Black Serenade Update:

The air in the room is Vulcan hot. The heat hits me like a solar flare that’s been trapped in my living room and is dying to be released and the only way out is through me. I can’t breathe damn it! The sweat stings my eyes and a single word is swirling inside my brain and it’s ready to erupt … Doom, Doom, DOOOOMMM … I tell ya.

Oh EJ, get a grip.

It’s not the end of the world.

Just because I received the first draft of my screenplay Black Serenade back from the harbingers of doom—I mean workshoppers—isn’t a reason to disintegrate to ash. No I am not a vampire. I am a writer who is worrying over nothing.

So what was the verdict?

Cut a couple of scenes.

Yeah, I knew that all ready.

The three main characters need their relationships developed.

I knew that too! But the good news is, talking and workshopping has helped me combat the problem.

Sentence structure.

That was a given. It’s a first draft.

The good news:

Don’t change the sequence, story isn’t a problem. Beginning, middle and end flow.

I got the three Gs. Gross, Gruesome and Gorgeous. I love those three Gs. I shall strive harder to get more of them.

See, workshopping isn’t so bad. All that gloom and doom for nothing—the panic. What panic? I was just working the tension. Alright. I know you know. Even though I have great workshoppers I still get the jitters. Sometimes I feel nauseous and other times I find myself holding my breath. But no matter how much constructive criticism I get, I move forward. I get over the nerves and decide which advice to follow, which advice to think about and which advice to ignore.

I’ve applied for a Mentorship program. Now that’s a reason to feel nervous. Wish me luck.

Signing out,

EJ McLaughlin.


Delidio’s Cadence

Delidio’s Cadence is one of those stories that started as a short story then progressed into a novel. We’ve all had those. However, this story soon developed into a nightmare that rivaled Freddy Kruger. Forget being slashed while you slept, Delidio was killing me with incisions of indecision. Something just wasn’t right. I experimented with voice, style, narrators and different points of view, but nothing was working. Then I had (as if I didn’t have enough challenges in my life) a revelation to split the book into character sections and have the main character doing a first person point of view but, because she is a soldier, I wrote her passages in first person with one small difference. There weren’t any I’s, me’s or my’s. It was hard, challenging, and I have to admit a little fun, but something was still not right. Aaaaarrrrgghh! It was like Freddy showing up in one of my nightmares with butter knives and spoons for fingers. It just isn’t right. A little hilarious but still not right.

No matter what I tried, it wasn’t working. Then came the wave of getting back into my screenplays and like a small meteor landing inside my bubbling pot of bolognaise sauce and making a mess, Delidio’s Cadence slapped me to attention and forced me to surrender all other stories. My orders, whether I wanted to follow them or not, are to adapt my novel into a screenplay. I’m only a civilian damn it!

Where do I begin?

I had been drafted.

I was being punished. The hardcore formatting issues, the translating prose into descriptions, the deleting of obsolete scenes and characters, not only hurt my brain, my eyes and my poor fingers, but the theme of the story changed too! I was amazed that my laptop hadn’t conked out due to being abused and continually poked at.

Eight days into my conscripted service and I had finished the first draft. Say that again because I don’t believe it myself. The story and the characters all fell into place.

I once had a tutor and manuscript assessor tell me that it read like a movie. Am I feeling like an idiot? Of course I am. I still have a few issues of world building and some other tiny issues with some character relationships, but it’s a first draft and a first draft is better than no draft at all.

Not everyone’s heart is in tune with humanity’s; that’s the tag line for the moment. For the first time I’m writing a uniquely Dark Urban Australian Fantasy and I’m feeding on the fear and uncertainty; why? because that’s what life’s like for my characters living in a world that doesn’t care about doing what’s right.

I’ll keep you posted.

The screenplay soldier,

E. J. McLaughlin

Black Serenade

This post came about because I have a screenplay that’s been begging me to work on it, but I let it down, failed it miserably because this was one of the stories that got hacked to death by bad workshopping. Let’s get one thing clear. I wasn’t being a precious princess who was afraid of killing her darlings. I love killing my darlings because at the end of the journey a better story unfolds. Every week I was told by the same group of people, day in and week out, (because we all took the same classes) that I shouldn’t bother with horror, it’s not something we should read or watch, why does there have to be blood, there’s something wrong with people who like or write horror.

Hello. Is anybody home?

My tag line is: Love; devour it before it devours you. There’s some degree of expectation of seeing blood in a horror romance and not a romance horror. Not forgetting that they would scribble out entire scenes without a word as to why. Some of the advice was good, but too much of it was bad, including the personal jabs. I put away my screenplay Black Serenade for all the wrong reasons. Unintentionally I let these bad workshoppers get to me, make myself doubt who I was as a writer and scariest of all, I let them.

That’s what bad workshopping does. It erodes your confidence bit by bit until you become afraid of something that you’ve created. I even have a novel that has been sitting dormant on my bookshelf for four years waiting to be reworked. (Guess what?)

Sure I kept writing. I even managed to finish my novel, Never Bargain With God and have sent out query letters to agents. I have other projects waiting. So why did I feel inclined to ignore Black Serenade? Because, it brought back the fear associated with losing confidence. It made me feel inadequate, frustrated and not worth the ink needed to have it printed out. I can’t believe how hard this is for me to write. Just because some unprofessional workshoppers dug their claws in, I was ready to sacrifice what I had worked so hard on.

While doing these posts on workshopping, I had a revelation. I not like that now. I have professional workshoppers who scare me for a whole different reason. They slash their way through my work and it’s all constructive criticism. I love it. I’m not dwelling in the past anymore. Bad workshopping is a thing of the past.

After rereading my screenplay, I decided to rewrite it as I wanted it to be from the beginning. It only took four days. I was happy. I was an ogre if I wasn’t writing it. So, Black Serenade has made it as my first post in Screenplay Scrapbook.

It’s currently out of my hands and into the dependable and reliable story deconstructionists I know. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

The reinvigorated,

E. J. McLaughlin