Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Guest Scribe: Liz Strange

I'm pleased to feature a fellow Canadian author and screenwriter on the blog this week. Liz Strange writes adult fantasy, paranormal, mystery, erotica, and will be celebrating the release of her debut young adult novel, under the pen name, Rachel Armstrong, in February. Plus - she writes scripts. This Ontario writer is cranking out the words and with many of her work receiving allocates and awards - those words are keepers.

Liz has kindly agreed to a short interview. Here goes:

What projects are you working on / have published?

I am just finalizing the galleys on my debut YA fantasy novel, Fair Folk in Knob’s End (Daughters of Annwn #1) and will be starting the edits on the print version of Book 3 in my Dark Kiss trilogy. I also have a couple of short stories out there, and have just finished my fourth original screenplay.
What's your "road to publication" story?

I had a life “situation” about 6 years ago. It was a catalyst to make some real changes in my life, which included trying to get published. So I brought out an old manuscript I’d written about 15 years earlier and polished it up. The rest is history.

Why young adult fiction?

This particular story (Fair Folk in Knob’s End) seemed to translate best to a YA format. It’s a fun, whimsical story, much lighter than most of the stuff I write. I’m very excited to have something of mine to read to my younger children.

Why screenwriting?

I love movies!! I’ve always been a fascinated with the whole business of making movies, and I’ve had some great ideas that seemed to translate best to a screenplay format, over a novel or short story. And it’s fun to write in a different kind of structure.

It's all storytelling in the end, no? Can you share a bit with us about your (very cool) awarding script and how winning has impacted your career?

Well I’ve had 2 different scripts make the Finals (2011) and semi-finals (2012) at the Shriekfest Film Festival & Screenplay competition. Night walker is the story of man from medieval Scotland who turns to a local coven for help in getting revenge against the man who murdered his wife. He’s betrayed, and cursed to exist as a Nightwalker until he can track down each woman and kill her.

It’s opened doors to new contacts and given me the confidence to keep writing and getting my work out there.

I agree that entering contests (and winning or making the shortlist) can give you a leg up on the competition. Congrats! Do you approach / plot fiction and screenwriting differently?

I am totally a ‘write by the seat of my pants’ type of author with anything I do. 

The perpetual plotter in me let out a ginormous gasp, but I'll get over it. lol... Best writing advice you've heard?

Keep reading and trying new things. Expect criticism and learn from it.

What inspires you?

Images, music and interesting legends/folklore.

Lightning round:

Vampires or werewolves? Vampires, no question.
Chocolate or peanut butter? Both.
Favourite horror film? The Evil Dead.
Favourite line from ANY film? Roy from Blade Runner “All these moments will be lost in time,
 like tears in rain."
Favourite Canadian TV show? Continuum. If you haven’t seen it yet, you need to!

Ah, Blade Runner. Such a classic. Thanks so much for hanging out, Liz and I wish you all the best with ALL of your projects. Continuum - gotta check it out!

Monday, January 28, 2013

A way with fear

I've been working on a project that has lead me to step out of my comfort zone in many ways:

1. I'm co-writing the script, which I wasn't sure I wanted to attempt again, but there's a lot to be said for tackling a story as a team.

2. It's a thriller. No paranormal elements. No serendipitous use of magicks to get characters out of a jam. It's real-world, and frankly, that much scarier.

3. Several of the characters are twisted and have a way with fear - exploiting each other's to the utmost - which translates into a lot of nasty research into the minds of psychopaths.

4. My writing partner has a proven track record in the industry and his experience forces me to up my game. What if I suck? What if my dialogue is shit and my characters are flatter than I was in the sixth grade?

It's all a bit frightening if I dwell on things, however, that's part of the appeal. This project has made me realize I use fear as a motivator in my life. I write everyday, but usually don't finish a project until a fierce deadline closes in. I hate dentists and go in for treatment at the last possible second, when a wonky tooth is threatening to do its worst. My diet is questionable and only improves when slipping on my favourite jeans becomes a secretive five-minutes-in-the-bathroom-without-my-husband-as-a-witness procedure.

I need fear in my life and I'm not ashamed to admit it. It's the great regulator, ensuring I get shit done, pay my bills, make it to the day job, strive to do better.

The above image is supposed to be motivational. But what if no one in the world experienced fear? What would we be capable of then? Ah...now there's a story....