Welcome Home-Author’s Commentary

DISCLAIMER: Welcome Home is not a real motion picture nor does it have a soundtrack coming out. This is just me living in my fictional happy writer’s world. Where I pretend and where I run the show. Haha. Back in college whenever I would hand in a script or be working with already written material/feature film scenes, my professor would ask me who I would have play the characters, where would it take place, what location? And so I think that kind of stuck with me, because as I write each of my short story series here on this blog, I want to include those aspects and give you a visual experience. Mysterious Attraction was my first shot at it, A Broken Heart For Christmas, and Love Conflicted followed, and most recently On The Run.

As a kid I used to say “Make Pretend” all the time. Make Pretend you’re a princess who slays dragons. Make pretend you’re a ballerina who bull rides. Make pretend you’re writing a screenplay and you get to pick the actors, and release a soundtrack and commentary that people have been anxiously awaiting. The options could be endless. So let’s “Make Pretend.” Enjoy!

I just re-read Welcome Home, in preparation for this post, and I have to admit, I was really happy with this short story series. It felt more structured and concise.

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Background:

Welcome Home premiered on Thursday, December 15th, 2016. It was a small string of random thoughts and characters I just had to get out! The story continued pretty consistently until Thursday, March 16th. Overall the story was featured on Thursdays here on michelle leigh writes for a span of about 3 months.

OFFICAL FULL CAST PROMOTIONAL PHOTO RELEASED 😉

Cast poster

 

Dream Casting:

Melanie Evans portrayed by Shantel VanSanten

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I fell in love with Shantel when she played Quinn James on One Tree Hill. I think she had this purity about her acting and she is such a natural beauty. She also does sassy comedy really well too. I really thought she would bring someone like my character Melanie to life.

Oliver King portrayed by Jason Thompson

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I don’t know where to start with this guy. I adore him. I fell in love with Jason when he played Dr. Patrick Drake alongside love interest Dr. Robin Scorpio (Turned Drake) on General Hospital. He is such a brilliant actor, I am still flabbergasted that he hasn’t won an Emmy yet. He puts his heart out there and he is so believable. Put him in a scene with anyone and you can see how he elevates the material in his acting choices. How he interacts with them, and uses his body language to convey a believable relationship. I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve rewatched him and Kimberly McCullough’s (Robin) many scenes together from General Hospital as they displayed quite the love story. So freaking amazing!

Supporting Roles:

Cassie portrayed by Hilary Duff

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Hilary Duff, what can I say? Loved her since Lizzie McGuire. And that show basically shaped my childhood. She was one of my idols growing up. And she holds such a special place in my heart. She has grown into such an incredible feisty actress and you can tell that she’s done so in a really classy way. The way she handles the more mature topics of life on her new hit show Younger with comedy and sass, is just so damn good. So I knew that she could be the perfect face for Cassie- the sassy, bold, tell it like it is best friend. You know me and how my best friend roles are always sassy!

Dave portrayed by Derek Hough

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I had Duff in my head and I knew Cassie would soon need a love interest too and in pairing her with someone, Hough seemed like such perfect fit visually. I love Derek Hough, I have swooned over him on Dancing with the Stars so many times. I’m sad he’s not on this season. He is such a huge talent and inspiration. I would love to see him featured in more films throughout his career! Hey Derek- I’ll have my people call your people! 😉

Molly King portrayed by Brooklyn Rae Silzer

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This kind of happened by accident. If you know Jason Thompson as Patrick Drake, then you know that he and Robin have a daughter named Emma. Brooklyn plays the role of Emma. And when it came to editing pictures of a child with Thompson and Van Santen, I just thought it seemed completely obvious to have Brooklyn be viewed as Melanie and Oliver’s daughter Molly. She is such big talent! She is sassy and sweet and is sure to grow up to be a huge name! Just like McCullough did! She started her career as a kid on General Hospital.

Aspects I Really Liked:

Reading it back, I was really happy with the way there was some foreshadowing and reveals throughout the story’s unfolding.

For example…

Throughout the whole first few chapters you don’t know what happened between Melanie and Oliver. We never know why they broke up. We know they were engaged, we know they had a past and that they haven’t really seen or spoken to each other in a few years. I like how it keeps you guessing, until he says it- they loss their baby.

I also like how you don’t really know if she’s pregnant again, you expect it, but then she looks at the test and cries at the end of the chapter which can make it go either way. And then at the beginning of the following chapter we start with a funeral type scene and it makes you think she lost another child. Soon you find out it was a flashback to Cody’s memorial. And then we time jump into a new life with Melanie and Oliver and their new baby girl.

I think the foreshadowing worked nicely and kept the suspense going. I’ve said it many times, I write these short story series as if they were a movie, and so these types of foreshadowing, flashbacks, jump cuts would work well I think.

I also thought that I was able to portray bits of their lives, pasts, careers, etc, throughout the story. So often I feel like you have to give it all in the beginning, but I realized that doesn’t work either. You have to disperse the information little by little, when needed. So what I tried to do this series is implement backstory when it made most sense. For example, through conversations we find out that Melanie is a writer and Oliver is a photographer. Melanie’s writing has suffered since her tragedy so we don’t see her writing. Oliver is said to be snapping pictures now and then. I don’t think these things have to be super prominent as long as there are mentions, we get the gist. The story is bigger than this.

We also find out how they met in college through Oliver’s best man and Melanie’s maid of honor speeches. I really love that story Oliver tells, it serves a lot of purpose to the story, and to the relationships within it- Cassie/Dave and Oliver/Melanie. I love love love it! You can just see the scene of how they all met play out in your head.

I really love how we finally get the story of how Melanie and Oliver broke up, as she reads the first passage of her book “Operation Forever,” at her first book signing. We never really knew how she left, and this was my way of answering that question without actually having to force a flashback. Her book title, is a bit of an Easter egg and ode to their little discussion when they got engaged.

