

BIO: Catrin Cooper is a blogger and freelance writer from New York. She’s always ready to cover topics related to personal development, marketing and education. Also, she loves traveling and yoga.

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The writerly lifestyle is appealing to many. Your words could inspire millions of people around the world and make you famous and rich beyond your wildest dreams!

On the flip side, writers sometimes perceive themselves as ‘tortured geniuses’ – waiting for the world to catch up with their talents, while they make just enough money to keep a roof over their head.

In reality, the life of a writer is usually somewhere between these two extremes … Here are 7 myths about being a writer: BUSTED!

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1)  Writing is a natural talent, you either have it or you don’t!

No-one picks up an instrument for the first time and expects to get a decent tune out of it. However, it seems many are under the mistaken belief that writers are born with a talent for crafting words that inspire – no matter how complex the brief.

Even if you do possess a certain ‘knack’ for turning a phrase, you need a heck of a lot of practise and discipline to develop your own writing style. Finding your voice is one of the most difficult learning processes a writer will go through. In the end, it all comes down to word count. The more words you commit to paper, the more you learn and develop. There are no shortcuts.

2)  Writer’s block is just an excuse

Even a terrible writer will improve with regular practice! But this doesn’t make it any easier on the poor wannabe staring at a blank page. Teachers, company bosses and harsh critics may tell you that there’s no such thing as writer’s block. But for struggling writers, this can be a low blow.

Even the greatest writers have ‘off days’ where try as they might, they cannot formulate their ideas into a cohesive piece of writing, no matter how much reading and background writing they may have done in preparation.

Author Raymond Chandler prevented writer’s block from consuming his writing habits by welcoming the phenomena into his daily writing routine. His advice to new writers: sit at your desk to write, even if you’re there for hours with no words on the page.

The process of thinking and being in the ‘right place’ during your scheduled writing time can stop you stressing and instead allow you to see writer’s block as part of your ‘journey’ to creating the perfect piece. If you need more advice, check out these 25 strategies to beat writer’s block.

3)  Writers must be super-productive to be successful

In order to become a master at anything, you need to apply yourself. But with writers, it is less about spending every waking hour at a keyboard and more about finding the right writing routine for you. For example, if you’re a morning person, getting up early to do some warm-up writing may be very beneficial.

On the other hand, ‘night owls’ may prefer staying up late, getting their best work done in the small hours. Whatever your working style, try out some alternative productivity hacks to see if you can improve your daily writing routine.

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4)  Writers spend all their time lost in books

While reading something for fun every single day should be an aim for us all, successful writers will deliberately go out of their way to read as much and as widely as possible — but good writing doesn’t always come in the traditional form of books anymore.

Inspiration to an author can come from any direction, at any time. Whether you’re people watching from the window of your favourite café, or examining archived newspaper clippings for article research, a writer’s brain is never ‘off.’ Keeping an inspiration diary will help you gather these ideas and save them for one of your up-and-coming manuscripts.

5)  Writers don’t need fancy technology to write

With the uptake of writing apps like Trelby and Scrivener, it has never been easier for writers to ‘dip in and out’ of creative writing. These apps contain everything a writer needs, compiled in one easy-to-use program.

In tracking protagonist, antagonist and sub plots, collecting all of your notes and arranging them by hand can be hugely taxing. With apps, however, you can save, arrange and alter your plans whenever you wish. Maybe we don’t need fancy technology to write, but it can certainly be very helpful.

6)  Writers need a publisher to get noticed

Getting your work seen by a publishing house is notoriously difficult for new authors trying to get their book sold. However, thanks to marketplaces like Amazon and Kobo, it has never been easier to self-publish and promote your own title. With paid ecommerce subscription services, you can build your own online store in no time and start promoting your book immediately.

Here are some more tips on self-publishing your own titles on a low budget.

7)  Marketing yourself as a writer is easy

If you have gone to the trouble of writing and self-publishing a book, don’t think that the battle is over. You will need to put significant efforts into getting your title read by as many people as possible. You can do this by offering free copies for your trusted contacts to read and review.

