Podcast Coming Soon

Hello everyone! This will be a very short blog, but I thought you might want to know what I’m actually up to, now I’ve graduated from University.

This coming week I’ll be recording my brand new podcast that will be called AUTISTIC WRITER PODCAST. Each week I’ll hopefully have three episodes;

Episode one will be about how I survive through life with Asperger Syndrome.

Episode two will be writing tips, so if you have any questions about writing scripts or novels let me know and I’ll try to answer them all.

Episode three will be short stories I have written, so you will get a different one each week.

I’ve got a Soundcloud account up right now on Autistic Writer Podcast so feel free to tune in and see what I’m up to next! Hope you’re all well and I wish you luck in your writing endeavours,

Love,

Abbie Allen

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When Wanting To Murder Your Series Plotting

Welcome back to another blog! It’s getting all a little scary right now, only a month away from the end of my time at University. Final year has gone so quickly and now I’m in the mad dash to get all my work done for the looming deadlines. So, whilst I’m in the mindset of my Major Final Project (dissertation equivalent) that is a 3-part Crime Drama for TV I’ll pass on a little bit of help and guidance I picked up from how to plot stuff into the series, but it’s mainly stuff like thrillers or mystery.

PLOTTING:

So, when you’ve got certain things that need to be found out in certain places, this is what you should do.

Figure out how many episodes you have content for. From there, you make a list of points you need to uncover. Once you have that, figure out which ones go together. Once you have that, choose which points come in what order and choose which episodes which points come into the series. Once you’ve got that, then make sure it’s evenly done and you don’t give the whole chain of events away before the end of the series. That would definitely kill the series in its tracks.

I hope that helps and you can make your own series the best it can be. I wish you luck in your writing endeavours.

Love,

Abbie Allen

The Dreaded Series Outline

Welcome back to another blog! It’s been WAY too long. Since I’ve just finished writing a draft for an assignment/showcase due in May, thought the best way to try and recover is write a blog. Why not? So this blog is about Series Outlines. They’re horrible to try and write, but if you get the structure down, you might get through unscathed. Let’s get right into it.

START IT OFF PROPERLY

So, the first bit you need to know about putting the first words on this one page only document is to ensure you make it clear what is being told. This is the example I will give so you know what I mean.

Locksford by Abbie Allen – Crime Drama TV Series of 3 episodes

Logline: Not everything a new PC sees in a Birmingham suburbs police station is the truth

So the title and the name of the writer are in bold. Then you explain what genre the series is and how many episodes you intend the series to be. It’s also a great idea, no matter how horrible the process may be, to get some kind of logline on there, just so they know what your piece is about.

SECTION ONE- THE WORLD

This is the first bit you need to put in next. You need to give a little bit of info about the world you want to tell them about. It is likely to be a bigger paragraph or more if you’re doing a Sci-Fi or Dystopian. Then you have to explain what happened to the world and how it got into its current state. Luckily, mine was just about a police station in Birmingham. This is the example I’ll give.

“Lizzy Reading, the youngest of her family, makes the decision to join Locksford Police Station against her family’s wishes. With determination to follow in her dead brother, Sergeant Neil Reading’s, steps it pushes Lizzy to believe in the impossible. The four year anniversary of Neil’s death gets closer and Lizzy is confused why her family turned their backs on Lizzy and Neil. Emotions bubble to the surface as Lizzy starts to behave like Neil and their mother, Elizabeth Hendy-Reading, tries to persuade Lizzy to change career.”

So this would set the world up for the reader to understand what is going on.

SECTION TWO- CHARACTERS/PROTAGONIST EMOTIONS/OBSTACLES/RESOLUTION

The gloriously long but narrative-led section. This is where you try to introduce your characters whilst also move the narrative on to reveal the bumpy journey your characters go on. It may be a long section, but it can be worth it if you can get it done well. This is the one from my project, LOCKSFORD.

“Ignoring the threats from her own family to leave the force, Lizzy turns up for work to discover her father, Superintendent Michael Reading, has been creating a reputation on brute force and deception. Unsure what to believe, Lizzy starts to put her trust in Inspector Dale ‘Becker’ Beckett and PC Nicky Penn. Whispers and looks of disgust are pointing in Lizzy’s direction, but are put to bed by intervention from DI Melissa Hemming, DC Leon Boulder and DC Natalie ‘Tash’ Price. Whilst a new team is formed, tensions rise from Tash about Lizzy, worried what Neil told Lizzy about her, his girlfriend at the time of his death.