“I don’t know, it just doesn’t feel real, ya know. To be this in love.” She says smiling brightly up at him through watery eyes.

“Yea I know the feeling. I guess we’re just going to have to get used to the fact that we’re stuck with each other, forever. It’s all a part of my evil plan.”

“Ah, I see. Operation forever.”

“Something like that. But I’m sure we could think of a better name than that.”

“What- why I like it.”

“Well if you like it, then I like it.”

Flashbacks however are utilized when needed, and they are brought on by familiar moments-déjà vu, or scenery from her home town. The first Chapter we see her have a flashback to she and Oliver in their own apartment, engaged, during happier times. And it is brought on by watching her reflection as she puts on some lip-gloss- a menial task she’s done many times in front of him as he would watch and admire.

Then throughout her home coming she is catapulted into many memories, memories she’s tried to stay away from. She sees their names carved in her front porch, and remembers the first time he told her he loved her and that he wants to be with her forever. At home in her living room, in front of the fireplace, she has a flashback of them making love, walking through town she sits in the gazebo and remembers when he asked her to marry him. All of these things make her feel and in turn make us feel because we see how much these two people love each other. And how painful it is for them to not be together. But I also really love that these flashbacks were placed well, within reason, and were brought on by her familiar surroundings.

Through more conversations we see how close they really wore, how they had the same friends, how her family took him in and welcomed him on school breaks, how he knew her bedroom pretty well and they “broke some house rules” every now and then as teens. 😉 Oliver even makes mention to the fact that he will “crawl into her window” at night if he has too, which makes us realize this was something he may or may not have done as a young teen in love. Oliver bakes her, her favorite sugar cookies and knows her obsession with New Kids On The Block. He knows her mom’s cooking and how they go all out for holidays. There is so much history there between these two and you don’t have to see their whole relationship to know that.

“What?”  “Nothing.”

This is something I revisit this dialogue exchange a lot throughout the story, and their relationship. A lot of the times it’s Melanie who catches Oliver watching her and says What? And in turn he says Nothing. It’s a bit of a flirtation and a cute game for them. And it resurfaces a few times between them. Even at the end, when it’s reversed and Oliver realizes how annoying it can actually be. Lol.

Timeline:

Speaking of Holidays, I think I was inspired by them when I wrote this. I had written a good portion of the first chapter or so, before I posted and so I was in a family holiday mood. So I took that inspiration and the holidays kind of built my timeline. We Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years. There are certainly time jumps in here too, but I think that’s only natural, for this kind of coming home, and coming into your own skin story. We need to jump around so we can see the characters grow and learn to better themselves.

Slideshow Feature:

I also think utilizing the slideshow feature in the last chapter was my way of showing their lives together and the things you missed. (Yes, I know some of my edits are super crappy and bad, but I tried, haha.) This tactic helped me fill in some blanks. In my head I just saw the scene playing as if it were in a movie- a time jump and then a happy family at home, as you see pictures of their lives together dress their walls. Their child growing throughout the years along with their love. Notice most of the pictures look professional, because you know Oliver King was like Um excuse I will be taking all my daughter’s professional pictures, thank you. Haha. Did you spot those Paris pics? – Another little Easter egg to show he actually took her like he wanted to.

“God I’ve missed this town.” Oliver says smiling looking around.

“Missed it? I thought that you were living here?”

“I was. For a long time. I still have a place here. But work kinda takes me all around nowadays. I’m kind of a nomad.”

“I see. Traveling must be nice though.”

“It is. It’s really amazing Mel. I’ve been to Ireland, Italy, and France, I stayed at this little bed and breakfast in Paris, the couple that ran it were two of the sweetest people, and every morning they would make me blueberry waffles, sausage and bacon. And my room, it overlooked this little lake, it was breathtaking. You would have loved it.”

“I’m sure I would have,” she says smiling up at him.

“Maybe one of these days, you’ll let me take you there.”

“Maybe.” She says looking away, fidgeting with the cup in her hands.

“Always forgetting your gloves.” He says noticing and smirking at her.

Within the slideshow we also see an image of Baby Boy Cody’s sonogram which means he is still part of them and their family which was important for me to show, because that loss was such a big part of their lives, their love and this story. And I love that they each have Cody tattoos, they got separately, to honor their son. It shows they think alike.

Love Scenes:

I back tracked and looked at what I wrote for my last short story series- On The Run, and when it came to writing love scenes, this is what I wrote… [One of these days, I won’t blush while writing a love scene. I won’t hide in a corner shielding my computer screen from curious eyes. I won’t feel ashamed of what I’m writing. I find that when I write a love scene, I continuously edit myself. What if a family member of mine reads this? Oh my god what will they think? The people in my life have a certain perspective of me. I’m a pretty reserved personality, and so writing these scenes would be something they wouldn’t even think I do, or can do. So there’s a barrier there for sure and I feel like I need to work on being more free and not so constrained and worried about what people will think. If anything hopefully they can just realize that what I’m trying to do by writing these scenes, is to craft a beautiful love story.] In many ways this still applies, I need to work on this and I definitely still edited myself a lot this series. I had written much more juicer material, but I wanted it to read with a certain tenderness and I felt that would get lost in the lust factor, so I edited it. However, I do still think I am getting better at writing love scenes, because even reading the love scene back today, I was surprised I left certain things in. With that being said though, I still think it reads the way I wanted it to be read, a couple so in love they can’t contain it. I don’t think it reached a trashy point.

Themes:

Coming Home/Finding Home, Family, Friendship, Hope, Loyalty, Heart, Unconditional Love, Forever, Fear, Creativity, Soulmates, Heart vs. Head, Overcoming Obstacles, Tragedy.

