Wednesday, December 31, 2008
1) Story ideas are FREE! But I will die of pains of regret if they are never born. My goal is simple: to continuously give birth to my stories in whatever medium or genre they choose to come. (Even if it does turn out to be romantic comedy.)
2) The continued support the Pixies on the creative journey. There is a reason why we all met that particular day. Remembering to encourage through the hard times and celebrate the accomplishments.
That is my ResoWHAT!?
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
"The trouble with you is you don't believe in what you believe."
Okay, so I admit, the above quotes come from "Fraggle Rock." What, you wanted wisdom from actual humans? You could learn a lot from a Muppet, you know. Seriously.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Pixie Chix (n.) :Death Pixies of the female sex.
Example: "They wanted me to work tonight, but my Pixie Chix come first."
Hot Off the Brain: (adj.) Unrevised, in purest first draft form. (See Also: "page puke")
Example: "I'm warning you, this is hot off the brain. And I hadn't even had my coffee yet."
Protagony: (n.) The state of extreme unhappiness through which all protagonists must pass as the plot becomes more complicated.
Example: "I think I'll give Cicely about two more chapters of protagony before the climax."
(Note: In some instances, according to context, may also be used to describe the agony the author feels when trying to find a workable plot solution to the protagonist's dilemma.
Example: "God! I'm in total protagony here. How am I supposed to get Cicely and Ander back together before I wrap this puppy up?")
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
-- fortune-cookie fortune taped to my laptop
I got that fortune last year, dining with fellow Death Pixies at the Chinese restaurant near our hotel during WisCon. I thought of it last night as I bought my WisCon membership for 2009. How wonderful to think about Spring on a cold December night!
Monday, December 15, 2008
In fact, if anyone would look at my sore card for New Years Resolutions, it would read unfulfilled resolutions 484,384 and fulfilled 2. I think it would be only two (and I am being kind with myself.) So, before I post them for the world (and our select audience) to read, I better think about it long and hard. To be continued....
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008
While reading, The Power of Myth, today, I was metaphorically hit by a train. In the first 10 pages of the book, Campbell talks about how important stories are to society. The plight of being human is NOT about the seeking the meaning of life but the experience of what it means to be alive.
The meaning for life and death are woven into the mythologies of a culture. There is inherent need for people to understand life and what happens after death. It is through story that helps explain our existence and understand what happens to us in our daily life.
Because our world has been demythologized we are left with particular rites of passage for childhood to adulthood. Leaving youth to emulate gangster culture, gossip girl and sex and city culture and other stories they see on television.
All of this brings to my point:
How important writers and storytellers are to our society. We have been given the gift to create worlds and to pen stories that will help people understand themselves and the world better.
We are in an amazing time period to be spec fiction writers. People are hungry for these stories!
As oracles we should use our gift wisely.
(P.S. This thought has inspired not only to write more but to actually FINISH my stories!!!)
Friday, December 5, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Can't wait for the premier of Dollhouse in January!
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Bantam Dell Publishing Group Author Podcasts (including an interview with Galen M. Beckett, author of The Magicians and Mrs. Quent)
Harlequin (interviews with both writers and editors)
iTunes has a series called "Meet the Author" which includes interviews with Chuck Palahnuk and George R. R. Martin.
Tor Podcasts (do I need to say more?)
Penguin Podcasts (very interesting podcast with Clay Shirky author of Here Comes Everybody)
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I had that dream last night. When I woke up, I thought sleepily, "The dunces must be the writers."
Pleasant dreams! :)
Monday, November 17, 2008
1. Envious of them for their ability to just give themselves over joyously to someone else's fantasy and make it their own. I don't have much experience of fan culture and I usually find it kind of overwhelming, but I love the community and the no-holds-barred participation.
2. Envious of Stephenie Meyer. I don't care much about fame and fortune (they both have major drawbacks) but the ability to suck people into your fantasy world? That's priceless. That's a gift unto itself. Getting other people to play your game has got to be the ultimate rush.
3. Proud, in a weird way, that YA fantasy is such a force in pop culture. When I went to see Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist at the movies a few weeks ago, I passed movie posters for Inkheart and City of Ember and Twilight. Twilight alone has over 7000 t-shirt designs on cafe press. Things like that make me realize how hungry for fantasy the world really is.
