Approaching the Desk from the Back


Last January 2016, I started to have some health issues that became monumental, but did not define me.
I had to learn how to be production on about 45 minutes a day, instead of 5 hours, my normal time at the writing desk.
Deadlines had to be extended. One day instead of bellying up to the desk like I normally did, I came around the back. Here I found treasures that had been shoved out of the way. It was mind boggling the stuff that gets forgotten and mislaid.
Important stuff, which has new meaning and if I had not had that darn health challenge, would have been lost forever.
Hopefully 2017 will bring renewed strength, and as I have adopted the mantra: Bliss, Health and Happiness.

Sandwich Glass

IMG_0711 Today, the time had come to decorate the house, to ready it for the Savoir. I lined up all the ornaments and a magical beam of light streamed through the stained-glass window, especially bright, I blinked. The strongest came through a part of the window that had some glass missing. Have to get that fixed, it will have to wait until after Christmas. It was a red glass slice that had been out since my Mom died last year. Only a year ago, we went to the VMFA (Virginia Museum of Fine Arts) and chatted like schoolgirls. “You won’t believe what they have here,” she said. We turned one of the corridors filled with Egyptian Sarcophagus’ and marble statues. At the end of the hall was a lit curio cabinet shinning ruby red. We looked at each other and quickened our pace. We practically ran. “These look like the real ones, like at the beach in Sandwich, at the Glass Museum.” I said. “Exactly,” she said. We read the label, “SANDWICH GLASS.” We giggled, we both raced to the VMFA Museum Gift Store. We hid our packages. The next morning we exchanged gifts. One each of Cranberry Sandwich Glass Goblets. One year ago. Today I unpacked the bubble wrap on red, red glass. As I put it on the mantle with running cedar, I felt complete.

Once in a Blue Moon

What does a Blue Moon look like? Today I was reunited with my father after he was held emotionally hostage by his second wife for over a decade. A blue moon looks like the crystal blue eyes he has opened to his newly liberated world.

What does a blue moon feel like? “Once in a Blue Moon” feels like his blue eyes sparkling once again — and his wry smile smirk on a quip – or his mischievous eyes slide a knowing smile.

Yes, its been at least 15 years since I was sure that my emails, letters, phone messages or pleas were shredded by jealous hands. Hands that tenderly care for animals, but shun any human grace.

He’s living with my dear sister now. A blue moon feels like the world has been set right, full and shiny blue all over the blue planet.

Happy, that’s how a blue moon feels.

Love you Dad, thanks for the hug and kiss! Can’t wait for you to see your “All grown up” grandchildren who have waited patiently for you to reappear too.

Once in a Blue Moon sounds like a sigh, and smells like tousled grey hair.


Scripting a Choregraphed Fight Scene

Have you ever wondered how to script a fight? Who doesn’t love a good Jackie Chan romp?

Maybe you don’t have visions of melee. But it sure can be a great climax! I’ve collected some info and sites to help if you are so inclined.

To begin: Make it clear who is attacking – with a clean attacking motion and a fully extended arm toward one of the targets.Make it clear who is defending, by making sure the parrying person’s weapon straight up and down.

Therefore if A is attacking B, have A raise their weapon straight up and down. This may not be the correct fighting pose, but it photographs well.

Next: Keep the choreography short and simple. Every action should incur a reaction.

So if Warrior A decides to challenge Soldier B, then A could cut to the left hip and parry a low line left.

I like this video which illustrates some of this so far:

Next deflect a blow to the head (SHOT <—– cut to head) I would not advise scripting a camera shot, just saying, but you can cleverly do this by describing this action. Don’t forget only four sentences in a paragraph for each scene.

I would enter some dialogue here: “Ahrg”, or “grr.”

Now repulse the blow with a low line right. You have created a 3 move fight. To make the fight longer, just repeat these moves, but have the other person start it.

Some say don’t even script an action scene in a blockbuster.

I say write it. It’s your story and your movie. You can pay the piper later.

Happy Die Hard Anniversary!

Feel the juice running in the veins of screenwriting.

A very, very famous screenwriter apparently grew up across the neighborhood from me. His younger brother was in my class at Neshaminy SHS.

Good ole Neshaminy, means “water that drinks twice”. Its from the Lenape Native language.

Yup, great action film – so irrelevant  and yet so universally applauded. Written by a homey, so ironic!



Stand Up

Enjoyed a stand up moment this week with ReelLadies Script Club online chat about CHERNYY PEARL.

We talked about process.

We talked about production co. vs. festival breakin.

We talked about foreign language format.

We talked about life rights contracts.

I felt washed in a stream of creativity and want to again thank ReelLadies. So many great suggestions! They even gave me the germ for another screenplay, many many thanks!! I want to discuss quickly some of the exchange here!

Process: With a first screenplay do you star with an outline, beat sheet or character’s journey?

Well, for me I start with a character and story. But the second screenplay may be another germination. Killing Immortal started with a character, journey and then I watered it with an outline/plot beat sheet/brief synopsis, which is still in flux.

More on process:  TEDxEast – Nancy Duarte uncovers common structure of greatest com

Note: During my latest writing adventure, Screenwriter Shape-Up  discovered that my style is different from others, I handwrite in a blue screenwriter pad that has blue guidemarks like a blueprint and then type into format. Others journalized this way, which I infact use electronic aides for that (iPhone).

Find your voice, write every day and stand up.

We talked about production co. vs festivals. Think circle. If you go to a production company, they want representation. To get representation you need contests shows and wins. So, first step-contests. But wait, be patient all in good time. Strike while the iron is hot and then show, send, promote.