As you read this series any of these themes can pop into your mind, Melanie is so torn. She has the whole world at her feet, family and friends waiting to support her, her dream career in her grasp, a man so in love with her he’d wait forever for her, but yet the heartache of losing her child years ago force her into a stubborn isolation. She had a lot of soul searching to do, that unfortunately she needed to do on her own.

Oliver is her ray of light, her hope, he loves her unconditionally and he is not willing to let her sit in that dark black hole of isolation for too long. However, you can see that he knows how he has to play this. He can’t just pounce. She’s already used to running, and she will continue if anyone makes any sudden movements. So you see him pull back here and there. He knows when she needs to walk away. And it baffles Melanie that he could be that understanding. He’s pretty perfect. But not without his faults, he is human. There are moments where you see him falter. We see him not be so understanding, but in the same breath he takes on the blame, so that she doesn’t have to, and even then Melanie pulls away because she can’t comprehend his unwavering love.

It isn’t until he backs off completely that she realizes she needs him. When she finds out she is pregnant with another one of their children. And when she actually chooses to include him in what is going on. Once she finally admits she needs him not only to him, but to herself, the whole story kind of becomes well rounded. Things are full circle and all the stress is forgotten as they embark on their journey together. Because he was never going to give up on her, he just needed her to come to him.

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Friendship is always a factor in my stories, there are always the supporting roles- the best friends, because I think our main characters need somewhere to go and vent. I think I would have liked to explore some more conversations between Oliver and Dave. Now that I think about it I’m sure Oliver would vent at times. How could he not! Melanie drove him crazy! And Dave was part of the whole reason why Melanie and Oliver met in the first place, he knew their story. I think friendship is always such a strong consistent theme in my stories, because it’s a strong theme in my life. I have a core group of friends who I go to with everything. I have a best friend, I’ve known since kindergarten, hence the childhood best friend inspiration. #CassieAndMelanie.

Character Building:

I feel like it’s easy to relate to both Oliver and Melanie. There’s a push and pull between them. They have so much love and attraction between them. And unlike my last short story series On The Run, these two didn’t just meet, they’ve known each other for many years. They have a really heavy past and they know things about each other that form a very sexy, real, loyal bond.

It’s easy to hate on Melanie, I think. She left. She ran. And continues to do so for the better part of the series. She wasn’t there for the man she loved. When he obviously continuously put her first. It’s definitely a frustrating concept. She even lets Oliver think they are getting back together after what happened between them on Christmas. But there is this really complex nature about her that I hope is displayed to the audience. I wanted her to be conflicted. She didn’t run because of Oliver, she ran because of herself. Because she wasn’t herself. Because she was worried she wouldn’t be able to give him what he deserved; a family. She knows what she’s doing, she knows she’s hurting him- she admits it, but she can’t help it, because of the pain that weighs on her heart.

So in that sense, I feel like you can put yourself in her shoes, and understand why she has been acting the way she has. It’s not that she doesn’t love him. She does, but she’s caught between that and her pain. She pushes him away because she can’t handle reliving it.

Oliver has a really beautiful evolution I think. I really love his character. And I think if this were ever made into a real short film, Jason Thompson would kill this role! There’s this intense vulnerability in Oliver. He loves with everything in him. He’s made up his mind about Melanie a long time ago, it’s just he’s waiting to make his moves.

“You’re my forever, plain and simple.”

He lets her run, he lets her have her time. But he is always there if she needs him… when she needs him. And after years he still held onto that love and that loyalty. As I said he seems pretty perfect, but he’s not without his faults. And eventually he reaches a point where he tells Melanie that he can’t do it anymore, but even though she believes it, he knows it was just another tactic on his part. A heat of the moment type of thing.

“You’ve been kind of distant today, I guess I understand, but I have to admit, I am surprised.”

“I’ve learned to let you come to me. I figured if I kept my distance long enough you might miss me,” he says smiling.

Oliver has a lighter heart, he tries to make Melanie smile, and remember the good. He doesn’t dwell on the negative. With that being said, it’s not that Melanie’s miscarriage didn’t affect him. It did, but he chose to take his pain into his own hands and get the help he needed, and in doing so he was able to understand things from Melanie’s perspective. He even states that he knows it’s more difficult for a woman, she physically experiences the loss. Oliver remains strong and lets her lean on him, and that’s why we never see exactly how he handled it, but we know what he had to do to handle it. The story isn’t about his pain, it’s about theirs and how he will love her through hers no matter how much she pushes him away or how long he has to wait.

The main themes of love, hope, loyalty, friendship stem from everything these two people in love have between them. It’s everything they are. It’s a forever love story that can withstand all the pain and distance life throws their way. It’s a story about coming home, finding home, not just in a place, but in someone else’s heart.

Description/Imagery:

In my last Author’s Commentary (which was for On The Run), I wrote BE MORE DESCRIPTIVE! And reading Welcome Home back, I feel like I listened. The story is set mostly during the holiday season in a small town in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. You get a feel for the holidays by the scenery description of her childhood home and her walks through town.

What Needs Work:

I can always work on description, even though I’m improving. Timeline, is always tricky for me. I feel like you can get lost in time jumps and life events, and school years, and misjudge years. But hopefully I did ok, in this one. I will keep better track of this next time! As well as continue to learn about writing effective love scenes that fit the love between two charcters.

Final Comments:

I’m really proud of this short story. I think it was more thought out, and paced nicely. It ran here on michelle leigh writes for 3 months, and my posting schedule was pretty consistent. I feel like it was the most consistent of any of the short stories I’ve written. Let’s dive in and show you what I mean…

Chapter 1- posted on Thursday, Dec. 15th, 2016

Chapter 2- posted on Thursday, Jan. 5th, 2017

Chapter 3- posted on Thursday, Jan. 12th, 2017

Chapter 4- posted on Thursday, Jan. 19th, 2017

Chapter 5- posted on Thursday, Jan. 26th, 2017

Chapter 6- posted on Thursday, Feb. 2nd, 2017

Chapter 7- posted on Thursday, Feb. 9th, 2017

Chapter 8- posted on Thursday, Mar. 2nd, 2017

Chapter 9- posted on Thursday, Mar. 16th, 2017

I kept to posting on Thursday, this way to allow other categories time on my blog and not saturate it with one thing. I posted consistently one chapter a week for the better part of the series, give or take a few which even then the longest break was no more than 3 weeks.

