Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Manga demo! This Thursday!

This is going to be fun--I'm having a blast already!

This Thursday is Last Thursday in Eagle, Idaho. At 7 pm I'll be demoing a storyboard for manga at the True North Creative Learning Center in downtown Eagle. I've got a great story in mind...

Last Thursday means that lots of businesses are open and offering fun treats and demos, all sorts of good stuff.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Got the ague?

Isn't ague a great word? I love it. And I think it describes what I'm talking about in this post. I went to a networking meeting yesterday, as a writer, editor and teacher of writing and creativity classes. What struck me, hard, is how many people have the "ague" of creativity. Most of the attendees at this meeting were realtors, financial advisors and bankers--practical right-brain people, right (it is the right brain that is math and stuff, isn't it?)? What do they care about the woo-woo world of creativity? I mean, most of the time you can't go to the bank with it!

And yet, most people I spoke with confessed a secret yearning to write...and granted they probably spoke to me because of their secret--but I talked to a lot of people (it was networking, after all) and was a bit surprised. And they spoke of this secret passion as if though it was something they had caught, like an ague, something they didn't want, like an ague, a disease that isn't fatal, but uncomfortable. Something best not talked about except to a fellow sufferer. Something that you want to "get over."

So here's a

TIP: In our culture, creativity isn't honored--that doesn't mean it's an illness. Why not embrace the ecstasy of whatever your creative passion may be? There's no cure, so why make yourself miserable? ENJOY!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

More Manga, more writing

Just a quickie post on how much I'm learning about writing from manga. I know, it's weird, isn't it? Or at least it seems weird that a writer of short stories and novels who is *ahem* not a teenager anymore (although there is adult manga) would get so much out of what many adults call "comic books" and use a derisive tone.

Sure, manga are graphic novels--and there's the clue: novels. And like any novel, they need to follow the rules of writing. They require plot, characterization, and, of course, dialog. And since they are serial novels, they also require a "bible" and projection skills.

I suspect that I'm learning so much as manga is a different genre from the ones I usually work in: mystery short stories and novels.

And maybe because it's so much fun!

HINT: Do something that's the same but different: I'm learning a lot from a different genre of writing, so if you're an artist who paints in oils, try pastels, try watercolors, if you're a photographer, paint, and so on...

Sunday, May 20, 2007

No more Miss Snark

Eeek! Miss Snark is retiring. If you're a writer, this is sad news indeed. Miss Snark provided excellent advice about the world of agents and publishing, with no nonsense, straightforward snarkiness--delightful.

Only good word is that she is leaving the blog up and available for reference.

And only necessary words: Thank you, Miss Snark.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

More shopping

Workshopping, that is. I thought I'd mention one that I've found has knocked my writing up to a whole new level, and yeah that's a cliche, but this is a blog, not my w.i.p.

Donald Maass holds Intensive Workshops in different places around the country every year. And by INTENSIVE, I mean intensive. It's an entire week of all day working on being a better writer. Don and his great crew are fabulous at providing myriad tools for crafting a great novel. No, by that I don't mean a guaranteed best seller, I've done my best work on my current w.i.p. that I've ever done, and all my writing is stronger.

Yes, it takes time and money, but for me it was both EXTREMELY well spent. I'm planning on going again, but first I'm writing and writing...

Secret: You get better at something by practicing it. You also get better by working with people who have the "secrets" of how to create. You also get better by being with your peers. The secret is balancing the different elements--with the emphasis on doing the work!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

No, I don't know how to surf...

...but I do know how to swim. Sometimes I forget this important fact. After I've gotten off the beach and braved the small waves and gotten out into the ocean, I can panic. Even though the swells that turn into waves are easier and I'm a strong swimmer...

a swell: "Oh no, my w.i.p. is almost finished. Now it has to go out into the world and be judged."
another swell: "Oh no, this class is going to be successful. Now I have to teach it."
Gulp, gulp--and I swallow sea water.