As Lizzy tries to settle into her new environment, she finds not everyone plays by the rules. Coming across her supervising officer, Sergeant Max Strong, Lizzy must decide who she puts her trust in and what she will do to stay alive. During her first week as a probationary PC, Lizzy is paired with Nicky, known as the ‘Master Puppy-walker’ due to his career spanning close to thirty years and puppy-walking all the new recruits. Tash and Leon stumble across an armed robbery, leading them straight to a drug dealer. With trouble brewing round the case Lizzy, Nicky and Melissa are pulled in for assistance. Just when they think it can’t get any worse, Lizzy recognises the drug dealer as an associate of Michael’s. Becker is drafted in and all officers in the inner circle are on red alert for danger pointing straight at Lizzy. After a raid on the drug dealer’s house goes wrong, questions emerge of who is involved and what parts they have to play in the events circling Locksford.

Whilst Lizzy battles with her new job, Elizabeth battles with her conscience on what the family is up to behind Lizzy’s back. Through Elizabeth’s leisure centre, Michael has been using it for a front to cover his dealings away from the nick. Their remaining son, Dan, is also up to his neck in it, not giving Elizabeth a way out or a way to keep Lizzy safe.

Returning home to gather herself after her first day at work, Lizzy finds a letter in one of Neil’s books. With new information Neil had left her before he died, she starts to doubt Neil is actually dead. Taking a week to contemplate the new information before talking to the team, Lizzy starts to get letters and notes at work in the same hand as Neil. Finally caving and confiding in the team, they try to figure out whether the rumours Neil’s death had been fake or not. As Tash starts to receive threats putting Leon in danger, she struggles to decide what to do between keeping quiet about what she knows or putting Lizzy out of her misery and telling her the truth.

Just when the case looks hopeless, Lizzy and Tash catch onto a new lead after another associate of Michael’s is found murdered in his flat. The duo check out a flagged up warehouse full of bags shoved full of white powder. Just when they think they have found the jackpot of evidence both of them are caught in an explosion, knocking them off course from finding out the truth.

As Elizabeth’s conscience starts to take over, she makes the choice to tell Lizzy what has been going on and what she knew about Neil’s death. Elizabeth and Michael butt heads about their daughter, but Michael’s approach petrifies Elizabeth enough to stand up for their daughter in her hour of need. Michael’s dealings come to light and his reputation is torn to shreds as the facts surface. Distraught at the shambles her family have become, Lizzy goes home to find Neil waiting for her, asking her for help before collapsing into her arms.”

So you see, this is an example, but different series need structure in a different way.

So I wish you luck in writing your own and maybe, you never know, it may just be a help to pin down the main points of your series.

Love,

Abbie Allen

Story Beats Are Your Friend (I hope)

Welcome back to another script themed blog! Quite a few of these will end up being from lectures I’m attending for my final year at Uni, but it’s still useful for that author in us.

In one of my earlier blogs I talked about the five beat structure, putting the story into five beats. Now, hopefully this blog will help you if you think your story is becoming a little difficult to keep track of too.

So, let’s begin. With every story there are the main events, the important clincher points. Those are what you want in your story beats. So, if you struggle to get them into the five, try putting it into more than that. In a lecture I attended recently we were taught that it should be about one hundred and fifty maximum, at least for a feature film anyway. The minimum would be about sixty story beats.

It’s alright if the beats are a little sketchy at first. That’s what the whole exercise is for. This is to see where there are holes in the story, where we aren’t sure how we got to a certain point and to find the five main points of change to use in the five beat structure. This could also lead to helping you to write your pitch (that I talk about in another blog). The story beats could look like this, as an example:

-Mary destroys the kitchen

-Mary drives to John’s house

-Mary confronts John about their relationship

So, as you can see, it doesn’t have to be much, even if it does mean I’m subtly quoting SUPERNATURAL. I hope this quick blog has helped you figure out your story. I wish you all the best in your writing endeavours.