In other words, I think I’m slowly conquering the dreaded hiatus drama! Hallelujah!

So there you have it, my in depth Author’s Commentary.

Welcome Home Says Goodbye.

JK…Stay Tuned for a separate Soundtrack post…COMING SOON!

Thank you for reading!

Catch up on Welcome Home from the beginning HERE

And get a sneak peek at my next short story series HERE

*I do not take credit for any images used in my edits or otherwise.*

-<3-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Blog Update*

So I know that my posts have been kind of out of sync with the usual schedule, but I’ve been a bit frazzled lately. There’s a lot going on and I tend to get overwhelmed fairly easily. You ever just need to take a beat and check yourself? As someone who deals with anxiety often, I noticed I have to do that, in order to keep my sanity and keep up with everything that I have to do. Because of the bustle that surrounds my world lately,  the blog inspiration has been lacking. I struggle when this happens, because I hate posting just to post.

But with that being said I thought maybe it’d be cool to give you a little blog update. I have some fun posts in mind, it’s just a matter of getting my shit together and writing them.

I HAVE NO TIME! I’M TIRED! I’M STRESSED! I WANT TO SLEEP FOR A YEAR!

Rant over. 😉

Coming your way we have the Welcome Home “Soundtrack” and Author’s Commentary. If you haven’t read Welcome Home you can start it from the beginning HERE.

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Also I am attempting to dive into a new short story series….I’m still working on the title (I have a bunch of variations that I can’t decide on) but here’s a quick little sneak peek at the summary-

Liam Whitmore is a wealthy business executive who goes through the motions of working in his corporate world day after lousy day, making deals and kicking ass at it. However he often feels uninspired, and unable to do what he really loves. Until one day he meets a younger woman named Aria Lenz, struggling to become a dancer. Her simplistic yet driven nature strikes up a spark of inspiration in him, and he makes it his mission to get to know her. Little does he know, it’ll be the hardest “transaction” he’s ever had to make. They’re worlds apart- will he finally get through to her, or will his fire fizzle?

There- it’s out in the universe. So I have no choice, now I HAVE to get writing. Haha.

Talk Soon!

-<3-

 

 

 

 

“On The Run” Soundtrack & Author’s Commentary

DISCLAIMER: On The Run is not a real motion picture nor does it have a soundtrack coming out. This is just me living in my fictional happy writer’s world. Where I pretend and where I run the show. Haha. Back in college whenever I would hand in a script or be working with already written material/feature film scenes, my professor would ask me who I would have play the characters, where would it take place, what location? And so I think that kind of stuck with me, because as I write this story series I want to include those aspects and give you a visual experience. Mysterious Attraction was my first shot at it, then came A Broken Heart For Christmas, and Love Conflicted. Along the way there have been little one shots, or shorts including a few parts as well. But that distinction is not always clear, I don’t always know how long a story is going to take to tell. As a kid I used to say “Make Pretend” all the time. Make Pretend you’re a princess who slays dragons. Make pretend you’re a ballerina who bull rides. Make pretend you’re writing a screenplay and you get to pick the actors, and release a soundtrack and commentary that people have been anxiously awaiting. The options could be endless. So let’s “Make Pretend.” Enjoy!

New Cast Promotional Photo:

New poster

On The Run Soundtrack Album Artwork:

so damn good

Track list:

  1. “Make Me”- Britney Spears
  2. “Treat You Better”- Shawn Mendes
  3. “Scared of Happy”- Fifth Harmony
  4. “Home”- Rhodes
  5. “Not a Bad Thing”- Justin Timberlake
  6. “Dangerous Woman”- Ariana Grande
  7. “Pillow Talk”- Zayn Malik
  8. “Open Arms”- Journey
  9. “I Miss You”- Adele
  10. “Water Under the Bridge” – Adele
  11. “Things I’ll Never Say”- Avril Lavigne
  12. “I Run To You”- Lady Antebellum
  13. “Save You”- Matthew Perryman Jones
  14. “I See Fire”- Ed Sheeran
  15. “How to Save a Life”-The Fray
  16. “I Had Me A Girl”- The Civil Wars

 

Author’s Commentary-

Background:

On The Run is a short story series featured here on Michelle Leigh Writes. The story premiered on March 7, 2016 and ran pretty consistently all the way up until May 12, 2016. For the duration of a little more than 2 months, On The Run was my focal point. Then came a May/June slump. Posting resumed in July and the series wrapped in August. So over the span of about 6 months (give or take) On The Run was formulated here on this blog, for you to read.

Notes/Likes/Questions:

So often I dissect and pull apart my stories, which I think helps me to become a better writer. But I do want to shed some light on what I felt did work in this story.

I love the idea of Charlie and Sage having a connection they can’t explain. I love the mystery behind both of these characters, more specifically Sage’s character.

Charlie is this trusting, forgiving man who is stuck on believing the goodness in people deserving of it. He experiences this strange sense of human instinct to protect Sage. And because of that nature, Sage feels a strange sense of comfort when with him.

Sage is simple, beautiful and strong. A strength like no other. A selfless-ness like no other.

The relationship between these two characters evolves over time. Sage’s resistance is clear. And while we are tricked to believe that Charlie is the hero of the story, we soon realize that Sage is the heroine. She is determined to protect her family and friends at any cost, no matter the consequence or the effect it will have on her life. I enjoy how in such a short amount of time, Charlie to some extent has got Sage figured out, it’s a combination of his police training, and just being a really perceptive good judge of character. But one minute he thinks he knows her, but the next he’s left completely confused and bewildered. She certainly keeps him on his toes.