You will also need to think about regularly promoting it on social media, choosing the right cover image and maintaining regular email contact with your mailing list subscribers. When it comes to promotion, a writer’s work is never done.

Concluding:

Writing is an incredibly rewarding profession. Once you commit yourself to giving it a go, there are many methods you can try to pick up the skills and good habits you need to become a success. What are your own experiences?

BIO: Victoria Greene is a freelance writer who runs her own blog at VictoriaEcommerce. She likes to help new writers write, sell, and promote their books online — and she’s got a few book ideas up her own sleeve as well!

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Mild Spoilers

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So I watched LIFE recently. I love a good space movie, not to mention a creature feature, so creature features in space tick all the boxes for me. Add Jake Gyllenhal *and* Ryan Reynolds?? BINGO.

So, here’s my thoughts on this movie and what it can teach screenwriters in the way of a script report. Ready? LET’S GO:

What’s Working

The screenwriting/directing team behind this movie also brought us Deadpool and Safe House, so needless to say we’re in pretty safe (arf) hands here. These guys know their space movies, especially Alien and we’re treated to some excellent gore and some impressive set pieces, as you might expect.

What you may NOT expect is that we are very much in Horror territory. In terms of storyworld, it is one of claustrophobia and dread. This is particularly interesting because in the past twenty to thirty years, creature features – especially sci fi ones, starting with Aliens and Predator, carrying through to the likes of Pitch Black and Cloverfield – have been almost exclusively Thrillers.

Secondly, there are some interesting gender flips in terms of characterisation. Gyllenhaal is quiet as David, preferring space and his own company like Ryan Stone from Gravity. Our female captain displays excessive responsibility and heroics like Dallas in Alien; plus Rebecca Ferguson’s character Miranda is the voice of reason throughout to crying and freaking out men.

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In terms of race, the Japanese astronaut Sho is a family man (yes, that is unusual for an East Asian character!); plus our Doctor Frankenstein Hugh is not only black British, but disabled too. Neither die first either, or perform the ‘expendable hero’ role function most associated with BAME secondaries in this ‘type’ of movie.

In fact, all the characters have surprising elements to their characters. Whilst Reynolds plays your average wise-cracking space cowboy, he also displays hidden depths too, telling our doctor Frankenstein, ‘There’s five guys at home who can do my job. Only you can do your job. You’re drunk on this.’

Lastly, the monster is pretty cool. We see it evolve throughout the movie from a moody starfish through to a scary squid to a massive floating cobra thing. It was unlike anything I’d seen before, which is saying something. Also the way it crept over everyone like a mad boa constrictor/octopus FREAKED ME THE F*** OUT. Job done.

Lastly there are two EXCELLENT reversals in this movie. One at the end of Act 1; the other in ACT 3. If you like nothing else in this movie, these make it worth watching because you see good reversals so infrequently in blockbusters.

What Needs More Development

In watching Life, two things stuck out very much to me:

1) Narrative logic/continuity. In terms of the monster, we’ve seen this creature before. He’s a microcopic lifeform that grows with scary speed and takes over everything (so must not be able to reach Earth).

In other words, we GET THIS and we can cope with new stuff piled on top. So I liked that it evolved into different things and killed people in different ways.

However, WHAT the monster is looking for seems to change throughout the movie. At first, it is drinking coolant from the space ship. Then it’s drawn to blood drops and dead bodies. THEN it goes after oxygen candles. WHY?

Because it fits in with the plotting, rather than its own motivation.

Remember the Xenomorph has only one motivation – to kill and eat. Its threat is absolute, as an individual or as an army or even just an egg! The same with multiple other alien life forms. Even different ones have just the one motivation – eg. The Predator wants to fight, to be the best.

In contrast, in Life it felt like they were trying to be too clever here. As a result, the monster’s threat seemed to come in fits and starts which affected the overall dread factor, imho.

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2) Genre. Secondly, there were waaaay too many nods to its predecessors throughout; it felt like A ‘greatest hits’ or even what Alien Covenant *should* have been! Obviously a movie like this needs homages etc to keep the die-hard fans happy, but here there was not enough NEW stuff in terms of the actual plotting.

