Friday, November 30, 2007

Writing Power

It would be interesting to be able to measure the collective power of a group like we measure the power of water over a dam or current through a meter. Based on my interaction with so many writers, I believe the power they generate could light up the world for years. Think of the benefits if we switched from oil to writer power.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Some Thoughts

The Parallel Text: A Symptom?
When I was very young and considered myself a sage, I scribbled relentlessly in the margins of all my texts. Shakespeare bore the brunt of my rapier wit, but Dickinson, and Elliot came in for their fair share. Later term papers weighted by heavy "borrowing" from these and other literary notables, received mid to high praise from professors, encouraging the elevation of my self-image as a creative writer, an innovative thinker. However, the truth is platitudinous: There is nothing new under the sun.

So if we accept the platitude, then we must accept that expressing others' ideas as our own is inescapable. Cultures less inclined to individualistic worldviews hold that ownership of ideas is as ludicrous as ownership of air. But in the west we have a very firm grip on reality: ideas and air are commodities with a dollar value; therefore, copyright laws set out fines and penalties for violations, and if your tires need air, until recent law changes, you anted up twenty-five cents to inflate them.

Obviously, I'm heading toward the topic terrible: plagiarism. But along the way I want to stop at Cousin Marginalia. Let's go metaphorical for a minute. What kind of game would tennis be if one player continually hit the ball over the net without the opponent returning it? One action doomed to be repeated with only slight variation. The exciting game of marginalia provides the reader opportunities to interact directly with the writer and to become involved in the creation of new ideas and arguments. What one voice serves up another must react to and that is exciting whether that reaction expands on the original or tears it down. After all, the reaction itself will soon receive the same treatment. Infinite comes to mind and infinite is too large to package and sell.

Today marginalia has a whole new to court to play on, and the notion of authorship is undergoing change as quickly as DSL can link us to the Internet. Cutting and pasting lifts the core ideas and puts them squarely into a new context with a new focus and only a hint that what was marginally in the mind is plagiarism on the page. Charges are made that hypertext is killing the author by unfixing and digitalizing his text--a text that should, according to copyright laws, be his domain alone.

Perhaps what we have to reconsider is much larger than the issue of plagiarism or the power of marginalia. Perhaps what we have to reconsider is our world view of ownership. What can we own? Once an idea escapes your brain and surfaces on paper or screen, is it a free agent to go to any other author with a use for it? And can you honestly say that you generated that idea and didn't at first react to another's in some margin of a magazine or book?

Friday, November 9, 2007

Teleseminars

This week I participated in a teleseminar with Roxyanne Young of Smart Writers fame and Bruce Hale. The topic was Writing Series.

I'd never been on a telephone conference like this one, so I didn't know what to expect. It turned out to be painless, informative, and interesting. The first portion consisted of Roxyanne interviewing Bruce. The others of us online could only listen. After the interview, the lines were opened for Q&A.

Bruce covered a lot of territory in about 55 minutes: Here's the outline.
1. Benefits of Writing a Series
2. The Series Market
3. Types of Series
4. Considerations before Writing a Series
5. What a Series should Include
6. Mistakes Writers of Series Make in Proposals
7. Good Proposals
8. Tips for Sustaining a Series
9. What Agents and Editors Say about Series

Keep an eye out for other teleseminars. I think they are worthwhile and they are not expensive.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Blog Content

I didn't know you could actually buy blog content, did you? On Constant Content you can buy that and much more--all written by authors that do a great job. I've joined in the group and am enjoying writing articles as a way to clear my head of what I usually labor over.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween

It just ain't the same. I mean tonight it will still be light when the tiny ghosts trek to my door. How can a ghost be spooky in daylight? And my witchy costume is so shabby from years of use that I rely on nightfall to conceal all of the patched pieces and cider stains. Sigh.

Well, no matter what, we are having Halloween. It is my absolutely favorite holiday. I don't have to plan a family gathering, I don't have to be sure to seat Uncle Pete away from Cousin Sadie, I don't have to make a vegetarian side dish for Leah Ann who is sixteen and turning Zen on me. All I have to do is buy a few trinkets and candy and have fun. My kind of holiday.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Art

Two years ago I did something that I considered rather brave. I invested in a piece of art by an artist that I enjoyed and that felt enhanced my home. This week I was invited to attend a celebration of this artist who is now being widely appreciated. I was able to meet the man who created the art I appreciate and enjoy everyday in my home. It was special and invigorating as is his art.

Pierre Marie Brisson

Saturday, October 6, 2007

More News

Just sold Time to Relax! My it does come in spurts, doesn't it?

Some Success

So I won't hang it up yet. I'd pretty much decided that if no one wanted to read what I wrote, there was little reason to glue my butt to the chair everyday and write stuff. Then just as I thought "that's all folks" here comes "I am happy to inform you" instead of "I liked your story, but."

In 2008 I'll have two short stories out. Hmmm. Maybe I should get out the glue gun and put something on the page today.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Links, Crits, and Other Good Things

So, in my last entry I expounded on learning patience while slogging toward publication in the world of children's books. Something I'd really like to add while the fiction writing muse is on vacation is that all of the slogging isn't bad.

