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The end of this blog as Animated Insights August 23, 2014

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In recent months, I’ve still been blogging but none of it here. I’ve followed the tastes of my audience, and fragmented out to multiple blogs to reach people more selectively.

If you want to continue following my writing commentary and comments similar to what I’ve done here in the past, consider coming over to Muirwords by Shannon Muir at http://www.muirwords.com. It’s the same tone and style as this blog is, but I began to find the free version of WordPress limiting for my needs and that I could do this same style with more freedom over at my own setup. So please, those of you subscribed to a feed, hopefully you can easily do the same there. A selection of posts from here may ultimately be re-blogged there, I’m still deciding. This will also be where I talk about stories I put out with publishers such as Pro Se Productions or Emby Press.

If animation has been the appeal for you, I’m not really dealing with that exclusively at this point. Your best bet is probably the new home of Shannon Muir’s Animated Insights on Tumblr at http://www.animatedinsights.com. While it aggregates all my blogs there, I also do commentary on re-blogged animation or just share animation I find compelling or nostalgic and talk about it. I may also add in the occasional new text post as necessary, but a lot more is available online now than it was when I entered the arena years ago by people who are more on the cutting edge. I thank them for stepping up and doing so.

There are also other blogs and sites I run that might interest you:

http://www.house-of-books.com: Infinite House of Books primarily consists of author interviews based on questions provided by me to book blog tours and individual authors. They’re not the same stock questions being handed out to 50 sites at once, though authors always answer the same questions.
http://www.discoverwords.com: Discoverwords.com brings excerpts and cover reveals from various authors mainly in YA, New Adult, and various genre fiction areas
http://www.willowbrooknovels.com: The latest news and information on my Willowbrook Saga independently released e-books.
http://www.spontaneouschoices.com: The latest news and information on my e-books led by women fueled by passion (though not always the best decision makers as passion sometimes blinds their logic).
http://www.flying-glory.com: FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY is the long running web comic I’ve partnered up to co-write with Kevin Paul Shaw Broden that has been on the web since 2001.

Lastly, http://www.shannon-muir.com shows all the books and stories I’ve put out with links on how to buy each, as well as links out to all the above listed sites.

See you around the Internet, and thanks for your continued support!

All the best,
Shannon Muir


Nine for NaNo October 31, 2013

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This year, alliteration is my motivator as I go for “Nine for NaNo”. NaNoWriMo, run by nanowrimo.org, motivates writers to complete a 50,000 word first draft in the 30 days of November.

I’ve done it for eight prior years, and I have hit the mark eight times.

This year, with my prequel to THE HEART’S DUTY entitled DISCOVERING THE HEART’S DUTY, watch me go “Nine for NaNo!”

Here is the list of all my manuscripts:

2005 – TOUCH THE STARS (Womens Fiction/Romance, now available indie self published published in ebook and print)
2006 – FILL THE INNER CIRCLE (Womens Fiction/Coming of Age, indie self published published forthcoming – part of the Willowbrook Saga, available as ebook)
2007 – THE FIRST THE LAST THE ALWAYS (Womens Fiction/Coming of Age, indie self publishedpublished forthcoming – part of the Willowbrook Saga)
2008 – ALL THAT YOU LEAVE BEHIND (Womens Fiction/Romance – indie self published forthcoming – part of the Willowbrook Saga)
2009 – AN UNEXPECTED TURN (Womens Fiction/Romance – indie self published forthcoming – part of the Willowbrook Saga)
2010 – THE PAPER TRAIL (Contemporary Fantasy, status pending)
2011 – HALF TRUTH AND FULL LYE (Paranormal and Supernatural/Romance/Mystery, first book in the Truth Revealed series, available as ebook)
2012 – THE PHOENIX BURNS (Romance/Contemporary Women/Womens Fiction – indie self published ebook)
2013 – DISCOVERING THE HEART’S DUTY (Womens Fiction/Contemporary Women – prequel to indie self published book THE HEART’S DUTY – writing begins November 1st!)


As in past years, I will be offering the “first draft free” through Smashwords as part of their offering to NaNoWriMo contestants. So download DISCOVERING THE HEART’S DUTY as it becomes available and continue to come back throughout the month for free updates to watch the story unfold! Realize anything you read may ultimately be subject to change, but it lets you be part of the process too.

To celebrate going “Nine for NaNo,” this year I am upping the ante by providing coupons good at Smashwords.com for the prior year “winning” titles. Use the below coupons now until December 1st and get these titles FREE when entering coupon code at checkout:

FILL THE INNER CIRCLE (2006 NaNoWriMo winner) –  NA36A
HALF TRUTH AND FULL LYE (2011 NaNoWriMo winner) – JY66N
THE PHOENIX BURNS (2012 NaNoWriMo winner) – CX76C
TOUCH THE STARS (2005 NaNoWriMo winner) – XD27G

Thanks for your support! See you at 50K!

