Author Archives: sherimcguinn

Never Pay to Publish – and OMG

I had this writer’s blog, Never Pay to Publish, ready to post today. For anyone following this for writing tips, it’s below.

But sometimes life happens.

KatieRiver2My daughter Katie has always been a risk taker – when she was twelve, she bought two tickets to whitewater the Colorado River for my birthday. She knew it was the only way she’d get to go. That’s her grinning. I’m under the wave, still in the boat.

After college, she surfed the beach off San Francisco alone – worried me sick. When she and her husband first met, they surfed the Pacific beaches all the way to Panama. She has a little scar where coral ripped open her lip in Costa Rica. Now she lives in far northern California where she can teach safe kayaking and surf year round – with a wet suit.

She’s gotten old enough to call people in their late teens and twenties “kids” and when she and her husband saw the surf near home was big and rough this morning, they decided to go north to a different beach. On the way home, they stopped on the cliff overlooking the beach they’d decided was too rough to surf – they always take time to enjoy life like that. What they saw was three “kids” on boogie boards in an area they NEVER surf because of the rip tides, two boys and a girl in their late teens or twenties. They saw the white of the boys’ backs and realized they had no wet suits. Even in August, the water up there is icy cold. The “kids” were caught in a rip.

Katie and her husband drove down to the beach, where the kids’ friends were finally calling 911 – they’d already been in the water at least 45 minutes. Katie and her husband got their boards and headed out, through the waves they’d chosen not to surf, out into the rip they’d never go near.

When they got to the kids, Eric took charge of the two who still had some strength to help them back to safety. Katie took the boy who was sinking into hypothermia.

At first she tried to tow him to shore, but he was too weak to hold onto the board. So she pulled him onto it, got on top of him, and paddled the best she could.

Once they got back to the break, they still had to ride the waves into shore – the waves that were big enough Katie and her husband hadn’t surfed that beach earlier. The other two were still strong enough to ride in on their own and walk out of the water. Katie’s kid couldn’t hold onto the board. She had to ride in on top of him.

They made it most of the way before they got dumped and she lost him. But by then, the fire and rescue crews were on the beach, ready to help, and they got her kid to shore and onto a stretcher for the ride to the hospital.

The helicopter that would have looked for them at sea was still at least 15 minutes away.

Today, my daughter called me from under a tree, where she’s sitting, still shaken up by the whole episode. She didn’t want me to find out by reading about it somewhere. But there were no news cameras, so it may never be noticed by media. She found out the kid she helped warmed up and was released from the hospital.

I’m still tearful. My daughter saved that kid’s life by risking her own. I’m terribly proud of her – both her actions and her need to sit under a tree and absorb it all today.

20170817Never Pay to Publish

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Critique Groups – Key Elements

I was extremely lucky in my first critique group. Running Away was losing agent interest in the first pages. I read it to the group and they unanimously proclaimed I’d started in the wrong place. They were absolutely right!

The best critique group is going to include people with diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and skills. They’re going to be supportive of each other, even when they’re giving negative feedback. Every person will leave the meeting energized.

Aside from that, there are a lot of different ways critique groups may work. Here are a few variations.

Sheri McGuinn
I write.
www.sherimcguinn.com
www.amazon.com/author/sherimcguinn

Critique Group What to Look For

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A Writer’s Journey Part 3: Trying to be a Writer

Sorry this is late: as I went to post it, there was a muffled crash and the electricity went out. A car crashed into a nearby utility pole. According to people on the scene, no one was seriously injured, but our electricity is still out more than twelve hours later. Good time to work at the coffee shop!

Trying to Be a Writer

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“Running Away is one of the best Lifetime films of the years so far.”

Yet another adventure in life: my first novel’s been made into a movie that people are actually watching! The crazy part is I haven’t seen it yet. There was a communication glitch and I thought it was still exclusively in Europe. In fact, I sat with extras on a bus for a couple hours and don’t know if I made it into a cameo shot, either!

Running Away airs again on Mother’s Day (5/14/17) at noon on Lifetime.

  • Director: Brian Skiba
  • Writer: Sheri McGuinn
  • Stars: Holly Deveaux, William McNamara, Paula Trickey

The quote: After watching an earlier showing, Lisa Marie Bowman of Shattered Lens said: “Running Away is one of the best Lifetime films of the years so far.” Read her full 5/7/17 review in Shattered Lens: What Lisa Watched Last Night.

My take as the writer: We had to change a lot to make the novel work as a movie, but the director’s ending is perfect for the film and the book will still hold surprises for someone who’s seen the movie – or vice versa.

I only watched one day of filming. However, it was clear that each person on the crew was absolutely professional and that everyone had the same goal: to make a good film

Which, as I said, isn’t going to be the same as the book. Movies are visual, so the way the story was told had to change. Movie audiences have different expectations than novel readers, so that required changes as well. And movies are a collaborative effort – the initial script is simply a skeleton which is shaped and developed by producers, directors, actors – everyone working on the film.

So if you’ve read the book, watch the movie without expectations and enjoy the suspense.

I have the shooting script so I know the ending, but I’ll still enjoy watching the story unfold.

Ups and Downs

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Up: The Pitchfest I went to last spring paid off. Running Away, a screenplay based on my novel of the same name, was optioned by Nasser Entertainment (after months of negotiation) and is currently being filmed by Run Run Media in Los Angeles.

Down: I got hurt in February, stayed at the day job through June in pain, and have spent the summer getting repaired. Still have my arm in a sling following surgery to bicep and rotator cuff that involved a lot of stitches and re-anchoring both. I now have reason to skip the metal detector and say “Just pat me down and get over it.”

Up: I’ve been able to camp in my son’s living room all summer and have spent time with the rest of the family as well.

House1.JPGDown: Moved all my stuff to storage here in Sacramento while the Cedar Creek fire dropped ash on my home in Arizona. Leaves me committed to the move, though emotionally I’m still attached.

Up: Sacramento has multiple active writing and filmmaker communities, so staying here should be a good thing – even if my digs end up being a step back. I might be able to swing something up in the hills a bit…