Do you see a theme here? Success is scary. The ocean is a very big place, and the surf and beach far more familiar to me. It can be easier for me to head back to shore sometimes--but when I resist and remember how I love to swim, then I can relax and float for a bit, and enjoy the great swells, enjoy success.

So, how well do you swim? What scares you about the ocean?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Manga again...

Okay, so the figure filled my post space--and hopefully didn't lead to a lot of confusion...or any.

I'm teaching a class in Manga! Yay! It's a blast already, preparing for this class. I get to read lots of fun manga--and some of the writing is good. And in the class everybody gets to do their own story board!

Which for me reminds me of the days when I was a film editor/script writer. And which also helps with my w.i.p. as I'm in the editing stage. When you're editing a documentary film, it's always best to "tighten and clarify" as much as possible.

If you'd like to know more about my classes, feel free to visit the True North Creative Learning Center.

TIP: If you're editing a story, take a little time to think of it as if you viewed a film of your story. What scenes are too long? Unneccessary? Or are there missing scenes?

Monday, May 7, 2007

Making waves

Okay, I'm not actually making the waves here. I mean, I'm good but I'm not that good. What I'm doing (not in the photo) is continuing the analogy from my last post and adding to it.

So, I'm renewed by my beach time, what's next? Into the waves! In my life, I think of the waves as challenges. Some wave challenges are small: get this story submitted, edit this scene of my novel. And some are huge waves: finish my current w.i.p. so that I'm happy with it. And much the same as breasting those big waves, it's a challenge sometimes to keep on my feet.

And it's quite tempting to head back to the beach, especially if I've been knocked off my feet by a big wave and swallowed some bitter sea water, i.e. when I get a rejection for a story I really thought I'd sell to that particular market. However, if I head back to the beach, I don't make any headway--okay that was bad.

And when I remember that I can't control the waves and that the waves--everybody gets rejections, it's a buyer's market for writing--then I get back on my feet and keep going. So then what happens? Find out in a later post...

What are your waves? What knocks you off your feet? And what do you do then?

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Life's a beach

I've been working on an image these past few days. It comes from my love of the beach and ocean. (Who doesn't love a good beach?) Sometimes, when I meditate, the beach is my safe haven. It has been that in reality, and a place to relax and renew. I've realized, over the last few days, that we all need such a place, even if it's internal. And like my suggestion of mini-vacations, some beach time is necessary.

However, sometimes, retreating is a trap. It's great to relax and renew. But retreat has more than one meaning. Too much beach time leads to skin cancer.

So it goes back to knowing when it's time to relax and when it's time to work. I haven't figured out a good balance yet--like all dead Puritans (see previous post) I tend to work until I collapse.

What do you do for "beach time?"

Friday, May 4, 2007

the living end

Made you look!

Okay, BUTT there is a point to this photo--for this posting is about living in the moment. When I live in the moment I pursue my dreams without doubting myself.

So why post a photo of my dog's behind? Because she does live every moment, in the moment! See how focused she is? She how happy she is? Well, maybe that's a little hard to tell from this photo, but trust me, she is.

So what prevents you from being in the moment? From going after your dreams?

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Puritans are all dead people.

Well, yeah, that's seems rather obvious, doesn't it. What I'm talking about, however, is how that good ol' Puritan work ethic is still with us and makes us all dead people. Dead because we're so trapped in work, work and more work that what we really love gets pushed aside far too often. And when we're not working, we feel guilty...or at least this has been my experience.

When I wake up to how I'm alive now and what matters is not how much money I make, or how clean the house is (and it's never clean enough) and etc. etc. the list never ends and I take a real break, a mini-vacation, and PLAY--then I return to work, writing, anything energized and focused.

And it doesn't have to be a trip to Mexico! I find taking the dog for a walk to be a great vacation--IF I truly stay present and enjoy the walk. If it's the sort of walk where I'm hurrying because it is one more thing on the list, or I'm not present because I'm worrying about everything I haven't got done then it's not a vacation, it's a punishment.

So, I'm going to play on...for a bit each day.

What are your mini-vacations?

TIP: When you take a break, make it a real break, not just another form of work.