Basically, if you feel you know how this will play out – despite some good character work and two impressive reversals – it’s because you DO. It is 2017; we’ve had nearly 40 years of films like this now.

In short, there was too much old stuff and not enough NEW stuff – it’s not genre busting ENOUGH.

What Writers Can Learn

Life is a satisfying movie if you all you want is some good gore and plenty of good-looking men screaming for 90 minutes (who doesn’t?). But the two lessons screenwriters need to take away are thus:

Establish the rules of your monster early on and stick with them. Don’t make it fit the plotting decisions of the human characters — make the human characters have to dance to the MONSTER’S tune. Freak them out, exhaust them, leave them without any other choice than vanquishing the beast.

PLUS, if you’re going to write something in a genre with a very rich history of previous storytelling? Make sure you find that THING that makes yours unique, especially if you’re a spec screenwriter. Homages simply aren’t enough.

Good luck!

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5

Are you wondering why your work isn’t getting the reaction you think it deserves? Then you may be making some simple but harmful errors as a new writer. New writers often make mistakes, and while some enable you to learn and grow, others will make your writing bad, or make you seem unprofessional.

Here are some things that you should avoid when writing:

1) Complicated Language

Many new writers think that in order to come across as professional, they need to use as many complex words as possible. This is far from the truth, in fact, you should use simple language whenever possible. Simple language is one of the best ways to achieve clarity.

If you ever need some help, Writer’s Digest will be able to help you with some articles on how to improve your writing style.

Top tip: Never use a complex word when a simpler one will do.

2) Never Editing

When you read the word ‘editing’ you may have misunderstood what that actually means. Editing isn’t the same as proofreading, which is checking for spelling mistakes, it is reading through your work to make sure that you are only saying what needs to be said.

Writing services such as UK Top Writers are able to help when it comes to editing or writing.

Top tip: if it is possible to cut out a word without changing meaning, cut it out.

3) Not Telling a Story

ALL types of writing are storytelling, and therefore you need to choose all of your words and how to say them carefully.

Top Tip: Create a ‘feel’ and direction right from the start and execute it effectively.

4) Finishing Too Quickly

Many new writers may think that good writers are able to create a masterpiece very quickly and that is what they should be doing, when in fact good work can take many weeks, months or even YEARS to perfect.

Top tip: Leave your work and come back to later, don’t rush it!

5) Not Networking

When it comes to landing yourself writing jobs, you need to get yourself out there and spend time networking with relevant people within the industry.

Top tipThe internet is the perfect place for networking.

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6) Having a Niche Too Early

Many people will try to tell you that you need to be choosing just one area to focus on, but this isn’t a great piece of advice when you’re first starting out. You don’t want to be stuck in just one area because it will affect your ability of getting new jobs, plus you need to spread your wings and find out what you’re good at!

Top Tip: Niches are good for more established writers, spread your wings first when you start out.

7) Taking Experience for Granted

A lot of new writers will take gaining experience for granted. Being a new writer is the prime time to make new cotacts and gain experience – be open, adaptable and SAY YES!

Top tip: Be open-minded!

8) Not Selling Yourself

You should never wait for work to come to you, you need to get yourself out there and connect with people. A great way to do this is by emailing relevant people who you may be able to work with.

Top tip: Create your own career, don’t wait for opportunities to come to you!

9) Not Showcasing Your Work

You should always be showing off your writing talent. A good way to do this is to create a blog or website where you can showcase your portfolio or to create pieces especially for that platform.

A great platform for showcasing yourself is Writing World. Not only does it advertise competitions to get involved in, it also offers information on how to get started as a writer and other vital pieces of information.

10) Calling Yourself ‘Aspiring’

The reason why you should never be calling yourself an aspiring writer is that the journey of expanding your knowledge, networking and building relationships never ends; it is a constant journey when you have decided to work as a writer.

When at moments in your career you would like to improve your writing skills, Writers Workshop is able to offer some great advice.

BIO: Rachel Summers is a writer, local newspaper reporter, a British journalist, and a freelance creative writer and editor. Connect with her on Facebook and follow on her Twitter as @racheljsummers.

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12

Bang2writers, we gotta talk!

