Thursday, August 24, 2006

Inspiring the Muse

I just returned from an annual writers retreat in Vermont feeling relaxed, refreshed, and rejuvenated. We brainstormed story ideas, set goals, laughed a lot, cried a little, and ate way too much.

There's nothing like being with women you consider sisters and friends to nourish the soul and inspire the muse. When those friends are all writers as well, it's a special gift.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Recommended Books

I have two new books to recommend this week.

The first is THE TAO OF WRITING, Ralph L. Wahlstrom - Imagine. Create. Flow. This is a great book for musing about your muse. This book will help you get in touch with your creativity and remind you why you started writing in the first place.

The second is EATING IN THE LIGHT OF THE MOON, Anita Johnston, Ph.D. - How women can transform their relationships with food through myths, methaphors and storytelling. This is not writing related, but if you're a woman and you've ever struggled with food issues, I highly recommend reading this book. If you're a writer, think of it as character research.

Still on my reading list:

THE JOURNEY FROM THE CENTER OF THE PAGE, Jeff Davis - Yoga Philosophies and Practices as Muse for Authentic Writing

A WRITERS TIME, Kenneth Atchity - Making the Time to Write. This was recommended by Carla Neggers, so it's a must-read.

THE NOVEL WRITERS TOOL KIT, Bob Mayer - a guide to writing great fiction and getting it published. I recently heard Bob speak at a writer's conference and I can't wait to dig into this one.

PLOT AND STRUCTURE, James Scott Bell - Techniques and exercises for crafting a plot that grips readers from start to finish.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Right Brain / Left Brain

I hate editing because it puts both sides of my brain in conflict and that's a battle neither side is capable of winning.

Rosie Rightbrain is a playful sprite. She flits from word to word sprinkling fairy dust all over the page with no regard to logic or reason.

Lance Leftbrain is a literary hit man. Nothing is safe from his killing tools. Imagination is simply a word to him - unless it’s spelled incorrectly, in which case it's a mistake and must now be pulverized.

When they’re forced to work together, it goes something like this:

ROSIE: Oh, this is tedious. Let’s do something fun. I know, lets write a ghost story!

LANCE: Stop playing and get serious. Can’t you see how awful this manuscript is? We must destroy it. Cut, slash, burn!

ROSIE: Don’t you dare touch my words you big poopy-head. Rules are for bureaucrats, not poets.

LANCE: Rosie, I've met Maya Angelou, and believe me you're no Maya Angelou. Does this look like poetry to you? It doesn’t even make sense.

ROSIE: You have no imagination. It’s lyrical. It doesn’t have to make sense.

LANCE: How many times have I told you that you can't just make up your own words?

ROSIE: I can too! You're not the boss of me!

LANCE: Do you realize there’s a character who shows up on Page 5 and never appears again in the entire novel?

ROSIE: I know, but didn’t I describe him beautifully? He practically steps off the page.

LANCE: Yeah, steps right off the page and into a black hole, never to be seen again. And what’s this? An entire paragraph without any punctuation?

ROSIE: It’s a metaphor. See the character’s life is like a runaway train and. . .

LANCE: . . .period, comma, comma, question mark, semi-colon, period and/or paragraph. . .

ROSIE: You’re mean. (sob)

LANCE: And you’re a no-talent wannabe. We should throw it all away and just start over.

ROSIE: (perking up) Start over? Yes, let’s start over! Only this time the twins will be boys and they’ll be lost in the Bermuda Triangle and one of them discovers a pirate’s map. Oh, and there’s a ghost on the island too.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

If you build it...

My dear friend and online publicist, Carla Arpin, has set up a readers/fans chat loop for me. All I need now are readers and/or fans. Is it presumptuous of me to drop a note to people asking them to be a reader and/or fan? I know there are at least four people out there who've read my books, not counting my mother and best friends. We've built it, now lets see who comes: