It’s been a pretty decent year for writing successes, and boy has it felt like a long time coming.
When I started out submitting my work places, it felt like I had small gains each year, all culminating in 2011 when I was a semifinalist in the comedy screenplay category at the Austin Film Festival. It was a marvelous experience, and I was so excited for what might come next.
Except that what came next was nothing for five long years. Every year I’d enter my scripts, and every year, I’d zero out. Scripts I loved (and still love) and thought were better than my semifinalist script didn’t manage to find enough readers at any one place who agreed. Short stories would sometimes get a nice note saying, “not this time, but keep sending stuff.” But beyond that, nothing. Nothing I could point to that felt like Progress.
So every year, I’d ask myself, “Does it hurt more to keep going or to quit?” So far the answer has always been that I needed to keep picking up my pen. In fact, the end of 2016 and the whole of 2017 have demanded it for sanity’s sake.
And as it turns out, life has a funny way, etc. This past spring, a twitter acquaintance contacted me with a really cool new children’s project he was launching, asking if I wanted to be a contributing author. And so Ferdinand and his little sister, Luna (who happens to be a werewolf), were born. I spent the summer working on their stories and preparing them to meet the world via the Bedtime Stories app. (My Storyworld will be launching soon, and in the meantime you can check out the other excellent Storyworlds from a variety of talented authors.)
I also spent the better part of the first third of the year writing (again) about two female pirates, whose stories have astoundingly never been properly told. I finally settled on trying their adventures as a one-hour pilot, despite never having tried writing for TV before. And it turned out that it was a) fun, and b) having more freedom to show moments and meet other characters that would have otherwise been cut from a feature seemed to be exactly what those ladies were asking me for.
So it was a huge relief when it made the second round for the Austin Film Festival. As I said on twitter, you always hope to exceed the success you’ve had before, but when it’s been six years since you’ve had external validation of your work, it’s a pretty decent feeling.
I’m heading back down to the conference this year, and I’m pretty darn thrilled. In the meantime, I’m getting pages down on another screenplay, gearing up for NaNoWriMo, and starting to think about revisions for my pilot.
That’s the news around here these days. Keep on keeping on, if you can.