Nicholas Reicher

Writing Your Next Blockbuster Film or Novel

Category: Writer’s Platform

Open Live Writer

Okay, I’m trying Open Live Writer to write my blog with. I’m still doing the rest of my writing (including Twitter and Facebook) in Scrivener.

Why?

It’s because I’m trying to save a step or three in my blogging process. Scrivener’s good, but it doesn’t use HTML formatting. Open Live Writer, Thingamablog, Blog Jet and Blog Desk all are geared for writing blogs.

In the last month, I’ve tried about every blogging program, and I liked Thingamablog about the best, but it doesn’t have a word count feature, it isn’t set up to automatically post to WordPress, and indeed, it’s not really set up to work with WordPress at all! If the author of it would make his appearance again and fix that, I’d promote that program like mad! But it’s been 8 years, and no sign of him, so that project is abandoned.

Blog Desk was good, but it didn’t exactly sync up with my blog the way it was supposed to. It too has been abandoned for the same amount of time.

Blog Jet is not free. It too has been abandoned, and the last update to it was two years ago. Listen, if you’re going to abandon your program, stop charging for it. If you’re going to charge for it, keep working on it. If you feel you want to move on, then go on your website, put a note up there saying, “We’re closing down the shop. Here’s a user ID and serial number you can use to register the program.”

Or just take the registration part out of it. It’s kind of like charging for Sidekick or some other great old program from the 90’s.

I liked blogging in Scrivener, but all the formatting I did in it was lost the minute I copied it to WordPress, and that made for extra work, not less. It almost took me as long to edit and format it as it did to write it in the first place!

So, I went and found Livewriter. It won’t install on Windows 8.1, so I found the Open Source project for it. Open Live Writer is still the same as it used to be, but actually it has a lot more features now. The bugginess of it is now gone. Yes, it still has the feel of the Microsoft Live stuff, and looks very Windows Vista, which to me is still the best Windows Operating system.

The good news is, Livewriter now is a BREEZE to interface with your blog. I’m self hosted on Blue Host, and believe it or not, all I had to do was tell it my URL, then wait until prompted for username and password.  It then retrieved all of my categories and tags.

So yeah, it works much better than the old Livewriter did. If you’re looking for a great blogging tool, give Livewriter a try.

It seems to be the only PC program for desktop blogging that is still in development!

How to make your blogging better with Tweet This

Improve BloggingI got the “Tweet This” plugin by CoSchedule. I decided to add it to a blog post I’d already written, to make sure it worked.
Simple. Find a sentence in the post, anywhere, that is short enough to get on Twitter, and that someone reading it would say, “Hm! That’s good! I’ll tweet that!”
Okay.
Um.
Okay…
Well, not that blog post.
Try another.
Hm.

Now I understand what people mean by “Epic content”. You need to write something worth re-tweeting. And it’s got to be short enough to tweet.

Just like using Twitter for 3 weeks is already making me a better writer… now trying to write with this in mind is changing the way I write even more. Sometimes the simplest things are the hardest to see. Unintended consequences sometimes make you better.
Blogging is not about you, it’s about the reader.

Unexpected Conflict with the Disqus Commenting System

Starting this blog on its own server has been interesting, and a massive learning curve.

Photo by  Dana Marin on Unsplash

I mean, that’s okay – when I was young, PC’s became available for purchase to regular people. Still too complicated by today’s standards, the PC showed that people would buy computers – and I actually went to college for it!
So, learning new things isn’t a problem – I remember someone in college giving me Dbase III on disk, and I had to teach myself a program that essentially was a programming language! (by the way, all of the languages I learned in my computer college are not used any more! RPG-II, anyone?)

So, getting Disqus SHOULD be a piece of cake. Easy to install. Install the plugin into WordPress, sign up for an account, create your API key, install it, and give your website an application name.
And… nothing happened. I still had the WordPress comment system.
Showing “Comments closed”.

So I did some internet searches, and found that this is not a common error. Disqus advises that it’s either a conflict with your theme (EEEK!) or its a conflict with another plugin.
Disqus was willing to go in and fix it for me, but they needed my login and password. That I just was really reluctant to do, so for 2 weeks I poked at it, trying to figure it out.
So, a few days ago (actually I’m writing this Sept 24, which means it was two days ago to me) I did a reset on my Disqus plugin, got that setup and working again, imported all my test WordPress comments, and then I began to systematically turn off plugins I was using.

I was concerned it was Akismet, because that affects your comments. Nope.

My calendar plugin? Nope.

“Stars Rating” by Fahid Javid?

Um…. Wait! Disqus suddenly is working!

Ohmygoodness! Suddenly Disqus is working!

Problem solved! The Stars Rating was causing the conflict!

I still need the WordPress star rating system for posts, but yeah, I think I can get by for now with the basic ‘like’ system!