Love,

Abbie Allen

5 Beat story structure

Welcome back to another blog! This time I will be giving you the ideas of how to use the 5 beat structure, which a lot of scripts will need as part of their treatment to go along with drafts of scripts. Hopefully this will help you to figure out how to use it for your own ideas.

STEP 1 – FILLING IN THE FIVE BEATS

The first step that you need to do is through your story find the FIVE most important actions that happen. This would basically be also using your outline for your story and squeezing it down to just five points of what happens. Once you’ve done that, then you can see where to go to next from there.

STEP 2- ORDERING THE ACTIONS

This may seem a little odd at first, but sometimes the order we do the action can actually be moved round. Your last point might actually go better at the start. Mix the order round and see what happens.

 

This is one from a project of mine to get what else you can do:

  1. 3 months later Hannah writes a blog of what happened to the friends and how she
    wished they hadn’t separated when she gets a message from Sammy to meet at the
    usual place, so Hannah replies she can make it and leaves hurriedly
  2.  Hannah, Sammy, Dan and Kev walk out to Cardiff Bay, their usual meeting spot for
    their last meeting
  3. Hannah asks what they want to do, so Kev suggests they make a one-off vlog to
    remember all the good times
  4. Kev records the vlog on his camera, getting them to tell him funny memories and one
    thing they will always treasure
  5. Sammy gets the call she has to go home to pack for University, so the rest of the
    group follow suit once they have a picture of them all taken

 

I hope this helps and feel free to ask any questions you may have, whether it’s about the five beat structure or if you want to know more about the term ‘Treatment’ for a project. I wish you luck with your creative endeavours.

Love,

Abbie Allen

Script Excerpt- MOVING ON

EXT. SCHOOL PLAYGROUND – MORNING
HANNAH, (18, medium height, smart, quiet) dressed in a school
uniform, is sitting against the wall with SAMMY (18, female,
medium height, scruffy, rebel), DAN (18, tall, stubble,
scruffy, obnoxious) and KEV (18, tall, clean shaven, smart,
reserved). DAN pulls out a cigarette and lights it. SAMMY is
typing on her phone. HANNAH is reading a Shakespeare play.
KEV is reading a comic book.

DAN
You should have seen his face once
I dropped the bombshell I knew more
than that stupid teacher.

SAMMY
I can imagine, as you’ve told that
story ALL week.

DAN
Surely it’s not been ALL week,
right, Kev?

KEV
Well…

DAN
You’re not backing me up?

KEV
Sorry, Dan. It does get a little
annoying after you’ve brought it up
every day.

DAN
Hannah, will you back me up?

HANNAH
Well…

DAN
Hannah?

HANNAH
Well…this IS the first I’ve heard
of it.

DAN
You see, Hannah backs me up!

SAMMY
Only because she’s been pulled in
for exam practices by The Dragon
all week.

HANNAH
That is true.

KEV
Hannah, just let Sammy and Dan
fight this one out. I love seeing
them get into a weird love dance in
the guise of a fight.

SAMMY & DAN
There’s nothing going on!

KEV
You keep telling yourselves that,
love birds.

HANNAH attempts to hide a smile.

SAMMY
You’re worse than Kev sometimes,
Hannah, you know that?

HANNAH
I’m getting the impression, yeah.

SAMMY and HANNAH grin at each other and start laughing.

KEV
Ugh. Girls, eh?

DAN
They’re not that bad.

KEV

Oh, you would say that!

DAN
Jealous I get all the girls?

KEV throws his comic book at DAN, hitting him in the face.

EXT. SCHOOL PLAYGROUND – AFTERNOON

HANNAH stands watching the doorway, pupils pouring out. DAN
walks over.

DAN
Not going home?

HANNAH
I’m waiting for Sammy.

DAN
I think she can manage.

HANNAH
It’s Friday, Dan. She’s sleeping
over. Shouldn’t you be looking for
Kev?

DAN
Nah. He’s not my type.

HANNAH
You know what I mean. Sammy and I
do a sleep over and you and Kev do
a sleep over and see who can be
awake the latest.

DAN
(flirty)
Maybe we should try and switch it
up, see if you and I could beat
Sammy and Kev.

HANNAH
Uh…

SAMMY and KEV walk over. SAMMY stops as she sees HANNAH.

