Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Interview With Jennifer A. Nielsen ~ Author of The Ascendance Trilogy | Content Editing (3)


I received the amazing opportunity to interview Sara Raasch and Jennifer A. Nielsen in conjunction with a career research project as well as share my knowledge surrounding the career of Content Editing.



Jennifer A. Nielsen ~ Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Jennifer lives at the base of a very tall mountain in Northern Utah with her husband, three children, and a naughty puppy. She loves the smell of rainy days, hot chocolate, and old books, preferably all at once. She is a former speech teacher, theater director, and enjoyed a brief but disastrous career as a door-to-door pollster. In her spare time, Jennifer tends to panic, wondering what she has forgotten to do that has allowed her any spare time.




Mark of the Thief ~ Goodreads | B & N | Amazon | Book Depository 

When Nic, a slave in the mines outside of Rome, is forced to enter a sealed cavern containing the lost treasures of Julius Caesar, he finds much more than gold and gemstones: He discovers an ancient bulla, an amulet that belonged to the great Caesar and is filled with a magic once reserved for the Gods -- magic some Romans would kill for.

Now, with the deadly power of the bulla pulsing through his veins, Nic is determined to become free. But instead, he finds himself at the center of a ruthless conspiracy to overthrow the emperor and spark the Praetor War, a battle to destroy Rome from within. Traitors and spies lurk at every turn, each more desperate than the next to use Nic's newfound powers for their own dark purposes.

In a quest to stop the rebellion, save Rome, and secure his own freedom, Nic must harness the magic within himself and defeat the empire's most powerful and savage leaders.

The False Prince  ~ Goodreads | B & N | Amazon | Book Depository

THE FALSE PRINCE is the thrilling first book in a brand-new trilogy filled with danger and deceit and hidden identities that will have readers rushing breathlessly to the end.

In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king's long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner's motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword's point -- he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage's rivals have their own agendas as well.

As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner's sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.

An extraordinary adventure filled with danger and action, lies and deadly truths that will have readers clinging to the edge of their seats.

Interview
1. What college/university did you attend and what did you major in? Did you choose this major because you wanted to write professionally or figure out what career you wanted to pursue while you were in college?

I graduated in 1993 from Weber State University, a smaller state college, with a double major in Theater Arts and Communication Education, and a minor in history. During college, I had no intention of becoming an author - I still didn’t understand that was a career possibility for a “regular” person. Instead, I wanted to be a teacher, and I enjoyed teaching for several years before I turned to writing.

2. What is the most enjoyable part of putting a novel together, from the beginning stages of outlining, the tedious editing everyone seems to despise, or seeing your novel out in the universe for readers to enjoy?

For me, a plot is like a jigsaw puzzle. I love the moment when I’ve been struggling with a plot point and then I get it worked out. Like I’m thinking, hmm, how will my character ever get out of this one? And then suddenly, I know how. It’s the same feeling as when I’m searching the 1000 piece puzzle for the one piece that fits and then find it. Working out a difficult plot point is a great feeling, every single time!

3. It is stereotypical that authors are introverts, would you say it is difficult to communicate/work with the various people involved in the publishing of a book?

Introvert authors is definitely a stereotype - I know many authors who are very social and crave time with others. That said, when I’m at a writer’s retreat, after a few hours together, most of us start looking for the door, just to get some time in our individual caves. However, one of the great things about working with others in the publishing world is it forces even the most introverted author out of their shell. When I first started touring or visiting schools for my book releases, I used to stress the personal time with an escort or lunches with the teachers and librarians, but I actually love them now. I’m not great at small talk, but I’m a hundred times better at it than I used to be!

4. In a situation where your content editor tells you that a certain element of your novel (character, plot, theme) isn’t cohesive/people won’t “get” it, do you choose to go with your gut or attempt to see things the way they do?

I’ve never had an experience with an editor where I’m told I must change a certain element of the book. The most common feeling seems to be that it’s my name on the book, so the content ought to be what makes me most comfortable. That said, I love the editor I work with now. Among other reasons for my loyalty to her are that I trust her as an editor. If she tells me there’s something that people won’t get, I usually take her suggestion. And the book is almost always stronger because of it.

Authors who guard their own work too sacredly need to remember that in most cases, it is difficult for the creator to see their own art - we’re just too close to it. I don’t believe that anyone can edit themselves with the same quality as another editor’s contribution.

5. Besides a love of reading/books, what is the most important quality you should possess in order to have a career in the literary world?

I think the most important quality for a career author is to have a thick skin. Every single author has a career full of ups and downs - there is never a point at which you are immune from it. There are good reviews, and bad. Good sales numbers, and bad. Lots of buzz, or silence. And while it’s easy to celebrate when things are great, the author with a thick skin, who can get past the times when things aren’t so great, is the author who’s going to have a long career!

