Writer’s First Source: Shondaland

Welcome back to another edition of Writer’s First Source Wednesday and on today’s edition, we are talking about Shondaland. If you don’t know what Shondaland is then let me tell you about. Ever heard of Scandal? How to Get away with Murder? How about Grey’s Anatomy? If you have then you already know about Shondaland. If you haven’t then let me clue you in on something that we as writers should be paying attention to.

Shondaland, which was created by Shonda Rhimes, has been going on strong for years with Grey’s Anatomy. Why? Well, it has to do with the great stories that she brings to the small screen. If you ever want to study relationships between characters on screen and I’m not talking about your typical relationships, I’m talking about messy, dirty, complicated relationships. The ones that we know are going to be a big mess and we watch anyway to see how the relationships are going to work.

Granted, Shondaland has had a few faults along the way but the ones that last really deal with those messy relationships such as Scandal‘s Olivia Pope and the President. Or how about Grey’s Anatomy Meredith Grey and Doctor McDreamy. The relationships are messy, and at times split apart but when they are back on, magic happens and we can learn a lot from Shondaland on how to make more out of a character when we think that we know it all.

Even more so we can learn about making our characters say great speeches that hook us in and make us stay for the fallout. That is what great writing is, hooking the reader and making us stay for the fallout and seeing who survives in the end. That is why today I’m focusing on Shondaland for we can carry over what she shows us and take it over to the page. She is a master at what she does and she is great at it too.

Writer’s First Source: Romantic Comedies

Happy Wednesday! You know what that means it’s Writer’s First Source Wednesday and for this addition and keeping up with our Romance theme for the month, we are going to be talking about romantic comedies. I know that these type of films usually get labeled as chick-flicks but there is something to them, especially if they are done right as far as the mixture of the comedy and the romance. The one mast to romantic comedies was Peter Marshall.

Pere Marshall directed Pretty Women and Runaway Bride. He also directed The Princess Diaries, which in a way has some of the romantic comedy elements in it, even though, it is more of a coming out story it still has some romance in it.  The other biggest romantic comedy of all time in terms of box numbers was My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding is humorous and light and at the end, she gets the man of her dreams while dealing with her rather large, greek family. Granted, the sequel nor the television series panned out as well as the movie but still, the movie set the bar.

When looking for romantic comedies to use as inspiration for your writing, the key is that you want to look for films that set the bar at the time that they were made. They are films that we go to over and over again. Another one that I’m going bring up even though it is geared more towards young adults but can still be enjoyed by adult audiences is Ten Things That I Hate About You.

Before you downgrade it for being another Shakespeare adaptation let me start by saying yes, it’s another Shakespeare adaptation. I admit it that it is an adaptation of Taming of the Shrew but this film is still relevant for today’s audiences and it does on numerous occasions makes fun that Shakespeare is definitely apart of this film. I recommend this film not just because it’s Shakespeare but because it shows how you can laugh about high school and all the different groups that were in high school that we hated while seeing two unlikely characters go for one another and in the end up together and the poem at the end is also beautiful and well written.

I would suggest make a list of 10 romantic comedies that you have seen over and over again and list out why you come back to them and how you can use some of the methods for your writing it’s a fun little exercise.

Writer’s First Source: Romance Novels

As part of our month-long coverage of the romance genre, the first writer’s first source for this month is romance novels. If you are going to write in the genre, then I suggest that you read a mixture of novels that are in the romance genre. This means anything that appeals to you. Granted, some of the novels that are in the genre are part of a series, some are standalone. If you can find a standalone romance novel then that is where you should start.

The other part of reading romance novels is finding authors that you enjoy reading and that you want to read their other works. This is part of finding your masters that are in your genre. The part with this writer’s first source tip is that you want to study the masters of the craft that you want to pursue.

Granted when you are reading romance novels, you might also want to read some of the novels that are written for young adults, such as Twilight and some other novels that you look at that might intrigue you for the romance part of the book. You should actually read the whole novel so that you can see the good and the bad parts of the book but you want to pay really close attention to the romantic scenes of the book this includes how the sex scenes are written.

But even if you are writing romance, romance novels are a great way to study how characters interact with each other and how they become attracted to one another as well. So there are many things that writers can find when studying romance novels.


Writer’s First Source: Making a Guidebook for your stories

Happy Wednesday! I thought that for a while I would make Wednesday, Writer’s First Source Wednesday.

I thought today, that I would tackle on a different subject that relates to writing and that is making your own guidebook for your story. The idea of the guidebook is to help you sort all of your information for your story, especially when you are working on epic fantasies. I’m currently in the middle of making mine for The Raven Prophecy.

It’s where you have all of your information for your characters, settings, the laws of your world, you can list the creatures that are in your story and what rules or laws that they might have to follow. You might also have maps/charts in there. Yes, I know that you can have the same information in Scrivener but what if you wanted to take it with you so that you can look it over? You might want to have it in a notebook or a three-ring binder. The idea is to have all of the information that you need for your book in one place.

The idea came to me when I saw the reference guide that was put out for Twilight, and I have a book similar to that one on The Lord of the Rings also. I also once saw a guidebook for the Dune series. As writers, we want to make things easy for us to find the vital information that we need for our stories that we can refer back to when we need it.

The other point about making a guidebook is that it can make it somewhat easier when we have to write out a book proposal or anything else that we might have to make out for marketing purposes. While it might be a pain to do, but in the long run making a guidebook but in the end, the pain will pay off when we have to write anything meaningful about our books.

Granted, not every book/story needs a guidebook, not unless you want to but I don’t think that they are necessary for short stories unless that one short story is going to be part of a series. But for the bigger novels, they can become quite helpful. Also when you are working on your guidebook, you might want to think about it as that you are making a “Book of Shadows” of sorts which is based on your novel.