Interview with Victoria Zackheim, Author of The Bone Weaver and This Sunday’s Guest Speaker

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Victoria Zackheim

Victoria Zackheim, our keynote speaker for Sunday’s meeting.

Victoria Zackheim wrote The Bone Weaver, and edited six anthologies, including the bestselling The Other Woman, and her most recent: FAITH: Essays from Believers, Atheists, and Agnostics. She teaches creative nonfiction in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and is a frequent speaker and instructor at writers’ conferences and organizational events in the US, France, Mexico and Canada.
She will be our keynote speaker at this Sunday’s meeting, on the topic of adapting your work to stage and screen. So you may wonder, what does she know on this topic? Well, she adapted her first anthology, The Other Woman, to a play that enjoyed a simultaneous reading at more than twenty theaters nationwide. Her newest play, Entangled, adapted from the memoir by Lois Goodwill and Don Asher, is now under development, with readings in California theaters. She adapted Caroline Leavitt’s novel, Meeting Rozzie Halfway, to a screenplay, as she did with Anne Perry’s international bestseller Southampton Row. Victoria’s screenplay, Maidstone, is in development with Anderimage, in collaboration with SJ Murray. Victoria wrote the documentary film, Where Birds Never Sang: the Story of Ravensbruck and Sachsenhausen Concentration Camps, which aired on PBS nationwide. We look forward to her sharing her expertise on adaptations.
She is interviewed by Cristina Deptula of Authors Large and Small.

Intereview with Victoria Zackheim

How do you know when your book is something that could be adapted for film or theater?

When you’re writing, do you SEE the action? Can you visualize the characters moving about, sitting on trains, crossing the meadow? Is it a story that moves through a classic arc for characters and story? Can it be adapted with minimal dialogue and maximum action?

What has to be different in a screenplay/script versus a novel? And what do you do with your lovely descriptions of setting?

In a screenplay, the audience can see the action, facial expressions, body language, sunsets and hurricanes. In a novel, these must be described. As for those lovely settings…show them! That’s what cinematographers do so well.

How did you decide to edit anthologies? Did that experience help or inform your play writing?

I created one anthology almost by accident, The Other Woman, and discovered something magical. As the essays arrived from the twenty authors, I began to see a play unfold, a conversation between five women, verbatim, taken from five essays. That experience WAS my playwriting. The second book-to-play was done as the request of a theater director…also an act of love.

You’ve turned an anthology into a play? How did that work? I think of the Vagina Monologues with speakers representing a variety of characters, was it something like that?

Eve Ensler wrote all the parts in The Vagina Monologues, whereas I used the essays of five women represented in the anthology. The process I used is, I realize, unusual and unique…and I’m happy to discuss this during our event!

Where and how do you learn to write for film and stage, and where do you go to get your novel or memoir adapted and produced?

My screenwriting began quite by accident: I overheard a story and absolutely had to turn it into a film…which is happening now. Today, it’s nearly impossible to get any book published without an agent. My agent has sold all of my anthologies, now numbering seven. As for a writer getting a memoir or novel adapted to film…I honestly don’t know! I come to…me!

Join Victoria Zackheim at our Sunday meeting, where she will speak on taking your work from print to performance.

She will be joined by featured member Leena Prasad. As always, members should come at noon to participate in the craft and marketing workshops. Click the link above for further details.

SPEAKER 3/20— “Take Risks! Write Your Life!” with Victoria Zackheim

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click to open/print flyer

Did something happen yesterday, 10 years ago, even 100 years ago, that affected the person you are today? Your life is a tapestry of threads woven together, each thread representing all those who came before you. Are you prepared to look closely at that tapestry and analyze each thread, one at a time? Writing personal essay and/or memoir is a fine place to start.

Personal essays have become a trend again with the advent of blogs and social media. Now is the time to learn this craft.

Victoria Zackheim is the creator and editor of six anthologies, and author of the novel The Bone Weaver. She took several essays from her first anthology, The Other Woman, and wove them into a play which had a nationwide reading in 2015. She is the story developer and writer of the documentary film Tracing Thalidomide: The Frances Kelsey Story (in production), and writer for Where Birds Never Sang: The Story of Ravensbruckand Sachsenhausen Concentration Camps, which aired nationwide on PBS. Her screenplay, Maidstone, based on a 1972 prison escape in Belfast, is in development. Victoria teaches Personal Essay in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and is a 2010 San Francisco Library Laureate.

Visit here for more information: www.victoriazackheim.com

Our featured CWC author this month is Helen Sullivan.

Meeting Schedule for Sunday, March 20th, 2016:

12-1 Author Support Group*
1-2 p.m. – Marketing Group*
12:30-2 p.m. –Social Hour
2-2:30 p.m. –Break & Book Sales
2:30-3 p.m. — Club Business & Announcements
3 p.m. – CWC author Helen Sullivan
3:15-4 p.m. – Victoria Zakheim

* Guests may visit any of our author support groups once before joining.

Click here for more information about location and time.