6. What is something you would consider negative about your career?

One of the challenges about working anywhere in the arts is that there is no right answer. What appeals to one person just won’t work for someone else. For that reason, it can be really frustrating for a writer who watches their reviews too carefully. Ten or fifteen years ago, writers could work in more of a bubble, which was both good and bad. Now, writers can google their name or book title and read any number of opinions about their work. That can be a great thing, but it can also kill a writer’s creativity. Over time, I’ve learned it’s best just not to look.

7. What is one thing you did in high school and/or college that you regret?

From the perspective of a writing career, I regret not giving serious consideration to becoming an author any sooner. I could’ve saved myself years!

8. What does a typical day in the life of a professional author look like? I’ve been told it’s a lot more crying and eating chocolate at 2am in sweatpants while cursing the invention of the written word than breezing through your drafts.

One of the things I love about my career is there are no typical days. I wake up each morning with very little idea of what will actually happen. I’m always writing, editing, or plotting something (usually more than one), but in between all of that is unexpected emails from my editor, requests for interviews or visits, fan mail, or sometimes I just distract myself with a bright and shiny new idea. Then all bets for the day are off!

9. Is there any specific moment/reason you write Middle Grade? It’s in the middle of Young Adult and Children’s literature, as well as a genre that is generally underrated. Does it bother you if/ when people say literature written for younger people is “invalid” or shouldn’t be taken as seriously as the adult genre?

I think middle grade is just a good fit for my natural author’s voice. That said, I’d never close the door to writing for another age group - if the right story idea presented itself in another genre or for another age, I’d love to answer! And yes, it does bother me when children’s literature is relegated to a lower status, as if it’s easier to write or requires less skill. I think in fact, that the younger the reader, the more complicated the skill set. A great picture book does more in 300 words than many other authors can accomplish in 100,000.

Monday, April 13, 2015

So you want to be a Content Editor? | Content Editing (2)



I received the amazing opportunity to interview Sara Raasch and Jennifer A. Nielsen in conjunction with a career research project as well as share my knowledge surrounding the career of Content Editing.



“It was a dark and stormy night when the man entered the house. A flash of lightning lit up the room as he raised the knife that had been hidden in his jacket and stuck it into her heart.”

When one hears the word “editing,” one may immediately think about punctuation, spelling, or capitalization. Indeed, these are important elements of writing, yet there is more to consider if one is attempting to make their work “good.” This is demonstrated with the passage above. It contained cliche phrases, zero suspense, and a laughable excuse for horror meant to elicit reader’s reactions. To improve this, the author needs a content editor. It’s interesting to think how different one’s favorite book would be without the editor’s invaluable contribution.

In the grand scheme of a book’s creation, the content editor is the person to see a manuscript after it has been accepted for publication. Their job is to question every aspect of it, from the sequence of events, to character development, to fact-checking, and believability.

The need to be independent, take initiative, and tolerate high levels of stress are some of the skills and personality traits that are seen as preferable for a content editor to have. As an author, one may consider their content editor as a well-meaning parent in charge of making responsible decisions and suggesting revisions to the text that will help the quality of the finalized project. Without a doubt, reading comprehension and conceptual thinking is valued so one possess the ability to recognize patterns, zero in on seemingly minute details, and evaluate problems. It is critical that they can visualize where the text should or should not go so the author is taken seriously when the finished product is seen by the public.

Everyone has to start somewhere, and that somewhere in this particular career would be as an intern or editorial assistant. The duties they carry out are the ones full-time editors consider tedious or mundane, such as answering queries from authors and literary agents or reading through the “slush pile,” which is comprised of the physical (or virtual in the 21st century) stacks of manuscript pitches. Once an editor proves that they are adequate for the position, they may be promoted with the task of negotiating book deals with authors or going to literary conferences.

The lifestyle of a content editor may not be one of a millionaire, but it comfortable with decent benefits. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary is $62,800 per year (NP). Content editors working for a publishing house work regular hours with the chance of health benefits, retirement funds, and vacation days to be negotiated.

The typical day of a content editor will vary greatly depending on a books stage of development. Directly after a publishing deal is negotiated, an editor will meet with the rest of the team to discuss the publication timeline, including turn-in dates for revisions, copy-edits, advanced reader’s copies releases, and the actual launch of the book. In the middle of this lengthy process, a content editor may be solely focused on the structure of a particular scene, dissecting word choice, the use of figurative language, and how the scene would play out in real life. When the publication date draws nearer, the editor may be suggesting titles, working with a graphic designer for the cover, or even going to literary events such as BEA (Book Exposition of America) to create hype for its release.

