Category Archives: Screenwriting

Parting Words From The WORD…

Jesus carrying cross Lost Seed. dot comThree Scripted Words–Which Will You Choose?

I’ve always loved drama. From the time I was a little girl, sitting in front of a black and white TV, I knew that movies and scripts could reach down inside and grab a part of the soul that few things could ever touch.

By the time I was a teenager, I knew the power of the stage, the power of scripted words. And nothing proved it better than Frank Zeffirelli’s movie, Romeo and Juliet. The story. The costumes. The music. The words. I was captivated! I must have watched it a hundred times, and yet each time, it was as if I were seeing it afresh, anew.

My heart danced the night Romeo and Juliet danced—their faces and their lives hidden behind the masks, falling into a forbidden love. A love of good and evil.

Two sides. Two families. The Capulets and the Montagues.

You know the story. Romeo and Juliet fall in love, secretly marry, and spend one night together. The next day, Romeo kills Juliet’s cousin in a battle between their families, and then must escape to save his own life. Unaware of his daughter’s marriage to Romeo, Juliet’s father decrees she will marry another man.

Juliet is afraid to reveal the truth, so she meets with the priest and together they devise a plan that will allow the couple to be together forever. It is a fail-proof plan. With the help of a sleeping potion, Juliet will feign death, and Romeo will return to the city and retrieve her from the tomb. They will escape to live their life of love together, and no one will ever know the truth. A messenger is sent to deliver the fail-proof, scripted plan to Romeo.

But before the messenger reaches him, Romeo hears the terrible news that his beloved wife has died. So he devises his own plan—to join her in death. He mounts his horse and takes off for the city. But Juliet’s messenger and Romeo pass each other in the night. The grieving husband continues toward death, unaware of the truth.

It is a fateful mistake.

Romeo arrives, locates the tomb and—thinking his true love is dead—drinks his own poison in an effort to join her. Death comes quickly and Romeo falls across his wife’s body. Moments later, Juliet awakens to find her Romeo dead. Unable to imagine life without her husband, she tries to drink from Romeo’s vial, but finds it empty. She eagerly kisses her still-warm Romeo, hoping to find poison on his lips. When she finds none, she grabs his sword and thrusts it into her own body.

Her blood drips to the ground.

I sat there in the theater, my eyes glued to the screen, my body jerking with the sobs of emotion—unable to see the images through the tears filling my eyes and streaming down my face. My heart was broken for the two lovers, the two innocents who were merely on opposite sides of a battle, a battle they hadn’t chosen.

Joint funerals unite the city. The music and visuals carry us through the pain and agony.

Two families. Two sides. Joined in grief. Good and evil, exposed in death.

A voice cries from the screen:

“All . . . are . . . punished!”

Three scripted words, spoken to bring the emotion of the story to one pivotal moment. It works. I grieve, along with the Capulets and the Montagues. I can hardly stand it.

And it’s only a movie.

But two thousand years ago, there was another script, another drama. Two families. Two sides. Good andjesus holding cross lost seed dot com evil. God and Satan.

Jesus knew the story by heart because before time began, He had sat down with the Father and the Holy Spirit, and the three of Them wrote the script . . . scene by scene, line by line, word by word.

Directed by the words of the prophets, the story unfolds. The cast—often without their knowledge—follows the plan and brings the story to its pre-ordained conclusion. No actors. No lines to learn, no songs to sing. Because this time, it’s real.

And the story—although a script—is true.

But this drama wasn’t written to generate emotion; it was written to bring freedom and new life for all mankind. The only way to unite a holy God and unholy man was through the sacrifice of a perfect, sinless lamb—Jesus. He would have to die.

No sleeping potion to feign death. No escape from the Father’s decree. Sin required a blood sacrifice . . . and Jesus willingly signed up for the part. After all, He was the only One Who qualified.

His blood fell to the ground.

But the story doesn’t end there. Because from the cross, at the height of His suffering, Jesus cried the three words scripted thousands of years before:

“It . . . is . . . finished!”

