“Artists are people who are not at all interested in the facts—only in the truth. You get the facts from outside. The truth you get from inside.” --Ursula K. LeGuin

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

One for You and One For Me

Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it, and sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.”—Stephen King,”
 I’m a fellow traveler on this journey into writing. I don’t claim to be an expert, a guru, or a life coach. I’m learning to write, loving what I do, and investigating wise words from writers with silver tongues.
 Come, sit down, have a cup of coffee, and together we will investigate some of the life's greater questions regarding being a writer. In this, it will be about screenwritting.
 "I detest the word plot,"  wrote Stirling Silliphant, " I never, never think of plot. I think only and solely of character. Give me the characters; I’ll tell you a story–maybe a thousand stories. The interaction between and among human beings is the only story worth telling.”

“I can pick up a screenplay and flip through the pages. If all I see is dialog, dialog, dialog, I won’t even read it. I don’t care how good the dialog is — it’s a moving picture. It has to move all the time… It’s not the stage. A movie audience doesn’t have the patience to sit and learn a lesson. Their eyes need to be dazzled. The writer is the most important element in the entire film because if it ain’t on the page it ain’t going to be on the screen.”Robert Evans
 “Although making a movie can be like trying to write ‘War and Peace’ in a bumper car in an amusement park, when you finally get it right, there are not many joys in life that can equal the feeling.”—Stanley Kubrick
“We are the image that we project and in Hollywood” wrote My Blank Page,  Script Magazine's pick for "Website of the Week.  (May 2012).  “It’s extremely important to keep up an image of success: Being busy means you are working and successful. Even if a producer or agent is not busy and does have to time to read your script, they will make you believe they are busy and declare, “I’ve been swamped and I can’t promise when I’ll get to your script.” God forbid if they immediately read your script and get right back to you. That could appear as if they do have free time, and that could mean they are not busy and not successful. It’s a funny game, but appearance is extremely important in this business of illusion. Patience will serve you well in this scenario.”
“I want to give the audience a hint of a scene. No more than that. Give them too much and they won’t contribute anything themselves. Give them just a suggestion and you get them working with you. That’s what gives the theater meaning: when it becomes a social act.”—Orson Welles




Friday, January 18, 2013

Hot or Iced?

Good mornin'.
Time for your second cup of coffee, and sage advice from Jewell's gleamings.
Which do you prefer, hot or iced? Today I'm going with the iced, here the weather has warmed a bit. How is it where you live?


 “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.”
                                                                        -- Stephen King

 This Week’s Gleaming’s:
1.   Most writers are embarrassed by their first book.
I have been embarrassed by my first book It’s Hard to Stay on A Horse While You’re Unconscious, so I was happy to see that I’m not the only one.
But without the first there will never be a second or a third. We ought to put our work out there, if we fail, try again. Practice, practice, practice.
2.   For writers who wonder about word count:
10,000 words = a pamphlet
20,000 words = short eBook or print book
40,000-50,000 words = a longer nonfiction book
80,000-100,000 words = a typical novel length.
When I first sent a query to an agent for my up-coming book, The Island, she said to bring it up to the “Sweet Zone.” That is 85,000 to 90,000 words.
 I thought it was complete at 45,000 words. On top of that I didn’t know there was a “sweet zone.”
So I did what the Disney Imagineers do when presented with a seemingly insurmountable problem. I sat down, beat my bead against my desk, then did it.
 I looked at my manuscript with new eyes, rubbed my hands together, and said, “Oh goody. Now I can talk about what I really wanted to talk about—how life works.”

By the time I was finished that agent had retired.
3. Staying motivated
By Jeff Goins:
Ship. No matter what, finish the book. Send it to the publisher, release it on Amazon, do whatever you need to do to get it in front of people. Just don’t put it in your drawer.
Embrace failure.Know that this will be hard and you will mess up. Be okay with it. Give yourself grace. That’s what will sustain you, not your high standards of perfection.
“ When you only have an hour to write it's a lot harder to procrastinate and fritter away the time than when you have all day to write.”
Reprinted from "Martha Alderson's Blockbuster Plots for Writers Plot Tips eZine." Subscribe at http://www.blockbusterplots.collm/contact.html
The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. Byulwer-lytton.com

 How often can you win an award for writing something terrible? That’s exactly the challenge offered up by the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. It’s time you write something so bad, it’s good.