14 steps to writing a winning blog post

This is just my system. It works for me  – Try this, and see if it works for you!

Steps to Winning Blog Post

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

  1. Get a cup of coffee. This part is the crucial first step.
  2. Open Scrivener. If you haven’t bought Scrivener, you need to. Michael Hyatt, Jerry Jenkins, and a great many others all agree on this – Scrivener changes the way you write! You learn to write more succinctly.
  3. Set your template. You should do this when you first get Scrivener. Michael Hyatt has shared his 7 step template with others by describing it. You want to set your word count (the gray target logo in the bottom right hand corner of Scrivener) to 500 words, and make a template also of 2,000 words for the VERY long blog post. Those will be for your how-to, or your occasional rants. Such as my “How to Master the Art of Working Harder at Writing” rant, and my “Surviving Catastrophic Conditions” article.
  4. Write your title. I personally hate the whole “write a winning title” thing, but the experts all agree – if I write a blog post on “writing your novel part 4” most people don’t read it. But “Seven Steps to writing a bestselling Novel” gets attention. CoSchedule actually has a headline analyzer, and gives you a score. CoSchedule actually recommends you not use a headline that gets a score lower than a 70. I suppose one of these days I should use it!
  5. Lead-in. I don’t pad out my lead-ins, and I probably should. I like to skip on them as much as possible, because when I read a blog, I tend to skip almost everyone’s lead-in’s and get to the meat of the article. If it’s good, I clip it to Evernote, and then I’ll go back and read the lead in later.
  6. The Main Article. Michael Hyatt recommends bullet points or number lists for this, as they work better when copied to Facebook. Personally, I do it to keep track because my default number is usually 7 (”7 ways to make a winning cup of coffee!”), and the number points let me know if I need to change it!
  7. Keep an eye on the progress indicator! I’m at 370 words right now, and it’s letting me know I’m almost done! Once you hit green, it’s time to wrap it up!
  8. Call to action. I don’t write too many articles that request you do something. Others do, (my indicator just changed color – I’m almost done with this article!). The call to action is where you challenge someone to (whatever you’re writing on), summarize (call this Summary or In Conclusion), or just say something so they know the article is done (conclusion). I use the Subtitle format in Scrivener to set this aside, then when it goes on WordPress, I choose H5.
  9. Spell Check. I’m all thumbs because I write too fast. I’ll get words completely wrong, and sometimes I’ll even leave words out. Scrivener lets you know by a red underline if you made a mistake.
  10. Get your stock photo. Most of them charge money to download it. You know, when you say that it’s free, that means you don’t charge money. Don’t lie and say it’s free when it’s not! Anyway, find your preferred stock photo place. Michael Hyatt uses iStockphoto. I’m using Upsplash right now. Once my blog brings in money, or I start making a lot more money through my writing, then I’ll get the same iStockphoto membership.
  11. Copy to WordPress. This is the one annoying part of Scrivener, is that WordPress uses a different formatting. So you may have to edit the format a little.
  12. Assign keywords and categories. This is how people on WordPress find you.
  13. SEO tags and Meta. I use All In One SEO, and it allows you to enter meta and descriptions for every post, including when someone copies it to Facebook. It takes about 5 more minutes per post. I miss the old days where you could just write in Livewriter, and publish, and two people saw your blog every thirty years or so. These extra steps increase your traffic, so it’s good. Just the cost of being professional.
  14. Schedule for publish. Co-Schedule gives a PDF including the best time to publish blog posts. Supposedly, 7 AM is the peak time, because everyone’s at work and doing their social stuff instead of the work their employer is paying them to do. Play around and see when the best time for your blog is. Schedule some for 6 am, some for 7, some for 8, etc. Keep track of what time produces the most traffic for you.
Conclusion

Wrap up dialogue goes here. You know it’s over when you see this!

What template do you use? Got a different system? Talk about it here!

Rewriting Your Next Blockbuster Movie!

Rewrite Blockbuster Movie

My slogan or campaign motto – as you may have noticed – is “Writing your next Blockbuster Screenplay or Novel.”

I will do re-writes, too.

Do you have a screenplay you’ve got millions invested in? Something that’s got potential to be amazing – but it’s got a script or plot problem?

Maybe it’s got too much potential, but some thing’s just not coming together!

This is where I come in.

I write quickly (one full length script took only 24 days), and I do my best to try to bring out what you like about your script – and gently removing what you don’t like about it!

The realities are – you’ve got a lot of capital invested in scripts. To make a profit, they’ve got to sell tickets, have the potential for high DVD and Blu-Ray sales, and most important – you need your movie ready to film. Delays are money.

I’ve got experience re-writing scripts, and I’ve turned out 1 re-write and three full length scripts this year alone.

Invest in a proven winner, and get your project back on deadline!
Email me and check my availability.

