WRITING

The author of Storming and Structuring Your Novel on her writing process and the importance of writing honest stories

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K.M. Weiland is an award-winning and internationally published author of historical and speculative fiction, whose novels include the medieval epic Behold the Dawn, the portal fantasy Dreamlander, and the dieselpunk adventure Storming. She mentors other authors on her award-winning blog Helping Writers Become Authors and is the author of popular writing guides, including Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs. K. M. spoke with Storius about her approach to writing, balancing multiple projects, and building an engaged audience.

STORIUS: You write in a wide variety of genres, ranging from dieselpunk adventure to western. Yet there seems to be a common element: your stories typically take place in the past, often with an addition of some fantasy elements. …


FILM

The creator of Pitch Meetings on the series’ origins, the filming process, and feeding the YouTube monster

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Credit: Jolene Lamon

If you are a movie buff, chances are you have seen at least one Pitch Meetings video. Since the series was launched in 2017 on the Screen Rant YouTube channel, it has received over 300 million views. The videos featuring an overenthusiastic screenwriter pitching movie ideas to an equally over-positive producer have highlighted countless head-scratching choices made in popular movies and TV shows. To date, the series has shown what a pitch meeting could look like for over 200 movies and shows, from the classics like Star Wars to recent releases like Disney’s Mulan. …


SCREENWRITING

Deep drives, inner workings, and other things that matter

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Photo: Adobe Stock

By Erik Bork

Is it a good idea to create character bios? Should they be shared with others? What should they consist of?

I have a love-hate relationship with character bios. Both as a writer and as someone who often reads them in the treatments, synopses and series bibles of writers I work with.

I find them less than helpful to both the writer and readers if they’re filled with miscellaneous details that don’t directly impact the main conflicts and objectives the characters are focused on in the script. Which they often seem to be.

I think it comes down to understanding what it’s important to know about your characters, and from that, what it’s important to communicate to readers (if you share this information with them at all). …


IN-DEPTH

The new reality of infinite choices and limited attention spans

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Photo; Adobe Stock

By Alex Sun

We’re living in an era of content over-supply. Whether it’s more originals on streaming services, articles on our Facebook newsfeed, Instagram pics on our phones, or Tweets from everyone, we’re inundated with content everywhere. To prove it with hard numbers, here’s how much the supply of content has grown over the last several decades:

In 2000, 160 scripted TV series premiered in the US. By 2017, that number ballooned to 487, driven largely by the massive output of online video services like Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video. In 2000, 370 movies premiered in the U.S and Canada, but by 2018, had ballooned to almost 900. …


WRITING

“Real” writing, magic daily word counts, and other misbeliefs

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Photo: Cristina Conti (Adobe Stock)

By K.M. Weiland

Like any good story, the writing life is a tale of deceptive depth. At first glance, it offers up a shiny, artsy, fun cover. Become a Writer! its title beckons, and its first chapters lure us in by fulfilling all these initial promises. But the deeper we get, the further we go, the more we realize there’s more to this story than meets the eye. There’s more adventure, more conflict, more drama, and more comedy than we could ever have realized. In short, there are many different misconceptions about being a writer.

At the beginning of the year, I started re-reading my old journals, starting from when I was fourteen (because at some point I got embarrassed and burnt everything prior to that). It’s been fascinating to revisit my young self for many reasons, but one of the most interesting is remembering what it was like to be that young writer just starting out — the one who didn’t even know they made books that taught you how to write. I’d all but forgotten what it was like at the beginning of the journey — to be on the very first page of my own personalized version of Become a Writer!


WRITING

Understanding, applying and strengthening your cognition

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Photo: Sergey Nivens (Adobe Stock)

By K.M. Weiland

My heart is so full as I write this. So many things going on in the world right now-both good and bad. It makes me reflect, not for the first time, on the tremendous gift given to writers in the simple fact that we have a place to put not just our feelings, but every other aspect of our cognitive experiences as humans.

(Right after I write this opening paragraph, a doe and her fawn gallop across my front yard, right out my office window, and my heart grows a little fuller with the good stuff. …


WRITING

Standing out in the sea of content

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Photo by Marcel Knupfer on Unsplash

By Simon Nagel

It’s the end of a long day, and you want to kick back and watch something. You pull up Netflix and … browse. And browse. And browse. Half an hour has passed and you still can’t find anything to watch. If this sounds familiar, you have experienced the psychological phenomena known as over-choice. Simply put, when someone is faced with too many options they give up and make no choice at all.

When you examine the sheer volume of content we face on a daily basis, it’s hard not to think that we are constantly grappling with over-choice. …


WRITING

From dreamzoning to filling the well

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Photo: Hidden Catch (Adobe Stock)

By K.M. Weiland

Which comes first for you-images or words? For storytellers, both are important. We craft words on paper to communicate our visions to readers. We want them to see what we see, hear what we hear, experience what we experience. Concentrating on visual thinking is an exercise many of us can use to access our creativity and write better stories.

I think in pictures. I think in words too, but even then I usually see the words floating through my head (in a serif font…). Like C.S. Lewis and his photographic flash of a faun with an umbrella carrying parcels in the snow, almost all my story ideas come to me as images. When I was young, I overlay everything in my daily world with pictures from my innerscape-wild horses ran alongside the highway on car trips, moonlit nights turned my backyard into a secret labyrinth, automatic doors at the grocery store proved my Jedi mind powers (okay, so everyone does that one…). …


SCREENWRITING

It’s much more than “many bad things”

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Credit: Paramount Pictures

By Erik Bork

The All is Lost moment in any story tends to come around 3/4 of the way through. It paves the way for one final attempt to solve the main overall story problem that we and the main character have been focusing on.

It’s not just a point in the story where a bunch of bad stuff happens, and where there’s a “whiff of death,” as Blake Snyder put it in Save the Cat (which gave us the terms “All is Lost moment” and “Dark Night of the Soul” in his 15-point screenplay “beat sheet”).

But that’s a common thing I see in scripts I read as a consultant — the “bunch of bad stuff” approach. Writers seem to understand that things need to kind of fall apart for the main character at this point, and that the ending which follows needs to have some sort of big climactic battle. …


BUSINESS

Netflix’s first CEO talks about ideas validation, taking on an entrenched competitor, and the future of video

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Marc Randolph is a veteran Silicon Valley entrepreneur, advisor, and investor. As co-founder and founding CEO of Netflix, he laid much of the groundwork for a service that’s grown to 150 million subscribers and fundamentally altered how the world experiences media. He also served on the Netflix board of directors until retiring from the company in 2003. Marc is the author of the national bestseller That Will Never Work, which tells the real-life, totally improbable story of Netflix’s early days.

Marc spoke with Storius, reflecting on his approach to business ideas validation, starting a business in a crowded market, and the future of the film industry. …

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Storius Magazine

The art, craft, and business of storytelling at storiusmag.com

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