Welcome to week twenty-seven of the #WritersQuick5 series - where we learn about writing from fellow writers.
This week it is my utter delight to bring you insights from Laura Alsum, without whom I would not be where I am today. In a rare treat, I’m going to start this intro with a pre-question… Laura, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
“I received an MFA in film/screenwriting from UCLA, so writing for film and television is my main passion, although I've also collaborated on works for the stage and am currently writing my first novel. Editing is something I'm becoming increasingly interested in, too, and I've been pleased to work as an editor for the lovely and talented Kelly Weiss (ahem). If anyone is looking for an editor, I'd love to hear from you!”
YES! Please do use Laura! She’s amazing. If you’d like to reach out to Laura or know more about her services, please use the contact form on my website for an introduction. I cannot speak highly enough about her work - thoughtful, detailed, spot on. She’s the best.
She’s also incredibly humble and did not say that she has won awards for her screenwriting and is quite accomplished in the field.
Let’s see what Laura has to say…
Question #1 - Where do you write and why do you write there?
My cozy office is set up so that I can write in a recliner, because if I'm not 100% comfortable, nothing gets accomplished. I've also attempted to create a sort of (what I imagine to be) 19th century gentlemen's club/world traveler's den type of atmosphere complete with old maps, terrariums, glass bottles, and chess sets. I'd like to say this decor helps my creativity in some way, and maybe it does, but mostly I just think it's fun.
Question #2 - What is unique about writing for your particular genre?
Screenwriting is a whole different monster from novel writing. You use the present tense, you can't explain what people are thinking or feeling since film is ultimately a visual medium, and because the format is exact and precise, most people use particular software programs to make the job easier.
Question #3 - What are some of your grammar or punctuation pet peeves?
There are so (so) many, but number one for me is using an apostrophe s when trying to make something plural. This problem seems to be increasing at an alarming rate -- to the point I'm concerned for our society. "Try our delicious crepe's!" "The Smith's invite you to their 50th anniversary party!" Rumor has it this bothers me so much that I've taken it upon myself to cross out misused apostrophes on store signs.
Question #4 - At what point in your writing process do you start to bring other people in to review your work?
It depends on the project. For something larger or more complicated, I like to start right away, either in the outlining process or with the first act/first few chapters. If something central to my plot doesn't work, I want to know immediately.
Question #5 - What advice would you give to a new writer about the writing process?
Don't write in a cave. You may think you have written the most brilliant, beautiful thing ever, but for all you know, the story already exists somewhere, or you might need major help in restructuring your sentences. Conversely, if you're afraid to share your work with someone, you might never know how talented you are or how important it is to get your story out into the world.
Thank you so much for these great answers. Readers, isn’t she the best? I love the last bit… “if you're afraid to share your work with someone, you might never know how talented you are or how important it is to get your story out into the world.” She’s been my cheerleader for years… take her advice and let her be yours too! Share. Your. Work. If you think it’s interesting, someone else will too.
Please reach out if you’d like to get in touch with Laura and you can learn more about her on my collaborators page. There you can find links to several articles about her screenwriting and some of the awards that she has won.
If you would like to be featured as a writer in the #WritersQuick5 series, please just reach out and let me know. I’d love to promote your work as well!
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