Use Evernote to Create Something a You Can’t Live Without for Your Blog!

I use Evernote all the time, and recently, I found that I can use Evernote to go through my blog and create a Swipe file.

What is a swipe File? A Swipe File is a list of headlines or phrases you use over and over again, or as inspiration for your own blog entries. I’ve got two of them, one for Blog Headlines, and another for writers to use in business documents. No kidding, I’ve borrowed a phrase or two. At least two. I should do more.

Anyway, if you find yourself telling the same story, or illustrating the same point over and over again, you should consider making an Evernote Swap File.

How do you do it?

If it;s your own blog, you have two ways to do it. Either open Scrivener, and manually copy the entry you want and paste it into Evernote, or you can use the Evernote browser plugin to do it.

First, set up Evernote with a notebook called Swipe File. Then, make a tag called swipe file.

If all you’re doing is trying to copy the headline (”9 things you can learn about _______ from Oscar The Grouch!”), just capture the page as a bookmark in the swipe File notebook. After you’ve got about 100 to 150 bookmarks saved, then manually copy the titles one after another and paste them into a new note. Title it Swipe file Blog Headlines.

To make a swipe file of anything you use a lot, make a note called “my swipefile of me”, and just manually copy it and paste it into Evernote! Easier than clipping.
Want a swipe file of quotes? When you run across a quote you like (I usually don’t do quotes – a lot of bloggers do), highlight, copy, paste into an Evernote note called – you guessed it – quotes!

After about three months of doing this, you’ll have an extensive swipe file that can save you time!

Not the BIGGEST issue in the world for you to solve, but hey! I’m here to help!

What would you have in your swipe file? Can you think of another way? Discuss it here!

Blogging With Scrivener

1. Create an empty project.
2. Add folders for Blog, and social media (CTRL+Shift+N). I’ve got folders for website, Twitter and Facebook.
3. Add Folder and call it Template Folder. (CTRL+Shift+N). RIGHT CLICK on it and designate it as a templates folder (duh! But you’ll see why)
4. Go to your templates folder. Now, at the top, click the corkboard icon. CTRL+N twice.
5. Click on the corkboard, then CTRL+N twice
6. Name one “post”, and another “Tweet”.
7 open Tweet.
8. At the bottom right, you’ll see a little bulls-eye. Click that, enter 12. It’s defaulted to zero, and if you type “12”, you now have 120. TAB button once, arrow down once. Now you’ve told it “characters”. There’ll now be a little progress bar in the lower right hand corner. It will tell you as you get to your 120 character limit.
9. Open “post” and do the same, except now your limit should be 400-500. Choose a number (I chose 500) and hit enter. It now is set for 500 words as your target. Unless you forgot to drop a zero, and your blog limit is now set for 5,000 words!
10. You’ll want to have one for Facebook posts as well. I haven’t got that yet, but that can be MUCH lower in word count. 100 words is pushing it for a Facebook post, but I haven’t seen any hard and fast rules. (my progress indicator right now is in the yellow. This article is half done.)
11. Go to your folders, and click “Add from template” and choose.
12. You’ll now have to right-click on the post or tweet file, and choose duplicate. I haven’t added key combinations yet, but I suppose CTRL+Shift+D would be good as “duplicate”.
13. We’re almost done setting up and organizing. Inside the folders, you’ll want to add a folder for year, then folders inside those for months.
14. When you finish a month, simply move all of your posts and tweets into the storage folder.
15. This is the last step I did. I added meta tags and keywords (see the Scrivener website for videos on how to do this), so that I have different statuses. I now can see if I’ve uploaded it yet. If I need to add Meta Tags for search engines (blast that darn SEO!) In my scrivenings view, I can see which post is for which date, and I keep them organized by that. This is a little more complicated, and I’ve shown how to do it in other blog posts.

My indicator hit green. Blog post done!

PS- I’ll make an Ebook soon with screen captures so you can see exactly how I do it!

 

My Future Seminars

What I’d like to do in the future is this… I’d love to host my own seminars about writing.

Writing Novels. I’ve mentally got this one fleshed out in my mind – if I had a way to do it, I’d only need about two days to get it prepped up! I think the very first thing I’d do is  I’d explain about both Scrivener and Evernote. Between the two of them, you’ve got an unbeatable system for research and writing. Probably the first ten minutes alone would go to Scrivener, just because it’s got so many tools that Novelists need. And of course, it’s invaluable for non-fiction writers as well. For non-fiction, I’d add in the need for Zotero standalone as a good citation manager. They haven’t updated it in a while, but there you go. Non-fiction writers need to cite their sources, and there’s nothing more time-consuming than to do it manually.
Then of course, I’d have to go into structure. Recently, I took a seminar where someone explained their structure for writing, and it was good – but I think they were too rushed in their description. They used a four stage process, but yeah, it takes more explaining than two minutes in my opinion.

