COVER REVEAL: Dr. Flynn’s Shelter for Peculiar Animals

Hello everyone! I have some exciting news today. I had the pleasure of meeting Alea Harper, an aspiring Christian author like myself, through her blog, and she graciously agreed to design a book cover for my Wattpad story, Dr. Flynn’s Shelter for Peculiar Animals.

Alea is an amazing cover designer, and her blog has some awesome articles on everything from writing tips to book reviews, so please check out her site. πŸ™‚

I decided this cover reveal would be a fun opportunity to showcase my story as a whole, for those who may not be familiar with it. But first, without further ado, the new cover!

dr flynns shelter for peculiar animals cover 4

Cover design by Alea Harper, Font design by Ani Petrova

Isn’t it amazing?! Okay, I’m just the tiniest bit psyched about it…Alea did an amazing job and it was so fun to work with her.

Want to look beyond the cover? Below are some fun tidbits about Dr. Flynn’s Shelter for Peculiar Animals. Don’t forget to read the full story on Wattpad!

Story Synopsis:

I never asked to be different. Still, I guess a girl named “Althea” couldn’t expect to be totally normal. My parents never really helped matters either. It was their idea to go to Dr. Flynn’s Shelter for Peculiar Animals for my thirteenth birthday, instead of an ordinary dog shelter as I requested. That visit to Dr. Flynn’s brought my life to a whole new level of “different.” But I’m getting ahead of myself…

My name is Althea Monroe, and the book you’re holding is my story. Hang on tight.

Best Lines (so far):

Chapter 1: It’s my destiny to be different. At least, that’s what I assume, since I never asked to be. (Ally)

Chapter 2: My parents look at me, then at each other, doing this weird silent-communication thing with their eyes. I can’t even count how many times in my life they’ve made decisions without saying a word to each other. But I can count on one hand the number of times those silent decisions ended well for me. (Ally)

Chapter 3: I lift my head and follow [my dad’s] gaze out the window. On the side of the road is a sign staked into the ground that I’m positive wasn’t there before. It reads, “Turn here for Dr. Flynn’s Shelter for Peculiar Animals.” (Ally)

Chapter 4: I see more deer, five of them. These look more ordinary, except for large, lumpy deformities on their sides…Suddenly, one of the deer raises its head and the deformities move, unfurling into a huge pair of wings – wings!” (Ally)

Chapter 5: This…is the last surviving dragon on earth. Or, at least, he’s the only one I’ve been able to locate. (Dr. Flynn)

Chapter 6: I walk carefully, maneuvering my feet around Scorch, who is squealing louder than ever and jumping around my legs, flapping his tiny wings in excitement.

…and many more to come!

Similar Stories:

My goal in writing Dr. Flynn’s Shelter for Peculiar Animals was to create the traditional “kid meets pet” story with a fantasy twist. Here are a few books I loved growing up that have a “vibe” similar to my story:

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

The Enormous Egg by Oliver Butterworth

Thank you for visiting my cover reveal post! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Happy reading!

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STORY UPDATE: Chapter Six of Dr. Flynn’s Shelter for Peculiar Animals

Dr. Flynn continuation

Hello friends! At long last, I’ve posted an update to my novel, Dr. Flynn’s Shelter for Peculiar Animals, on Wattpad! You can read the latest chapter (Chapter Six) and its precursors totally for free on Wattpad! All you need to do is make a free Wattpad account and find me on the site @authorcaitlineha! You can also use this link to find my Wattpad profile.

In the previous chapters of this tale, Ally Monroe finally convinced her parents to buy her a dog for her thirteenth birthday. That plan backfired when the perfect dog was not to be found at any of the shelters they visited, but on the way home, they happened to stop by the newly-opened Shelter for Peculiar Animals, owned and operated by Dr. Flynn, a kindly cryptozoologist dedicated to researching and rescuing unusual and mythical creatures from around the world. There, Ally found Scorch, an orphaned dragon chick, and chose to adopt him. Because of Scorch’s tender age, however, Ally agreed to care for him at the Shelter until he is old enough to come home with her.

In Chapter Six, Ally returns to the Shelter for her first day with Scorch. She meets Dr. Flynn’s widowed sister, Mrs. Myrtle, and finds Scorch napping contentedly in his cage. Dr. Flynn proceeds to instruct Ally in Scorch’s care, beginning with a rather unusual meal. As for the rest, well…you’ll have to read that for yourself. πŸ˜‰

Hope you enjoy! Happy reading.

Top 5 Most Common Screenwriting Errors

screenwriter-pic

Hello everyone! It is high time for me to post a new article about writing. Lately, I’ve been working with a group of aspiring screenwriters and doing a lot of critiques on their work. Not surprisingly, I find myself correcting almost the same errors in all of their scripts. So I thought this was good opportunity to consolidate my advice into an article.