SAMMY
Hannah? Shall we go?

HANNAH
Yes please.

DAN
You gonna just leave it like that?

KEV
What you on about, bruv?

SAMMY
Dan, don’t tell me you were winding
Hannah up again.

DAN
I wasn’t doing anything of the
sort!

SAMMY
Really, because Hannah looks pretty
petrified to me.

DAN
I may have just said the wrong
thing.

KEV
Hannah?

HANNAH
Can we just go?

SAMMY
Dan, what did you do?

DAN
Just leave it, will ya?!

HANNAH takes SAMMY’s hand and leads her away from DAN and
KEV. The two boys watch the girls go.

KEV
You’d better explain on the way,
bruv.

DAN
Forget it. It was nothing.

INT. SCHOOL TOILETS – MORNING

HANNAH splashes water from the sink over her face. SAMMY
walks into the toilets and checks her makeup in the mirror.

SAMMY
You alright?

HANNAH
Dan tried it on last night.

SAMMY
What?!

SAMMY stares at HANNAH.

HANNAH
I thought it would be OK to go to
the cinema with him. He invited me
back to his house and then he tried
to…you know.

SAMMY
Oh. My. GOD!

HANNAH
Now he’s ignoring me.

SAMMY
I’ll talk to Kev, try and see what
we can do.

HANNAH
Will Kev listen to that?

SAMMY
He will if he wants any of this.

SAMMY flicks her school blazer away from her figure.

HANNAH
Wait. Are you and Kev…

SAMMY
Yup. Did it last night. You should
try it sometime.

HANNAH
Sammy! I don’t wanna know!

SAMMY
Have you not…?

HANNAH
You have to ask that?

SAMMY
I’m surprised you’re not into that
kind of action. Nothing matches it.

HANNAH
No. Just, no. I’m not ready for
that, no way.

SAMMY
Are you…jealous?

HANNAH
You think I’m jealous of you and
Kev?

SAMMY
You do look at him funny.

HANNAH
I just don’t want you getting hurt.
I’ve seen him with the rugby lads.
He can get rough.

SAMMY
Hannah, I can manage.

HANNAH
Like you did last time?

SAMMY
Look, I’ll speak to Kev and get him
to have a word with Dan to sort
things out.

HANNAH
You can try.

EXT. SCHOOL PLAYGROUND – NOON

HANNAH sits on the wall, her bag at her feet. SAMMY storms
over and slumps down onto the wall.

SAMMY
Kev is a dick.

HANNAH
What?

SAMMY
Just caught him with a Year 11 in
the history department. All I can
say is that they weren’t studying.

HANNAH
I’m sorry, Sammy.

SAMMY
I thought he could have been the
one, you know?

HANNAH
You can do better than Kev.

SAMMY
What if I don’t want to? I love the
dickhead. I just wanted to have
something that I didn’t ruin. Was
that too much to ask for?

HANNAH
Guys need to pull their heads out
their arses, don’t they?

SAMMY
He wasn’t like that, not with me.
He was really sweet, you know? I
just wish he’d given us a chance
before blowing it.

HANNAH
Why don’t I see if you can stay
over tonight? I think Dad got some
Haagen-Dazs ice-cream we can share.

SAMMY
Thanks, Hannah. I’d really
appreciate that.

HANNAH
It’s what friends are for, isn’t
it?

SAMMY hugs HANNAH.

INT. SCHOOL TOILETS – NOON

HANNAH is dressed in her own clothes, smartening herself up
and checking her reflection. SAMMY walks into the toilets and
stands right next to HANNAH.

HANNAH
Everything OK?

SAMMY
You cow.

HANNAH
What?

SAMMY
You posted that video.

HANNAH
I have no idea what you’re talking
about.

SAMMY
That sexual video we made a few
months ago as a JOKE, the one we
got YOU to film!

HANNAH
I haven’t posted any videos
recently. I swear it’s not me.

SAMMY
That video is round the entire
school, just on the day we’re meant
to graduate!

HANNAH
Are you sure Dan or Kev didn’t post
it?

SAMMY
You think I believe that? I checked
the account it came from. It’s from
yours!

HANNAH stares at SAMMY.

SAMMY (CONT’D)
There’s no point looking at me like
you didn’t know about this. It’s
too late. Thanks for nothing.