You may have noticed (!) that B2W is about what NOT to do when it comes to writing … That’s because there is no ‘right’ way to write, but there ARE loads of pitfalls writers can fall into.

This may be craft-related, but just as often it will be down to TIMING – ie. what you’re writing NOW (and/or the way you’re writing it) feels stale and old, so best to leave off for now and do something else.

The vast majority of Bang2writers totally get this and I’m always gratified to see them making headway with their writing because of it. They tell me B2W has inspired them and/or helped them. They’re getting meetings;  they’re winning contests; they’re signing with agents; they’re making films and publishing novels.

This is AWESOME. They obviously did all the hard work, but the fact B2W has shared their journey in some small part makes me feel fuzzy inside.

So this rant is not directed at those Bang2writers – the ones making progress. Rather, this is about those writers who come to me and say:

‘Why am I not getting anywhere?’

These Bang2writers will express incredulity. They’re putting in the effort. They’re doing the work. They have the strategy. They’re no better OR worse in terms of talent than they Bang2writers making progress. Plus they’re writing about what they’re passionate about.

Why can’t they advance in the same way? WHAT GIVES??

So I ask them what their pitch is

And they’ll answer:

– Oh, I don’t have a pitch. You need to read the novel/screenplay for that. 

Nonononono a MILLION TIMES no! If you don’t have a decent pitch, you don’t have a chance of standing out … Whether that’s via the spec pile; at a pitchfest in real life or online; or on the DVD or Amazon virtual shelf and beyond. FACT. In fact, here’s what agents, producers and filmmakers think when you pitch them.

Next up in PITCHING DOOM:

WRITER: My pitch is … [describes ‘around’ the story]

ME: But I still don’t really understand what the story is.

WRITER: Were you not listening?!?

You only have a few words to NAIL your pitch. We’re talking in the region of 25-60 words, but very often writers will describe ‘around’ the story, using cliché or even boring phrasing that seems vague and uninspiring. Yet the best stories JUMP OUT at you from pitch level. True story! This is why what I call ‘The 3 Cs of pitching’ are SO important.

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Lastly, we may deal with what I call the ‘familiar’ pitch:

WRITER: It’s something you see loads of (ie. a vampire, zombie or werewolf story).

ME: What’s different about it? Does it bust the genre?

WRITER: … Yes.

ME: How?

WRITER: ***blank stare***

For my personal fave: 

WRITER: It’s a vampire, zombie or werewolf story … with a difference! 

ME: Oh great, what’s the difference?

WRITER: You’ll have to read it to see.

FML!! More about ‘genre busting’ (also known as ‘elevated genre’) HERE.

Passion alone is not enough

Writers will tell me they’re passionate about that stories; that their unpublished novels and spec screenplays mean ‘so much’ to them. If they could just get people to READ THEIR STUFF then they will see how great it is!!!

But of course writers are passionate about their own work. No writer starts out on a project saying, ‘You know what I’m going to do? Write the most BORING novel or screenplay IN THE WORLD because I want to TORTURE MYSELF IN THE EXTREME!’

In short, it’s a given you’re passionate about your own stuff. Sorry!

Your audience is not just you; it has to connect with OTHER PEOPLE too to get anywhere. It really is as simple – and as difficult – as that.

You have to get OTHERS on board

Most writers know they need to get others on board, but the mistake they make is in thinking, ‘I’m passionate, my stuff is great … therefore others will think it’s great too and want to get on board.’

Nope.

People get on board projects because the story is IRRESISTIBLE to them in some way. This might be because:

  • They can’t stop thinking about it
  • They understand immediately what the audience for it is
  • There is a character they really connect with
  • They’ve never seen anything like it before
  • They can make money from it

Preferably, all FIVE things (note: the more you can tick off in this list, the more likely your unpublished novel or screenplay is to SELL – just one may not cut it).

Remember, industry pros can come up with their own stories too — so yours has to really ROCK and persuade them to forego their own stuff and get on board with yours instead.

Yes, it is as hard as it sounds.