As it is inevitable with anything in life, a career in editing has several negative and positive elements that the researcher has thoroughly considered that are fitting or at least tolerable to her work style and personality. The largest benefit to this profession is the reason the researcher was drawn towards the career in the first place; content editors have the control over whether or not an author gets a manuscript they may have been working on for years out to the public. In addition, content editors undergo the pressure of having to be depended on to aid the author in the development of their work. A considerable drawback is the fact that the particular text has to be read and analyzed dozens of times before publication which can get tedious. Lastly, they must be prepared to cooperate and meet with all of the people involved in the making of the book such as the author, marketer, agent, publicist, etc. Even though many editorial skills may be independently acquired through repeated reading and writing, a Bachelor’s degree in English, Communications, or another field related to publishing, which is seen as preferable from potential employers.

Emerson is a private college in urban Boston, Massachusetts and the only college in the United States where one may obtain a degree in publishing. The medium-sized liberal arts college strives to incite and aid creativity as well as assist its students in becoming inspirational, ethical leaders. It is ranked as the 11th highest college in northern regional universities by the US News and World Report in Education (NP).

The environment and atmosphere at Emerson College is extremely accepting and welcoming of diversity. The ethnicities of students currently attending Emerson is two-thirds white and 10% hispanic (Big Future: Emerson College NP). This is important to this researcher because of her Asian heritage and may prove slightly advantageous when applying.The college is named as the third most-accepting college towards in the LGBT community by the Princeton Review (NP).

Emerson is a somewhat selective college that accepted 48% out of almost 9,000 applicants in 2014 (Big Future: Emerson College NP). When applying, one's academic GPA, application essay, standardized test scores, class rank, and recommendations are taken into account. The applicant’s geographic location, extracurriculars, and volunteer work may influence her admission. General SAT scores of 650 and above are the average expectations to be accepted.

According to Emerson College, annual tuition is $36,650 with an estimated $15,000 room and board cost per year. 65% of the student body receives financial aid from the college itself, for which this researcher would be eligible. Another option the college offers is an Honors Program scholarship to approximately 50 students per incoming class; they are required to write a short essay along with their application to receive half of their tuition for free for up to four years. There is also other scholarship money provided by private organizations this researcher may apply for offered by organizations such as New York Women in Communication, the Asian and Pacific Island Scholarship Fund, and even Burger King.

Ideally, the aspiring content editor would graduate from Emerson in four semesters or less with the 40 credits required to obtain both a Bachelor of Arts focused on Writing, Literature, and Publishing as well as a Bachelor of Science in Marketing Communications (Emerson College NP). A strong focus on publishing and communications is a good combination for the desired career in editing, especially if the researcher would like to progress in the publishing house to positions of more authority and possess some expertise on the marketing side of the publishing world as well. In the duration of time spent at Emerson, she might take courses such as “Principles of Management in Publishing,” “Social Media: Connectivity, Interaction, and Buzz,” “The Editor/Writer Relationship,” and “Visual Literacy.” In order to obtain an education from Emerson, the potential student must start working hard in high school to gain the needed academic and social skills.

[High School] is where the researcher will be educated for the majority of her time in high school. It is the ranked [#]th in the state of New York with less than 900 students attending as of February, 2015 (US News and World Report in Education NP). The high school requires a total of 22 credits and a score of 65% or above on all regents in order to graduate. This particular place of education has many courses, electives, and extracurriculars the researcher believes will be beneficial to her future career.

There are many honors, advanced placement, and even courses offered by the [Name] University Project Advance made available to her in all of the core subjects. In addition to this, there are a wide range of supplementary classes and electives to choose from that will make the researcher seem diverse as well as give her valuable academic experiences. The electives and extracurriculars offered at the high school that will specifically benefit the researcher creatively, educationally, and professionally for a future career in publishing are public speaking, journalism, creative writing, drama, and mock trial, just to name a few.

The researcher’s most prominent extracurricular is also a defining factor she believes will make herself desirable to colleges. Sofia Li is the sole content producer of both the blog and YouTube channel eponymously named Loving the Language of Literacy which provides in-depth reviews and discussions of books, from a wide variety of genres. She believes the experience gained by working closely with authors and publishers to spread the word about their upcoming releases as well as the skills gained by reading books critically will help her with her future career. Both the blog and YouTube channel, Loving the Language of Literacy have been active since 2014, when the researcher was in 7th grade, providing bloggers, readers, and authors alike with her opinion on 21st century literature.

Volunteer work and part-time jobs are also symbols of reliability throughout high school. To begin with, a plausible option for the researcher is volunteering at [Name] (a home for the aging) on a weekly basis. Secondly, there is the possibility of helping out with [Name] Library’s many events for children such as story time. Additionally, Wegmans Supermarket is also an option for part-time employment because they hire responsible adolescents as young as fifteen years old.