I love that Sage’s character ends up blurring the lines between right and wrong for a good cause. And that choice, in turn lands her into Charlie’s storyline of trying to save those who would otherwise go unjustified.

Match made in heaven, don’t you think?

In this story, you see a different side to law enforcement. That some cops and detectives will go out of their way, will go the extra mile.

I enjoy how the story unfolds of what happened that night of the murder. The glimpses we get through flashbacks. I wonder if the fact that it ended being Megan was a shock to any readers.

I also wonder how readers may view Sage/Charlie’s relationship.

Do you think it was believable? Did they fall too quickly?

Their relationship evolved quickly over a short amount of time- a few weeks at best.

Did you trust Charlie? Did you trust Sage?

When Sage found Charlie’s Detective Card did you see it coming?

Or did you feel as betrayed as Sage did?

Were you worried he was working against her, and just helping her to gather information?

Or were you rooting for Sage and Charlie to kick start a romance?

I personally like how for the most part this is a 2 character centric story. It felt nice to be able to have special moments/awkward tensions, emotions between just these two characters.

Most of the communication between these two is based upon their eye contact, their looks, their glares and stares. When those moment become too heavy, often times Sage will blush, while Charlie will chuckle and look away. Sage has been known to need to break their eye contact often two as she fidgets under his stare. He often looks her over, in a way that makes her nervous, her heart flutters and she doesn’t mind.

In the moments when they do touch, at first it’s just instinct. The need for Sage to feel close to someone, to feel guarded. But then that instinct becomes natural for both of them and blossoms into a different kind of need, a need to feel the touch of the person they are falling in love with.

Charlie is only scared of pushing Sage away or losing her. He’s not afraid of his feelings. While, Sage is afraid on many different levels, even though she too feels the spark ignited between she and Charlie.

Relationships are hard/complicated/contradictory. Sometimes feelings can change so rapidly, that we don’t always know how or why or what to do with them.

The playful flirtation between the two are my favorite moments. You see the real Sage in those moments. You see the sassy, sweet, funny, sexy girl she was before this all happened. You see they are both letting loose with each other and it’s a contrast to the darkness of the murder mystery plot which drives the bulk on the story.

Dream Casting:

“Sage Renly”- Shay Mitchell

Just fit the earthy, beautiful, vibes of Sage

“Charlie Steinfeld”- Max Thieriot

Just fit the rugged, kind, loyal vibes of Charlie.

*Both characters are simple life livers looking for love before all this drama unfolds.

Love scenes:

One of these days, I won’t blush while writing a love scene. I won’t hide in a corner shielding my computer screen from curious eyes. I won’t feel ashamed of what I’m writing. I find that when I write a love scene, I continuously edit myself. What if a family member of mine reads this? Oh my god what will they think? The people in my life have a certain perspective of me. I’m a pretty reserved personality, and so writing these scenes would be something they wouldn’t even think I do, or can do. So there’s a barrier there for sure and I feel like I need to work on being more free and not so constrained and worried about what people will think. If anything hopefully they can just realize that what I’m trying to do by writing these scenes, is to craft a beautiful love story.

Hiatus Drama:

WHY???? Why does this ALWAYS happen to me. I can’t shake it. I’m consistent for a good duration and then my focus shifts. Slump? Lack of story direction? Editing is a tall order, and then editing and finding images too, I can be there for hours working on one post- Laziness? Boredom? Lack of time? Blog feeling oversaturated in one topic? Need for change up? Excuses? I’ve tried on all of them. And quite frankly they all suck. I do hope to stick to a more permanent, more consistent schedule next time. I can’t promise that the hiatus won’t ever happen again. Because it will. I know it will. But I can promise you that I will continue to write short stories and I will continue to finish them, no matter how long they may take me to do so. I know my style of writing and posting is probably a factor in this too. I do like the formula, it gives me the freedom to take my stories a lot of different ways, but sometime it created the freedom to stop writing, which is where things get murky. But the way I see it is, if I waited to write a whole series before posting, nothing would get posted.

Themes:

Justice vs. Injustice

Love vs. Lust

Right vs. Wrong

Head vs. Heart

Trusting strangers

Trust Issues

Friendship

Love

Loyalty

Fear

Running Away *from love, and from the law (hence…the title…On The Run)

Supporting Characters:

The Black Family- Megan, Daniel, and Simon

Even though we don’t see every detail about the Blacks, they fuel the greater story and main characters need friends, they need people to enhance their character and their story.

Tim Malloy- Represents Justice and is Charlie’s light in the justice system.

The Ending:

I have a tendency to do the quick wrap up ending. Everything all wrapped up in a bow. There’s a pressure (especially after a long hiatus) I put on myself to finish and so I feel like I resolve things quickly. Like all the Hallmark movies I complain about. I don’t not like the ending, I just think maybe it could have been better. I always think everything I write can be better. Nothing is ever perfect, because if it was there’d be no room to learn more.

The ending I chose wasn’t what I intended. There were ideas of having Sage get pregnant. There was another idea of having Charlie ask Sage to marry him. There was also an idea where Sage and Charlie were going to marry to not have to testify against each other in court.

However, I always end my stories with marriage and babies. For this particular story that ending just didn’t seem fitting. These two characters love each other, but still need to get to know each other.

Often times we worry that stories aren’t believable, could two people really fall in love in such a short amount of time. It’s so unrealistic. Is it? If we all trusted our hearts a little more, we’d probably let ourselves fall in love a lot sooner. Why waste time.

