Yes, This Will Be On the Test

Writing, Reading, Laughing

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Eenie Meenie Miney No Way

I challenge you to pick the BEST picture below.

I've just asked the impossible. It feels like a crime to place Monet, Rivera, Kandinsky, Matisse, Dali, Van Gogh, or Parrish in first place and leave the rest of these masterpieces to be also rans.

There is no such thing as THE BEST in art. 

This week the Academy Awards will choose a best picture. The concept boggles my mind. 

How do you choose between:

Going back in a time machine to watch LINCOLN shape our nation.

A beloved musical combined with the grit of the original novel in LES MISERABLES.

The heart pumping escape wrapped in a Hollywood lie in ARGO.

The triumph of the human spirit over mental illness in SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK. 

A shameless reality that exists a breath away from our comfortable lives in BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD.

The transcendental journey in THE LIFE OF PI.

I regret I haven't seen ZERO DARK THIRTY, AMOUR, or DJANGO UNCHAINED, but I have no doubt each would leave its indelible imprint on me.

A masterpiece is a masterpiece. We are all the better for them.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Long and Short Story of It

At the beginning of 2012, I decided to mix it up a bit in my writer's journey. I've been on the 
query again
hamster wheel with manuscripts for a few years now. 

I've faithfully gone to conferences, latched onto amazing critique partners, blogged, and been a reading fiend to polish my skills. All my energies were focused on novels until...

Last January when I sold my first short story, a paranormal Hansel and Gretel extension called The Shimmer in the Woods that will be released any minute from Cliffhanger Books. Ironically I wrote it in an "I wonder if I can pull off a short story," moment. 

What followed was a year of writing and working with whip cracking editors on three more short stories that have seen the light of day in the Journeys of Wonder anthology series (check out the sidebar).

Had I become a traitor to my manuscripts?

Not at all.

My short story work has honed and sharpened multiple aspects of my craft by forcing me to:

  • Create a compelling story arc in a compacted space
  • Develop characters that matter right off the bat
  • Drop right into the middle of high stakes
  • Agonize over word choice to get maximum bang for my buck
  • World build in the blink of an eye
  • Add immediacy to every beat
  • Write in present tense instead of my beloved past tense

I've taken these mad short story skills and applied them to my existing manuscripts. It's been a great ride revisiting my darlings with a fresh set of eyes and making them the better for it.

What have you done to shake up your writing pattern?

If you want a brilliant "how to" on short story writing, run don't walk to get a copy of:
Ron Carlson Writes a Story

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Love Letter

Once Upon a Time...

There was girl who was New York City phobic. No matter how many episodes of Sex and the City she watched, she was still intimidated by the intensity of such a place.


She walked through Central Park in the winter. 

She was wowed by one Broadway show and

then another.

She was dazzled by the lights of Time Square.

She hung out with an Avenger at FAO Scwartz.

She inhaled pickles, pastrami, and cheesecake while sugary snow sprinkled outside, and

She fell in love with New York City.


Free - Free - Free
Sunday, February 10th through Tuesday, February 11th, JOURNEYS OF WONDER Volumes 1 and 2 are free downloads from Amazon. Click on the covers in the sidebar to hop over and grab your copies.