Prep for NaNoWriMo 2013 October 23, 2013

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I’m prepping to go into another NaNoWriMo, where if I complete this one will be in my ninth consecutive November “win”. This caveat came about because I attempted Camp NaNoWriMo this summer with the same 50K limit, but fell a bit short – a bit over 10K of words. I found it really didn’t go with my writing style, and being with a whole “cabin” of unmotivated people – some of which even dropped their word count to “win” – did not motivate me. I think the self-focused route works for me.

So what to write? Well, to be honest, it was going to be the 6th book in the Willowbrook Saga as of my plans in the early year. Then that became the manuscript I tried at Camp NaNoWriMo. So what to do?

In one of my earlier books and one of the few not to start as a NaNoWriMo project, THE HEART’S DUTY (of which a portion of it began serialized on Goodreads), the main character’s mother evolved into a character that left a lot of interesting questions. Given the kind of man her second husband turns out to be – spoilers! – why does she end up married to him in the first place? We have hints of why her first husband left her, but is that the whole story?

So what I have ready to go is DISCOVERING THE HEART’S DUTY, from the viewpoint of Kristine (McHenry) David’s mother in the aftermath of her divorce and the choices she makes to become the woman we know later in THE HEART’S DUTY. I have a feeling I’m going to discover levels of complexity to her character that were not apparent to me doing the other book. I have a month and 50K of words to find out!

Going Where The Eyeballs Are But Staying True To It All June 17, 2013

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An interesting discussion came up when I was at my grandmother’s memorial service. When I was there, some people asked me didn’t I want to be in animation and were trying to figure out what I do now (writing self-published fiction and quality assurance for family focused websites) still fit in with that. It took a bit of explaining, but the shortest version is that the venues in which the medium of animation is being used is changing. In order to be able to move with the times, and perhaps work my way into something more directly tied in with the production of animation – though the lines are getting less and less clear – I’ve been versing myself and becoming more proficient in mobile media as a whole which strongly seems to be the future of where animation is being made for. Several years ago, I thought the next logical leap might be actually be viewers taking control of their own stories in the form of things such as the multiplayer online game, like a choosing one’s own adventure book on a massive scale; turns out that wasn’t quite where things were at looking back. In case you’ve ever wondered how I left television animation came to apply at and  ultimately spend several years in the kids and family virtual worlds realm. It’s always been about story and animation as a medium in the end, not necessarily the venue in which the animation appears. As things change, it’s required a lot of out of the box thinking and being able to redefine what things mean. Through a series of events I did not set into motion, I came to work quality assurance for kids and family websites that now feature video and may be the medium to be in for the future. So as far as I’m concerned I’m still very much doing what I want to do. I’ve echoed that theme often in this blog, that flexibility is key so long as you stay with the passion and the heart of what you want to do.

The World Keeps on Turning… March 11, 2013

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I’m still not really at a point where I want to talk a lot about what’s going on in my life right now. It’s one thing to state the facts, but my blog is usually a lot more about laying things out raw, and being honest and open, and the emotional core of things as I reflect with my animated insights on writing life. I’m not there yet with this. At some point, I’ll get there. Be assured that I’m still working and writing, as those are the things that help me keep focus.

A Quiet Time of Contemplation March 3, 2013

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My blog has been rather quiet, except out of necessity, not just because I’ve been busy, but because there are things going on I don’t yet feel like sharing with the whole world at large that can find me with an RSS feed or Google index. In an world where it is so easy to be public, sometimes we must strive for and value or privacy and when we can control it.

Hope to be back soon.

Smashwords “Read-A-Ebook Week” Promotion… March 3, 2013

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Ebook Sale Smashwords March 3-9 with $2.99 books 50% using coupon “REW50” and 99 cent books FREE with coupon “RW100,” plus also grab FLYING GLORY FLASHBACK for FREE with the “RW100” code. See the full list here: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/shannonmuir

A Few Words About Animation Script Format February 8, 2012

Posted by shannonmuir in Advice, animation, script, Uncategorized, Writing.
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One of the questions I often encounter when interacting with hopeful animation writers is: “What exactly is proper animation script format?”

Animation scripts are standard screenplay format, with one exception.  That difference comes when you are talking about an animated show geared at prime-time (say THE SIMPSONS or KING OF THE HILL).  Writers for these shows originally came from the live-action sitcom world, so they brought the dialogue style used in sitcoms into the prime-time animated scripts.

In sitcoms, dialogue is double-spaced. This is in case they decide to rewrite jokes on the set at the last minute, there’s lots of room to do it.  No scribbling tiny text in the margins.

So why bother to do so in prime-time animation, where the product ships overseas to be animated and then comes back for final assembly?  Series creators in prime-time animation build in a similar advantage to their live-action sitcom counterparts by creating window of opportunity in their production schedules (one that normally cannot be afforded in other series animation).  The show’s producers budget time to re-record dialogue in order to make the comedy fresh and topical, but the only restriction is that the new lines must fit the existing mouth movements.

