I Would Have Died…

LA

 

I moved to this beautiful, brutal city in February of 2008. 

Luke and I had no jobs.  No apartment. Nothing, really, besides a U-Haul truck full of everything we owned and the absolute know-it-in-your-soul certainty that Los Angeles was exactly where we were supposed to be.  We’d come out to LA at the end of January for vacation and “just to see” if maybe one day we might be able to pull off living here.

The sun. The ocean. The farmer’s market. The hint of promise in their air.  The sense of We are home. 

We flew back, quit our jobs and moved to LA three weeks later.

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I was 8 when I came home from school and announced I’m going to be a writer when I grow up.  

I was 18 when I realized that I wasn’t going to have to give up writing like some sort of childhood habit I was outgrowing. I am going to be a writer.  I am a writer. This is actually going to happen.

I was 28 when my first episode of television aired.

And that is a hell of a lot of in-betweens.

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When I first moved to LA, if someone would have told me that it was going to take five years between driving across the California state line and the first time I wrote a script that got shot — I would have died.  Five years is an eternity. An absolute, unending eternity when you’re standing at the beginning. It would have felt like the insurmountable challenge of my life.

When I was 8, I couldn’t even comprehend the idea of 28.

I had so many in-betweens, eternities and a half in the moments ahead. 

But that’s where all of life was lived — one day at a time, in all of the moments that fed into my stories to make them real.  Journeys are always the scariest at the beginnings. Projects are always the most overwhelming when you’re cracking the very first book for research and thinking Six whole months here?  It’s true — I probably would have died if someone tried to explain 28 to my 8 year old self.

But I wouldn’t trade all that time for anything.


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Who Are Your People?

best friends

It’s all about COMMUNITY.

No, not that one. (Although — while we’re here: #sixseasonsandamovie!!!!!  Netflix, seriously — it’s your move.)

Who Are Your People? 

It was after midnight here, which means it was just after 3am where my BFF lives.  It had been a really brutal day, and I’d been meaning to call her all.day.long.  And I picked up the phone and started dialing before realizing 3AM.   I decided to call her in the morning because I really just wanted to chat about random life stuff, not anything crazy and worth a 3AM phone call.

But the thing is I know I could call at 3 in the morning and she wouldn’t miss a beat.

I go on girls trips with my two best friends — and they are some of my favorite moments in the entire year.  Lots of laughter and awesome ridiculousness and “Oh my… Do NOT put that on Instagram. Or Facebook. Or Twitter.” This is what happens when you’ve all been dear friends for 10+ years.  But I also know that at some point, the real conversations are going to begin.  The ones that start with them calling me out on the lies I’ve believed, the fears I’ve let myself live with, the risks I’ve totally shied away from.

It’s never easy to have your soul exposed like that. 

But it’s always good.

So — go. Be brave. Take risks. Be willing to let yourself be known. Because I promise, you’ll never be the same.

 

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The Art of Being Rejected Without Dying

drafts and drafts

No, thanks.  It’s not for us.  We’re going to pass. 

Life as a writer is a life of rejection far (FAR) more often than not. 

These are things no one tells you before you start.  Or – they do tell you, and you think: Oh, not me!  I’m going to sell the first thing I write! For a million dollars.  Because I am that awesome. 

You will be rejected —

— if not that first time, then another time.  Or another time after that. Even though you really, truly are awesome.  And every. single. time. it will hurt like hell.  When you’ve poured your heart and soul into a project, spending countless hours staring into the unforgiving face of your laptop, missing out on friends and family (or let’s be honest — even an uninterrupted marathon of Orphan Black) — to have someone read what you’ve written and not be equally enamored with it can feel like humiliation of the highest order.

Maybe I shouldn’t even be a writer… you quietly think. I just want to die. 

Sometimes that rejection is all about you and all about your project.

If you didn’t take the time to make it truly excellent — then why on earth would someone else take it seriously?  Don’t put junk out into the world.  Or — maybe you did take it seriously, but there are technical issues with it.  You forgot to be original and created a carbon copy of something that already exists. Maybe you still haven’t quite figured out Final Draft. Maybe you did sell something, but there are still issues with it.  So you’re going to get notes that don’t mince words: We think this part sucks. Fix it.  

