Short Story Reading – Night Swimming by Joanell Serra

Watch the July 2016 Winning Short Screenplay Reading.

Story performed by actor Julian Ford

Night Swimming  by Joanell Serra

Get to know the winning writer Joanell Serra:

1. What is your 1pg Short Story about?

Night Swimming is about a young woman who is evolving from the wild, often troubled person she has been, to someone less self absorbed and more stable. At this moment, her father appears fresh out of jail, and convinces her to go on a little “job” with him. Despite her new found desire to stay out of legal trouble, she can’t resist her father’s appeal.

2. What genres would you say this short story is in?

This is a literary fiction story, with a little action and adventure in the mix.

3. How would you describe this story in two words?

Plunging in.

4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?

The Sound of Music. Not my favorite, but definitely the most.

5. How long have you been working on this story?

I started this story three years ago, in a writing group. I was lucky to get feedback on it from the editor at ZZZYVA , at the Squaw Community of Writers Workshop last summer. I have continued to hone it since.

6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

I used to say no, but since I read Cutting for Stone, that is the clear answer for me. Nothing else has touched it.

7. What motivated you to write this story?

I have been working on a novella about the Donahues for some time, this story being an early one. Billy Donahue showed up in my mind one day, and as I developed the character, I wondered what he would do the first day he got out of jail. Steal his things back, came to me. It made sense to me that he would involve his daughter, without thinking about the consequences.

Living in Sonoma now, I love the interesting layers of community here, across cultures and socioeconomic divides. Coming out of my own interesting Irish family, the theme of trying to escape our family “traditions” has always intrigued me.

8. What artist would you love to have dinner with?

This week, I would say Ayad Akhtar. I just saw the play Invisible Hand at Marin Theater Company, and it was incredibly well written. I would love to meet this writer and talk play writing.

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Serving under resourced youth, travel, immigration rights, my family, a good cup of tea, a great novel, dogs, my friends, education, theater. . . I have a pretty long list of passions.

10. What influenced you to enter the 1pg. Short Story contest?

I entered once, and while I didn’t win that time, I received quite helpful feedback from the process. I live for good feedback. I should have put that in my passions list! I am thrilled to have this one chosen. As the mother of an actor, I like seeing the intermixing of story, actors, screenplays etc. Creativity doesn’t fit in a box – this is the way to go.

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Keep writing. Go to real conferences – craft ones – not the ones that tell you how impossible it is to get published. Find mentors and appreciate them. Be supportive to every writer you meet but ignore their advice if it doesn’t fit. Don’t accept limitations on your genre. Again, keep writing.

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Short Story Reading: STARMAN – LIFE ON TRAPPISTONE by Dermott Hayes

Watch the July 2016 Winning Short Screenplay Reading.

Story performed by actor Julian Ford

STARMAN – LIFE ON TRAPPISTONE  by Dermott Hayes

Get to know the winning writer:

1. What is your Short Story about?

Suppose a person from another planet discovered they were from Earth, that their planet was colonized by aliens? And discovering this, how would it reflect on the world in which they lived? Does history repeat itself and are we always destined to repeat our mistakes

2. What genres would you say this short story is in?

Science fiction, mystery, a moral tale

3. How would you describe this story in two words?

Begin Again

4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?

High Noon

5. How long have you been working on this story?

1 day, for this story and 10 weeks, since, 9 new episodes.

6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck

7. What motivated you to write this story?

I read a news story about three planets, 20 light years away, orbiting a dwarf star, discovered by astronomers working in a deep space observatory in Chile. I was listening to David Bowie while I read it. That same day I responded to a WP blog prompt, called Writers’ Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge. The verbal prompt for that week was ‘obsession’ and I chose David Bowie’s ‘Starman’ as my ‘writer’s quote’.

8. What artist would you love to have dinner with?

James Lee Burke

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Cinema

10. What influenced you to enter the 1pg. Short Story contest?

It came up in a Film Freeway email notice on the same day I finished writing it. I thought it was serendipitous.

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Write short and true, so readers can walk with you, in the same world.

If anyone wants to read the ensuing eight episodes – the last one has yet to be written – they’ll find it on https://dermotthayes.com/

THE OCEAN AND THE SKY Short Story by Rose Mendonca

Watch the July 2016 Winning Short Screenplay Reading.

Story performed by actor Val Cole

THE OCEAN AND THE SKY by Rose Mendonca

Get to know the winning writer:

1. What is your 1pg Short Story about?

The Ocean and the Sky is my personal recounting of when I was raped in 2012.

2. What genres would you say this short story is in?

non-fiction, trauma, rape, rape culture

3. How would you describe this story in two words?

no escape

4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?

The Wizard of Oz

5. How long have you been working on this story?

My rape happened in 2012 and I wrote The Ocean and the Sky about a week later, but I didn’t publish the story until now.

6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

White Oleander by Janet Fitch

7. What motivated you to write this story?

Reading and hearing people (women and men) who tell their rape stories, and then nothing happens or very little happens in response. I feel it is my duty to speak out now, if nothing else, to support those who already have. To say, “You are not alone.” Also, the fact I am in the company of so many others says there is something very wrong with how rape is addressed in our society and we need to change that. We need to change the culture.

8. What artist would you love to have dinner with?

Frida Kahlo

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Filmmaking

10. What influenced you to enter the 1pg. Short Story contest?

I was asked if I’d be interested, and I’m honored.

