Thursday, February 6, 2014

I Decided to Start Writing Fiction: Olympic Conquest - A Romantic Novella

For a long time, I have been itching to write fiction. I have been writing screenplays for the past few years and of course, making movies and now Web series. So the next logical step would be to challenge myself to start writing long form fiction.

As you know, I am a huge fan of romantic stories in my filmmaking. I love depicting the ever-fascinating world of relationships. It can be any genre as long as it has a relationship at the core of the story. Action? Bring it. Thriller? Yep. Horror? Maybe. Drama? Absolutely. Rom com? Hell yes!

And I have a gazillion story ideas rattling around in my brain and not enough time or money in this world to ever see them on the big screen. And this was troubling me. I kept thinking there has to be another avenue for getting all of these stories out of my brain. I need an outlet.

I think I found one. So get ready, you're going to hear a lot more about my journey into writing fiction AND making movies and all other kinds of media. It's all about storytelling up in here. And the great thing is that writing fiction is a natural extension to my work as a filmmaker since so many films, especially romantic ones, are adaptations from a novel or another literary work.

And the most exciting thing about writing fiction is that the sky's the limit on the plot and characters. I don't have to worry about a hard-to-shoot location or a really expensive actor or an expensive action sequence. I can write as big or small as I'd like. So refreshing!

For years, I never thought I would write fiction. Novels seemed overwhelming to me. I navigated naturally to screenwriting. Screenplays, while fulfilling my desire to work in movies, also seemed less daunting than writing 100k words of a make-believe world.

Now that I have a few novellas under my belt, 100k words is no longer daunting to me. I am developing my first novel at the moment. Stay tuned on that front. And guess who will adapt it for film? Hmmm.

Back to my novella journey... this past year, I reminded myself that there was this wonderful world of novellas. I knew there was a wonderful world of short stories but those felt daunting too. Capturing a full story in just a few pages is not easy. Just like comedy seems easy to write but it's probably the hardest genre of all. Making people laugh is an art.

Novellas seemed like the magical world in between short stories and novels that I felt would work perfectly with the way my brain is wired. Not too short. Not too long. Just right.

So I embarked on writing a few. I adapted a couple of screenplays into novellas first. Surprisingly, screenplays are about the length of a nice novella when you fill out the world with detail. After I wrote a few adaptations, I decided it was time to write an original idea.

With the Olympics coming up and having been a figure skater myself when I was younger, I thought it would be fun to set a romantic story amidst the exciting world of the Winter Olympics.

I also knew the Olympics were only 3 weeks away. So I had to move fast. I gave myself a goal of writing at least 1000 words a day and if I didn't reach that goal, I would write 2000 the next day. It worked. I wrote almost every day (some days I wrote 4000 words - it's amazing when you're on a roll) and after a couple of weeks, I had a rough draft.

For me, this was a huge accomplishment. I am pulled in a million different directions in my career so to have the daily focus of writing at least 1000 words a day of fiction, seemed impossible. But I set my mind to it and it happened. And that's usually how everything comes to fruition - you just do it.

Just doing it has been my mantra my entire career. I have experienced so many amazing things by just getting off my ass and making things happen. Every movie I made happened because we as a team just did it. We found the money. We found the sales avenues. We did it all. There have been a lot of ups and downs - it's not for the faint of heart - but I have grown so much as person by taking risks and putting myself out there as much as I can. I highly recommend it.

I'm not saying Olympic Conquest is literary genius. But it's a story that spoke to me and to which I tried to bring a lot of truth. I think it has something to say and I hope those who read it find it a journey worth taking - albeit a short one - novellas are only about 20k words. I felt inspired writing it and fell in love with the characters. I now feel like I have two new friends even though they came from my imagination.

The best criticism I have had to date since I have no reviews of the book just yet (if you read it, please review it - thank you!) was my husband's reaction: he cried and had to return to the tissue box a few times.

With that long lead up, may I present to you my first novella! Cover art by my wonderful husband Steve Kosek.

And here is the link to it on Amazon: And please let me know what you think!

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