Sunday, November 20, 2011

Why Writers Need Chocolate

This afternoon I had a hankering for some chocolate. Not just any chocolate, but dark (Dr. Oz approved) Dove Promises. I keep a small container of them in my kitchen for my occasional dose of antioxidants. I pulled two small sqaures out the container and unwrapped the first one. After I popped it in my mouth and let the candy melt on my tongue I read the message inside the foil wrapper. It read "Take a hay ride with a friend." I looked out the window and thought, Not likely in this pouring rain. The second message read "Press your favorite leaves inside a book." Again, the rain kept me from going in search of leaves, but the light bulb clicked on over my head. These small commands could be a springboard for scenes. So if a Dove Promise asks you to "Take a walk through frosty grass and leave footprints, do it. And eat more dark chocolate. You've walked it off.

Time to write. I only have a little over 30,000 words and have less than two weeks to my 50,000 goal.

Happy (munching) and Writing.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Lonely On The Radio and Other Possible Book Titles

Have you ever wondered how books get their titles?

I usually wait until AFTER something ia written before I name it, whether it is a story, poem or novel. I like titles that don't reveal too much. For example, what if I had called Parallel Lines something like Nick's Story or Nick's Senior Year? Kind of puts you to sleep, doesn't it? Parallel Lines is intentionally metaphorical, (and you have to read the book to get it.) The same goes with Chasing the Dragon. (No shameless self promotion here!;).

Many of our favorite movies have had other titles. Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid was originally The Sundance Kid and Butch Cassidy. It was all about casting. Paul Newman was the bigger star. If Steve McQueen had done the film instead of Robert Redford, the film would have had the original title. I think Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid has a better cadence. And aren't we glad Redford graced the screen?

The novel I am working on now has a temporary title, ad the title in this blog is one of my character's possible titles for a book he is writing. I like the sound of it, but it doesn't encompass my story, so I won't be able to use it. But Gary my imaginary writer friend)can.

Here's an exercise I saw put in action in a video of poet and writer Molly Peacock: "Here's the title, now write the poem." She handed out a variety of toitles and the particpants in her workshop had to write a poem that worked with it.

Happy Writing.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Shamed Into Writing This Month

My students are forcing me to write. If it were not for this group of highly motivated AP students, I would slide into my comfortable laziness and watch TV every night. I would put on my pajamas before the six o’clock news,(Well, I do still do that) and slump on my couch with a cat on my lap and exist in a half sleep until Dancing With the Stars or some other mindless show occupied my attention until ten, at which time I would go to bed.

But no, it’s November, and all but one of my AP students signed up for Nano, several of who have committed to the goal of 50,000 words. I’m completive at heart, and can’t stand the thought of some seventeen year old beating me, so again I signed on for the insanity of National Novel Writing Month.(I am counting this blog in my word count because is IS November, and I am writing this in November, and I need the word count.) Notice I am not tightening my language. I am using as many words as possible to convey my idea and being slightly repetitive because I need the word count. Because...
What I wrote between November 1 and 3rd is one big strikethrough because I had a false start on a YA novel I may someday write, but Eddie, Elsa and Gary from my 2009 Nano keep bugging me to add more scenes to their story, so Okay, today I have Eddie test driving new cars. He doesn’t plan to buy one. He just likes to test drive cars.
The idea popped into my head because I did just buy a new car and it still bears the new car smell. It takes me back to all the new cars I have test driven and bought. Since I don’t smoke, my car retains that new car smell for a long time. (I will have to remember not to eat anything with onions for awhile.) Anyway, before I add more unnecessary words just for word count word count, here is an
While you are driving, and those random thoughts pop into your head, like the new car thing leaped into mine, use that thought as a jumping off point for a scene. Maybe it’s a song on the radio. How would your character react to “Someone Like You” or “Riders in the Storm?” Or a billboard? Or a new restaurant he or she notices just opened u?. Have your character react to some sort of stimuli while he or she is driving.

Happy Writing.