So, be a better writer on the next draft or the next project.  Grow from this experience of utter and complete rejection.  The first pilots I ever wrote (including the ones that got me signed with my reps) are buried in a password-protected folder on my laptop.  They will never sell. They will NEVER see the light of day again. Because I’m a better, stronger writer than I used to be. We’ve all been there. And we’ll all continue to be there for the rest of our careers. There’s always a way to get better.

But sometimes that rejection has absolutely nothing to do with you at all.

For instance, I have a kickass pilot that I am completely in love with.  Along the way, a company passed on it because they were looking for female-driven relationship dramas.  So, my male-led sci-fi thriller was never going to make it on their development slate.  It was a bad match. So, maybe the company you’re pitching is the wrong company for your awesome story.  Maybe they already have another Lawyer-By-Day-Shark-Fighter-By-Night project in the pipeline. Maybe you caught them on a bad day, and they read through page 5 of your story when 6 is where it really gets started! Maybe the executive really doesn’t have any time over the next two months.   None of these make you a bad writer.

It just means you’re playing the ever-popular game of Trying to Sell Something.

Rejection feels like death, no matter the reason behind it. 

Every writer has days where they just want to crawl in a hole and die. This is part of the story and part of the life of being a writer.  Get used to it, or seriously — get off the roller coaster, for your own safety and sanity.

But if you can take every No, thanks. and find some little piece that will help you move onto the next awesome thing (that will still have a 99% chance of being rejected)… one day, you’re going to hit it.

We love it. We’d like to sign on. Let’s go make a movie. 

One day…

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The Whiskey’s Mine

fancy heels...

It happens all the time.

Luke and I went out for a fancy dinner a few nights ago,  and I ordered my drink to go along with my roasted brussels sprouts,  chipotle hummus and kale salad.  (It’s more amazing than it sounds. Wood & Vine knows how to do things right.)  Another waiter brought our drinks and without blinking an eye handed my old fashioned to Luke.

Because girls don’t drink whiskey, you know.

I tend to be the odd girl out in a lot of conversations and a lot of movie nights too. I’m a sci-fi and girl-with-gun writer, so in everything I write, at least one car tends to explode.  My Google history is full of searches like  ‘places to hide a gun in a car’ or ‘biological warfare in the future’ and ‘fuel types for long-term space travel’.  It also means that I’m usually the only girl in our group of friends who will happily go see Star Trek Into Darkness.  Hell, I’m usually the one buying tickets and getting the group together.  I write alien stories and time travel stories and futuristic tech stories.  These are my people! These are my kind of stories!

But those are usually considered ‘guy movies’. 

I absolutely love surprising people.  I walk into meetings in my girly high heels and get into deep discussions about the repercussions of time travel and why my characters tend to work for MI-6 with a gun strapped to their leg. I can’t count the number of times new friends have read something of mine for the first time and come back with:  “This is totally awesome!  And it’s sci-fi!  I had you pegged as a rom-com girl.” 

FYI: high heels does not equal rom-com writer. 

I started putting a red streak in my hair and got my nose pierced because when I walk into a room I want people to think “sci-fi girl” not “Oh, she must be lost…”  (And also because — fire engine red hair and a nose ring??? I love it!)   And you know what?  I’m me.  I’m always going to be me with my deeply held love of Doctor Who and cocktail dresses.  I am a whiskey girl who’s going to cook you a fancy dinner with Mozart and Frank Sinatra playing in the background, then curl up and watch Alien.  I subscribe to Fast Company and Wired and Real Simple and Relevant. io9 and the gallery of the Hubble Space Telescope and joythebaker.com are my go-to web browsing every day. My daily workout is ballet-based and killer.

I find my inspiration everywhere. 

I fit in a strange space. I think we all do, in one way or another… the trick is to own it and not be afraid of it.  I’m going to fit in places no one else will — and if I spent all my time worrying about trying to be someone else, I’m probably going to miss the places I’m actually meant to be. 

My name is Lynn, and I am a sci-fi & girl-with-gun writer. Hear me roar!

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