“The night was black as pitch, illuminated only by the sporadic flashes of lightning. The drip, drip of blood clashed with the uneven claps of thunder and rain. The man grinned maniacally as he slid the rusted blade into the woman’s chest, savoring the expression of fear that remained plastered on her face long after breath had left her body.”

Evidently, the contrast between the original phrase and the modified one speaks volumes about how much of a difference a content editor can make. The researcher has loved reading from a young age and has come to realize what tropes authors use that do and do not work and would like to help authors in the process of perfecting their own voices. To do this, she needs to excel in all core subjects as well as participate in diverse extracurricular activities to seem desirable to colleges. In particular, the researcher would like to attract the attention of Emerson College to gain invaluable knowledge about the publishing field. Eventually, she would like to get a full-time editorial job at one of the Big Five publishing houses (Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, Hachette, HarperCollins) so that she can aid the bestselling authors of tomorrow. And perhaps by doing this, she will use the knowledge to become one herself.


***Personal information has been excluded in order to protect the author's privacy***

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Interview With Sara Raasch ~ Author of Snow Like Ashes | Content Editing (1)



I received the amazing opportunity to interview Sara Raasch and Jennifer A. Nielsen in conjunction with a career research project as well as share my knowledge surrounding the career of Content Editing.





Sara Raasch has known she was destined for bookish things since the age of five, when her friends had a lemonade stand and she tagged along to sell her hand-drawn picture books too. Not much has changed since then — her friends still cock concerned eyebrows when she attempts to draw things and her enthusiasm for the written word still drives her to extreme measures. Her debut YA fantasy, SNOW LIKE ASHES, came out October 14, 2014 from Balzer + Bray, and the sequel, ICE LIKE FIRE, comes out October 13, 2015. Neither features her hand-drawn pictures.



Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now the Winterians' only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter's magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter's defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians' general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend and future king, Mather—she would do anything to help Winter rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore their magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she's scaling towers and fighting enemy soldiers just as she's always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn't go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics—and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

Sara Raasch's debut fantasy is a lightning-fast tale of loyalty, love, and finding one's destiny.

Interview
1. What college/university did you attend and what did you major in? Did you choose this major because you wanted to write professionally or figure out what career you wanted to pursue while you were in college?

I graduated from Wright State University with a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership (basically how companies run in functional/successful manners). I chose this major because I wanted to have something to fall back on should being a writer not happen. Any artistic industry is wrought with uncertainty—weird payment schedules, small payments, and oftentimes it takes YEARS to sell anything at all—so I knew I needed something definite to keep me going in the meantime.

2. What is something you would consider negative about your career?

Realizing that, despite the works I put out being artistically important to me, to this industry, it’s still a business, and everything I create is a product. But once I came to understand that distinction, it helped lessen the blows of criticism and rejection.

3. What is one thing you did in high school and/or college that you regret?

Thinking that high school and college were the best parts of my life. HELL to the no. Life gets infinitely, laughably, absurdly better.

4. What is the most enjoyable part of putting a novel together, from the beginning stages of outlining, the tedious editing everyone seems to despise, or seeing your novel out in the universe for readers to enjoy?

Meeting and interacting with readers. Writing is so much a solitary endeavor that getting to talk with readers (especially the excited, supportive readers I’ve been lucky enough to have) is a constant breath of fresh air!

5. It is stereotypical that authors are introverts, would you say it is difficult to communicate/work with the various people involved in the publishing of a book?

It was at first, simply because I was rather starstruck all the time, and the idea of having a published book at all was paralyzing. Now, though, it’s more of what I mentioned in #2—I’ve realized that it’s an industry like any other, and interacting with the various people I need to interact with is all part of the job.

6. In a situation where your content editor tells you that a certain element of your novel (character, plot, theme) isn’t cohesive/people won’t “get” it, do you choose to go with your gut or attempt to see things the way they do?

If my editor says that, it’s usually because I haven’t done my job in explaining things well, so I always try to reevaluate and see where I went wrong. Editors are wise people—it’s best to listen to them!

7. Besides a love of reading/books, what is the most important quality you should possess in order to have a career in the literary world?

Persistence. So much of this industry can take YEARS, so being able to push on through and keep at it is key.

8. What does a typical day in the life of a professional author look like? I’ve been told it’s a lot more crying and eating chocolate at 2am in sweatpants while cursing the invention of the written word than breezing through your drafts.

I can confirm this. Though for me, it’s crying and eating blueberries (dairy allergy, ugh) at 9AM (morning writer) in sweatpants while cursing the invention of the written word and having not at all insane conversations with my cat.

9. Is there any specific moment/reason you write Middle Grade? It’s in the middle of Young Adult and Children’s literature, as well as a genre that is generally underrated. Does it bother you if/ when people say literature written for younger people is “invalid” or shouldn’t be taken as seriously as the adult genre?

I don’t write Middle Grade—SNOW LIKE ASHES is strictly YA fantasy! I tend to veer toward darker themes, so I don’t think I could ever write a Middle Grade. Someone would invariably end up being tortured in far too grotesque ways.

As for literature people calling YA “invalid”—that’s ridiculous. There’s been a LOT of talk on the matter, but I see it as yet another debate. Most debates can’t be fixed with talking—they have to be proven wrong. So, in response to such absurdity, I’ll simply write more YA books.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Lights Have Gone Out | Code Name Verity Screenplay (7)


The entire week on Loving the Language of Literacy will be comprised of me sharing a scene and its backstory that I wrote for an Independent Study Project having to do with Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. I formatted it as if it were a professional Screenplay (which is a lot harder than I thought it would be) and attempted to translate it for film the best I could. Sadly, the proper margins and spacing didn't transfer over well into Blogger. Warning - There are spoilers for the novel if you haven't read it. 
This is what an average screenplay sheet would look like.
Today's scene is the most lengthy of them all, taking up an entire fifth of the 25 page screenplay in word count. It's a mixture of flashbacks and present day between Fraulein Engel and Maddie as the wholes in Maddie's story are filled in. It's also a perspective-giving scene for Fraulein Engel to the audience because we see the humanity and compassion in her that Verity never described.

Cut In.

Ext. Ormaie Cafe/Streets/Place des Hirondelles - Mid-Afternoon

Maddie attempts to avoid passing by Fraulein Engel’s table.

FRAULEIN ENGEL
Salut, Kathe.

Fraulein Engel pats the chair next to her, stubs out her own cigarette, lights two and gives one to Maddie.

FRAULEIN ENGEL
Et ton amie, ca va? [How’s your friend?]

Maddie looks away, swallowing, the fake smile leaving her face. She takes a drag of the cigarette, and chokes. Fraulein Engel swears softly in French, then pauses.

FRAULEIN ENGEL
Elle est morte? [Is she dead?]

Maddie nods.

FRAULEIN ENGEL
Allons marcher avec moi, j’ai des choses a te dire. [Come on, walk with me, I have things to say to you]

Fraulein Engel & Maddie walk through the streets of France, arriving at the place Verity was caught by the Gestapo.

FRAULEIN ENGEL
She was crossing the street, right here, and she looked the wrong way. What a stupid place to make a mistake like that, right in the middle of La Place des Hirondelles! There is always someone watching here, the town hall on one side and the Gestapo on the other.

Fraulein Engel pauses to let the information soak in.

FRAULEIN ENGEL
(speaks as if reminiscing with great admiration)
She put up a hell of a fight, your friend. She bit a policeman. They got me to come and chloroform her, to knock her out, you know? There were four officers holding her down by the time I came running across the square, and she was still struggling. She tried to bite me, too. When the fumes finally overwhelmed her it was like watching a light out out—-

MADDIE
(as if she’s about to get choked up again)
I know. I know.

Fraulein Engel & Maddie make their way out of the square and look at each other at the same moment as Fraulein Engel confesses.

FRAULEIN ENGEL
We’ve turned this place into a real shit hole. There were roses in that square when I was first sent here. Now it’s noting but mud and trucks. I think of her every single time I cross those cobbles, three times a day. I hate it. We can walk along the riverfront for about half a kilometer. Have you been?

MADDIE
No.

FRAULEIN ENGEL
It’s one of the few things that’s still pretty.

Fraulein Engel lights another cigarette.

FRAULEIN ENGEL
I’ve chloroformed people before, but I’ve never despised myself so much as I did that day -she was so small and-

Fraulein Engel stumbles over her words and Maddie has to bite her cheeks to prevent the tears.

FRAULEIN ENGEL (O.S.)
So fierce, so beautiful. It was like breaking a hawk’s wings, stopping up a clear spring with bricks, digging up roses to make a space to park your tank. Pointless and ugly. She was just - blazing with life and defiance one moment, the next, she was nothing but a senseless shell lying on her face in the gutter.

MADDIE
(whispers)
I know.

Fraulein Engel looks at Maddie curiously, frowns, then sweeps her face with her pale eyes.

FRAULEIN ENGEL
Do you so?

MADDIE
(through gritted teeth)
She was my best friend.

FRAULEIN ENGEL
Here’s the river

Fraulein Engel and Maddie cross the street and stand at the river bank, looking out over at the elm stumps that have been cut for firewood. Fraulein Engel inhales deeply.

Cut Out.
Cut In.

Ext. Place des Hirondelles Square - Mid-Afternoon

Fraulein Engel chloroforms Verity, turns her over, checks for arms, finds the silk scarf balled up in her fist.

FRAULEIN ENGEL (O.S.)
I wasn’t supposed to search her, that was someone else’s job, but I wondered what she had been protecting so doggedly.

Fraulein Engel discovers the smear of ink on Verity’s palm and the reversed imprint of it, spits on the scarf, wads it into a ball, then rubs it against her palm to blot out the numbers and closes Verity’s fingers around it.

FRAULEIN ENGEL (O.S.)
On her palm was a smear of ink. On the scarf was the perfectly reversed imprint of an Ormaie Town Hall archive reference number that she’d written on her palm and tried to rub out with the scarf.

Fraulein Engel pauses, she and Maddie observe a flock of pigeons circle hopefully, a few of them landing on the cobblestones.

Cut Out.
Cut In.

Ext. Ormaie Riverbank - Mid-Afternoon

MADDIE
How did you know what she wanted the number for?

FRAULEIN ENGEL
She told me. At the end, after she’d finished writing. It was nonsense by then.

Cut Out.
Cut In.

Int. Chateau de Bordeaux; Verity’s Prison Cell - Day

Fraulein Engel takes hold of Verity’s pen and she let go without a fight as Verity’s head sinks down onto the desk in front of her.

FRAULEIN ENGEL (O.S.)
So I took hold of the pen to stop her. She let for without a fight. She was so tired. She looked up at me without hope. It was supposed to be secret, but we all knew where Von Linden would send her. In the palm of my own hand, I wrote - 72 B4 CdB.

Fraulein Engel shows Verity the number, smears them illegibly, then shuffles them together.

VERITY
That’s mine.

FRAULEIN ENGEL
What use is it to you?

VERITY
None. Not anymore, but if I could…

FRAULEIN ENGEL
What would you do with it? What should I do with it?

Verity narrows her eyes.

VERITY
Set fire to it and blow this place to blazes. That would be the best thing to do with it.

Fraulein Engel holds the stack of Verity’s papers against her chest. Verity looks at her challengingly/accusingly.

VERITY
(Verity laughs hysterically)
Anna the Avenging Angel. Well it’s your problem now.

Cut Out.
Cut In.

Ext. Ormaie Riverbank - Mid-Afternoon

FRAULEIN ENGEL
You should go home, Kathe.

Fraulein Engel presses her hand over Maddie, giving her a key.

FRAULEIN ENGEL
I think you have everything you need now.

Maddie squeezes Fraulein Engel’s hand

MADDIE
Danke, Anna.

FRAULEIN ENGEL
Take care, Kathe.

VON LINDEN
Guten Tag, Fräulein Engel.

Fraulein Engel drops her cigarette, crushes it with her foot, straightens her posture/coat collar. Maddie drops her cigarette too. Von Linden holds out a hand to Verity and she shakes it in return.

Cut Out.

This brings us to the end of the Code Name Verity Screenplay Scenes. I had so much fun sharing all my hard work with you and if you want to see more like this, don't hesitate to leave a comment :)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Kiss Me Hardy, Kiss Me Quick! | Code Name Verity Screenplay (6)


The entire week on Loving the Language of Literacy will be comprised of me sharing a scene and its backstory that I wrote for an Independent Study Project having to do with Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. I formatted it as if it were a professional Screenplay (which is a lot harder than I thought it would be) and attempted to translate it for film the best I could. Sadly, the proper margins and spacing didn't transfer over well into Blogger. Warning - There are spoilers for the novel if you haven't read it. 
This is what an average screenplay sheet would look like.
Today's scene was the hardest for me to translate, mostly because so much of it was action and it was one of, if not THE most important scene in novel. Verity's death and the motive behind is such a central part of plot and if this scene were done incorrectly, it could put the entire story off-kilter. The perspective is another 360 mostly because of how much audiences need to know.

Cut In.

Int. Thiabut Residence - Late Evening


Maddie sits at a desk, attempting to type an incident report as the tears stream down her face.


MADDIE (O.S.)
Incident report on the attempted sabotage of Poitou River Bridge on Tours-Poitiers road with the intention of stopping German military bus carrying 24 French and Allied prisoners on Wednesday, the 1st of December, 1943. Paul was the one to think of it.


More than a dozen Allies biked and drove into Poitou, leaving their modes of transport at a riverside villa. Then they load up her boats with their explosives, and row up to the bridge. They exited the boats, then wired the bridge and waited for the bus. They disabled the bus’ headlights, blew up the bridge and partially damaged the bus. The surviving guard made the prisoners lie down on the side of the road. The guards set up floodlights and shoes their electric torches all over the place. While the four german guards are chatting, Verity makes a joke. They prod her with their rifles and one of them takes her face in his hand and she bites him. The bitten guard (Unnamed German Guard #1) wants to shoot her but the other one (Unnamed German Guard #2) stops her.

MITRAILLETTE
(translates)
He says not to kill her. If they kill her there will be no fun.

MADDIE
Is she crazy? What the blazes did she bite him for? She’ll get herself shot!