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Write what is real to you. Nothing else is worth it.

TEARS OF JOY Short Story Reading by I E Hughes

Watch the July 2016 Winning Short Screenplay Reading. 

Story performed by actor Julian Ford

TEARS OF JOY by I E Hughes

Get to know the winning writer:

1. What is your 1pg Short Story about?

“Tears of Joy” recalls my experience as a plebe member of the victorious 1995 Army Football team following the 96th Army Navy Game.

2. What genres would you say this short story is in?

Creative nonfiction.

3. How would you describe this story in two words?

Pertinently succinct.

4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?

Hal Hartley’s “Henry Fool”.

5. How long have you been working on this story?

20 years.

6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

The Monkey Wrench Gang, written by author Edward Abbey.

7. What motivated you to write this story?

Reading Pat Conroy’s memoir, My Losing Season.

8. What artist would you love to have dinner with?

Nietzsche’s Übermensch.

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Environmental philosophy.

10. What influenced you to enter the 1pg. Short Story contest?

My desire to write for a living.

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Rise above the herd to be heard.

Winning Short Story: Mama’s Purfect Day by Richard Marra

Watch the June 2016 Winning Short Story

Mama’s Purfect Day by Richard Marra

Story performed by Marsha Mason

Get to know the winning writer:

1. What is your 1pg Short Story about?

The story is about a cat, Mama, who is taken out of her comfort zone and has to learn how to have fun on her own.

Through her day alone, she finds out she doesn’t always need people around and could find activities that make her happy.

2. What genres would you say this short story is in?

Children’s story.

3. How would you describe this story in two words?

Self reliable.

4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?

“Blue Velvet” David Lynch

5. How long have you been working on this story?

This story came to me pretty fast and I wrote it in a day. The tough part is editing and figuring out which parts you should leave and cut.

6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

Kurt Vonnegut “Slaughterhouse-Five”

7. What motivated you to write this story?

My sister had just had her first kid and I wanted to write a story for her.

8. What artist would you love to have dinner with?

David Lynch, in a heartbeat.

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I love directing and editing films.

10. What influenced you to enter the 1pg. Short Story contest?

I felt like it was a cute story that needed to be introduced to people and to show kids that they could have fun on their own, just like Mama.

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Just write. The hardest part of writing is never putting the pen to the paper. Whatever it is; fragmented sentences, ideas or an actual full story, just write.

***

Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

Watch Chapter 1 Transcript Reading: Water for Blood by Brett Bacon

Watch the May 2016 Winning Novel Transcript Reading.

BUY Novels on Amazon by Brett Bacon

Watch Water for Blood:

Transcript reading performed by actor Sean Kaufman

Get to know writer Brett Bacon:

1. What is your novel about?

In “Water for Blood,” when a young woman escapes from an oppressive cult that is a front for a covert, international business trading in government secrets, the NSA-trained cult leader will stop at nothing to silence her.

2. Why should this novel be read by people?

“Water for Blood” is a contemporary, fast-paced thriller about a strong, young woman fighting against overwhelming odds.

3. How would you describe this novel in two words?

Contemporary Thriller

4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?

In terms of action movies, “Heat” with Al Pacino and Robert De Niro is one of my favorites.

5. How long have you been working on this novel?

About a year.

6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

In terms of thrillers, it is “Eye of the Needle” by Ken Follett. Follett is a master at keeping the reader in suspense throughout the story.

7. What motivated you to write this novel?

I wanted to tell a story about a strong woman who overcomes incredible obstacles to be free and independent.

8. What artist would you love to have dinner with?

No question it would be Mark Twain-not only because he was a brilliant writer, but also because he had an incredible sense of humor.

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

My family, reading, fly-fishing, and travel.

10. What influenced you to enter the Novel Festival?

I appreciate the great feedback that I get from the judges.

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

I find this quote by one of my favorite poets, Robert Service, to be helpful:

“There’s nothing gained by whining, and you’re not made of that kind of stuff;

You’re a fighter from away back, and you won’t take a rebuff;
Your trouble is that you don’t know when you have had enough;
Don’t give in.”

Submit your NOVEL to the Festival Today

Winning Short Story: AFTERNOON CABARET by Grey Hall

Watch the May 2016 Winning Short Story Reading.

Watch AFTERNOON CABARET:

Get to know writer Grey Hall: 

Matthew Toffolo: What is your 1pg Short Story about?

Grey Hall: It is about meeting Andrea Marcovicci in NYC as part of my research on a book about Carolina Ballet.

MT: What genres would you say this short story is in?

GH: Memoir

MT: How would you describe this story in two words?

GH: New Friendship

MT: What movie have you seen the most in your life?

GH: The Graduate, Casablanca (tie)

MT: How long have you been working on this story?

GH: I started it in 2003. It stayed dormant for years, only to resurface now.

MT: Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

GH: The Great Gatsby

MT: What motivated you to write this story?

GH: My experiences with Andrea Marcovicci at the Algonquin Hotel in NYC. The New Yorker liked it for Talk of the Town, held it for 90 days and eventually decided not to publish.

MT: What artist would you love to have dinner with?

GH: Renee Marino (Jersey Boys)

MT: Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

GH: Reading, travel, fine dining

MT: What influenced you to enter the 1pg. Short Story contest?

GH: I was searching for new avenues of expression.

MT: Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

GH: The publishing world keeps changing. Look for new venues and never give up.