Three words, spoken to bring the sin of man to one pivotal moment. It works. I grieve, along with the sinners and the saved. I can hardly stand it.

Jesus, the sinless Grace-giver, received no grace that dark and mournful day. But because of His sacrifice, we—an unholy people—are united with a holy God.

We simply choose which script, which three little words, we want to follow: “All are punished” . . . or . . . “It is finished.”

Jesus is God’s Son.

            We are sinners.

            We can’t be good enough to get to heaven on our own.

            We need a Savior.

            That Savior is Jesus.

            He is the sacrifice for our sin.

            He took the punishment we deserve.

            It . . .  is . . . finished!

Three powerful, little words that changed eternity.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

I pray God’s blessing as we celebrate our Risen Lord!

Vonda

(Images courtesy of LostSeed.com)

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Michelle Cox; Who Won The Writing Sisters’ Book? and Kudos & MoGo7000 Call-Out

Michelle Cox headshotAs you can see, today is a busy day. And it’s all my fault. Last week, I completely forgot to ask for your Kudos and MoGo7000 totals! So today, in addition to an awesome interview with the multi-talented Michelle Cox, our triple duty day will also cover call-outs, and a book winner!

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First Up–Michelle Cox Shares Her Amazing Journey with Her Book, Blog, and Screenplay, Just 18 Summers®!

Yes, you read right. My brilliant friend, Michelle Cox, got a great idea, the Lord multiplied her vision, and now she has all kinds of stuff going on! Read on to hear how a simple comment from her pastor kicked off an avalanche of opportunities!

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Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opps, Conferences, Announcements, & Who Won Jo Ann Fore’s Book?

newspapersYep, it’s that time again…Time to help you get published, find a conference and maybe even win Jo Ann’s book!

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Here are this month’s writing opportunities, compiled just for you!

1.  Vista, Light for the World, and Book submission guidelines from the Wesleyan Church

2.  Jeanne Doyon is looking for Guest Bloggers. Deadline May 1. Click here for guidelines: WANTED Guest Bloggers from Jeanne Doyon

3.  Weekly Christian Flash Fiction Writing Contest by Pastor and writer Charles W. Short

4.  Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award is accepting submissions February 16 to March 2, 2014. $50,000 Grand Prize!

5.  Castle Gate Press, a new publisher, is looking for submissions with a Christian worldview

6.  Appleseeds Magazine for Kids (Cricket – parent company) is looking for submissions appropriate for kids 6-9

7.  Free Spirit Publishing accepts non-fiction book and resources on character building, self-esteem, service-building, civics education, and more for children and teens

8.  Dog Fancy Magazine writers guidelines. One of our Christian Writer’s Den friends just had an article published in this magazine!

9.  Dollar Stretcher Publications writers guidelines

10. Just 4 Kids Magazine writers guidelines

11. Writer’s Digest Magazine submission guidelines. This is the magazine I insulted Steven James and embarrassed myself about. (And Steven James still likes me, I think!)

12. The Writer Magazine submission guidelines. As far as I know, I haven’t insulted anyone with this magazine. 🙂

Well, friends, that should keep you busy for a while. Be sure to let us know if you find success through the writing opps. I sure encourages me to keep working at finding them for you!

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Upcoming Conferences Black and White ladies at BRMCWC2010

We know conferences are THE BEST way to get your training and possibly meet editors and agents, too! So here are the conferences I know about. Feel free to Contact Me with any you’d like for me to add!

1. Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators: February 21-23, New York

2.  Writers Advance Boot Camp: February 21-23, 2014, Asheville, NC

3.  Florida Christian Writers Conference: February 26-March 2, 2014, Leesburg, FL (I’m teaching there and would love to see you!)