Concluding:

So, if you’re not getting off the starter blocks and/or not advancing in your writing career, it’ll be because of 2 things:

It may even be BOTH these things. Supersadface. But whatever the case, these two things are a problem because it means the writer has not illustrated who the audience is for their project … and if you want to SELL your project? You have to in identify and  connect with your target audience!

That’s the bad news. The good news is, the sooner you realise this, the sooner you can correct it. So GET ON WITH IT.

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Want more tips & help?

B2W is running the The Screenwriters’ Craft Crash Course this November. We’ll be looking at pitches and loglines, structure, character, visual writing, dialogue and BEYOND — if you’ve ever seen B2W do the Live Script Edit at LondonSWF, then it’s gonna be like that … BUT FOR TWO DAYS!!!

So, if you feel like you want to give your writing craft a huge spring clean and up your writing to the next level, then this is the course for you. Bring laptops, pens & paper and your game faces, because we’re gonna be writing on THE DAY.

Interested? Then check out the full schedule, HERE.

See you there!

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LSTN INDIE

Western films have seen periodic resurgences but nowadays they tend to be relegated to the cable channel movie of the week, direct to DVD, or video on demand.

The Western has always been a boys’ club and the great bastion of the Madonna/Whore trope; the woman as either a representation of sexless social virtue or a baseless woman driven by it.  The genre is famous for men who are vagabonds, drifters and gunslingers while the women exist in a state of near invisibility.

That doesn’t mean that there aren’t memorable female characters in Western films but the ones you remember are severely hampered by the genre’s limitations.  These five characters certainly did their best to remain visible.

Hays_Etta-Place-Katharine Ross-Butch- Sundance5) ETTA PLACE: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

Not a choice some would make, I know, but don’t under-estimate Katharine Ross. This is a small role that is often remembered for the cheesy Etta/Sundance bicycle ride. With any other actress Etta might have been relegated to the “who was that again” pile. Instead, she’s been remembered fondly for almost fifty years. Ross had so little to work with and made so much more with it than many would have and that’s why Etta Place is not invisible.

Sara4) SARA: Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970)

A Spaghetti Western made in Mexico with American money; the international film formula of 1970. As a youngster I loved the fact that a woman was the co-star. As I got older I realised Sara was the most efficient female character in the history of Westerns; she was both Madonna and Whore all rolled into one. Sara was a hooker pretending to be a nun in order to help Mexican revolutionary forces.  All you need to know is that Shirley MacLaine makes her feisty, strong and interesting and for 1970 Westerns, especially Spaghetti Westerns, that says a lot.

hannie-caulder-1280x7203) HANNIE CAULDER: Hannie Caulder (1971)

Sara was the sidekick we never knew the genre was missing, while Hannie was the genre’s attempt at social commentary gone mediocre. Hannie is raped and her husband is murdered so she learns to handle a gun and goes after the men who brutalised her. I’m uncomfortable with the sexy promo pictures around a story about a raped woman, but it was the 70’s and this was an era where women began the fight to be heard. Hannie was a part of that era’s discussion. Hannie Caulder has been mentioned as one of the influences behind Tarrantino’s Kill Bill and that has solidified its place in Western history.

2) MATTIE: True Grit (1969 and 2010)

First came the spunky Kim Darby; annoyingly sweet and earnest, she eventually grew on you but make no mistake, this was always John Wayne and Glen Campbell’s movie. Mattie is the catalyst for their journey and bromance. As the prototypical teen role of 1969 Darby was one of the best of her day and made the most out of her second tier status.

True-Grit

Fast forward to 2010 and there’s a hard edge to the spunkiness of Hailey Steinfeld. No one expected that Steinfeld would end up stealing scenes right out from under the moustache of Jeff Bridges’ version of Cogburn and that her ability to chew up every minute of screen time would catapult her to an Oscar nomination.

1) ELLEN, “THE LADY”: The Quick and the Dead (1995)

Sam Raimi tells the story of Ellen, also known as Lady, a woman who resembles the “Man with No Name” as she returns to town to exact revenge on the man responsible for the death of her father and the guilt-ridden ruination of her life.  This is Raimi’s homage to the Spaghetti Western and Sharon Stone plays Ellen with bang on Clint Eastwoodesque delivery.