So, sorry Heather, I didn't buy you a "Team Jacob" t-shirt (although there's always the holidays coming...;) I did, however, get something out of my trip to the mall. Now I'm going to go write.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
"Erv had a gift for optimism. He believed what he wanted to. Ruth said that if Erv tossed a ball in the air three times, tried to hit it three times with a bat, and three times missed, he would, undisturbed, conclude: Wow, what a pitcher." --Steve Fishman
Just for today, try seeing yourself and your work-in-progress in the best possible light. Declare yourself a genius and see what it does to your work.
Monday, November 3, 2008
Tomorrow’s local library adventure will be tracking down the Nancy Drew series to see if the check out card is still in there. ☺
Friday, October 31, 2008
Generation Dead, Daniel Waters debut novel, is set in an America where some people who die as teenagers inexplicably come back to life as zombies. These kids have trouble moving and speaking and face huge amounts of prejudice from a society that fears them. But some of them continue to go to high school and try to lead normal "lives." Although the premise is outrageous, the book is an emotionally real story of how one group of friends goes from being apathetic towards the zombies, to being advocates for zombie rights. As a mom of a special needs kid and as a queer person, I resonated with this story of teenagers uniting against hate crimes. Plus, I love it when authors let their character's blog, and Water's character Tommy has an awesome blog at www.mysocalledundeath.com.
Night Road, by A.M. Jenkins is one of those vampire books that takes it to a whole nutha level. Her vamps, called "hemes" are afflicted with a disease that makes them crave blood and allows them to live forever. Hyper-cautious, disconnected Cole is saddled with the training of a newly made rookie heme named Gordon and, through that responsibility, comes to realize that, although his life has quantity, it doesn't have quality. The characters are extremely well drawn and there is a less-is-more, indie movie aesthetic about the book-- a lot of it takes place in cars and motel rooms in the middle of the night, and the characters have no choice but to deal with each other and themselves.
And speaking of vampire books that are unique, Scott Westerfeld's Peeps and The Last Days
(stand-alone novels set in the same reality) give a fantastic scientific explanation for all the elements of the vampire myth-- plus lots of subterranean adventure, creepy cats, non-fiction asides about parasites, and the chance to revel in your rock star fantasies. What other books offer all that in one package?
But what if Halloween for you is not so much about monsters? Maybe fall is more a time to reflect on life, death and the afterlife? Then have you read Gabrielle Zevin's Elsewhere? It offers a brilliantly original vision of life after death-- which is a lot like life before death, except that we age backwards and have avocations instead of jobs. This lovely, literary novel is about
moving on, forgiving, and embracing life and it made me cry. Nuff said.
I could go on forever about paranormal books that make my day. But what about you? Any favorites? I hope you curl up with one tonight.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
It's become a Death Pixie tradition fueled by coffee, coke and potato chips. This year I'm very excited about the professional writers giving Pep Talks over the course of the month. They include Piers Anthony, Meg Cabot, Philip Pullman and Jonathon Stroud. That alone is worth the price of admission (free!).
Saturday, October 11, 2008
You and the rest of the Pixies, need to focus on getting published. Mother Johnson has spoken.
(Yes, in my family we often refer to our selves in the 3rd person present.)
I think the universe was throwing a smack down via Mama J. (God knows I am easily distracted by sparkly objects, ideas and boys.)
Friday, October 10, 2008
The tricks are this: First, the problem and the enviable aspect must be inseparable. You can't have one without the other. Don't give your protag a killer problem, and them give them something cool and enviable in some other, unrelated aspect of their lives. It just won't work. Second, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, your protag can not revel in the enviable aspect of the problem. Harry Potter is never fully thrilled with his celebrity in the magical world. Bella Swan doesn't care about money or fancy cars. Percy Jackson may have a moment of feeling that it's cool to control the tides, but he's ambiguous and conflicted in his relationship with his divine father. The list goes on. The thing is, if your protag digs the enviable aspect of their problem too much, it will cancel out the negative part of the problem. The stakes will become too low, the reader won't care, and the story will jump the shark because it reads as wish fulfillment. More importantly, if the protag enjoys the perks too much they are claiming those perks for themselves-- and in effect taking them from the reader. As long as Bella Swan doesn't enjoy that new Ferrari Edward bought her, I can enjoy it. But if she starts to brag about how great her car is, it's not mine to enjoy any more. She has become someone I envy rather than someone I'm living through vicariously and so she has lost some of my sympathy.