SAMMY storms out the toilets, slamming the door behind her.

HANNAH
Sammy!

HANNAH runs out the toilets.

INT. HANNAH’S ROOM – AFTERNOON

HANNAH stands at the foot of her bed, dressed in a T-shirt
and jeans. HANNAH holds her phone to her ear.

HANNAH
Hey, Sammy. Sorry I’m calling
again, but I wanted to check you
alright. I’m sorry about all this.
Would you just call me back? I’m
worried about you.

HANNAH hangs up her phone.

INT. HANNAH’S ROOM – MOMENTS LATER

HANNAH’s phone is pinging with each message as it is lying on
her bed.

SAMMY (V.O.)
Everyone needs to get their bloody
noses out my life! I wanna live it
my way.

DAN (V.O.)
Some people are such drama queens.

SAMMY (V.O.)
Get out my life, you hypocrite!

KEV (V.O.)
Get back in your cage.

SAMMY (V.O.)
Who asked you?! Get out of this
conversation!

DAN (V.O.)
Don’t be a bitch, Sammy!

KEV (V.O.)
Such a cow! Just get off Facebook!

HANNAH
ENOUGH!

HANNAH’s phone stops beeping. HANNAH sits on her bed and
turns off her phone. HANNAH curls up on her bed.

INT. HANNAH’S ROOM – NEXT DAY

HANNAH sits on her bed, staring at the wall. A knock echoes
against the door. SAMMY enters the room, a little sheepish.

HANNAH
Sammy?

SAMMY
I was…uh…in the area. I thought
we could talk? I didn’t really know
where else to go.

HANNAH
Yeah. Of course.

SAMMY and HANNAH sit on the bed.

SAMMY
I’ve had some time to think after
yesterday’s Facebook pandemonium.

HANNAH
I’m sorry about Dan and Kev. They
went too far.

SAMMY
It’s not your fault. I’ve also been
thinking about the other day. That
video coming out, it rattled me,
you know? Now I’ve had time to
think, I know now I shouldn’t have
blamed you for that coming out.

HANNAH
Not exactly been easy for any of
us, has it? Ignoring each other
hasn’t helped.

SAMMY
Which is why I’m here.

HANNAH
Look, I’ve got the rest of the
holiday off. Why don’t we catch up,
do a sleep over again?

SAMMY
I’d like that.

HANNAH
Besides, I think Dad might let you
finish the Haagen-Dazs this time.

SAMMY
Sounds like a plan.

Both girls hold each other close.

INT. HANNAH’S ROOM – MOMENTS LATER

HANNAH sits at her desk and opens a photo album. The various
pictures are of HANNAH, SAMMY, KEV and DAN graduating from
school.

HANNAH (V.O.)
Friends are described in many
poetic ways. There are some that
shine like stars you don’t always
see but you know they’re there.
They’re described as flowers to
brighten the day. I had one friend
in particular that seemed to stick
around, no matter how hard the path
got.

HANNAH turns the page to a picture of SAMMY and HANNAH.

HANNAH (V.O.)
My favourite friend quote is
friends come and go like waves of
the ocean, but the true ones stay
like an octopus on your face.

FADE TO BLACK.

Episode Plans (in case of drawing blanks)

Welcome to another blog! This one may be a little different to my other ones, as there aren’t actually steps for you to follow.

As I’ve mentioned in one of my other blogs, when you’re writing out episodes, the best way to do it is through planning an outline so you know where you’re going with it. Sometimes it’s not that easy. This is an alternative starting point if you can’t find the heart of the story for the outline. I know that a lot of writers don’t stay in one area of writing, whether it’s novels or scripts or poems, it differs. For me, it’s mainly scripts and novels. Recently, I have been trying to plan a Police Drama eight part TV series. I have come across the issue where I don’t know what should be in each episode. So what did I do to get round it?

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Structure Mountain (when planning to adapt literally anything)

Welcome back! I hope you all had a great Christmas and a happy New Year (even though it’s nearly the end of January). This is my next blog that may seem like I’m talking at you, but hopefully this might actually help those who wish to adapt from one medium to another, for example novel to Film adaptation. I’ll give a few steps, but step two onwards you can do in any order that works for you,

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