 It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents — except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.” — Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford (1830)

Announcing the 2012 Lyttoniad Contest Winners

The rules to the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest are childishly simple:

Each entry must consist of a single sentence but you may submit as many entries as you wish. (One fellow once submitted over 3,000 entries.)

Sentences may be of any length but we strongly recommend that entries not go beyond 50 or 60 words. Entries must be “original” (as it were) and previously unpublished.

Surface mail entries should be submitted on index cards, the sentence on one side and the entrant's name, address, and phone number on the other.

E-mail entries should be in the body of the message, not in an attachment (and it would be really swell if you submitted your entries in Arial 12 font). One e-mail may contain multiple entries.

Entries will be judged by categories, from “general” to detective, western, science fiction, romance, and so on. There will be overall winners as well as category winners.

The official deadline is April 15 (a date that Americans associate with painful submissions and making up bad stories). The actual deadline is June 30.

The contest accepts submissions every day of the livelong year.

Wild Card Rule: Resist the temptation to work with puns like “It was a stark and dormy night.”

Finally, in keeping with the gravitas, high seriousness, and general bignitude of the contest, the grand prize winner will receive … a pittance.

You may inflict your entries either by electronic or surface mail.

Yes, seeking writing advice can be daunting--don't despair, don't give up, we are in this together.

Charge Ahead!



Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Welcome, Thanks for Stopping by

“All is not lost, all is not lost / Become
who you are / It happens once in a
—Switchfoot  (rock band in San Diego)


Come sit a spell, have a cup of coffee and let’s talk.

As writers we know the value of collecting writing advice from the best, yet, how many hours do we want to scour the web, get lost in the forest of information, wander through the swamp of despair, and end up spending precious time not writing?

I’m here to condense information for you. I’m going to collect from the best and place it here on this site for you to devour, copy, add to your favorites, or just plain enjoy.

Why? Because I believe as Zig Zigler said, “To get what you want help other people get what they want.”

We want to learn our craft right?

I’m not a writing guru, I’m not published by a major publishing house. At this moment that doesn’t matter, I’m a searcher, a finder, and a writer. And I want to learn as do you.

We are a writer when we say we are.

I know, you don’t trust me. Not yet. I’m not the sales person suggesting an outfit when you wanted to browse. She usually suggests the wrong style, or the wrong color anyway. It certainly doesn’t bring out your blue eyes—in short, she is offering what she has available.

Well, I’m sort-of doing that, offering what I have, but come back next week there will be a new shipment. And I’m not asking you to buy anything.

I’m just here offering you a cup of virtual coffee, time for us to become acquainted, to get in the inspired frame of mind so we can sling out those prophetic phrases with the best of them.

Some sage advice:

1. From “7 Things I’ve Learned So Far,” where writers (this installment written by Trevor Shane, author of the debut thriller CHILDREN OF PARANOIA) at any stage of their career can talk about writing advice and instruction as well as how they possibly got their book agent — by sharing seven things they’ve learned along their writing journey that they wish they knew at the beginning.

Number 7. As far as I can tell, it never stops being scary. Letting people read what you write is frightening. This doesn’t change because you get an agent. It doesn’t change because you sell a book.

Maybe Stephen King isn’t frightened anymore when he sends a first draft of his latest work to his editor—but I’d be willing to bet that he is. Very simply, if it’s not scary, it’s probably not worth it.

2. When You Don’t Have a Cabin or a Dog… But Are Still Called to Write

From Jeff Sambuchino : This is a guest post by Sarah Mae. Sarah is an author, blogger, and mom. You can find her on her blog or connect with her on Twitter @sarahmae.

Fight for it

Yes, you have limitations. But so what?! Who doesn’t have them?

If you want to create, you have to fight for your passion. You must give your soul the space, even if just in bits, to do what it needs to do.

Fight for the time, no matter how limited, and the love of what you’re called to do. And then do the work.

Give up on “perfect”

Maybe one day, when my babies are grown and I have some money saved up, I can go to a cabin and write for days on end. With a dog. And a roaring fire. But until then, I’m okay with less-than-perfect. I’ll do my best with what I have, and then let it go. And so should you.
See you later.

Jewell D

P.S. Here is a great opening line:

 “They threw me off the truck about noon.”

Love it!
And have you noticed, you can write or have a clean house, but not both?