This theory mainly works for fantasy YA (and there are many fantasy blockbuster YA novels) but also works with some non-fantasy that has a high wish-fulfillment aspect (Meg Cabot's Princess Diary series, Teen Idol, All American Girl, etc.) Of course it doesn't apply to everything, but I still think it's a fun game to play. Any thoughts?
Thursday, October 9, 2008
My inner thirteen year old is still on the ceiling after yesterday's events.
I managed to have my photo taken with one of my favorite author's Neil Gaiman.
This is a NOT so serious photograph, I purposely requested we take a fun picture.
This moment has inspired me to do the following:
1) Buy a real camera and actually use it.
2) Learn how to use Photo Shop.
3) Keep writing and sending stories out.
PS...Thank you Neil, for pausing to take this!
Growing up, my parents use to read us stories before bedtime. Truly, that was my favorite part of the day. When my parents quit reading to me, the time before bed evolved into my personal reading time. I read before bedtime until I went to college. (My pleasure reading was traded in for exploring the night life.)
Last night, made me realize how much I missed being read to. (I know there are audio books but it’s not the same.) I still read for pleasure but there is this aching void.
Who knows, I maybe calling up my favorite local authors and Death Pixies up for a bedtime story.
Monday, October 6, 2008
It was Joseph Campbell’s ideas on the journey of hero that taught me how to effectively plot my hero’s arc in my screenplays & stories.
Lately, I’ve had a string of stranger than usual dreams. In one particular dream, there is a Joseph Campbell book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, is sitting on a table. I open it up to a series of pages that are book marked with little post it notes. Now, here is the annoying thing, I can’t read what the little post it notes! The dream is reoccurring which makes it even more frustrating.
I’m not sure what this all means, only that I need to re-visit Campbell and continue to write my own mythology.
My interested to know from the Death Pixies: what, who inspires you to tell stories? When did you fall in love with stories?
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Friday, October 3, 2008
Thursday, October 2, 2008
What helps my creativity process:
Creativity for myself comes in waves. Some days are better spent editing & revising, while others are best spent giving birth to new ideas.
Exercising on a regular basis helps focus my energy.
Getting out of the house to write.
Beginning my day with writing, so, the rest of the day can be spent guilt free accomplishing domestic duties.
Storyboarding my ideas out. (Spend less time on how and more time on creating.)
Through the last three years, I’ve been activity with the Death Pixies. I’ve attended countless workshops on process. There is a common message that appears over and over again: find what works for you, it’s a matter of trail and error to discover what helps and hinders.
Have realistic expectations of yourself. If you don’t write because of (insert reason here) acknowledge it. Own it. (Don’t beat yourself up) Move on.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Guide to British noble titles and the etiquette surrounding them
Guide to European Imperial, Royal and Noble titles
There's a balance between authenticity and read-ability when dealing with characters' names. Watching Casablanca last night drove me crazy. Humphrey Bogart's character is named Rick Blaine, but in service of the rule of calling your character only one name, the script had everyone calling him Mr. Rick, Monsieur Rick, and Mr. Richard. Annoying, but possibly the origin of a new drinking game...
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
You can hear it at:
Monday, September 15, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Check it out at:
The actual release of the book is scheduled for October (although I believe it's available as an aubiobook from audible.com now).
Monday, September 8, 2008
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Thank you computer gurus for having imagination, vision and not giving up! You have made the world a better place!
Friday, August 29, 2008
--Anne Lamott, quoting her father
"Wishes come true, not free."
--Stephen Sondheim, in "Into the Woods"
Thursday, August 21, 2008
"But I mark my beginning as a professional biographer from the day when my bank bounced a check because it was inadvertently dated 1772."
Lost in your work much? Have your mind send us a postcard from wherever it may be.
Our friend Doselle has an awesome story out in the anthology THE DARKER MASK, and he's signing this week (on my birthday, no less!). If you're in the LA area, check it out. If not, well, buy it anyway. It promises to be really cool. . .
