Robert Gillen

the magic of storytelling

Category: books

Film Crew Shorts

Re-thinking the Story

Six months since my last post. Life has a way of throwing up obstacles as I plan my next book. Further illness in the family set me back for a while more. Things are getting better again, but it’s a slow process.

Last September I participated in an online writing course offered by the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. What I valued most was the feedback from other course participants. It went deeper than “Nice job, Bob.” The comments were insightful, constructive, sometimes direction-changing. I learned much about my own writing, and came to appreciate how helpful criticism can be from other writers. 

The course made me re-think some of my story and my characters. I’m now busy re-writing parts of the book. It should be done later this month. The characters most affected are Tessa and Lyndie. I hope to deepen their friendship and the way they deal with the challenges they face.

New Book Cover

Here’s a preview of the book’s cover. Off-Road will be the first in a series I call “Film Crew Shorts.” Each book will be a short read. A fun adventure that I hope will spark enthusiasm for reading among young people. Inspiration for this model comes in part from author James Patterson’s BookShots series. Easy reads to spark interest in books.

New book cover for Off-Road, a Film Crew Short book.

I want to post every Friday from here forward. Talk soon.

Creating a Community of Characters

creating a community of charactersOne of the joys of writing for me is creating a community of characters. Something like putting a band together. And I can thank several writers for teaching me how to do this. Author Elizabeth George, in her Write Away, recommends developing profiles on your characters before beginning to write your story. “Story is character and not just idea.” She says of character: “Give them flaws, allow them to doubt themselves about something, see to it that they grow and change, and make certain you are putting them into conflict.”

I thank teacher and writer Josh Adell for introducing me to The Art of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri. Says Egri, “Character is the fundamental material we are forced to work with, so we must know character as thoroughly as possible.”

creating a community of charactersBoth authors recommend writing about your characters for as long as it takes to know them intimately and deeply. For me, I now have about 60,000 words and over 100 pages on character profiles. They represent three or four different stories at this point, but may all meld into one series as I progress. Some characters loom large. Others are minor, with brief descriptions so far. But all of them are distinct, individual, interesting.

My most recent – Maddy Dela Riva. A high school junior, challenged by physical limitations, strong in her determination and courage,   maybe a bit cocky, yet insecure in moments of introspection. I look forward to working her into the Film Crew series I’m working on. Maddy came to me the other day, and within hours she was crying out to be part of the story. She has all but forced her way into the series.

More to come…

Off-Road: A Film Crew Adventure

Coming soon. I am close to finishing the last edit on the opening story in my Young Adult Film Crew series, titled: Off-Road: A Film Crew Adventure.

Off-road

Off-road

High school junior Tessa Warren and her friends Lyndie Reed and Eric Vargas set out to film the Cactus 100 off-road race in California’s Mojave Desert. They want to enter the documentary in local youth film festivals. But environmental protestors, out to shut down the race, target Tessa and her friends with a mis-directed hostility that endangers them and their project.

The stories will be short reads posted to Kindle and other websites.

Look for the Film Crew this spring.

 

The Magic of Story

Welcome to my author blog. My heroes are storytellers. Writers, filmmakers, poets, photographers, artists. The magic of story.

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