Category Archives: Movies

Writing Tips from Hollywood

I recently had the privilege of interviewing Michael Hauge – story consultant, author and lecturer who works with screenwriters, novelists, filmmakers and executives. He has coached writers, producers, stars and directors on projects for Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts, Reese Witherspoon and Morgan Freeman, and is currently on retainer with Will Smith’s company, Overbrook Productions, where he was involved in the development of I AM LEGEND, HANCOCK and THE KARATE KID.

I asked him some meaty questions and got some fantastic and thorough answers, with practical tips for all writers to apply to their own writing, such as how to give your book ‘movie-potential’, which Hollywood films are good for writers to watch and analyse, and how his six stage plot structure creates a successful story.


Some gems I got from the interview:

– Give your protagonist a ‘visible’ goal to work towards and then put seemingly insurmountable obstacles in his/her way.

– Read screenplays to learn ways of ‘showing versus telling’.

– A great tool to add credibility to a story is to use a reflection character (see the interview for explanation).


Check out the complete interview here, it is a wealth of great information!


Sharing the LOVE… Win a Valentine’s Day Gift Bag!

Whether you celebrate this annual day of love or not, I thought it would be a great opportunity to share some love and run a competition. My first ever blog competition! And there’ll be more to come, so if you want to hear about upcoming competitions (as well as fascinating blog posts and author interviews of course ;)), just enter your email address into the subscription form on the right >>

Most people associate Valentine’s Day with romantic love, but I thought I’d do a blog post about things I love, and I’d love you to share with me the things you love too. In fact, if you do, you’ll be entered into the draw to win a goodie bag! (*AUS only, more details on the competition at the end of this post).

So here’s a ‘List Of Things I Love’.

Maybe you love some of them too, or maybe you don’t. Don’t you just love how we are all so different!

Now these aren’t in order or anything, they are simply a few examples of things I love…


The Sound of Music (I know some parts are cheesy, but it has everything – romance, suspense, humour, drama, music!)

The Wizard of Oz (For writers, one of the best examples of Goal, Motivation, & Conflict)

Titanic (nothing like a big budget Hollywood Blockbuster!)

The Holiday (I love the story and the characters)

The Bourne Trilogy (Matt Damon. Fast paced action. Great plot. Matt Damon.)

Harry Potter (I just love the world JK Rowling created, and all the little details)

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (anyone…anyone…?)

Girls Just Want To Have Fun (for those young women who’ve never heard of this dance flick, check it out to see a young Sarah J Parker & Helen Hunt!)



The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (I’m not usually one for ‘older’ books, but I couldn’t put this book down when I read it several years ago)

The Faraway Tree series by Enid Blyton (made me believe in the magic of books)

The Passion Test by Janet and Chris Attwood (this is non-fiction, and it has quite literally changed my life)

29 by Adena Halpern (funny, charming, well written, fast paced – everything I love in a novel)

Heaven Can Wait by Cally Taylor (one of the most unique stories I’ve read in the last few years)

(I could mention so many other books but it would be a very long blog post!)



NSW South Coast where I live! (There is a bit of everything here – beach, farms, nice cafes, boutique shops, mild weather, relaxed lifestyle)

Melbourne (the culture, the food, the shopping, and so much more compact and easier to find your way around than Sydney!)

Rainforests (I love the feeling of being completely surrounded by nature)

Department Stores (I also love the feeling of being completely surrounded by no nature whatsoever)

Bookstores (I also love being surrounded by books)



Although I’m a very healthy eater (given my health industry background), who can resist a melt-in-your-mouth piece of chocolate once in a while?!

Smoked salmon

Nectarines (yummiest fruit ever)

Chicken soup (made by yours truly 😉






(Don’t you just feel wonderful reading those words?)


TV Shows (past & present):

Friends (best sitcom EVER)

3rd Rock From The Sun (2nd best sitcom EVER)

Bewitched (Oh, how we’d all like to be Samantha!)

Packed To The Rafters (Best Aussie show)

24 (Great plots, twists, and edge of your seat action)

Prison Break (slightly unrealistic concept but heaps of fun, and um… nice, er… scenery 😉



Writing (duh!)

Reading (double duh!)



Watching movies

Staring at the ocean (I swear some of my ideas get washed in with the waves, so any time spent staring is purely for productivity)


What about you, what things do you love in life?

*Here is how to enter my competition to win this Valentine’s Day Gift Bag (Australia only):


1. Firstly, make sure you’re Australian, or have an Australian postal address. If you’re not sure, ask your parents 😉 …For my international friends (who are probably slamming their fist on the table yelling ‘It’s not fair!’), don’t despair, I promise I’ll run some international competitions on the blog too!

2. Secondly, make sure you’re subscribed to this blog. If not, enter your email address in the subscription form on the top right of this page (Don’t worry, I’m not a daily blogger so you won’t get bombarded with blog updates, and I’m not one of those people who tries to sell Viagra!). Done? Okay, next step…

3. Leave a comment below and tell me at least three things you love and why (use the categories I’ve listed to inspire you).

4. The winner will be drawn randomly from valid entries around 5:00pm Sydney time on Friday 17th February 2012, and notified via email and on this blog.

5. The gift bag contains a copy of ‘The Trouble With Valentine’s Day’ by Rachel Gibson, a Lancome maharani jewels ‘Juicy Tubes’ lip gloss, a Sanctum organic cedarwood and olive leaf soap, and a Sanctum organic Body Essentials pack containing body buff exfoliator, body balm, and hand/nail repair cream. So the winner will be able to have an in-home pamper treatment, slick on some juicy lip gloss, and curl up with a fun book!

What are you waiting for? Leave a comment, it could be you!

The Battle Between Books And Their Movie Adaptations

I’m always curious to see movie adaptations of books I’ve read, and often seeing a movie based on a book will prompt me to check out the author’s books. It’s interesting to hear feedback on whether the book or movie was better, and more often than not it appears to be the book that’s more popular. This can be good news for the writer, although a bad movie adaptation could possibly deter some people from wanting to check out the author’s books.

I think the reason books are often more popular, is because their interpretation relies on the reader’s imagination, as everyone will perceive a story differently based on how the words evoke images in someone’s mind. On the other hand, a movie is very much a case of ‘what you see is what you get’, and either appeals to someone or not.

When looking at the two, I think it’s important to remember that each is a completely different art form created by different people, and an author’s work should not be ridiculed because of a poorly done movie adaptation. In the other case, when a movie adaptation seems far better than the book, it should be remembered that without the book there may have been no movie. What it comes down to is the telling of a good story, and there are many ways in which a story can be told.

I’m more likely to see a movie after reading the book than read the book after seeing the movie, however I will check out other books by the author. Some authors I’ve discovered after seeing movies based on their books are, Jodi Picoult (My Sister’s Keeper), and Cecilia Ahern (P.S. I Love You).


Some examples of popular movie adaptations include:

The Devil Wears Prada

Eat. Pray. Love.

Confessions of a Shopaholic

Something Borrowed

The Notebook

The Time Traveller’s Wife

The Lovely Bones

Bridget Jones’ Diary

And need I even mention Harry Potter, and Lord of The Rings!

Which movie adaptations have you enjoyed? Do you ever read a book after seeing its movie adaptation, or do you prefer to read the book before seeing the movie?