German military enforcements arrive with equipment to lever the bus. A few of the prisoners make a run for and succeed in making it to Paul and the other Allies at the scene as they get shot after. The Allies shoot at the German’s supplies. Unnamed German Guard #1 held Verity down with his heel while she fought and got kicked. The guards picked some resisting men as well as Verity and hauled them to their feet to be shot. The guards shoot them one by one. The first gets shot at both elbows then made to walk, the second shot in the groin Verity cowers. Maddie bursts into tears and Verity realizes her best friend is there. Verity steps into Maddie’s clear view.


VERITY
(laughs wildly and yells desperately)
Kiss me, Hardy! Kiss me, Quick!!!


Verity turns her face away and Maddie shoots her. Verity’s body flinches, and Maddie watches as the determination and light in her best friend’s eyes go out. Without a moment’s hesitation, Unnamed German Guard #1 pulls another female prisoner up from the ground to take Julie’s place.


UNNAMED FEMALE PRISONER #1
ALLEZ! ALLEZ! Resistance idiots sales, vous nous MASSACREZ TOUS!

MADDIE (O.S.)
“Filthy resistance idiots. You’re killing us all,” I would have to agree with her.


All of the prisoners as well as the Allies sent to rescue them run as fast as they can to the boats. The German Guards shoot at their backs and the Allies with guns return fire. Half of their entire group get killed, Paul included, while the rest of them make it to the boats with 5 of the fugitives. The Allies rowed as Maddie sat in the boat, head bent over her knees, crying. Mirtraillette uncurls Maddie’s fingers from the Colt .32 that killed Verity and put it away.


MITRAILLETTE
(whispers)
C’etait la Verite?

MADDIE (O.S.)
Was that Verity? Maybe she meant, “Was that the truth,” “Did any of this just happen?” “Were the last three hours real?”

MADDIE
(whispers)
Oui. C’était la vérité.

MADDIE (O.S.)
Don’t know how I kept going. You just do. You have to, so you do.

The still-stunned 7 Allies and 5 Fugitives arrived at the riverside villa.

MIRTRAILLETTE (In Background)
We must stick together. Vite! Vite! Make certain it seems like nobody was ever here.


Series of shots - Mirtraillette orders (closeups on the weary, dazed faces of Allies/Fugitives alike, focus on Maddie)

A) Allie/Fugitive mix hauls the boats back onto their racks.
B) Allie/Fugitive mix put oars away.
C) Allie/Fugitive mix dries off boats with dust sheets, then hides D) them beneath the floorboards.
E) Allie/Fugitive mix brushes straw from stables over oars/hulls.


Nazi search party arrives at riverside villa and investigates the scene while the Allies/Fugitives hide in the bulrushes/mud, waiting for them to leave. Nazis chatter with groundskeeper. Once Nazis leave, groundskeeper gives Allies/Fugitives the all clear. The Allie/Fugitive mix works quietly to ferry bicycles to the opposite river bank on canoes to send an Allie/Fugitive off. The 4 Fugitives/6 Allies lie awake in the barn, huddle side by side.


MADDIE
How did they catch you? What did you do?

BITTER UNNAMED FRENCH FUGITIVE #1
Just what you did. Blew up a bridge and failed to spotty German army.

MADDIE
Why didn’t they just shoot you?


Bitter Unnamed French Fugitive #1 grins to reveal his top row of savagely broken teeth.


BITTER UNNAMED FRENCH FUGITIVE #1
Why do you think, gosse anglaise? [English kid] They cannot question you if they shoot you.

MADDIE
How come only some of you were chained?

BITTER UNNAMED FRENCH FUGITIVE #1 (continues grinning)
Only some of us are dangerous, which is why they chain us. You saw the girl whose arms were tired behind her, yes? She wasn’t dangerous, she was a collaboratrice.

Bitter Unnamed French Fugitive #1 spits on the ground in disgust as Maddie draws her knees closer to her body.


MADDIE
Stop. Tais-toi. SHUT UP.

BITTER UNNAMED FRENCH FUGITIVE #1
Better off dead, that one. Did you see her, even lying in the road last night, sweet-talking the guards in German? Because her arms were bound, someone would have had to help her, on the way to wherever they were taking us - feed her, help her drink. She would have had to offer favorite to the guards to get them to do it. None of us would have done it.

Maddie punches Bitter Unnamed French Fugitive #1 in the mouth.


MADDIE
You wouldn’t have helped her EAT AND DRINK? SHE’D HAVE DONE IT FOR YOU!


The Allies around her sat on her to make her stop, but she sprung up again when they got off her.


MADDIE
I FREED YOU! You would still be IN CHAINS and packed in a stinking freight wagon LIKE A COW by now if it wasn’t for me! You wouldn’t have helped another prisoner EAT AND DRINK!


