Behind the Scenes

Below is an excerpt of my inner monologue. Don’t judge me.

 

AUTHOR: Jeremy, come back in the room. We aren’t done working on this chapter.

PROTAGONIST: No. I’m not talking to you.

AUTHOR: Seriously? You can’t leave the story without a resolution. Come back here. You are making me look bad.

PROTAGONIST: No.

AUTHOR: I’ll let you kiss Svetlina . . .

PROTAGONIST: Promise?

AUTHOR: Yes. I will totally let you make out with her. And she won’t try to kill you this time.

PROTAGONIST: You said that last time.

AUTHOR: I know, but this time I mean it.

PROTAGONIST: Do I get a cool sword?

AUTHOR: Totally.

PROTAGONIST: Why do I feel like there is a catch?

AUTHOR: Um. . .

PROTAGONIST: I KNEW IT! You are going to fuck up my life some more, aren’t you?

AUTHOR: Only for a little while. It gets better, I swear.

PROTAGONIST: I hate you.

AUTHOR: I know.

PROTAGONIST: You know you are insane, right?

AUTHOR: Probably.

PROTAGONIST: Okay. Fine. I will get back in this chapter, but you better make my sword badass. And no more making me look like an idiot.

AUTHOR: Riiight…. You will totally not look like a moron swing a sword wildly as the wolves converge on you. . .

PROTAGONIST: Goddamn it. I knew I shouldn’t trust you.

 

 

“I’m a writer. Therfore. I am not sane.”

– Edgar Allan Poe

 

What If. . .

what if

 

This quote was posted on The Writer’s Circle, a group that posts about writing stuff on Facebook (click the picture to go to their page). It inspired a conversation among my writer friends, in which one friend told me about a “what if?” writer’s conference she attended. The speaker gave them the following writing prompt:

  • In 12 words or less, starting with “what if” ,  charismatically describe your book so everyone will want to buy and and read it.

Sounds simple enough. But here’s the funny bit-it’s not. 

Here is what I came up with for The Gatestone Chronicles: Fayling

  • What if you were the only person who could fix magic?

It isn’t a bad sentence, but would it sell my book? It doesn’t really hit at the real story, does it?

Okay, let’s try again.

  • What if a human could save the universe from fairies?

Hmm. I like that one better. Closer to what the book is about, but it vilifies the fay a bit too much.

One more time.

  • What if saving one life could magically alter the course of fate?

Okay, well it isn’t perfect, but to be fair I have to keep it to twelve words, so it will do.

 

What about you reader? Tell me what you came up with in the comments below. Happy Writing!

Room 405

If you are looking through the course catalog of your local college, you will find your typical classes offered; English 101, Algebra, Pottery, Nutrition, that sort of thing.  But if you flip to the back of the catalog, under the miscellaneous heading that most people don’t read, you will find a class not offered by most colleges. This class is Curseology 101, taught by Miss Badalla.

When you enter the classroom it looks like any other. Rows of tables and chairs to the left and right of a center walkway. The front of the class has a green chalkboards and a podium, where Miss Badalla scatters her various notes and articles to reference in her lectures.  She runs the class much like any other teacher; there are vocabulary lists and chapters of assigned reading from the Curseology 101 textbook. But that is where the similarities to everyday learning stop.

Miss Badalla teaches her students about curses. How to use them, what they are, and how to defend from others cursing you. She peeks out from a halo of frizzy salt and pepper hair, tied back by a scarf embroidered with silver suns and moons. Her hands are laden with numerous rings, all interesting stones like turquoise and Jasper. She wears charms around her wrists, ankles, and neck, each one with a special defensive purpose she teaches about in her advanced class, Amulet Crafting. She wears brightly colored wispy fabrics, and a gray shawl that looks as though it has been dragged down the street by a trash truck, and then hung to dry. Her brown sandals have been patched and mended, and are the only pair of shoes she ever wears. She calls out her lessons in a sing-song voice, wafting the spicy aroma of incense as she passes between each desk. She answers criticism and doubt with the certainty of someone who has seen the effects of the curses she explains.

Curseology will not likely help you achieve your major. Indeed, nobody is even sure if there is credit for taking Miss Badalla’s class. But the experience is well worth the price of one semester of your time.

 

Curseology 101: How to handle minor curses

Curseology 101

Lesson of the day: How to handle minor curses

Method 1: Think of puppies. Curses are based on negative energy. A minor curse, such as Drabulize, can be counteracted by the adorably positive energy of a cute, fluffy, wiggly tailed pup. This method is sometimes difficult, because thinking of puppies while someone is cursing you can be distracting.

Method 2: the counter-curse. While this will not prevent you from being cursed, at least you force your curser into a similar predicament. There is a chance they will lift the curse if you agree to do the same. Curse mediation is sometimes necessary to negotiate these situations.

Method 3: Deflection. This method is safest for you, but very unsafe for unsuspecting bystanders.

 

This will also be on the quiz

Curseology 101

This week’s vocabulary list:

Insomniate: To curse an individual with the inability to sleep.

Abdactify: To magically force someone in a position of social power to step down against his/her will, though it appears as if he/she voluntarily stepped down. Often used by school girls to settle popularity contests.

Drabulize: Draining all the color out of a victims entire wardrobe.

Conjactuation: The writing or inventing of new curses.

Floorigating: Causing a person’s shoes to leave behind muddy footprints, regardless of the weather outside or the victims vicinity to mud. Common trick played on housewives with tile floors.

