Monday, January 12, 2015

Cynical Canine Critic Weighs In On My Efforts

 Hardened Eyes
Peeking Out of a Martini Glass
Her Syringe Through the Lens
A Sad Story in a Nutshell

Cynical Canine Critic tosses it 2 bones, says he would have found it 
more palatable if the martini glass had been filled with kibble. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Dance Break!

Okay, not really a dance break, but a break for something silly and fun just the same. These things are far more prevalent on FaceBook, but Courtney Leigh tagged me on Twitter to participate with a blog hop post instead, and I like her so I'm playing. The idea is to let the cursor scroll randomly through a work in progress and share the lines where it lands as possible (terrible) titles. Here are mine:

1. What Happened is She Killed Someone
2. I Extended My Little Finger
3. Like Some Damn Crystal-Rubbing Paranormal Romance Writer
4. With My Luck I'd Get Arrested
5. I Wrapped Up the Rest of My Burrito
6. He Licked the Side of His Hand
7. Hey, Public Couch, Remember?
8. I Knew That as Soon as I Saw Your Green Mane

You anticipate National Book Award potential in number 6, right?

I'm not tagging anyone else because I can't think of anyone who hasn't probably already done this in some form, but my document is open now so I may as well go to work.

Happy writing, dancing, whatever it is you're doing today!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Found Creativity

Happy 2015! I vow at the beginning of every year to try something new related to creating/writing. As 2014 wound down I kept seeing the words "found poetry." When I first saw the phrase, I had no idea what it even meant (Hello from under my rock!). Thanks to some very talented writers, specifically K.A. Holt, E. Kristen Anderson, and Austin Kleon, I get it now. And once I got it, I wanted to try it. And guess what? It turns out to be a great jump-starter for me, not to say that found poems can't stand on their own as an art form, but for my poetically challenged self, they're serving as a great catalyst to my fiction writing sessions. Grabbing a book and playing around with a page for a while kicks my brain into creative mode and may be my pre-writing ritual for a while to come. And I'm going to share them here for a while. It may be awful. It may be a mistake. It may be starting now . . .

I no longer see
Sneaking down quietly
So what of shame
Shame comes only to cover their story
If it were up to God,
She'd say, "Try some."

How different soothing silence
So often carved out of abstract ideas
And topically appropriate

Desperate to be pretty
Somehow to serve beauty
You discover the opposite
Inevitable status in a crisis
Power of the designated caretaker

My doodling on the page seems to grow with each one of these I try, which I think also helps to kick my brain into creative writing mode. I've always felt doodling was a good thing for the brain. I'm not alone in this belief. You can find plenty of articles to support the power of doodling, like this one, or this one. So this found poetry thing may be the super food of creative kickstarters.

** The book I'm using here is MENONITE IN A LITTLE BLACK DRESS. I enjoyed this book. Now I'm just enjoying it in a new way. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

5 Lessons I Learned About Novel Writing From Watching Orange Is The New Black

1. Back story. The reader needs it, but they need it WHEN they need it. Figure out when it matters and only give it to them then. And don't give them all of it. Torture has its place.

2. Supporting characters are important and they need to take center stage sometimes; not for long, but sometimes they really do need to spend some time in the dryer, or in the supply closet with an unfortunate, badge-wearing mustache, or in the bubble bath of their mythological fiance's new wife. Hey, your setting, your rodeo. 

3. The chicken doesn't have to end up in the pot to be meaningful. Sometimes levity is the meaning. Sometimes it's deeper than that, but you can use a chicken, even a metaphorical one, to get there. Only one though. One free-range metaphorical (or not) chicken per book.  

4. You do not have to follow the crowd, or join the group that seems most likely for you. (Unless you are a rot-mouth, meth-head, "born-again" hate mongerer. Yeah, there's probably only one crowd for you in that case.) If you're new, but wish you could sit with the old ladies (and word to the wise: they have the least to lose and might be the biggest risk takers of all), finagle a contraband cup of yogurt and go make a peace offering. They just might share all their survival secrets with you. Or maybe they'll shank you in the hallway. Go with your gut.     

5. If you're going to go all "Miss Rosa on Vee at the end of Season 2" with a character, the reader cannot still possess the ability to manufacture empathy for that character. That character must be clearly unredeemable so the reader will cheer for that act which they would've never before believed they could cheer. Watch for my QVC video series: How To Turn Your Readers Into Complete Savages in 10 Easy Steps! I'm kidding, of course. (It takes 11 steps.)