~picture to come!~Just a reminder. The book signing for THE DARKER MASK (Tor Books 2008) is this weekend. Information is found below.DATE: SATURDAY, AUGUST 23RD.TIME: 3-5PMWHAT: A BOOK SIGNING FOR THE DARKER MASKWHERE: MELTDOWN COMICS in HOLLYWOOD.7522 Sunset Blvd.Los Angeles, Ca 90046describes The Darker Mask as: "Themed along the grayer areas of superhero fiction, this anthology of 18 original stories nonetheless covers a wide spectrum. Deceptively simple and entertaining while never skimping on serious topics, this tight anthology will satisfy any superhero enthusiast." I think that's likely true and, if not, the anthology features stories by well-known luminaries in the mystery and science-fiction genres, including Walter Mosley (Devil in a Blue Dress), so I'm sure there'll be something in it even for the discerning lit-snobs among you.There's coverage and further information available to be found here at the LA TIMES link: DM Book Signing
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
The anthology itself is also a thrill. I read many volumes of WotF while entering the contest and my (slightly biased :) opinion is that WotF 24 holds its own with the best of them. The stories are extremely varied and I am enjoying finally having the chance to read every last one!
I'll try to blog more about WotF soon. At the moment, I have to actually write some fiction before I go try to make up my sleep debt!
The biggest inspiration came from Melinda's Snodgrass' panel on screenwriting and Hollywood.
For those of you who don't know, Melinda is a professional screenwriter turned novelist. In this particular panel, she talked about her personal writing process. The following is a bit of advice she gave us:
(Please note: this is paraphrased from my notes)
We are all writing on limited time.
You must break your story down. (She gives her process for breaking a story down)
Don't waste time, don't get lost.
Remember writing is an art AND a job.
Since, I've been back, using her method for breaking a story down. For me, this particular method works well.
I can wake up in the morning/come home from work and know-where my character is, who are the supporting characters in the scene, what action is happening, and where my character is headed, etc. Knowing the basics has made my writing time much more productive.
In fact, today, I was able to write five chapters!
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
From Star Trek to Star Wars, from Dune to Foundation, science fiction has a rich history of exploring the idea of vast intergalactic societies, and the challenges facing those living in or trying to manage such societies. The stories in Federations will continue that tradition.
What are the social/religious/environmental/technological implications of living in such a vast society? What happens when expansionist tendencies on a galactic scale come into conflict with the indigenous peoples of other planets, of other races? And what of the issue of communicating across such distances, or the problems caused by relativistic travel? These are just some of the questions and issues that the stories in Federations will take on.
Here's the link to the submission guidelines.
Monday, August 4, 2008
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Thursday at 5:30 has both Connie Willis and Lois McMaster Bujold signed up for Kaffeeklatches. I am prepared to elbow my way to the front of the line for that! Minnesota nice? Bah!
Monday, July 28, 2008
Friday, July 25, 2008
The link is http://www.publisherweekly.com/article/CA6579808.html
Thursday, July 24, 2008
author of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time"
"A lot of people have no idea that right now YA is the Garden of Eden of literature... I thought I had been condescended to as an Indian. That was nothing compared to the condescension for writing YA."
National Book Award winner for "The Absolutely True Diary
of a Part-Time Indian"
Both these quotes come from a recent New York Times article about the changing definitions of YA and the enduring stigma against YA writers. To read the article in full, go to http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/20/books/review/Rabb-t.html?em&ex=1216958400&
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Of course, I don't like household projects. I don't know what I'm doing when I start. I try to study up ahead of time, but there are often surprises along the way, usually unpleasant. This parallels my writing experience, too. I don't know what I'm doing. It seems like hard work, and I don't enjoy it. Conversely, in domestic projects, I usually learn a lot, and I hope to do the same with writing. However, house projects are a lot more about hard knocks, and that kind of learning isn't subtle, and so it cannot be missed. It's hard to ignore how you should have shut the water off before disconnecting the pipe when it's spurting across the floor. With writing, it's harder to pinpoint why the story didn't work.
I hope that writing for me becomes more like practicing music. I'm reasonably knowledgeable about music, and I like practicing. I can do that for half an hour a day or more without complaint. There is more immediate feedback with music, and it also seems to come together in a reasonable time frame. I'd like my writing to be more like practicing a piano piece than fixing a leaky toilet.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Sunday, July 20, 2008
(Say what?? "Cretinous inventions"?? If my characters weren't so busy running for president, they might take offense at that...)
"Many of my characters are fools and they are always playing tricks on me and treating me badly."
--Jorge Luis Borges
"In a sense, you build a corral for your characters to run around in. The fence keeps them confined to the limitations of the plot. But where they run inside the corral is a function of each character's freedom to be what he/she wants within the confines of the plot."
--Ronald B. Tobias
"No surpise for the writer, no surprise for the reader."
Tell the truth: do your characters run the show? Do you like it that way or do you want to call the character version of "Nanny 911"? When was the last time a character really shocked you? Did you keep it in the story, or did it wind up on the cutting-room floor?