I think the best step is to hash your script with writing groups — taking all critiques to heart until the script is bare bones, then submit. Festivals and contests first, get some recognition and then look for representation and let them actual sell your work.

Network too!

We talked about foreign language format. My scripts tend to be international. CHERNYY PEARL is Russian/ American and KILLING IMMORTAL is Asian/American. It was suggested that the Russian dialogue is a mention and let the actors/directors finalize.

I think it can go both ways, as was also discussed. Good language translations show authenticity. Language evolution, so that accents are mapped out can demonstrate character arc.

This was not discussed, I thought about this later!

We talked about life right contracts. This is a legal matter and I refer to a great article I found online: tMatt Galor Q&A.

I promised I would update the Ladies on the second screenplay, as soon as it was finished, or ready for review at least!

By the By, one lady asked about how many rewrites? Well, rewrites should be about three before the work is critiqued by positive, knowledgeable colleagues. But it is a fluid process, always tweaking and trekking.

Ladies, thank you for your hard work! If there is anything I can help you promote, plz, just HOLLA!








As I downed by last advil, I heroically answered the phone.

“Your lab tests are clear, but you need to discuss the results with your gyn.”

sunflowers 011 So -there it is – deep sigh – pet the dog – smile – a bit – YEAHHHHH yell!

But going through the surgery and post op days, not so much.

How do you ask for help?

In my anesthiastic fog I remember my husband saying, “The only thing you are NOT doing….”

“Did you get ME any lunch?”

(to the nurse) “are colonoscopies really necessary…”

Jeez. I went shopping for father’s day the next morning and got the response when I got back, “Did you get me any lunch?”

I so feel like the lucky one, why can’t I ask for help?

Strained myself, doing housework the second day. I did get royally pissed, got sunflowers three days after surgery.

One week after all danger passed.

So let’s turn the page here, this is a blog about writing scripts for heaven sakes.

So I turn our focus to a web page by Roger Avary, entitled, ‘Avary‘. You know, the auteur of Pulp Fiction, etc. or only that. It lists that he made 196 mil on his last endeavor, Beowulf; yeah, but also he includes the charity of helping kids whose parents are incarcerated. Jeez. I jus’ thinks that’s class.

**Note: when I checked the webpage link, I found that in 2008 he was charged with manslaughter, what is with these hollywood “successes.” Changed my tune a bit.**

So, I’m thinking, maybe I should get a heating pad and gift it forward to the next lady that has to get a d & c, cervexoscopy, LEEP and uteral polyp removed.

Maybe I should thank the dr who helped me along — we did bond during the post op appt talking about “Mind Game” i.e. computer game?

And, maybe I should be kinder to the receptionist of his office for, or not, although she neglected to tell me I needed a referral and that one of the office procedures was on my nickel. maybe not.

Thanks for the sunflowers, though I have to hint my way to a gift, telling my husband, “You can buy me flowers.”

;D onward crazy life!

Well, next week, induction into VSF< Virginia Screenwriting Forum> important stuff!

Send somebody some flowers: A link to a BBC recording of Sylvia Plath reading her own poem: Tulips.



give Me A Break!

umbrella book girlI don’t know how many of you keep up with your dr. appts and such. Well,  I finally got around to my yearly with the female dr. after 5 yrs lapse. The dreaded phone call came, “You have an abnormal pap test.”

“NOOOOOOOoooo!” echoed through the house, it can’t be.

But it was something I had to face, like it or not. The specialist visit was friendly and upbeat. It was a lesson in ornithology, no I mean oncology. The supposed HPV cell supposedly caused my nuclei to enlarge. Hmmm. The body takes care of most of the abnormality, as we went over these facts, still stunned, all I heard was:

A. Colposcoiy

B. Biopsy

C. LEEP (Loop electrosurgical excision)


I do eat healthy, supplements and all; with extreme amounts of caffeine and little exercise, I am a writer, after all.

So Here I Go, next week surgery.

The best book and author I have found on the subject is a nice lady who spoke on BookTV on a Saturday recently. Something like, Vagina Monologues, first name Eve.

She was hesitant about her experience to give chemo a try and her counselor guided her by explaining that she should look upon the extreme medication treatment as a purge and a cleanse of all the dastardly inconveniences we have suffered as woman. Let yourself be cleansed and healed. Hmmm.

Sounds goood. I’m ready. Heh, it’s all stuff for writing, eh?

Reunion second con’t or unintended Schadenfreude

Now I don’t advocate Schadenfreude, but going to a N.C. Reunion, visa vie Homecoming with Dr. Dombray, here – well let’s just say observation is one of my hobbies.

Several children evacuated the church doors as we entered. (And no, I had not allowed Dr. Phil Dombray in my hotel room the night before, just wasn’t in the mood!) The service was quaint and filling – and we were introduced as if we were dignitaries.

Now I may have been reading way too much Poe for my own good, bit it appeared the church ladies looked me up and down a little too long with introductions. Friendly, yet approvingly.

“Would you like to look at the grave sites?” Phil inquired. “Come, let’s go.” He pleaded through his homemade fixings scooping from a plate full of auntie’s favorite recipe delights.

“No,” I shied, “you go.”

“But I want you to stand by grandmother’s grave.” Phil insisted, “While its still fresh.”

I none the less, declined.

I fanned getting my high heels muddied.

On the way home it seemed we had come to a crossroads. He spoke about portals on mesa’s in AZ as he neglected to fill the gas tank till we were driving on fumes. I sat quiet. He said that, in an irritating voice, he shouldn’t be speaking to me.

I agreed.