After finishing a new first draft of Prophecy as the first book in a trilogy, I spent last Monday reading it with a notebook to keep track of things. I find it really useful to write down any important information I reveal about characters (eye color, likes and dislikes, dates, etc.) or the story, so that I don’t contradict myself. It is especially useful when you are writing more than one book in the same universe. In addition to facts, I make myself a list of things that need to be changed or added. This can be for mistakes (if I wrote that she was 12 a decade ago, then say she is 26, I have some math that needs fixing), creative decisions (removing a character, changing their name) or missing information (not enough background on a character, they come out of nowhere, she suddenly has a car that wasn’t there in the last scene…). I do this chapter by chapter, then add notes in previous or later chapters (mention x before they meet her, bring up y so we know she hasn’t forgotten him). Sometimes I’ll just write questions, like “Did she know this?”, “Who is Spencer?”, “Why did he do that?”, so I know I need to figure that out before I write the next draft.

Once I have answered all of the questions and figured out where everything goes, that is when I’ll start the next draft. Right now I am also waiting on my Alpha Reader (my mom), to let me know what she thinks about the story and the characters, so I know if everything is coming across like I want it to, and if the story is interesting for people who are not me. In the meantime, I am working on the novellas, character backstories and some compulsive planning, because that’s how I roll.

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday I did background, each of them an awesome experience. I was referred to as ‘our hero’ on one set, booked as SSE and learnt a whole lot on the next one, and wrapped within 2 hours on Friday.

I only went to Jiu-Jitsu twice, which sucks, but was also the smarter thing to do. On Thursday I did some Brand Ambassador work on a van, which was a lot of fun, but I sort of fell through the cracks in the early morning. I was praised for my acrobatic abilities in catching myself and preventing what could have been a lot more damage, but I still ended up very bruised with a slice of skin missing (a very thin, small one, don’t worry). I probably still would have gone, but my foot was swollen and gently brushing three-quarters of my legs brought pain, so I decided to wait until the swelling went down to go back to class.

On Saturday I attended the Fall Member’s Conference with ACTRA, which is an awesome opportunity to learn valuable information while mingling with old friends and new acquaintances who share your interests. The day started off with a screening of some TiP projects, which are low-budget, ACTRA-approved films like Get-together and Touched. These are both in post-production stages and waiting to go through the festival circuit, but I would absolutely love to have them screen at ACTRA once they’ve made their way around. It was really inspiring to see what you can accomplish when you get a bunch of actors together.

Next I went to the TAWC (Toronto ACTRA Women’s Committee) Page-to-Pitch Session, where we had industry leaders share how they got their projects off the ground before 3 brave souls went up and pitched us their ideas. It was really interesting to hear these new ideas and then get the feedback that the experts provided, which was sometimes a question I was asking myself, but other times something I completely missed because I don’t get pitched to all the time and just heard the awesomeness of the ideas.

Next, we had lunch, where I caught up with some friends and slightly kidnapped a baby. I had the mother’s permission, but I also claimed her for the next 20 minutes or so, as she tried to devour my hair and my shoulder. It is moments like this (and when the childcare workers bring a baby to the door of our classroom so a mother can breastfeed and not miss anything) that make me realize how incredible and badass mothers are. They get it all done. Everything that I have to do, plus a million other things because they have tiny humans that depend on them for everything. They’re superheroes.

After lunch we attended the plenary session to find out what’s going with ACTRA this year, then I went for round 2 of Page-to-Pitch. This time, 10 ‘presenters’ went to another room with the executives and they pitched in private (with the knowledge and comments from this morning) while we got a presentation on being an entrepreneur, an often overlooked facet of our industry, and figuring out how to analyze your idea and build on it, how to network, etc. Very interesting.

At the end, both groups merged and we got comments and a Q & A session with the executives who went off to hear the pitches.

I learned a lot from these sessions, including the fact that I don’t think I want to be a showrunner. Or write a TV series. At least not for now. I loved the ideas and information and tried to transfer it for books, but I am no Mindy Kaling. Even when I produce a short film, I need to no longer be in charge while I do the acting part. Ideally, I would like to write a book series while acting in a TV series. And producing films with amazing people. Wouldn’t that be perfect?

There was a wine and cheese thing to finish off the conference, so I met a few new friends and said goodbye to my people before heading home for date night. After supper, we watched Murder Mystery, which was filmed in Montreal so I got to see some of my Montreal friends. I enjoyed it, but possible spoiler alert, I went in knowing Gemma Arterton is not 4 years younger than me.

On Sunday I did a few hours of ultrasounds then went to a Barbecue. There was delicious food, excellent company, we watched some of the Emmys, and I got a beautiful notebook from Venice to write some stories in.

 

“Treat your family like friends, and your friends like family.”

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