Friday, July 18, 2008
Understand that there will never be a perfect time to write. There will always be something to do. If you find yourself overbooked give yourself permission to:
1) Be selective about how you spend your time.
2) Find an hour, once a week to feed your inner writer and write.
Remember no one else can pen your stories!
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything.
That's how the light gets in."
"Water which is too pure has no fish."
--Ts'ai Ken T'an
Repeat after me: Just for today I will set aside any perfectionism that inhibits me from sharing my writing with others. I will let the "good enough" word (or phrase or story or novel) be good enough.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
I am involved in some serious slash and burn here and it's freaking me out. In the meantime my son is playing with his Indiana Jones action figure, which for some reason involves singing Waltzing Matilda at the top of his lungs in falsetto. I feel like this is making me indecisive, but probably I could be indecisive even without help.
Friday, July 4, 2008
--Martin Luther King, Jr.
Okay, this quote doesn't have to do with writing, but I wanted to give you an American hero in honor of Fourth of July :) And of course it has everything to do with writing if writing is your creative way of staying maladjusted...
Have a very independent Independence Day!
Friday, June 27, 2008
The other day, my three-and-a-half year old son, Harrison, picked out a video to watch. We happened to have that show on DVD as well as video, so I started to put the DVD on for him.
He rolled his eyes at me in exasperation. "No, Mama," he said, "I want to watch it in hardcover!"
What do you think? Future publishing exec? :)
This reminded me of something that happened about a year ago. I was washing the dishes, elbow-deep in suds. Harrison wanted my attention and I told him I would be with him in just a moment. "Why, Mama?" He asked sweetly, "Do you need to write one more sentence?"
I guess he hears that a lot :)
Parents who write often focus on the time that our writing takes away from our kids. Little moments like these remind me of how lucky our kids are to grow up surrounded by people who speak fluent Book.
Have a great day!
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
"I don't have any idea why I started writing and I'm prepared to feel about it the same way I feel about, 'Why did you fall in love with your husband?' It's really better not to know. Grateful that I did and that's good enough."
(best-selling author of "Away")
Monday, June 23, 2008
from his 1994 inaugeration speech
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
Feel inspired? Post your sixers here so we can read them!
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Just thinking that a couple people in our group might have some stories that would fit the YA category...
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
So, I suppose those of us who write YA should feel thankful that we were once weird teenagers? :)
Hope your inner (weird) child is alive and well and writing something new for us to read!
Saturday, May 31, 2008
"Fourth Street is a small convention for people who are serious about good fantasy and good books– serious about reading them, serious about writing them, serious about appreciating them in all their various forms. It’s also for people who are serious about having a good time. It’s a weekend of high-quality, high-intensity, mind-stretching fun, focused on books– there’s a single track of programming that is at the heart of it all. When everyone sees the same panels, it leads to fascinating conversations in the consuite, hotel bar, and corridors."
Monday, May 26, 2008
Hope a little bit of WisCon leaks into your "real" world!
Saturday, May 17, 2008
In this post, the Slushmaster goes over the opening of the 14 stories he picked up from the slush pile. What I found most helpful was the fact that what caught him for each story was different. In fact each story was entirely original. He wasn't just looking for one kind of story and the only thing that they had in common was quality. They were good enough to be published in RoF.
So, yeah, I'm looking at a new place to start my WIP...
Monday, May 12, 2008
author of the middlegrade fantasy
"The Dragons of Spratt, Ohio"
"Hey, it's making stuff up for money! Have fun with it and all will be well."
author of "The Suspect"
It's all good, right? :) Happy writing!
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Hope your writing is going well!
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Friday, April 25, 2008
"I think sabotaging the mundane is the wonderful, subversive civic duty that we have as weird bohemians."
Go ahead, people. Weird your world.
Monday, April 21, 2008
"And so no wonder you don't write, and put it off month after month, decade after decade. For when you write, if it is to be any good at all, you must feel free, free and not anxious. The only good teachers for you are those friends who love you, who think you're interesting or very important or wonderfully funny; whose attitude is: 'Tell me more, tell me all you can, I want to understand more about everything you feel and know and all the changes inside and out of you. Let more come out!' And if you have so no such friend-- and you want to write-- well then you must imagine one."I'm awfully glad I don't have to imagine you folks (I mean, I didn't imagine you... did I?:)