Posts Tagged ‘screenwriting teacher’
Coach Teresa, How do I fix my children’s story? Agent says it’s too episodic.
In my previous blog post about how to remedy an episodic storyline . . . here’s an argument from one of my clients who writes children’s books . . .
“But kids aren’t that sophisticated, are they? Shouldn’t stories for that age group be episodic?”
Coach Teresa here . . . Kids know what a good story is, especially if they’ve read the timeless classics (to name a few: The Hobbit; The Wind In the Willows; Charlotte’s Web; The Phantom Tollbooth; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. What are other memorable children’s books? Wordsworth the Poet by Frances Kakugawa is a contemporary favorite of mine )
Also, keep in mind that a children’s story has to hook adults (agents, acquisition editors, publishers, booksellers, reviewers, shoppers). How do you hook adult-readers, even if you choose to be your own publisher?
Answer: Create memorable characters and follow screenwriting teacher Terrel Seltzer’s advice: “Someone we care about wants something badly and is having a terrible time getting it.”
Here’s my post from May 26, 2011 about Terrel
I encourage you to set the stage. Give the reader sensory details—not only sight and hearing but also taste, smell and touch.
To create a story with thematic significance, let your metaphors / similes / inferences move your story forward or provide clues.
Coach Teresa says: “Reach out, not stress out, when pursuing your dreams!”
Want to attract agents & publishers? Want to be your own publisher?
Email: writingcoachTeresa at gmail.com
Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan loves to edit:
- novels & memoirs with feisty protagonists and universal messages;
- children’s novels that help young readers understand their feelings and build self-confidence
Writing Coach Teresa, what did you say was screenwriting teacher Terrel Seltzer’s mantra?
Terrel Seltzer’s simple and powerful mantra at the beginning of class was this: “What makes a story? Someone we care about wants something badly and is having a terrible time getting it.”
Let’s take a closer look at that golden mantra.
“Someone we care about (the protagonist or another character) wants something badly and is having a terrible time getting it.”
No one in our class (at The Writing Salon) cared about the protagonist Miles in the movie Sideways. However, we find out that Miles’s friend Jack cares about him; Miles’s mother cares about him; later, Maya (a kind person) cares about him. Voila! Someone we care about . . .
What if we don’t care about the protagonist or the other characters? Then, we hook with the object of desire. We want what the protagonist wants.
Terrel Seltzer has been a working screenwriter for twenty-five years, in both the Independent and Hollywood worlds. She has four produced screenplays: Chan Is Missing, Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart, How I Got Into College, and One Fine Day staring George Clooney and Michelle Pfeiffer. Terrel teaches at California College of the Arts and The Writing Salon. View her resume at: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0783559/
If you get a chance to take a class from Terrel Seltzer, I hope you’ll treat yourselves.
Cheers to fiction and nonfiction writers!
Happy platform & fanbase building!