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I had to comment. Those pictures are beautiful. Montana is one of my favorite places on the planet and every minute I spent there was magic.
What is it about cows? Your story reminded me of the time I was touring Europe with Leonard Cohen (and oh man wasn't his Hall Of Fame induction wonderful?). We were in a lovely little hotel in Zurich, I opened the shades the morning after the night we arrived and a cow was looking right at me. Just...looking. I was transfixed.

E.C. Henry

Billy, Your 5 day writing retreat with Barbara in Montana sounds AWESOME! Five years ago I went to a writers' conference on Widbey Island, WA and stayed at a bed and breakfast. My room had a view of Puget Sound that was to die for, and the bed and breakfast people kept stocking my refrigerator with kickass, homemade snacks. I'd get up early in the morning, watch the sun rise, and edit pages on the epic fantasy novel I was working on at the time.

This year's tax refund is earmarked for airfare for this year's Screenwriting Expo. Hopefully I'll see ya there!

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

Christian Howell

I totally envy anyone who doesn't have a full-time job that sometimes brings 12-16 hour days.


If you want to "escape while at home" try Script Frenzy. It is a great writing event that challenges you to write 100 pages in the 30 days of April. I did it last year and it was wonderful. Having an externally set deadline was what I needed to get from wanting to write, to writing. My family understood, too. Check it out:
(It is the sister program of National Novel Writing Month.)

Here's to Writing!


Hi Billy,
I am a professional screenwriter who lives in Stockholm, Sweden, and I have a question that hasn't got anything to do with what you've just written. It is about Juno, a movie I really liked of course - BUT: how come no-one seems to be puzzled with the ending of the story? To me, it is definetely not an emotionally satisfying endpoint when a baby is given away just like that. Sure, the baby will be fine with its new mum. But isn't it a bit strange that the adults in Juno's family without any thoughts or pain or reflections at all, just accept that their grandchild disappears out of sight for ever? OK, Juno herself and her boyfriend can be considered too young to understand the seriousness of giving birth to a human being, but their parents??? If I had a 16-year-old child who by mistake became a mother or father, I would think about the future, both from my own POV and my son's or daughter's POV. When Juno, for example, is 30 years old her child will be 14. There is of course a big risk that Juno by then (or sooner) will realize that she has missed her own child's childhood. Why don't her parents take care of the baby, and let Juno be a happy, guitar-playing 16-year-old, and let the baby stay in the family? I don't get it. To me it is very strange to see this "happy end", it is certainly not a feelgood ending, more of a tragic one. I'm wondering if it's something different here between American culture and European culture in the way of looking at parenthood? Or what? Please, tell me your view on this topic. I would be very pleased, because I'm very curious!


Sounds awesome, Billy.

To Anna. Okay, I'm not Billy, but I'll say this about Juno's father and stepmother. They named their daughter Liberty Bell. Diablo establishes early on (obsessive dog picture cutting, anyone?) that we aren't supposed to expect from Juno's parents what we might expect from our own.


GOD do I want to go to that.

After 2 years in this city, that sort of beautiful isolation sounds so delicious I can almost taste it.


Binnie: Cows in Munich? How cool is that.

EC: Homemade treats in the fridge, eh? We'll have to get to work on that.

Christian: I think the concept is about people who do have jobs like that (I've done my share of 16 hour days, thanks) taking a once-in-a-full-year week OFF...

Jennifer: Thanks for the tip.

Welcome Anna, and thank you for the intriguing question. I think it is about a difference in our cultures.

In Sweden, don't you have universal health care and good support for single mothers? Evidently more than 50% of the babies born in Scandinavia are born out of wedlock, and (according to my girlfriend's research) inexpensive child care is widely available; daycare is guaranteed by law for every child older than 18 months; Swedish are free to take 64 weeks off their jobs after the birth of a baby, at 90% pay for the first year.

In America, we have NOTHING like this for single moms, and the financial burden involved in raising a child can be huge.

Meanwhile, in terms of the screenplay's context: Juno's parents seem like the types who might or might not take on such a mixed blessing... And the ending doesn't seem to rule out the idea that Juno might have a role in her child's life, as she's already forged a relationship with her child's new mom.

I do agree with you, at any rate, that the ending is more bittersweet and even melancholic than "happy," but perhaps for the reasons cited, Americans are more willing to accept this.

MaryAn: So which bank are we going to knock over so that you can join us on the ranch?

Same question to J.


Thank you for your answer, that really made sense. You are definetely right about the differences between Sweden and the US when it comes to economical benefits for parents. To me, though, your note about Juno's possible future relationship with the baby and its new mother, is even more psychologically satisfying. You have a point there. Now it feels much better!
I look forward to keep following your writing.
Thanks again, Anna


ZURICH, not Munich! Different country, different "ich"!


Binnie: Zurich, of course! I had it in my first draft!! Until the computer went blooey and I had to retype all the comments including the long one with all the statistics to Anna in Sweden, and in my aggravated rush I confused my ichs!!! Apologies.


Ich forgive you.
(Looking forward to the excerpt from the book this week!)


Dunno. The cost of the retreat doesn't frighten me as much as the gettin' there. OY! Airfare!!

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