I've met some fantastic people who write excellent prose and who deserve recognition by agents and publishers. Their stories are engaging, their characters so real you relish the time you are able to share their joys, frustrations, defeats, and triumphs.

I'm privileged to be a member of two very fine critique groups. Each one is quite different in how it manages the critiques, but each offers the support and criticism vital for success in this very competitive field.

I love being able to link to one of my co-writer's excellent online journals. The interviews she's doing are so fun. Here's one with D.L. Garfinkle. Read it and enjoy.

Some Success

I've had another article accepted (not sold) at Constant Content. This one, Time to Relax, my friend, Nancy, will chuckle over. Nancy, did you get through whole week of goal/intention setting?

I've also had a request for a rewrite/re-submission on one of my short stories. I did the rewrite this morning and submitted it with fingers crossed. This is such a sloooow uphill journey. If I'm not learning how to write better prose, I am learning patience, something my grandmother held out little hope that I would ever do.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sept 23

Don't panic. It's not September yet; however, it will come . . . I hope. I'm attempting to be somewhat ahead. I'm actually considering planning something. An end of the summer party sounds appropriate. So, the end of summer is Sept 23, according to my calendar.

I've been made aware of the end of summer by the arrival of my Christmas address labels. Is that awful or what?

Panic will follow shortly--about October when my favorite holiday,Halloween,arrives. That's when I enjoy pumpkins and the amber light you have no other time of the year.

Just checking in with myself--something that should be done occasionally.

Monday, August 13, 2007

August 13

Did anyone notice this is the middle of August besides me? I have this deadline hanging over my head that is beginning to loom quite large and the end of August is that deadline. How many days are there in August? 31. Well, that's better than 30, and it is certainly a lot better than that terribly truncated month of February. Have to remember never to set an end of the month deadline in February.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Time to Write Something

What? You actually have sold something?
Yes.
And someone actually wants to publish what you wrote?
Yes. Modestly I must tell you I have two pieces that will see publication this year. This in addition to all those other things I told you about but which I don't mention. Remember?
Oh, yes. I remember, but now what?
Well, I can tell people how great this is.
And?
I can tell them I have accomplished this thing I want to do.
And?
If you were not such an obnoxious muse, I might do better than I do.
Ha!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

July Rain

It's a surprise and a relief to feel the mist from July clouds. It vanishes as it touches the skin, nature's way of teasing California's crisp hillsides. The clouds will pull back to hover over the ocean soon, but for the moment they play with the sun and their shadows scud over the garden. Confusion for the tomatoes and zinnias--ripen? Flower?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Avatars


Such an interesting idea these representations of ourselves. I love to see the images people select to say, "This is me as I see myself." So much is revealed and all is hidden unless one chooses to upload an actual image of herself/himself. (We have to do something about the her/him issue in our language. It's terribly annoying when you have to decide between grammar and philosophy.)I digress.

The writers' boards are filled with avatars of single eyes, ghostly images, trees, water, bones. Then others choose to show their faces and their family. Is this too revealing? Who logs on and sees the person behind the story or the message or the comment? Do I want my face pixeled across the internet? Have to think about this. In the meantime, I'm sticking with the image that I like to represent me. I'm sure it surprises people who think they know me.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Blogger Block

I've had writer's block, but blogger's block is the worst. When you can't even say the yadda yadda yadda about your life, you're in trouble. Notice the switch to second person.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Back to Work

Time off is finished. Now it's back to the daily grind. It's interesting that after a few weeks of "unstructure," the grind isn't so bad.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Jet Lag

There's nothing better than jet lag unless it's a hangover. At least with jet lag you have the recollections of all those wonderful vacation moments to mull while you're face down in the pillow at noon.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Quiet

Quiet describes this blog. I'm not a steady blogger. However, I've found reading my log to review where I was on a certain day in my life is rather revealing. My diaries never seemed as interesting, so there's an element that the screen image and the clarity of the type-written word brings to the record that gives it a spark.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Standing in the Wind

One foot anchored. One foot suspended. Palms pressed together. Eyes open. Stand and face the wind.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Monday, April 23, 2007

Reading

Here's some good news. Everybody's writing something: short stories, books, poetry. More good news: some is actually well-crafted or even brilliant work. Bad news: adult readership is at the lowest it has ever been in the U.S.
Tsk. Tsk. Tsk.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Vanishing Blog

The last time I checked my blog and been de-blogged and was no where in sight. So surprise! It's back and just in time. I've had great news from a writing friend who has been under the gun for months. This blog is for her. Hats off. Congratulations. Keep well. I know your attitude played an important part in the outcome.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Friday 13th!!!!!

Oh my gawd! Friday the thirteenth came and went and I didn't even notice. I usually remain quietly at home, (That's more difficult now that I've read home is where most of the accidents happen.)waiting for the toll of midnight that announces the "all clear."
I'm excessively superstitous about thirteen of anything, but Friday the thirteenth is the worst. So, how come I had a normal, possibly dull, day yesterday? Hmmm. S'pose I've made my own bad luck in the past? Hard to believe.