“Saturday morning” series, such as the ones I worked on for Sony Animation, and animated features use the format identical to a live-action screenplay.  I have heard of some people that employ the two-column audio-visual format for animation, but this is not the industry standard and I personally have not seen an animated script in the two-column format; I recommend not using it.

So how do you find out what “standard screenplay format” is?

The books that remain the traditional reference of standard screenplay format are Cole and Haag’s Complete Guide to Standard Script Formats books.  Volume One covers screenplays, which is the one I’m talking about.  Volume Two covers one-hour drama and half-hour sitcom formats.  You can find the book at the usual places, like Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, also consider specialty stores such as The Writers Store that may be able to fulfill your other writing needs.  (I will be honest, I used to work for The Writers Store.  But it’s on that basis I’m willing to recommend them directly, because I know the kind of operation they run.  Also, they’ve been in business for almost twenty years and the Internet was an expansion of what they do versus being just a virtual storefront.)

Or, you can get screenwriting software to help you do the job.  Final Draft, Movie Magic Screenwriter, and Scriptware are the three major programs.  You can visit their sites directly, or again, The Writers Store has all three (they also happen to be Final Draft’s preferred vendor, so it’s not just me singing their praises).

This should give you a solid start in formatting your animated script and bringing your dream to fruition.

(originally published at Suite101.com, 2001)

Author Spotlight on Morgen Bailey’s Blog! December 10, 2011

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Morgen Bailey, a blogger and writing group leader in the United Kingdom, featured me in an Author Spotlight on her blog today. A full interview will follow later in the month. Check this out now to get a feel of my background and writing philosophy, and watch later this month for the complete interview with Morgen! Morgen, thank you very much for this opportunity.

Sample Sunday – Fun and Games October 30, 2011

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I’m working on another value priced anthology with themes relating to childhood in various ways. One of the stories in process is set around Halloween, so to note it officially coming up on Monday here in the U.S., I thought I would post the opening here for Sample Sunday.  Please enjoy the start of “Fun and Games”. Would be interested in feedback, if you like. Comments are always welcome.

Costumes don’t do much for me. I never liked haunted houses. For that matter I never appreciated being scared, so Halloween never really got me excited. Probably because it means giving up control of your environment. I’m a control freak and painfully honest too.

So no you won’t see me decorate the house. My lights will be off to discourage little grubby hands to beg for candy. Not even after the year that came close to changing me for good.

“Come on,” pestered my cube neighbor Meg, or Nutty Meg as a lot of the office likes to think of her behind her back. All the energy of a cheerleader trying too hard to make the team. She’s forty years old, and I don’t think ever weighed in to realistically be considered for cheer leading, ever. “What are you coming as for the office Halloween party this year?”

“The Damsel in Distress,” I replied flatly.

“Now see here, there won’t be any of that this year! Venice is going to have her some fun for a chance.”

Yes that is me she was talking to. My name, in my parents’ infinite wisdom, is Venice – you know, as in Italy not California. They conceived me in Venice, after they got married there. My father’s the Italian one, born and raised there. He’s loud, boisterous, extravagant, all those sort of things.

I on the other hand am not loud or boisterous; I am very quiet. I act plain, simple and unassuming. My father doesn’t understand me. Even worse for him, he doesn’t have my mother to help interpret the ways of a young woman. My American born mother’s been in a coma for years after a gondola accident on a family trip back to Italy when I was young. I’ve never learned to swim and I hate the water.

I think seeing Mom with no control of her life made me a control freak.

Thankfully, lunchtime drew near so I’d be able to escape all this for a while. At that moment, though, I had Meg to contend with.

“Meg,” I insisted. “Large groups and parties aren’t my thing. You know that.”

“That’s because you need to work on making them that,” she said to me, all but pulling me out of my chair. “Venice, just live a little, girl!”

Why Meg thought she’d been nominated to be my savior I’ll never know.

So instead of a nice leisurely lunch I ended up at one of those temporary costume shops in what used to be a video store that’s been vacant for several years with Nutty Meg dragging me everywhere and yapping my ear off.

Meg held up some slutty nurse costume package up to my average figure.

“You should be daring, bold!”

I pushed it aside.

“It’s still the office party. I’ve got to show some taste!”

It’s not like I haven’t dated or been involved. Been careful not to have kids though. Women need to be responsible, though not all are I know. I’m too busy with a career to take care of another person, I need to totally be able to take care of me first. Choosing an appropriate costume is one aspect of that self-respect, or so I believe.

“This is more appropriate,” I said, picking up a comical, overblown office worker costume. Reminded me of one of those cute twisted anime things.

“At least you’re getting in the spirit now!” Nutty Meg said, slapping me on my back. “Let’s go ring that up!”

I had no idea what I was getting into.

Copyright 2011 Shannon Muir. All rights reserved. Please link to this blog but do not repost without permission