There’s a quote from one of my favorite movies that comes to mind-

“I barely know you. I don’t know your dad’s first name, I don’t know if you ever wore braces or contacts or glasses. I have no idea how you came to be a wedding planner. But I know the curves of your face and I know every fleck of gold in your eyes…” –Steve, The Wedding Planner

*Written By: Pamela Falk, Michael Ellis

This right there is why you don’t need any explanation. The spark. It happens. In my stories it happens. Love happens. And I will always defend it, no matter how early, or unrealistic it may seem.

Missing Links:

Should Sage/Charlie’s back stories have been more in-depth/showcase throughout the story?

Family? Job? Home? $? Past relationships?

I kind of liked how both Sage and Charlie had this intense attraction and pull toward each other, but they were strangers who had to just figure each other out quickly. I like how they had kind of hidden identities up until the end where they decide starting over would be a good thing, and they offer their back grounds, upfront. I think that worked. Thoughts?

Should there have been more about Megan/Simon/Daniel?

Colors:

Blacks, Browns, Greens, Grays in clothing- camouflage to blend in.

Whites, yellows- in the hotel to show purity and simplicity, safety, security.

Red- blood, fear.

Final Comments:

With each short series I experiment writing, I learn something new. Each short story series is its own learning experience. And although there are many parallels and common themes that span across all of my short story series, featured here on this blog, I have also realized I’m growing my own style of writing and storytelling. I’m crafting my writer’s voice. Romance and a little bit of mystery seems to be my thing. And this series specifically is a murder mystery with a twist, not only in who committed the crime, but in the fact that a love blossomed during such a tragic time. Unconventional, unpredictable love. Also each story is a lesson in descriptive writing, were the scenes written well enough that you can picture them in your head. BE MORE DESCRIPTIVE- definitely something I need to work on for the next one.

So thank you for reading this commentary and for reading On The Run.

Until next time… (I already have some ideas for my next series…Stay Tuned!)

Catch up on “On The Run” from the beginning HERE

says goodbye

*I do not take credit for any images used in my edits, or video clips used.*

 -<3-

Love Conflicted Soundtrack & Author’s Commentary

BACK STORY: Over the past 8 months or so Love Conflicted has been featured on and off the michelle leigh writes blog. Its premiere date was May 11th 2015, and the consistent updates lasted through June 25th 2015. Then I took a massive hiatus from the series. I finally got my act together in the New Year and finished it this week, finishing my stories is incredibly important to me, far too many go unfinished. It was important for me to see this through. Seeing as how I slipped up on this week’s schedule, I figured I’d give you a rare Sunday post, I am thinking about adding Sundays to the schedule, so that will put me at a 3 times a week schedule. However, it is to still be determined, if I can actually commit to that, I don’t want to get ahead of myself. But I may do a trial run and see if it works out. As promised here is the Love Conflicted inspired “Soundtrack” and My Author’s Commentary.

DISCLAIMER: Love Conflicted is not a real motion picture nor does it have a soundtrack coming out. This is just me living in my fictional happy writer’s world. Where I pretend and where I run the show. Haha. Back in college whenever I would hand in a script or be working with already written material/feature film scenes, my professor would ask me who I would have play the characters, where would it take place, what location? And so I think that kind of stuck with me, because as I write this story series I want to include those aspects and give you a visual experience. Mysterious Attraction was my first shot at it, recently A Broken Heart For Christmas, and now also with Love Conflicted. Along the way there have been little one shots, or shorts including a few parts as I will. But that distinction is not always clear, I don’t always know how long a story is going to take to tell. As a kid I used to say “Make Pretend” all the time. Make Pretend you’re a princess who slays dragons. Make pretend you’re a ballerina who bull rides. Make pretend you’re writing a screenplay and you get to pick the actors, and release a soundtrack and commentary that people have been anxiously awaiting. The options could be endless. So let’s “Make Pretend.” Enjoy!

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OFFICAL FULL CAST PROMOTIONAL PHOTO RELEASED 😉

Official full cast photo movie poster

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**Love Conflicted** “Soundtrack”

Happy Listening!

ALBUM ARTWORK:

Love conflicted soundtrack

Track List

  1. “All In My Head”– Tori Kelly
  2. “I Know What You Did Last Summer”– Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello
  3. “Revival”– Selena Gomez
  4. “Call of the Wild”– Bethany Joy Lenz
  5. “Water Under the Bridge”– Adele
  6. “The Last Time”– Taylor Swift Ft. Gary Lightbody
  7. “Sad Beautiful Tragic”-Taylor Swift
  8. “Blindness”– Justin Timberlake
  9. “What A Good Woman Does”– Joy Williams
  10. “Until the Levee”– Joy Williams
  11. “Stitches”– Shawn Mendes
  12. “I’ll Show You”– Justin Bieber
  13. “Please”– Bethany Joy Lenz
  14. “Stealing”– Gavin Degraw
  15. “When I Was Your Man”– Bruno Mars
  16. “It Will Rain”– Bruno Mars
  17. “The One That Got Away”– The Civil Wars
  18. “Disarm”– The Civil Wars
  19. “I’m A Mess”– Ed Sheeran
  20. “I See Fire”– Ed Sheeran
  21. “Maybe”– Everly-(Bethany Joy Lenz & Amber Sweeney)
  22. “You Found Me”– The Fray
  23. “Leave You Alone”– Kris Allen
  24. “Wanted You More”– Lady Antebellum
  25. “Lesson Learned”– Ray LaMontagne

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Onto the next portion…My Love Conflicted *Author’s Commentary*

GENERAL NOTES:

This drama series was rooted in the love story between two unlikely souls. Maggie an elementary school teacher and Ricky an undercover “mobster” who thought he was working for an honorable CIA organization that turned out to be corrupt. Maggie and Ricky meet by chance and experience an instant spark. The bulk of their relationship is rooted in sub context. You don’t really see much of their love in current time. You experience it through the occasional flashback, through the stories they share about each other, and through the intense conversations they have when are reunited for brief periods of time. You get to see their life together through images on Maggie’s phone as well.