4.  Mid-South Christian Writers Conference: March 8, 2014, Memphis, TN

5.  Carolina Christian Writers Conference: March 13-15, 2014, Spartanburg, SC

6.  Idahope Writers: March 14-15, 2014, Meridian, ID

7.  Write2Ignite: March 28-29, 2014, Tigerville, SC

8.  FAM Fest Film Festival: March 29, 2014, York, SC

9.  Festival of Faith and Writing: April 10-12, 2014, Grand Rapids, MI

10. Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop: April 10-12, 2014, Dayton, OH

11. Orange County Christian Writers Conference: April 25-26, 2014, Santa Ana, CA

12. Colorado Christian Writers Conference: May 14-17, Estes Park, CO

13. Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference: May 19-23, 2014, Ridgecrest, NC

14. Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival: June 14, 2014, York, SC

15. St. David’s Christian Writers’ Conference: June 17-21, Grove City, PA

16. Gideon Media Arts Conference & Film Festival: July 11-15, 2014, Orlando, FL (I’ll be there co-directing the Teen Intern Program again and would love to see you there!)

17. Christian Communicators Conference: August 27-31, 2014, The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, Asheville, NC (Registration now open! Hope to see you there!)

18. Breathe Christian Writers Conference: October 10-11, 2014, Grand Rapids, MI

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christian-communicators-promo-cove-2014Registration is Now Open for The Christian Communicators Conference for Speakers

Ladies, if you feel called to speak, you don’t want to miss the Christian Communicators Conference at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove. Carolyn Knefely and I would love to see you there!

At a Christian Communicators Conference, less truly is more…

By limiting the conference to about 30 ladies, you receive more!

  • You won’t be surrounded by hundreds of women . . . but you’ll be embraced by thirty who will become lifelong friends
  • You won’t experience long lines for dinner . . . but you’ll have long conversations over dessert
  • You won’t need change for vending machines . . . but shared stories at afternoon tea can change your life

Come and learn in a small, intimate setting . . .
then go out and change a great big world

Check out the Christian Communicators Conference registration details here. But don’t delay, with only 30 spots, we fill up quickly!Print

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I’m Looking for Teens 16yo-18yo Who are Interested in the Media Arts!

I’m honored to again be a co-director of The Gideon Media Arts Conference and Film Festival Teen Intern Program at this year’s conference, July 11-15, 2014 in Orlando.

If you know a teen interested in acting, directing, screenwriting, singing, songwriting, or anything else related to the media arts, please send them to the Gideon Intern Page for details and application. But they must hurry–Deadline for applications is April 1.

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Jo Ann Fore book coverAnd Finally…Who Won Jo Ann Fore’s Book?

My goodness, I can tell you loved Jo Ann, her book, and her interview! That was one of the highest number of responses ever received. Thank you for your support and encouragement. And now, the winner is…drumroll please…

…Kimberly Ruedger-Wheatfill!

Congratulations, Kimberly! Just Contact Me with your snail mail address and Jo Ann will have your book right out to you!

And for those who didn’t win, here’s your direct Amazon link to Jo Ann’s amazing book, When A Woman Finds Her Voice: Overcoming Life’s Hurts & Using Your Story to Make a Difference.

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Okay, friends, that does it for today’s post. Yes, I know it was longer than usual, but that’s because I had so much good stuff to share with you!

Happy writing!

Vonda

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Writer’s Headlines: Writing and Speaking Conferences & MoGo7000

It’s the 4th Thursday and time to look at upcoming conferences!

If you’re serious about writing, speaking, filmmaking, or creative arts, you need to be serious about learning your craft. Conferences are a great place to learn, regardless of your experience. Be sure to check them all out and find the ones that best fit your needs.

1.  Blue Ridge Writing Retreat with Agent Sally Apokedak: October 24-27, 2013, Blue Ridge, GA.

2.  Mini Fiction Workshop: November 16, 2013, Anderson, SC (Contact Elva Martin for details: elvacmartin@gmail.com)

3.  Writing for the Soul: February 13-15, 2014, Colorado Springs, CO

4.  Writers Advance Boot Camp: February 21-23, 2014, Asheville, NC

5.  Florida Christian Writers Conference: February 26-March 2, 2014, Leesburg, FL (Hope to see you there!)

6.  Mid-South Christian Writers Conference: March 8, 2014, Memphis, TN

7.  Carolina Christian Writers Conference: March 13-15, 2014, Spartanburg, SC (Registration opens soon!)

8.  Write2Ignite: March 28-29, 2014, Tigerville, SC

9.  FAM Fest Film Festival: March 29, 2014, York, SC

10. Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference: May 19-23, 2014, Ridgecrest, NC

11. Gideon Media Arts Conference & Film Festival: July 11-15, 2014, Orlando, FL

12. Christian Communicators Conference: Hold the date! August 27-31, 2014, The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, Asheville, NC

 

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Only 8 more days to MoGo in October!