Lady Says 2

Ellen is never a Madonna and never a Whore.  She is, however, the woman that rights the wrongs done to her with a pistol and steely resolve. She is the embodiment of everything that is wrong in Western films by being the female embodiment of what is right about them. All this and she saves the town with the help of the fallen preacher and the blind shoe shine boy.

Concluding:

There’s a problem with Westerns that few have tackled or even wanted to. While the stories of ambition and greed play out in Shakespearean manner against the vast vistas of an untamed land, there’s a human toll to the storytelling tropes of the genre. Half the population is missing in Westerns, which makes it ripe for a new generation of storytellers.

BIO: I’m Michelle Muldoon and I want to right the wrongs of Western cinematic lore by making LAST STAND TO NOWHERE, an all-female re-imagining of Gunfight at the OK Corral.  I’m a writer turned filmmaker who loves nothing more than to write heroic, damaged, sarcastic women who save the day.

LAST STAND TO NOWHERE is CROWDFUNDING ON INDIEGOGO and can be found on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM and TWITTER. And you can find me at my BLOG, and on TWITTER.

LAST STAND TO NOWHERE-2

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Do you love to write or take notes? Taking notes or writing on paper can turn into a disorganised mess. The pages might get mixed up, spoiled or you might lose the pages.

But with the advancement in technology, you now have plenty of solutions to this problem! You just have to pick what works best for you. Take a look at the list of best Android tablets accessory apps that make it easy to write.

Best Accessories

A great accessory for Android tablets is the case with keyboard. There are many manufacturers that offer such cases for your tablet. The keyboard is well spaced and functional making it easy to type while on the go. They are slim, lightweight and east to carry around. Along with this, it protects your tablet without adding unnecessary bulk. Here are some of our favourites:

1)    Bluetooth Keyboards

The F-18 foldable Bluetooth keyboard is best for increasing your productivity on the go. Everyone would agree with the fact that Android tablets are great for entertainment and fun. However, writing an essay or a blog on you tablet might be difficult. To make it easy, you can use this keyboard. When you use this keyboard, you will not experience any typos. You can turn your tablet into a mini laptop with the F-18 foldable Bluetooth keyboard.

2)    Adonit Jot Pro Stylus

Another accessory suitable for your Android tablet is the stylus pen. The stylus pen is useful for you as it makes tapping small things very easy. You can use it for taking notes easily, you can you write as you would with a pen. The Jot Pro is a great stylus as it looks like a pen. It even has a cap to cover the tip when not in use.

3)    Livescribe Pen and Moleskin Notepad

This is one of the best tablets accessories that allows you to have a digital copy of your notes. Live scribe has worked in collaboration with Moleskin to bring you a great accessory. You can carry the stylish looking notepad with you and write anything on it with the Live Scribe pen. The app on your tablet will save a digital copy of your notes. The problem of losing your notes is eliminated with this pen and notepad.

Moreover, the Livescribe can record audio as well using your Android tablet. You just have to tap on the text in the Livescribe app and hear the relevant part of the recording. You can search for your notes on the app and sync them with Evernote.

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Best Apps

There are also several writing apps that can make your writing experience into a pleasurable one. Some of the best apps for writing on the go are:

4)    iA Writer

iA Writer is one of the most famous writing apps for Android tablets. It offers various features a preview mode that you can access by swiping across the screen. You can create local files on your tablet along with accessing the documents on Google Drive and Dropbox. This allows you to export your writing to several formats like PDF, MS Word or HTML.

5)    Jotter Pad

Another great app for writing on your Android tablet is Jotter Pad. It has a decent-looking user interface that makes it easy for you to concentrate on your task. You can write in Markdown and export it to numerous formats such as DOCX, TXT, and PDF. It also supports integration with Dropbox allowing you to access your files from anywhere.

What’s your favourite accessory or app for you writing on the go? Share in the comments!

Bio PictureBIO: This post was written by Jeffrey Ulrich, CEO, Chinavasion Wholesale Ltd., tech and cool gadgets enthusiast, creator of the Chinese e-commerce shop in 2004, Shenzhen, China. For more info visit: www.chinavasion.com.

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