About Shakirah

Owner/Administrator of getWrite! A place where struggling writers can release frustration through quotes, quirky articles and valuable advice. To find out more, go to www.shakirahbourne.com

Meet My Best Friend, Fear

On Sunday, September 15th, I was 4 pages away from completing my second feature-length screenplay; a psychological thriller called Two Smart. It was hard work, and many times I chastised myself for making things more difficult than they had to be.

You see, I wondered if I could write 90 pages of a screenplay, set in one location, with just three characters. I don’t want to give away anything just yet, but when I say one location, I mean ONE location. I challenged myself even further; for example, not simply a house – but one room in a house. So I set about my task to make a story interesting enough, balancing the right about of dialogue and action to maintain an audience’s attention for an hour and a half.

That Sunday I knew I was going to finish the script. I mean, I KNEW exactly how the movie was supposed to end. I had a scene by scene outline! I woke up at 6am as usual, smiling and messaging close friends that I was about to finish the script. I went on Facebook, read some funny statuses, went on gchat and before I knew it, it was 9am. I still had the whole day to write those final four pages, right? I spent the entire day running errands, responding to emails, watching videos online…until I realised that the sun had disappeared, and the CBC Evening News had just finished.

Ok Shakirah, time to write these four pages, and I opened the Final Draft Document.

But I became paralysed. I became cold all over, and my eyes looked wildly about the room to find any task to do but the one before me. What was happening? Continue reading

On Dialect – How Caribbean people supposed tuh talk in a story, eh?

In a previous post about how I met Olive Senior, I mentioned that I wanted to do a separate blog post on the Bocas Lit Fest session with Irvine Welsh, author of the very famous Scottish novel, Trainspotting. 

cocktail

Irvine Welsh -Scottish author

Anyone who knows me knows I have a very soft spot for anything Scottish, as I consider it my second home. The Scots are very similar to us here in the Caribbean; they are friendly, love to laugh and love to drink – can’t get any better than that.

Irvine Welsh was refreshing. He reeked of confidence. He sat on the stage chewing the life out of a piece of gum, not caring about the hundred or so eyes staring at him. He gave honest answers to every question; even the rather rude one from a nosy audience member who asked about the contents of his personal bag. I mean, come on! (All sane Caribbean people covered their face in shame when Welsh actually answered “a shirt and a pair of sneakers”).

He should also give lessons in how to read fiction to an audience. It was one of the best readings I have witnessed. He captivated us with every word and antic, he did not apologise for any of the cuss words which occurred every sentence or so, and his language…was brilliantly Scottish.

Did he get a standing ovation? I can’t remember. But we in the audience were glad that he read another piece, despite it being a questionable excerpt requested by interviewer, B.C. Pires, on the slaying of a dog. And I thought my humour was dark!

My friend (and excellent writer) Desiree, had just bought Trainspotting, and I, still  completely mindblown and impressed with this man who had perfected balancing on the line between confidence and arrogance, asked for a quick peek of the novel. Here is a shot of the first page: Continue reading

Too Many Ideas Syndrome (TMIS)

Last night I dreamed about a movie.

It was one of my favourites because it is so brilliant – a fantasy movie with poignant main characters, and twisted plots which shocked and angered me. The antagonist was so cruel that I skipped ahead of some of the worse scenes. I never remember the name of the movie, but when I was dreaming the plot came back so easily. It was an old movie – think back to a time when you watched a TNT movie on that old six-channel STV box.

While I was dreaming I said to myself, “I need to look up the name of this movie because I keep forgetting what happens. It’s been a while since I watched it.”

So I wake up, yawn, and turn on the computer. I look out the window – it is a sunny Saturday yay! Now what do I have to do today again? I go on Facebook, check the emails, read a funny Cracked article (I love that site) and then I remember about the movie.

I open the Google search engine, and then I pause. I realise I have no idea what to google.

Then it hit me.

DAMMIT TO HELL (not the words I used) IT ISN’T A REAL MOVIE!

IT WAS A DREAM! Continue reading

Top 50 Literary Magazines

 Taken from: http://www.everywritersresource.com/topliterarymagazines.html

 Find a complete listing of literary magazines here.

Our criteria for this list has changed and we feel the literary magazines on this list are much better ranked than our previous list. It’s always hard to build this list, but we looked about close to 20 data points in coming up with this list. The most important criteria we used this time was date of founding, number of national anthologies publications (and we looked at a lot of them), and the quality of work of and names of passed greats published in the magazines.

The purpose of this list is to help writers find a place to publish their writing that will get them some recognition. We feel when a magazine is published over a long period of time and is recognized nationally we feel it gives the authors more opportunity for exposure. Also these magazines tend to have a very good name in literary circles. We know that many will not agree fully, and some will feel we’ve left a good or great publication off the list. That’s okay. The best thing to do is go to our message boards and post your opinion under our top 50 boards and make a case for adding it to this list.

This list also includes BOLD type where literary magazines take online submissions. We feel this is an important step for a magazine to take. We feel that by taking submissions online magazines are opening themselves up to many more voices and have a better opportunity to find new talent that we want to read. To this end, we have a suggestion. Go down this list and pick out a literary magazine that takes online submissions. Go to their site and submit your work. Also while you are there buy a subscription. Support those who support writers.

 

  1. New Yorker http://www.newyorker.com
  • The best of the best. We didn’t have any commercial magazines on our last list, but it was a shame to leave this literary magazine out. After lots of emails here it is one the oldest and the most honored magazine of all. Started in the 1920s and has a circulation of over a million readers. Online submissionshttp://www.newyorker.com/contact/contactus Continue reading

The Unexpected Antidote to Procrastination

by Peter Bregman

A recent early morning hike in Malibu, California, led me to a beach, where I sat on a rock and watched surfers. I marveled at these courageous men and women who woke before dawn, endured freezing water, paddled through barreling waves, and even risked shark attacks, all for the sake of, maybe, catching an epic ride.

After about 15 minutes, it was easy to tell the surfers apart by their style of surfing, their handling of the board, their skill, and their playfulness.

What really struck me though, was what they had in common. No matter how good, how experienced, how graceful they were on the wave, every surfer ended their ride in precisely the same way: By falling.

Some had fun with their fall, while others tried desperately to avoid it. And not all falls were failures — some fell into the water only when their wave fizzled and their ride ended.

But here’s what I found most interesting: The only difference between a failure and a fizzle was the element of surprise. In all cases, the surfer ends up in the water. There’s no other possible way to wrap up a ride.

That got me thinking: What if we all lived life like a surfer on a wave?

The answer that kept coming to me was that we would take more risks. Continue reading