Lily and Ian are introduced gradually. I always feel that my mind automatically goes to a minimum of a 4 person cast. The love story is there, boy meets girl, boy falls for girl, boy gets girl, boy screws up, boy tries to win girl back. And in the mist of all that the story has to keep going…enter supporting characters Ian and Lily. They’re budding love story is just a happy coincidence. Their story is one of a lighter more sarcastic, sassy and fun tone. In contrast to Maggie and Ricky’s love story which is no heartbreaking and so dramatically driven. The “I can’t breathe without you” feel is heavy for those too. Yet Ian and Lily keep things light and let’s be honest they are most comedy you’ll get here. Lily has her one liners that zing, doesn’t she?

Also the story lines Mob nod must be a trend, huh? [See Mysterious Attraction] Ode to Sonny Corinthos and General Hospital.

THEMES:

There are consistent themes of Love, Friendship, Trust, Fear, Bravery, Finding yourself, Coming into your own skin, Independence, Guilt, and ultimately rebuilding and waking each other up to inspire a better way of life. That goes for all characters and all forms of the relationships between these 4 people.

DREAM CASTING:

When I sat down with the first scene, it was somewhat of a scene that resembled the first part, where there was this back and forth between Ricky and a female character. You could tell she was angry with him and there was a very good reason, one that he was trying to make light of and gloss over with charm and his belief in their love. His belief that love could somehow help them overcome the catastrophic bomb he just dropped on her. i.e.: that he’s essentially a hit man. But I never really knew who these character would become and getting to know them and writing their dialogue and choosing how they would handle things, that’s been the most fun.

Ricky and Maggie

Ricky: Jesse Lee Soffer (I think he and Lenz would be magic on screen together!)

Ricky faces the blow back from years of horrifying assignments. He finally realizes that what he’s been doing hasn’t been for the better of his country. As he comes to grips with that reality he is faced with trying to protect the woman he loves in the mist of trying to out his corrupt boss, Cobbs. Ricky is a good hearted man, but his job has trained him to perceive himself as a villain of sorts. We never meet Cobbs but we don’t have to. His threat is there, it’s real and evident in Ricky’s fear. He’s almost like this mysterious ghost that looms over them, and we never know if he’s actually going to make his move. I wanted the threat and the fear to be real, without having to have some big reveal or altercation with the actual threat himself. I wanted to sway away from the route Mysterious Attraction took, of kidnappings, and hostage situations. Although the dangers were very similar, the main altercation was ultimately Ricky’s arrest and his choosing to let Maggie go, completely breaking her heart and his own.

 Maggie: Bethany Joy Lenz (She is my QUEEN…I can’t even tell you!)

Maggie is that girl that is so kind and beautiful and so full of hope and light that you just expect no one to ever hurt her. That and the fact that she closes herself off from any kind of risk. Therefore insuring herself she won’t get hurt. She’s the girl that is completely unaware of how amazing she is, and is timid in her sexuality. Meeting Ricky who instantly uses his charm and wit to convince her to take a risk makes her feel alive. The fact that he looks at her in a way that she’s never been looked at before, does wonders for her too. But with all that being said, Maggie comes into her own as she slowly realizes everyone around her is trying to coddle her. She hates feeling like a victim and chooses to take her life in her own hands, going after what she wants.

candice-lily

Lily: Candice Accola-King

If you know my writing, you know the best friend is always the sassy one. [See: Demi Lovato as Roxy in Mysterious Attraction.] I don’t know what it is. But I just feel like the best friend has to be this loose cannon who just speaks the truth. In many way Lily serves as the audience’s perspective. You know when you’re watching a movie or TV show and someone is doing something so stupid you just scream at the TV. Yea, well that’s Lily. She states what should appear as the obvious to the others actors in the story.

meet ian

Ian: Nick Wechsler

Ian is a sweet, calm guy. The voice of reason. Although he too has been involved in these high-stake illegal activities, his self-awareness is much further along than Ricky’s. He knows how to separate himself from his corruption leader of a boss, and knows that his actions were a product of being coerced and trained for years. He also has had a bit more distance than Ricky, as Ricky was made a leader in the organization and felt the brunt of things toward the end, Ian was more of fixer of things, the driver, a tying up loose ends guy. Ian was the one who has been by Ricky’s side, the one who would sacrifice for the wellbeing of everyone. He’s heroic. But it’s a quiet heroism. You don’t realize how self-less he is right off the bat. He’s also got his own charm. His flirtation isn’t as blunt as Ricky’s when it comes to the ladies. He’s a quiet compliment-er, he observes Lily and her nature. He uses what he learns to draw her in and to connect with her. He genuinely speaks his mind and although he goes along with Lily’s sassy flirtation he is completely obvious about his intention to fall in love with her.

-The exclusion of voiceover, the implementation of inner thoughts-

This wasn’t consistent throughout the story. It started off with Maggie’s inner thoughts because she was dealing with a lot on her own, so we had to hear her thoughts. Once Lily was introduced those thoughts were reflected in the dialogue between those two characters as we experienced her pain through the things she confided in her friend.

-The Evolution of relationships-

Friendship-

“Laggie”

lily and maggie bffs

It’s evident that Lily and Maggie have been friends their whole lives. Lily is Maggie’s rock. She is the one to look out for her. Let’s face it she has no filter and will test anyone who tries to cause Maggie any pain.

“Rian”

ricky and ian bffs

Throughout the story we see Ricky deal with the consequences of his actions. We see him deal with having to suffer through causing Maggie so much pain. Ian is someone who is brought in to remain the calm, cool, collected person, he’s cool under pressure. He serves as the voice of reason and as Ricky’s eyes, when he can’t be there for Maggie. The one who is Ricky’s right hand man, and will sacrifice to help him in anyway. They have been partners forever, but their friendship is their first priority. They have each other’s backs, always.

