Month: March 2022

Elle Marlow On Western Screenwriting

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As western as they get!

Elle Marlow is one of my absolute favorite writers, as well as one of my favorite people. We go back a long time….to the days of Barrel Horse World, which is how we met years ago before either one of us knew anything about the writing world. It’s always so much fun to have her on the blog!

She not only has a great writing voice, but she has a wicked sense of humor as well as being no non-sense and down to earth. She also loves the west, and believe me when I say she has been a life long student of western history and knows what the real west was like. Because of that, she really does make THE perfect western screenwriter. She’s got some new projects in the works to talk about, including Return to Remembrance, directed by John Marrs.

Return to Remembrance, The Movie

Return to Remembrance is a short film, about an ex-Confederate Army Captain who returns home expecting to spend the rest of his life with his wife and son, only to find them gone and the town deserted. As he struggles to deal this reality he develops a relationship with a woman who is the only remaining occupant of the town. Can these two outcasts find love and happiness or are they doomed to a miserable existence?

John Marrs & Elle Marlow

You’re working on a film right now – what is it about and how did you come up with the story?

Hi. Thank you so much for having me on your blog. And yes, I’m working with actor/director/producer John Marrs on a short western “concept” type film I am extremely humbled and honored to be working with someone as talented as he is.

Return to Remembrance is the title of the film. Think of it as a glimpse into what will become a much bigger world. This concept film will run approximately 25 minutes of screen time, showcasing the two main characters who are also the only residents of a forgotten mining town that has seen incredible violence. The two main characters must deal with their past and a budding relationship that questions whether there will be a future for them, and the town itself. I love this story. In just a small amount of time, it hits all the bases of storytelling. A compelling back story, strong and dramatic characters and a setting that is every much part of the cast as the people themselves. There are so many stories that have never been told about the western experience. I think filmmakers tend to focus on those stories that made front page news. But what about the everyday people and what drove them, what broke them and what pushed them to fight for survival in impossible circumstances? Those are the stories that I’m developing.

What do you think is the main message of the film and why is it important?

I’d have to say the main message of Return to Remembrance might be that it’s important to rise from the ashes. That a past does not have to define your future.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

I love Arizona history. And it’s fascinating to me that even now, in our modern era, It is common to wander off the beaten path and run into forgotten ruins of an old mining camp, ghost town, etc. When you walk upon the ruins of a homestead, you begin to wonder about the lives that took place during that time. These were ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. I want to tell those stories. So, the town of Remembrance was born. A forgotten town with the ironic name. For a town to survive, it needs people to see value upon building a life within it. As of now, the town’s future is unknown. I’m waiting for the characters to tell me what to do.

How did you make the leap from writing books to writing screenplays?

How do I say this? If you read one of my books, you’re going to get a great story. Most of them are Amazon best-sellers. But to be honest, I edit and format everything myself which has compelled some people to complain about formatting and grammar. “It’s a terrific story, it absolutely should be a movie. But whomever edited this thing should be shot.”

I see those comments, have myself a giggle or a cry (depending which way the wind blows)and then my twisted brain thinks, “Well, heck. Let me turn it into a movie, then.”

Blackwater Burning was my first novel turned into a screenplay and was optioned immediately. Followed by Whiskey’s Women. Return to Remembrance is my third and the one that will actually find life on the big screen sometime this year. I’m beyond excited. I’m pinching myself.

However, Screenplays are a whole other animal than writing novels. The only difference is that after all that effort, the odds are against a writer that the screenplay will ever be produced. There’s a ton of rejection in this business which makes me wonder if I just have a penchant for self-loathing. LOL.

How are your screenplays different than the books that you write?

So far, all my screenplays are from the books that I wrote. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.


Thank you F.J. Thomas for having me on your blog. I’m a big fan of your stories and I am honored to be a a part of your journey. If your readers are interested in following the journey of Return to Remembrance The Movie, they can find it’s homepage on Facebook. All my books are available on Amazon and I’m listed on IMDb!

Happy Trails!