Pay attention. There will be a quiz.

I Write, You Write, We All Write Books!

Writing is a challenging thing. There are always a million other things to do. There are always a thousand reasons not to.

I may not be any good.I don’t have time. So-and-so thought that this was a bad idea. Oh, but what if I’m terrible at spelling? I never took creative writing in school. I don’t have a degree in literature.

Ignore all that. Sit down, and pen the idea- or type it. I don’t care how, just do it. You are good enough, your ideas are worthy, and screw so-and-so. All that other stuff doesn’t matter. Writers come from all walks of life, and in a rainbow of colors. If you have the desire to write, and the ability is there, the other stuff can be taught. Grammar can be corrected. But there is only one you, nobody else will do what you can.

Stop making excuses, and write you darn book. Go on, right now. Do it!

Writers Helping Writers

I’ve talked about socializing and networking with other writers before, and today I would like to expand on that thought.

Recently I have been helping a friend with the formatting on her poetry book (You know I will blog about it when it is released). I’m certainly not an expert, but I am fairly well versed in several different book-related computer programs. I am always volunteering myself to teach people to use Microsoft word if they need help with it, among other things. I firmly believe if you have a bit of practical knowledge you should share it. When I finished my book my friend asked for my help with hers. She was having a hard time getting her book Create Space friendly, and of course I was happy to lend a hand-especially since I had the helping hand of a good friend with my own works. I’m happy to say it is coming along nicely- and bonus: in helping her I figured out a few new shortcuts I did not know before.

I can’t say this enough: Be a member of the writing community. There are tons of resources available for free, be it a blog, book, or video. But the strongest and most beneficial help you will ever receive is going to be from one-on-one interactions with other writers.  In my case, I take important editing advice from my writing group, from other bloggers, from online writing friends I have made, and from friends and family who read my work. You never know when someone random in your life will have that touch of expertise that you desperately need. Nobody is perfect, and nobody knows everything right out the gate. For anyone who wishes to be successful at any level, you must reach out to other writers, for about a million different reasons. It would take me weeks to write down every single benefit to having writer friends. Seriously.

If you really need an example to convince you, here it is: Saving my book to be suitable for Kindle was problematic for me- the words all mushed together, and all of my carefully plotted out spacing just went up in an unimpressive, underwhelming poof. I was venting this frustration to another writer, and he told me I was saving the file in the wrong format. That’s it. Drop down menu, one click. Entire problem solved with one sentence, just because I knew the right person, and said the right thing, at the right time.

So find a group, be it online or in person, and start meeting people. You can only benefit from the social networking, and you may prevent yourself from slowly morphing into a library troll. Nobody looks good with green skin.

Happy writing!

Expand Your Written Vocabulary

We all do it. Pick the first word that comes to mind as you are writing. It is usually the simplest word we can thinking that rush to jot down that spectacular idea that got us writing. But now you are on to your second draft, and the overused words have got to go.

As you may remember, I moderate a small writing group on Thursdays. We bring in our writing for review, and we also do writing exercises. There is one in particular I have them do to combat overused words. I though you might benefit from this exercise too, reader.

I begin by giving them a list of three or four words. For example, last week I gave them: hot, cold, scary, and friend. Note that these are simple, overused words that do not make for interesting reading.

Once they have written the words down, they have ten minutes to write as many different words or phrases with the same or similar meaning for each word. You many not use any tools (such as Google or a thesaurus) to help you. All the words must come from your own head.

This is a great way to encourage yourself to think of more interesting ways to phrase things. Before you know it, you will be searching for synonyms to simple words naturally on the first go around.

Here is an example of replacement words for Hot (to give you an idea of what my group came up with):

Scorching, parched, burning, sweltering, sizzling, warm, roasted, burned.

 

If you would like to try it out, here is a list of words to get you started:

love

silly

nice

old

good

like

hate

pick

 

Go ahead, show yourself how smart clever you are. Happy writing!

 

Still At It

This month has been a busy one, and I am desperately trying to keep up on my poetry. I’m sorry to say I have fallen incredibly behind. My challenge began September 13th. Now, little more than a month into my challenge I should be hovering at just over 50 poems, however I am merely at about 27. I say about, because I am unhappy with how a few of them turned out. I am afraid that in my effort to be productive I may lose some of the quality of the work I strive to produce. But, instead of chastising myself for being behind, I am going to remain focused on producing good work. The entire point of the challenge was to keep me focused on the art of writing, and it has certainly done that so far. By no means am I done yet.

I am happy to report that in my focus on poetry I found a little inspiration for my novel, which has been shelfed since mid summer. The hiatus on regular storytelling has been good for me. I am a bit worried that picking back up on this project will hurt the allotted focus and inspiration for my poetry collection, but I’m not going to let that interfere with what inspiration is actually striking me at any given moment. If you are a writer, then you understand that you follow your muse, not a schedule. I tried being more organized and it did nothing but hurt my process.

If you have been following  me all summer, then you know all about my Children’s story which is already written. I have put off working on the  artwork because I was moving, and I feared that I might lose and/or damage some of the things I need to create pictures of my Garden Gnomes. Well, I’m all moved into my new house, and I’m 3/4 unpacked. My art room is starting to look like something might actually be accomplished there, so when the mood strikes me I shall begin working on my Gnome photos.

 

As always, I will update you on any new developments.

 

Happy writing!