Mirtraillette weeps, taking Maddie’s face between her hands and holding a tin cup up of cognac/coffee to her lips.


MITRAILLETTE
Kathe, Kathe! Kathe, arrête - stop, stop! Tu dois - you must! Wait - attends.


Maddie sits in the corner, waiting for the concoction to kick in, poised on the balls of her feet until she slumps against the wall and passes out.


Cut Out.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

I Have Told the Truth | Code Name Verity Screenplay (5)


The entire week on Loving the Language of Literacy will be comprised of me sharing a scene and its backstory that I wrote for an Independent Study Project having to do with Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. I formatted it as if it were a professional Screenplay (which is a lot harder than I thought it would be) and attempted to translate it for film the best I could. Sadly, the proper margins and spacing didn't transfer over well into Blogger. Warning - There are spoilers for the novel if you haven't read it. 
This is what an average screenplay sheet would look like.
Today's scene is another combination of scenes, this time a little with a little more distinction between them as it details the last moments Verity tells her story. It's completely from her perspective and would probably be the most taxing scene them all, as it contains the message of the book itself - I have told the truth.

Int. Chateau de Bordeaux; Verity’s Prison Cell - Day


VERITY (O.S.)

I shouldn’t be alive.

Cut In.


VERITY

I have 15 minutes to live.


Verity picks up pencil shakily as Von Linden stares at her. Rubs her eyes with bloodstained fingers. Continues to write.



VERITY (O.S.)

I think they killed her for no reason other than to scare me into confessing that I have lied to them. It’s my fault that she is dead. But I have not lied.


Cut Out.

Cut In.

Ext. Chateau de Bordeaux - Early Morning


Unnamed Female French Prisoner & Verity limp into the courtyard from cellar, tied together, wrist to wrist, prepared to face their execution courageously despite their wounds. Forced to wait and observe as the gestapo prepares the guillotine. Female French Prisoner is first.



VERITY

(whispers)
My name is Julie.

Closeup on touching hands as the cords between them are cut.


MARIE (Unnamed Female French Prisoner)

My name is Marie.


Cut Out.

Cut In.

Int. Chateau de Bordeaux; Verity’s Prison Cell- Day


VON LINDEN

Write, little Scheherazade. Tell of your last minutes in the air. Finish your tale.


Series of Shots - Julie reading through all of her words written throughout the duration of story interspersed with montage of the most prominent scenes she is reading over.


VERITY (O.S.)

I’ve been allowed to re-read all that I have written. It makes sense and it’s almost a good story. Although it doesn’t have a proper ending. There’s no point in making up something hopeful and defiant if I’m meant to be telling the truth.

Series of Shots - Verity re-reads her words.

A) Fan through stack of papers.
B) Verity throwing a fit for pen nib.
C) Meeting MADDIE in the radio room.
D) The American Radio Operator interview.
E) Flying into France, arguing with Von Linden.
F) The photograph of the lysander’s wreckage & MADDIE.


VERITY (O.S.)

The pile of paper, ranging from flute music to recipe cards doesn’t stack very well, but Fraulein Engel has taken the liberty to number each piece and its oh-so-officially looking translation.

Series of Shots - Verity focuses on the words/paper itself.

A) Embossed Chateau de Bordeaux stationary.
B) Yellowed recipe cards.
C) Prescription sheets.
D) Flute music.
E) Blatant page numbers
F) Fraulein Engle’s seemingly sporadic underlining


VERITY (O.S.)

When they take this all away, I will be left with nothing but to wait for Von Linden’s judgement.


Sped-up repetition of Verity re-reading her words leading to harsh dissolve to Verity’s solemn face.



VERITY (O.S.)

And Why? All I have done is buy myself time to tell a story. Nothing of real importance, but I have told the truth. Isn’t it ironic? They sent me because I am so good at telling lies. But I have told the truth.


Alternating sped-up shots of Verity writing the various pages. Transitioning into that very writing session where she’s scribbling on the very last page.



VERITY (O.S.)

I have told the truth. I have told the truth. I have told the truth. I have told the truth. I have told the truth. I have told the truth. I have told the truth. I have told the truth. I have told the truth. I have told——


Handwriting gradually gets worse and worse. Frame cuts off and fades to black when her pen scratches the paper for the last time and writing is nearly illegible.



Cut Out.

Cut In.

Int. Chateau de Bordeaux - Later Same Evening


Unnamed gestapo underling walks down the hallway into Von Linden’s makeshift study.


UNNAMED GESTAPO UNDERLING
An urgent wire from Nikolas Ferber concerning Officer Beaufort-Stuart


Unnamed Gestapo Underling salutes. Von Linden doesn’t look up from his work.


VON LINDEN
Thank you. Dismissed.

Von Linden picks up wireless translation and begins to read.


Cut Out.

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