Have you been working on your MoGo7000 this month? If so, you have 8 more days to count toward this month’s total, so keep working!

Don’t know what in the world I’m talking about? Head on over to the MoGo7000 Challenge page and check it out. You could finish a book this year AND win $100 in cold, hard cash!

So what are you waiting for?

Write on!

Vonda

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Writer’s Headlines: Kudos, MoGo7000 Totals, & Last Call for Teen Interns

Hello, writers. Well, it’s the 2nd Thursday and that means it’s a day to celebrate YOUR successes!

First, let’s give a big round of applause for all these writers who have been hard at work…and have the results to show for it.

1.  Edie Melson (SC): Edie has a new two-book contract with Thomas Nelson for books of prayer for military families, While My Husband Serves and While My Son Serves.

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Parting Words From The WORD…

Photo courtesy of ChristianPhotos.net

I just returned last night from the Gideon Media Arts Conference and Film Festival, where I had the joy of learning from wise professionals as they talked about this creative-for-Christ ministry we feel called to. It’s an awesome, scary, difficult journey, a journey full of potholes and pitfalls.

You know what I’m talking about. “It’s all in who you know.” “You have to look out for number one.” “Use every opportunity to promote yourself.”

We heard some incredible speakers this week. Speakers who left us with not only words of wisdom for our careers, but words of caution for our hearts.

Torry Martin was one such speaker. I’ve had the privilege of hearing Torry speak many times, and he always makes me laugh. But this time…this time it wasn’t about laughing, it was about loving.

“Jesus is not a genre.”

“Are we leaving footprints on the backs of others?”

“Are we PRAYING FOR each other or are we PREYING ON each other?”

Wow.

Friends, we have a wonderful calling and it sometimes requires us to step into the spotlight of books and events and blog posts and followers and auditions and screenings. It requires to us find those opportunities to share what we have.

But because of that very calling, Satan wants to fill our God-given spotlight with the motivation of self. It’s his way of turning good into evil.

God has a different plan.

Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.     Philippians 2:4

It’s a delicate dance. And one that depends on the motivations of our hearts.

Grace and peace be yours in abundance,

Vonda

(Photo courtesy of ChristianPhotos.net)

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Writer’s Headlines: Conferences & Opportunities for Creative People

It’s Thursday, so let’s check out some conferences and opportunities for YOU!

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Don’t miss these upcoming conferences for teens, adults, and speakers.

If you haven’t figured it out already, conferences are the way for creative people to learn, grow, and connect with others. I can honestly say most of the good things that have happened in my career can be traced back to something or someone I met at a conference. Think of it as “getting your degree.” Yes, it takes time. Yes it takes an investment. But the return is worth it all!

1.  Upstate SC American Christian Writers Spring 2012 Workshop: May 12, 2012, Greenville, SC

2.  Colorado Christian Writers Conference: May 16-19, 2012, Estes Park, CO

3.  Orange County Christian Writers Conference: May 18-20, 2012, Newport Beach, CA

4.  Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference: May 20-24, 2012, Ridgecrest, NC (I’ll see you there!)

5.  St. Davids Christian Writers’ Conference: June 19-23, 2012, Grove City, PA

6.  North Texas Christian Writers Conference: June 22-23, 2012, Keller, TX (I’ll see you there!)

7.  AnAuthor World/The Writers’ Plot Conference: July 21, 2012, Furman University, Greenville, SC (I’ll see you there!)

8.  Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference: August 1-4, 2012, Langhorne, PA

9.  Gideon Media Arts Conference and Film Festival: August 11-16, 2012, Ridgecrest, NC (I’ll see you there!)

10. Christian Authors Guild “Catch the Wave” Writers Conference: August 23-25, 2012, Norcross, GA

11. CLASS Christian Writers Conference: October 31-November 4, 2012, Ghost Ranch, NM

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Do You Know Some Creative Teens?