Friday, April 13, 2007

A Quote

It's always good to find a quote that expresses what is inside your own head. It's that ahhh moment we all look for when we read a good book or see a good movie and the character expresses what we can relate to. "Oh, that's it! That's exactly how I feel."

Here's one I liked this week: "Life is not about longevity."

Yes.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

A Sunday of Palms

Today by venturing down from my mountain retreat I became caught up in the bustle of a Sunday market--lots of fresh flowers, organic produce, strolling people, freshly made crepes--Yummmm. Walking back to my car with my clutch of tulips in one hand and a bag of pears in the other I ran into a church congregation walking out the church and around to the side grounds. Everyone carried palms. A bagpiper lead the way. His sound was breathtaking amid the churn of cars, the laughter of bicyclists just down from their morning trek and all the other noises around a town square on a Sunday morning. I stopped and listened to the piper, soaking in memories of Scotland and appreciating all that wonderful flavor of my town.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Better than Yesterday

I may live. I had good or at least not such bad news from a friend I was concerned about. The sun is out--well, I'm in California and that's not news, but still sun out helps the mood. I haven't been rejected by an editor or an agent yet this morning, and some flowers I planted are blooming.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Good Day Bad Day

Today is not a good day. Today is bad day. You can tell by my simple clauses. Either that or I'm into alzheimers. Either way it is not a good day.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Philosophy 101

Here's my philosphy for today: Everybody can write. There are a few who can write brilliantly. Some who can write well. Many who can write and get published. But even if you write brilliantly you will never be published unless you try.

Contestitis

I've got it! The contest bug. I'm on round two of the Snoop Red Light Green Light. I've entered YAfiction, and I'm honing a ms. for W.I.N. How did this happen?

Monday, March 26, 2007

Contest Mania

I've gone from never entering a contest, oh one, but that was so long ago I only remember I won something--a hundred dollars actually and for something that I wrote under the influence of youth. So I do remember that contest now that I've reached into the back of my brain. And, guess what, I'm going to do it again. Maybe I'll even enter more than one. Up my odds. I could use another hundred dollars.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

One Thousand Words

I did it. Chapter One is exactly one thousands words, and, surprise, it's far better than before. I've decided that writing under pressure of word count has merit. It's just like writing grants, just like writing conference proposals. Choose those words with care. Use those structures wisely. Think about what is really important and cut the heck out of everything. I love it when I only have four words to add the lace I want. Yeah!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The CONTEST

Oh my gawd. They only want 1,000 words! In those few words have I made the character engaging, launched the conflict, established the setting, drawn the reader into the story? Whew! So maybe this is why contests are worthwhile. Instead of wasting time in self-absorbed drivel, I'll have to actually appeal to my readers. Nice concept.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Contests and other Ailments

So another way to show that you can write or want to write or think you can write or think you want to write is by entering contests. From what I've read so far they are good and they are bad. I suppose the way to approach them is to go in with a why-not- try attitude and see what happens.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

So what's this for?

What is a blog supposed to do? I've read all kinds of things:provide cheap therapy, promote sales for books, write something other than what you usually write, bare your soul and become one with the universe. My goodness what else?

Monday, March 5, 2007

I just realized that Daylight Saving's Time begins this month? Has it always come so early? Isn't it supposed to stay around a lot longer this year? If we keep setting the clock ahead an hour and never set it back, will we get older faster? How about setting it one hour earlier each year and never setting it ahead? I wouldn't mind visiting 25 again. That was a great age. I just wouldn't want to go back any farther than that quarter of a century mark. The teen years were terrible enough the first time around.

Friday, March 2, 2007

February

Okay, someone go find February and bring it back. I didn't get anything done I had on my list, the list which I can't find, but know has important stuff waiting to be done.

Some poetry for March:

Blackberry clouds drift over
Darkened hills
I lick dust from dry lips
And run on to escape
The whir of defeat

Monday, February 26, 2007

Back on my game

Rain allows the outdoor person in me to settle for a desk, computer, and inside time for writing. So today I've actually accomplished writing more of my novel, submitting a finished story, and editing other writers' manuscripts. It's a vast improvement over last week when nothing but a lot of mental milling was going on.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Unproductive

This blog is getting off to a very sloooooow start, primarily because the writer is off her game. Very little to share with herself let alone the blog. One thought comes to the fore based on a communication from another writer.
There's quite a stir among librarians and teachers over the Newbury award winner, The Higher Power of Lucky, and the author's use of "scrotum" in the first chapter. As my friend wrote, "Well, now [that teacher]can never read this book out loud. She's already had parents flip out because of a harry potter themed reading program, and there have been a bunch of other books that she's had to fight for. No matter how wonderful "the higher power of lucky" is, if she read it in her class, a whole bunch of kids would go home and tell their parents, "the librarian said 'scrotum' in school today."

My goodness, if it's not witches it's body parts that are stirring the Puritans. I thought this was 2007!