Thursday, December 27, 2007

Thirteen Things about My List of Stuff to Do Before the End of 2007

The year is rapidly coming to an end, so I’m making my list and checking it twice regarding all of the things I have yet to experience and/or complete. With a countdown of only four more days to go, here’s what I’m scrambling to achieve before the end of the year:

1. Find my Montblanc pen The seven-figure deal could be coming any time now; I want to sign it in high style.

2. Find the party dress I want to wear to the wedding of my cousin who just had to get married on New Year’s Eve.

3. Donate – some household items to charity to lighten my tax burden.

4. Finish the synopsis for my erotica novel.

5. Renew contact with the Hollywood producer that had previously expressed interest in one of my film projects.

6. Crank up some Ethel Merman music and revise the synopsis for my time travel novel.

7. Take the Schipperke to the dog park at least one more time.

8. Have lunch with my critique partner.

9. Draft the query letter going out to agents regarding my tv sitcom.

10. Taxi my mom around town wherever she wants to go.

11. Do a blog run and visit my favorite blogs.

12. Begin drafts for a new 12-part series of posts here on this blog.

13. Do a little ritual to shed myself of everything that did not benefit me in 2007.

What do you have yet to accomplish before the close of 2007?

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

(leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Have a cool (belated) Yule! Happy Hanukkah! Have a bitchin' Boxing Day! May a keen Kwanzaa be yours! Have an engaging Emperor's Day! May you enjoy a swell St. Stephen's Day! And for the atheists, pick your day and have a good one.

I'm not trying to be politically correct here, just wanted to wish everyone a great holiday of his/her choice. I know there are many I didn't list, but I turned up a few that were new to me, so I've learned something today in my attempt to spread some holiday cheer. My intent was to be all-inclusive in sending out joy for the holidays. Sooooooooooo . . .

May you all get lots of kisses under the mistletoe, the gift you yearned for and time to spend with family and friends. Then get back to writing!

So I'll leave you for now with . . .

Happy Christmahannukwanzakaboxinempstevie Day!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Expect It When You Least Expect It . . .

Inspiration, that is. You never know from where ideas for stories or new approaches to your writing will arrive. For me, a new portal opened in a house in west Omaha. I recently had the privilege of experiencing Myofascial Release Therapy and my connective tissues definitely got reconnected. The session, which consisted of various levels of pressure applied by hand to my head, neck and arms, opened up a wide range of physical sensations. What surprised me, though, was that it opened up a HUGE gate to nonphysical sensations. Now I even have more to journal about for future story material (and more to discuss with Shirley Maclaine when we have dinner together).

It always pays to heed the experiences in your everyday life to flex the muscles of your writing craft. These sometimes seemingly mundane occurrences can open up a new world for you, if you let them.

Have you recently experienced any out of the ordinary occurrences that have impacted your writing? If so, what were they? How did they inspire you?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Thirteen Things about Writing Gifts I’d Like Santa to Bring Me for Christmas

It’s fun to see all the presents piled up under the Christmas tree and in the stockings on Christmas Day. This is a great season for giving, but it’s also fun to receive, especially when someone gives you cool writing stuff. Here are some things I would love to see Santa leave in my stocking this year.

1. An Alphasmart Keyboard – I don’t know for sure if it would help me write more when I travel, but I’d like to give it a go.

2. Some 0.7 Lead Refills – not terribly exciting, but practical.

3. A Composer – to coauthor a musical for stage and screen.

4. Dinner with Shirley Maclaine – I KNOW that would inspire my writing.

5. A New Agent sans a contract with an Interminable Agency Clause – for my novel projects.

6. Some Black Montblanc Pen Refills – again, not exciting, but practical.

7. Some of Santa’s Elves – to clean up my office.

8. A New Agent – for my screenplay and television projects.

9. A Few More Freelance Assignments – Mama needs new shoes.

10. More Time – to complete my projects.

11. Some Extra Cash – to take my critique partner to the restaurant of her choice.

12. Some Personalized Art Deco Style Post It Notes - because I’m almost out of them.

13. A Seven-digit Contract for One of My Projects - ‘nuff said.

What writing-related gifts would you like to find in your Christmas stocking this year?

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

(leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Five Senses as Inspiration

Fiction writing classes teach us to remember to incorporate the five physical senses into our stories to help bring the tale to life, so that the reader can become absorbed in the story. Don’t you feel more pulled into the story when you’ve remembered a familiar smell or clearly visualized an image expressed in the novel you’re reading? Using the five senses is a fantastic way to keep your reader turning the pages and to breathe life into your story, but how often are we encouraged to utilize the five physical senses as a source of inspiration for our stories?

All around us, every day, are writing tools ripe for the picking. As you go about your everyday life, notice what you notice. If you don’t have a laptop computer, Alphasmart or daily planner with you, always keep a small spiral notebook on you so you can jot down the interesting things you experience with your physical senses in between writing sessions on your work in progress – the hazy aura around the full moon; the crazy woman on the subway who bursts out screaming and continues to do so until the next stop; the warm, soft sensation of a newborn puppy in your hands; the seemingly absurd conversation overheard at the next table in a restaurant; the smell of Christmas cookies wafting through the house as you walk through the door; the taste of your favorite food at the end of the day.