Romantic-

“Illy”

ian and lily kiss

Ian passed Lily’s bluster…

When Lily and Ian meet it’s kind of a comedic moment. Rare for this series, but it serves as a breath of fresh air. We see Lily’s sassy nature at its best, and we see that even the most stoic of men can be instantly distracted by a beautiful and alluring woman. Lily is the way she is due to a recent heartbreak. Ian takes his time to court her, proving to her that he’s worth it. Lily’s calm and collected not to mention sassy nature is her defense mechanism. Ian gets to her, with his innocent yet somewhat obvious flirtations.

“Micky”

falling (2)

Took a while, but the love was always there

 

The main love story is set between Maggie and Ricky. Maggie lives a plain life, a routine life. A life of rules. Ricky follows his own set of rules. When their worlds collide, opposites attract and they find something in each other that compliments them as individuals. Things they have been looking for all along. Ricky instills adventure and confidence in Maggie’s life, showing her how amazing she is while trying to keep a light hearted sexy tone to their conversations. He’s definitely got a bit of a problem with telling her what to do, because he’s so afraid to lose her. His overprotective nature does cost him at times. While, Maggie instills belief, love and stability in Ricky’s life. Bringing a sense of realism to life, showing him that his criminal past isn’t what defines him. Ricky and Maggie have a back and forth that is evident. There is always a high level of tension, because they are always drawn to each other even though they both experience their reservations about being together. Regardless the love is always there.

-What I’ve learned about my writing, and need to work on for my next series and future projects-

TIPS:

*Write the series (or at least the bulk of it) in advance before posting.

Posting as I go makes it hard for me to stay motivated at times and makes it hard to remember where I left off. Which can cause continuity issues and timeline confusions.

*Keep note of the timeline and realize that not everyone can see it as clearly as you can.

This story has taken place over the course or nearly 1 ½-2 years. In real time we see about a year of it. But Maggie and Ricky have had an ongoing relationship for nearly 2 years. They were together for about 6 months before she found out about his job. 6 months he was able to hide and act like a normal boyfriend, but on the sly. Lily was the only one who truly knew they were an actual couple. To the outside world they seemed friendly. When Maggie finds out about Ricky’s job she pulls away. As Ricky begins to fight for her-coming full force to win her back. Maggie thinks she’s pregnant and worries Ricky’s lifestyle will cause her and her child pain. Their relationship moves quickly, as Ricky had revealed they said their “I love you’s” a week after dating. The separation/reuniting period is on and off for a while, and then after Ricky’s arrest, we jump 6 months ahead which allude to the growth these characters have made. In that time Ian and Lily have started their own romance and seem to be smitten with each other. Ricky spent his time getting well, and Maggie spent her time being in her own skin. Although the time apart was painful for both of them, they made it back to each other in the end, better than they were before, with a promising future ahead of them.

*Learn how to implement backstory better.

I feel like the little facts like Maggie’s a school teacher and Lily suffered a bad relationship could have been better thought out and more implemented throughout the story’s entirety. I need to be careful of that next time.

*Describe location, outfits, appearance more thoroughly, paint a picture for the audience. Where are they, what does it look like? Just because I see it, doesn’t mean you do.

*Learn to sus out the basis of the story before I post.

This can be hard because I often don’t know where the story will go. I may have a vague idea, but then as I’m writing the direction can change in an instant.

*Be more consistent and stick to a solid posting schedule.

I usually post on Mondays and Thursdays every week. For a while this series was all I featured on my blog, and then I kind of felt like I needed to regroup and give other categories on my blog some love. But then the series kind of took a really long break and it was hard to get back into, I just kept putting it off.

*Do research BEFORE you post.

With the crime/legal issues/mob story lines there are certain clauses and lingo and statures that go with that type of plotline. I feel like I didn’t know much about what the CIA does and that caused a problem as I wrote Ricky’s character. I would research as I went which I think that caused some inconsistencies and some weirdness. I did my best, hopefully it came across accurately enough.

*Don’t be afraid of sexual content and more explicit language. And don’t apologize.

I think this is a big one for me to learn. I find myself putting warnings and disclaimers before any chapters that contain more adult matters. Sex is a part of relationships and loving someone, and telling a love story. Cursing is part of heated conversation and gives a line a more dignified delivery. In this series, I definitely explored a more adult style of writing. I usually edit myself when it comes to love scenes, because I feel like it may be perceived as slutty or trashy, and I’m still trying to learn how to write an effective love scene. But I think with this series I’m breaking out of my shell slowly. I am 24, so I mean come on now, the things on TV and in the theaters now, would make my Maggie and Ricky measly shower sex scene seem like a Disney Channel movie.

*Write more like a script, then a novel.

This is something that I’ve noticed. I want the series to be read like a movie, and yet I’m writing and reading it like a short story. Formatting definitely needs work.

*Step up your editing images game, and use the slideslow option more often.

I don’t have image editing software on my computer. I actually found a way to edit images through Microsoft, but some edits come out SO BAD. Lol. Some come out pretty good. I’ve definitely gotten better since the Mysterious Attraction days, but I can only imagine the images I could create if I actually had Photoshop! Sometimes I’ll edit an image and it’ll come out pretty good and I will just get so excited. Seeing my characters come together like that makes it almost seem real. Oh just let me live. Let me dream! 😉 WordPress just added the slideshow option (or I just realized they had one) and it makes things so much neater, you can add captions and watch the story unfold like a mini movie. I love it!

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So there you have it guys, as this post goes up, we say Good Bye to this series, and plan for the next one. I’m excited! Thank you for reading, and congrats if you had the patience to stay tuned until the end! 😉

 

Love conflicted says good bye finished

Catch up on Love Conflicted HERE

*I do not take credit for any images used in my edits or otherwise.*

-<3-