I’d refer to the Gamera system, where the first five Gamera movies (yes the Giant Turtle!) used a formula of monster, Gamera fights monster, Gamera is hurt and out cold or in hiding, mankind has no solution, mankind comes up with solution, mankind tries solution, does not work, discovers real solution, tries real solution, starts to work, something goes wrong, Gamera wakes up and uses the real solution on the monster. Little kids sing a song to Gamera. (you can mercifully leave the last step out). The Gamera system sounds stupid, until you think about it and realize parts are interchangeable, like Lego blocks. Here we go:
Establish hero. Establish situation. Antagonist. Situation starts going bad. Hero meets villain, things go wrong. Bad outcome. Think of a solution, does not work, but leads to discovery of real solution, try real solution, begins to work, stops working, but that enables the hero, who jumps in and MAKE it work, villain defeated, little kids sing a song to a giant turtle. Again, the last phase is optional. But now I’ve got the Gamera song stuck in my head. And it gives me an excuse to show still images of a giant turtle to people taking notes.
System sounds goofy, until you realize I can name a number of movies I’ve seen where literally this is the same formula – half of them comedies, some of them action thrillers, some sci-fi. Of course, none of them used the optional “sing a song” part, but you get what I mean. If I’d called this the “Deep Impact” or “Alien” formula, you’d take it more seriously, but honestly, the first time I ever saw it was Gamera. The next time I saw it was Star Wars. I read it used in a short story once in school, except it was about the guy who was supposed to win the inter-school basketball game and he finally had to win it by passing the ball to a team-mate who made the final shot. See, you just inter-change a part, and you get a different outcome.
The last half of it would be the writing part… how to get the words in. You’ve GOT to plan it a bit. If you don’t, then you’re going to end up where most novelists end up… working on their first book for 17 years, and you’re still up to page 70. Got a long way to go, buddy, and at this rate you’ll be buried before the book is ready for first re-write.
The next step is the number 1667. You have to write that number of words a day, minimum. You can’t write the way the drugged out rock singer records vocals (sing a couple of notes, it’s not working, leave five minutes later and buy a bottle of whiskey) – you have to know what you’re going to write, know how many words you need today, and have a format in front of you. Once you get into these habits, the book writes itself QUICKLY.

Screenwriting. I’d essentially take you through much of the same, but this time, the only real software I’m talking about is Final Draft. I’m going to save a rant for tomorrow, by the way! Tune in, it should be fun. And of course, there’s a million formulas for writing your movie, I’ll just go through my system, which incorporates Save the Cat, and then moves to my 21 point outline.

I’d like to do these seminars, and I’d love to do them for free. Michael Hyatt recommends SELLING something, and for good reasons. He balked at the idea of selling anything through his blog or seminars, but unemployment beckoned and… (this is the part that actually got my attention) he points out that if you don’t sell anything, people have no investment in it. They won’t do it, they won’t try it, they’ll collect it and that’s it.

 

However, there’s a lot of people who can’t afford seminars and expensive products! So… what do you think? What would you prefer?

Setting up your own domain

Own Domain

By now, I should have moved this to a domain, www.nicholasreicher.com. I’m sure all of you have figured that out!

There’s a lot of stuff that Michael Hyatt recommends to do this. I stored his article on WordPress to Evernote (another Michael Hyatt Recommendation). And I may even start writing my blog on Scrivener (ANOTHER Michael Hyatt recommendation).
I’m using Bluehost (a Michael Hyatt recommendation) which is $71.40 up front for a year.
WordPress was offering about the same pricing, but a lower up front cost for the year. My calculations show that 2.95 a month times 12 is $35.40 – but I wanted some of the features that Bluehost was offering. I’m glad I did, because I’ve been doing a LOT with WordPress I couldn’t do on the .com website!
on Michael Hyatt.com (it’s a different link than above), Michael explains some simple tweaks for a blog that you’ll need to do. Some of them I’ve done, others are coming.

  1. Get a great photo shoot. Michael says this inspires confidence – I’m showing my face to the people. Be afraid.
  2. Commission a professional logo. Branding. Great. Nicholas Reicher®. But it communicates professionalism. And when a studio is debating spending a minimum payment of $12,000 on a script, it’s a no-brainer.
  3. Update your blog header. I dunno, I like my blog header!
    this from Michael Hyatt…
  4. Get an official email, so it’s not something cheesy like moehoward@aol.com, but more brand oriented, like moe@moehoward.com.
  5. Dress up your social media pages. It’s important to align your branding and messaging across all of the social media channels that you use. That means a consistent use of head shots, logos, and color schemes.

There you go. Big changes MAYBE coming!

How many of you have set up your own website using this info? Leave a comment below!

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén