Monday, July 23, 2007

I can't pretend...

To be Tricia Goyer. Even if I tried! Tricia is out of town at children's camp and then she'll be off to a much deserved writer's retreat! In her absence, she asked me to throw up a post for her. And so here I am.

Maybe I should introduce myself? Hi, I am Tricia Goyer's assistant, Amy Lathrop. Nice to meet you too!

Today I thought I share a bit about her new book, My Life Unscripted. It's a nonfiction book written for teen girls, and it ROCKS! (no, I'm not biased!)

Here's the scoop and the first chapter...

Drawn on Biblical principles, My Life Unscripted, teaches girls to "script" the story of their lives, rather allowing their emotions and temptations to dictate their decisions. The book in Barnes and Noble NOW! as part of their back-to-school promotion. It will be everywhere else in September. Here is an excerpt from the first chapter:

Lights, Camera . . .Action!

(a note about this book)

My Life, Unscripted may look a little different from other books you’ve seen. For one, there are actual scripts within the book. Some of them are ones I’ve made up. Others are true scenes from my life that I’ve written out in script form. I’ve tried to make these scripts as real-to-life as possible. I’ve designed these to look like they would if they were in the hands of a director.

In writing these scripts, I’ve used the same terminology as a scriptwriter. Here are a few terms you might come across:


Establishing: (Establishing shot) An image or shot that indicates the location of the scene and/or story.

Ext.: (Exterior) Used in the scene heading, this indicates that the scene is taking place outdoors.

Fade In: (Fade from black) When an image slowly appears from black. This is typically used at the beginning of a film. Sometimes it is used between scenes to show time passing between points in the story.

Fade Out: (Fade to black) When an image slowly disappears into black. This is typically used at the end of a scene.

Int.: (Interior) Used in the scene heading, this indicates that the scene is taking place indoors.

CAPS: You will also note that certain words are in all CAPS. This is not a mistake!

In the beginning of each section, each NEW PERSON OR GROUP OF PEOPLE will be in ALL CAPS. This is a cue for the casting director. It tells him the number of people he will need to cast. Also, each SOUND is in ALL CAPS. This helps the soundman to know which sounds will be needed for the scene.

Pretty interesting stuff, isn’t it?

And for my own personal touch, you’ll see that the Scriptures are in the same font as the scripts . . . because here in the real world, these Scriptures should be the script for our lives.


Not TV Land

(the real deal)

If you were to come across the script for a new (and just a bit cheesy) teen movie, the script might be written something like this:




Stadium stands filled with CHEERING FANS.


PLAYERS run onto field.


Soda cans and fast-food wrappers littering

the floor are KICKED aside by trendy shoes

belonging to MEGAN JOHNSON, 16. Light from

the stadium filters through the back window

over the muscled, tan body of CHRIS

COOPER. He brushes Megan’s hair from her

cheek and turns Megan’s face toward him.


You don’t have to be shy, Meg.

We’ve been talking about this all week.

MEGAN (wryly)

Talked about the football game, yes.

I thought we were actually going to

watch the game.

CHRIS (chuckling)

And why would I do that when I have

the most beautiful girl in school

right here? Besides, I don’t even

like sports.

Megan OPENS DOOR and climbs from car.


Chris, I came to watch the game, not

fend off your plays.

Megan slips her purse over her shoulder and

steps back from the car. She SLAMS the door



CHRIS (stuttering)

But I thought . . .


I know exactly what you thought.

Sorry, Chris, no touchdown tonight.



Yeah, well, you’re not the only girl

in this school. . . .

Megan watches Chris drive away.


I know. But I am the only one who has

to live with the consequences. . . .



Now that would make a typical movie, right? We’d watch as Meg goes to the football game shaken, but proud to have dumped the creep. If it were a great movie, Meg would meet a cute guy sitting in the bleachers. Of course, then there would be some conflict that keeps them apart. Maybe he’s rich, and she’s poor. Maybe he’s a rich prince from Denmark!

Oh wait, that’s been done. Maybe his parents have big plans for him, which don’t include her. Maybe hers are shipping Meg to boarding school.

But no matter the conflict, in the end they confess their love. And though the movie only ends with a kiss, we know their happiness lasts forever.

Ahhh . . .

Unfortunately, the script of my life went a little more like this:





Tears run down MOM’S face. Her jaw is

clenched tight. In the passenger seat,

TRISH VALLEY, 17, slumps lower into the

seat. She wipes away her own tears and

wraps her arms around her waist almost

instinctively. Her eyes widen as a car

passes. Driving the beat-up Ford is a teen

boy. A PRETTY GIRL rides with CHASE, 16,

curled to his side. Trish sits straight

and points to the car.


There he is. Follow him.

MOM (surprised)

Are you sure? Do you want me to

turn around?

TRISH (hurriedly)

Yes. Turn around.

The sedan turns and follows the Ford to

the McDonald’s parking lot. Trish jumps

from her car, SLAMS the door, and stalks

to the Ford. Her eyes refuse to meet those

of the girl in the passenger’s seat. She

focuses her eyes on the boy.

TRISH (angrily)

We need to talk.

CHASE (annoyed)


TRISH (with quivering voice)

Yes, now.

Trish stalks toward the large trash can

at the corner of the parking lot. Chase

follows. She pauses and turns to him.

His gaze is ice cold. Trish’s hands are

shaking as she crosses her arms over her

chest and takes a deep breath.


I’m pregnant.


I don’t believe you.


It doesn’t matter what you believe

or don’t believe. I am pregnant.


So what are you going to do?


I’m going to, uh, have a baby.


What about like last time?

TRISH (hurt)

An abortion?

Trish lowers her gaze, then shakes her head.


I’m not doing that again. I’m having

this baby.


I doubt it’s even mine.

TRISH (hurt)

Whatever. I don’t need you.

Trish stalks away, then she glances back

over her shoulder. She watches Chase

saunter to his car and to the other girl.



A little different script, don’t you think? Of course, the first script is something I imagined. The second is a scene I’ve lived through.

Writing the scene I starred in (even a number of years after the fact) causes a surge of emotions. Anger at my former boyfriend—yes, even after all these years. Anger at myself for being sooooo stupid to get myself into that situation. (That situation and many others. As you’ll read within the pages of this book, more than one scene from my life played out like a bad teen movie.)

Writing that scene also brought relief that I’m no longer that person, along with hints of joy that God has done so much with my life.

But more than anything, as I look back at my dramafilled teen years, I wonder . . . What was I thinking?

The truth? I wasn’t. I lived from day to day on every wave of emotion I experienced. On some days excitement and passion partnered up, pattering wildly within my heart. Other

days, depression and anxiety were my silent friends. I lived each day as it came, with no plan for my future, for my relationships, or for my heart. I lived my life completely unscripted . . . and, well, you saw how well that went for me.

How about you? What type of script are you writing for your life?

Read the rest of the first chapter here

And, if your interested in learning more about the book or interested in helping promote the book to teens, youth workers, youth pastor's and the like...we're giving away free influencer copies! Send me an email and I'll fill you in on all the!

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