I’ve been writing fiction in various forms since I was a kid, but screenwriting is a relatively new (and addicting) format for me. I love the streamlined format of the spec script; because so much is left to the potential director, cinematographers, costume designers, and so on, scripts really give you the chance to focus on the action and plot. And I love it.

For those of you who might also be looking to step into the world of screenwriting, here are a few pointers I’ve had driven into my memory, both through being well-taught and through reading too many scripts that had examples of what not to do.

1. Only Write What You Can See

Screenwriting is all about the visuals. Even though you’re putting words on paper, those words are not the end result; they’re the guidelines to creating a purely visual product.

This means that there is no point in writing what a character thinks, why a particular object is significant, or even anything about a character’s personality – unless you can show it.

For instance, you can’t write “Holly thinks Justin is handsome.” Write that Holly blushes when she sees Justin, or that she whispers to her friend that he’s cute. If you can’t tell something through visuals or sound, it can’t go in your script.

Also, don’t fall into the trap of writing lengthy dialogue scenes with no action description. Your script could exist without sound (um, silent movies?) but it won’t go anywhere without action – otherwise, the most we see is people talking, which is boring.

2. Break Up Those Text Blocks

As I’ve said, scripts are a streamlined format. They should be easy on the eyes, and that means lots of white space. Your action paragraphs should never be large blocks of text, and neither should your dialogue unless you have a good reason for a character to deliver a long speech.

Restrict your paragraphs to a couple of lines each. The “enter” key is your friend. Also, think about how you can use paragraph breaks to emphasize and sort your content. The sentence, “suddenly the bank robber enters,” is a lot more powerful if it’s in its own paragraph instead of bunched together with other sentences.

3. Beware of Too Many Tricks

Beginning screenwriters especially seem to enjoy playing with script elements such as voice over, dissolving or fade-to-black screens, and even text popping up on screen. The reason is that we’ve all seen these tools used in movies for great dramatic effect, and we want that drama in our scripts, too.

While there is a time and a place for all of these tools, be careful that you don’t overuse them. It might be best, when you’re writing your first draft, just to stick to basic action and dialogue scenes. Once you have the story in a good place, then you can go back and get more creative with the “extras.”

The main question to consider is, what tells your story most effectively? If it’s a voice-over, great. But it could also be a character speaking normal dialogue. Only you can figure that out.

4. Don’t Rely Too Much on Parentheticals

Parentheticals are those little “asides” you see in dialogue sometimes, between the speaker’s name and the dialogue itself. Parenthetical content I’ve seen before ranges from simple comments like (whispering) to elaborate ones like (looking angry enough to spit).

Here are the problems with parentheticals:

  1. They’re distracting and visually crowd your text (as if it isn’t hard enough to keep dialogue from looking blocky).
  2. They’re usually unnecessary. If your character is sneaking through a house at night, you don’t need to tell the reader that s/he is whispering because it’s obvious.
  3. They’re bossy. When an actor interprets your script to play a role, s/he doesn’t want to be told exactly how to say something. Make it clear enough through the surrounding action and situation that the actor can figure it out.

Most of the time, the content in a parenthetical should be written in an action sentence, especially complicated ones like (looking angry enough to spit). That’s just too much information for a parenthetical, and it doesn’t say anything about how the dialogue is delivered; it says something about how the character looks.

If you use a parenthetical, make sure the way you’re specifying the dialogue to be said is not immediately obvious. Only use them when they’re really needed for clarity.

5. Use Clear and Proper Formatting

I know, I know, you think formatting is tedious. Actually, if you use a screenwriting software (and there are some decent free ones out there, like Celtx), some of the simple formatting is taken care of for you.

The truth is, even though I find scripts freeing in many ways, they are unforgiving on format. If your script has slug lines with time descriptions like MIDDLE OF THE AFTERNOON instead of just DAY, or dialogue compressed against the left margin (instead of centered), or any text font besides Courier New, you are going to get penalized. The reader will toss your script aside and move on.

The good news is, screenwriting format is not particularly hard. It’s just a matter of knowing theΒ  right formula. There are a number of helpful websites on formatting that can be found through a simple online search, but of course, the number one resource you should definitely have is The Screenwriter’s Bible by David Trottier.

Be tough on your format and your reader won’t have to be. πŸ˜‰

 

Although I’ve been pursuing screenwriting for a while now and learned much along the way, a lot of these tips originally were presented to me through reading the 6th edition of The Screenwriter’s Bible by David Trottier, the mainstay reference book of the screenwriting world. If you are serious about being a screenwriter, get a copy of this book as soon as possible and read the whole thing. It’s inexpensive, easy to read through, and full of valuable info.

Also, look for some real scripts to read and look at the way they’re constructed. It helps!