The Gideon Media Arts Conference and Film Festival Intern program is looking for teens 16-18yo who are interested in acting, directing, producing, screenwriting, songwriting, singing, television or radio. This is their opportunity to learn, grow, and connect with those who can help them in their goals. I’m honored to be a co-director, along with Sarah Sumpolec, of the Gideon/Clash Entertainment Intern Program for Christian teens.

But you must hurry! The application deadline is June 1st! Tell all the talented Christian teens you know!

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Registrations are Filling Up for the August 2012 Christian Communicators Conference!

That’s right…the conference is in August, but with only 3 or 4 rooms left, space is already extremely limited.

Ladies, do you dream of having a speaking ministry? Do you already have a ministry, but want to grow as a speaker? The Christian Communicators Conference was created just for you!

The 3rd Christian Communicators Conference will be held at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina August 29-September 2, and Carolyn Knefely and I would love to have you join us!

But don’t take our word for it, here are some testimonials from the previous conferences:

“I’ve been to a lot of Christian conferences in my lifetime, yet CCC would prove to be the most rewarding and the most life changing.”
Glenda Mills, WV
http://GlendaMills.com

“The Christian Communicators Conference was an in-depth weekend of speaker training that was filled with encouragement, deep friendship, and love. It helped move my speaking to the next level…I feel more polished and confident as a professional speaker.”
Patty Mason, TN
Liberty in Christ Ministries
www.LibertyinChrist.net

“If you believe GOD is calling you into His service as a speaker, CCC is the very first thing you need to do. After PRAYING of course!”
Liz Cowen Furman, CO
www.LizCowenFurman.com

Feel free to contact me with any questions. You don’t want to miss it!

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Are You MoGoing?

You could write a book this year–AND win $100 in cold, hard cash!

That’s right! The MoGo7000 Challenge will help you complete a book and give you multiple chances to win money. For each month that you write 7000 new words on a book project, your name goes in the hat for the end-of-the-year drawing. Meet the goal three months this year and you get three entries. Meet it nine months and you get nine entries!

The good news is, you can join in any time…and it’s FREE!

Check out the MoGo7000 Challenge page for all the details. And get to work! Next Thursday I’ll be asking for the April totals, which will be announced the next week. So what are you waiting for?

Write that book!

Write on!

Vonda

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Writer’s Headlines: Opportunities for Creative Teens

Welcome to Thursday’s Writer’s Headlines…

Today we’re focusing on opportunities for teens interested in writing, acting, and film. Be sure to share these opportunities with the talented teens you know!

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Grant Skellenger on Screenwriting & Filmmaking and Writing Opps

grantskellengerheadshotI just returned from the Gideon Media Arts Conference and Film Festival–a wonderful week of learning about filmmaking, acting, screenwriting, music videos, graphic novels (a genre, not a judgment), and just about anything else you can think of related to media arts.

Many of you know about my love of acting, but only a few know that I’m working on a screenplay, an entirely new area of writing for me. And since some of you might be interested in learning about it too, I thought it’d be good for all of us to hear from someone who’s actually completed a movie script that ended up on the big screen. So please join me in welcoming screenwriter, filmmaker, novelist, and new friend, Grant Skellenger.

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Plot Points with Indiana Jones by Pepper Basham

pepperbashamheadshotLast week Pepper Basham wrote a blog post about plotting over at her group blog, The Writers Alley. Since I’m at the Gideon Media Arts Conference and Film Festival this week, this is a good time to focus on movies and plotting. Thank you for sharing it with us here at the Christian Writer’s Den, Pepper!

Plot Points with Indiana Jones by Pepper Basham

Okay, so put on your brown Fedora, pick up your whip, don your best sarcasm, and watch out for snakes, because we’re going to look at Plotting Tips from Indiana Jones.

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