Take advantage of the five physical senses in all aspects of your writing. You never know when that little snippet of information will turn into a gold nugget. Now get that small spiral notebook, a couple of pens and a good mechanical pencil fully loaded with lead and work on your story in the mall, at dinner, on your way to work . . . .

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Please Pray for Omaha

My friend Michelle took me out to lunch Wednesday at the Dundee Dell in Omaha, a nice little pub known for their fish and chips. Then we took in a little thrift store shopping to go on a quest for rare, unique treasures. During our excursion, I got a call from my other friend, Chris.

"There's a shooter at Westroads. They're on lockdown."


"Tell me you're kidding." Part of me wanted to believe she was telling a sick joke, and a funny, redeeming punchline was coming.

"I'm not kidding. No one can get in or out. The swat team's out there and cop cars and ambulances are everywhere."

I was relieved to learn that Chris was not at the Westroads Mall; she was reporting what had just been broadcast on television. The police have not released much information yet, other than that it appears all of the shootings took place in the Von Maur department store. Victims' names have not been released. Nine people are reported dead so far, but a recent rumor indicates that one of the five people hospitalized in the shooting has died, bringing the death count to ten. I'm not going to report anything on the shooter, because that's what he wanted, other than to say that he did have the decency of saving the people of Omaha money in court proceedings, because he killed himself following his rampage.

I haven't heard back yet from a couple of friends who often shop at Von Maur. My lunch buddy Michelle called me tonight and said that her father-in-law had been at Westroads today, but that he had left before the sniper began firing.

Please hold everyone in the Omaha area in your prayers and good thoughts. Omaha is such a friendly town. We're all going to remember where we were when we heard the news of the massacre here, the day when our reality was shattered, the day when 'it can't happen here' happened. I am shocked. SHOCKED.

Thank you.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Improv Challenge

Improvisation isn’t just a great tool for actors. Everyone can benefit from it. Those engaged regularly in creative projects might benefit more quickly since they tend to be (sometimes) less restrictive in their thought processes, but everyone can see results from it. Improvisation lets the subconscious mind help you reach your goal. Another great thing about improvisation is that it doesn’t require big chunks of time.

Improvisation is a great way to help an author get started on a new novel, screenplay or short story, or work through blocks on a current work-in-progress, because you don’t need a plot, characters or setting. The Improv Challenge requires minimal preparation and time, and the payback can be huge. Again, you don’t need a writing project to benefit from The Improv Challenge. This can help you with any issue you’re working on in your life.

Here’s The Improv Challenge:

• Put a notepad, a dictionary and pencil next to your bed before retiring for the night. Find a well-sharpened pencil instead of a pen because if your pen is not functioning properly in the morning, it can hamper your session for that day.

• Upon waking in the morning, choose any three words which spring to mind. They can be any type of word, noun, verb, adjective, whatever. The more random the better, so pick the first three words that feel right, but if you need help getting started, open the dictionary at any point and quickly, without thinking, pick three words.

• Note the three words chosen and free write for ten minutes, no longer, using each of the three words at least one time. You may have a writing sample running anywhere from 100 to 200 words, but the word count doesn’t matter. Just write for ten minutes and include those three words at least once.

• The next morning, repeat the process and select three new words, or choose three words from the piece you’d written the previous day.

• You can review the written pieces at the end of each day, or wait a week before looking at them again.

• Repeat the process for a minimum of seven days.

You may not experience the “aha!” moment of clarity, instantly realizing the answer you seek, but don’t be surprised if you do get the answer you’re seeking this way. It does happen. Some answers come more subtly, in a method in which they just seem to slowly rise to the surface, as if being washed upon the shore of your mind.

You can do The Improv Challenge at any time of the day, but it’s best to do it first thing in the morning because the subconscious mind is more active with the body just having been asleep; the conscious mind has not yet had the opportunity to let doubt and criticism get in the way of the process. Try it for at least seven days and see what happens. Doing it for 21 days can make it a habit. I know some authors who have sold millions of copies of their books who utilize this process, or a variation of it, every day.

If you’re eager to try it, see what you can do right now with the words:

Profit, Desire, and Rejection.

Good luck!

Monday, December 03, 2007

In the Words of Mark Chesnutt . . .

"It sure is Monday."

It’s raining down Monday on me today. I’m working on a tight deadline, seeking out new projects, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, really just another day, but one at the start of a new week, heralding another four days of the same groove.

A friend passed on the link to a short video that made her laugh out loud and, God bless her, she sent it to me. I had a good laugh, and now I’m in more of a frame of mind to hit the ground running creatively today. I invite you to check it out and see if it doesn’t help you get your fingers tapping a bit more quickly on the keyboard. This newlywed couple definitely had it goin’ on. A little premeditated modus operandi of the conspiracy variety, well executed, can make for some stellar memories, especially when recording technology comes into play.


Wedding First Dance

Godspeed and have fun getting in the zone today.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Oh, Schipperke, Oh, Schipperke . . .

. . . my little dog named Shasta.

What can I say?

It’s cold outside and Christmas carols are playing ad nauseam at most public places inside and the holidays are sneaking up on us like an old pair of underwear. As I work in my office today, I’m taking a break from my current works in progress and rewriting “Oh, Christmas Tree” and transforming it into “Oh, Schipperke” in honor of my fun pooch. Cute little dogs in boas are so inspirational. Do you ever rewrite lyrics to Christmas carols? If so, which ones? Who/what is your inspiration?