writing about writing

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Posted by Flood on June 28, 2006

This blog is serving as a mirror for FlashFlood on blogger until I decide what to do about the technical issues over there that make me insane. If Blogger is working today, come visit.


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Friday Round-Up

Posted by Flood on June 23, 2006

Bernita's interview was another success. Thanks once again to her for being a great subject. I've added a link in the sidebar that lists all the interviews in the series, so if you ever miss one you can catch up. You'll note that Little Puddle's interview is listed there as well. When I started the series, she asked me for an interview right away. "I promise to dress up and use the biggest words I know," she said. She didn't actually dress up, but her words are pretty good. Melly spent Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday sharing her editing process and compiled a list of writerly traps we all fall into. Look for your errors and add your own. We can always benefit from knowing what mistakes to look for in our work. First Drafts is a group blog to get the writing juices flowing. I've recently become a member, but have yet to post. Their explanation:

First Drafts is a collaborative blog aimed at providing writers with a place to share their work on any subject they like. (Near-) daily writing prompts are emailed to you to provide guidance or inspiration.

Thanks to Writing Blind for the link. For those of you that enjoy Flash Fiction, Fringes found SmokeLong's latest edition interesting. Their Link page provides a huge repository of e-zines, if you are looking for somewhere to submit. Whim's Place offers contest tips in Flash Fiction 101 but I think some of these points could apply to e-zines as well. Speaking of contests, I would like to again plug Sally Q's excellent Contest Calendar. That's where I found the deathlings.com contest to which I referred Scott, from Hard to Want. Scott's interview will be posted on Monday, don't miss it. For those writing with the intention of selling your work (I think we all hope do that one day), Cavan's thoughts on writing for markets or finding a market to suit your work could be of interest. Is there more integrity in doing one or the other? Let him know what you think. Finally, a round-up just wouldn't be a round-up without Lorelle From WordPress. This week she explains how to look at our stats relative to posting schedules. If you don't get weekly stat reports in your inbox, you should. That information can influence how you gain readers and comments if used well. I'm going to spend some time deciphering my own stats, based on Lorelle's theories. No matter how long you have been blogging, you can always do something improve. That's it! Have a great weekend.

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Game Thursday

Posted by Flood on June 23, 2006

Today's game will be entirely in dialogue. Haloscan was a little nutty yesterday, so try to be gentle with it. In this game, John and Martha are speaking. You must give one line to each. Nothing outside of the quotations marks except he said or she retorted (for example) is permitted. Always identify who is talking. Play now and play often. We'll try to keep it cohesive, but who knows what fresh hell will befall us today. I wanted to do a mad lib this week but I can't think of a way to play it on the blog. Here's a place to make your own. Let us know if you come up with a good one, by posting a link in comments. I will now begin the dialogue for John and Martha. *ahem* "John, dear. Would you be kind enough to pass the salt, darling?" Martha asked. "Get your own damn salt, woman," John yelled. ….and we're off….

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On Writing and Music

Posted by Flood on May 17, 2006

I’ve read two bloggers who mentioned music and the writing process recently.

Bernita Harris
– “So it’s no surprise that writers often comment on the type of music they play to energize the process and drive their imagination…”

Fringes– “I use my jukebox to create my environment and, apparently, I was in need of a revamp… “

Well, it never occurred to me to use music. I’m an idiot.

I remember in high school, our English teacher played the radio during writing assignments and told us that when we couldn’t hear it anymore and were completely focused on what we were doing, that was ‘the zone.’ In the days of long hand I would get in the zone so deeply that when I came out of it, I couldn’t remember who talked to me or if I answered them or the house had caught on fire. I was shocked by the time that passed. We’ve all had those moments, completely absorbed in some activity and the world falls away.

Since using the blog and word processor (or whatever the thing is I use,) somehow, I decided that real writers who actually type, need complete silence, no interruptions, no distraction, no-fun-allowed, while agonizing over their craft. They need to brood. They need to be grave, earnest, solemn, sedate, staid and somber. They also need to be completely dedicated to their thesaurus. In essence, somewhere in this adventure I determined that the intellect was more important than the imagination.

Flood’s imagination: Remember when we got all in the zone and shit? That was tight, man.
Flood’s intellect: Perhaps that was before we considered other people perusing our work.
F’s imag: Whoa! That was, like, totally the point. Sharing our wicked ideas with other wicked people.
F’s intel: Yes, well now we have to make sure that everything is clear and concise.
F’s imag: Dude! Can’t we just work mad skills out in front of people?
F’s intel: I suppose, but we had better be coherent when ‘working it out.’
F’s imag: Could you zip it once in a while, though? You take the fun out of everything.
F’s intel: When we wrote privately, you begged for my assistance to give credibility to our work.
F’s imag: You don’t understand me. I’m outta here.
F’s intel: Take the vampire storyline with you. It’s been done.

Yes. My imagination is a petulant 14 year old boy.

I pressured myself with expectations that made my imagination throw a temper tantrum. I have to destroy self-doubt and get imagination and intellect to work in tandem again. I’ll try anything. Therefore, armed with this idea of music being helpful, I put on my headphones and tried it out tonight.

track 1: Lose Yourself – Eminem. No good. Danced too much. Took up the entire kitchen with my booty-shaking. Kids whisper among themselves and look at me as though I have three heads. Mister wants to know if I have been drinking. No writing done.

track 2: Shake That – Eminem. Just had to keep dancing. Worked up a good sweat. Considered the social message of the song. No writing done.

track 3: Crash – Dave Mathews Band. Trying to bring it down a little, I pick a slower song. Now, I feel pretty, ’cause Dave thinks I’m hot. No writing done.

track 4: The Boxer – Simon and Garfunkle. I figure a song that tells a story is just the thing. I am right. Words are coming now. Yes, they are the lyrics, but I’m typing.

track 5: Doo Wap (That Thing) – Lauryn Hill. Obviously, I did not learn my lesson from Eminem. No writing done. I’m getting a good workout, though.

track 6: Horses – Tori Amos. I think that maybe moody chick music will be the key. I’m wrong. I go to my piano and rock out until Mister interrupts me. He asks me if I want to go for a walk. I tell him I far too busy to leave the house. “With what?” He asks, as though it’s not perfectly clear.

“I’m writing.”

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Posted by Flood on May 13, 2006

I wrote two new flashes today, both based on the same prompt. Actually, they are the same story, told in different way with different endings. I am daring to suck, folks. Take a look and let me know what you think.

The Spillane books are fraught with errors. Letters missing, format wrong on several pages, but I am still loving the campy style. My preoccupation with it reminds me of watching infomercials, in which the acting is so bad, you can’t stop watching.

This picture is a scan example of the notes I take when writing a story. I still love to write things out longhand, but it’s not practical. Taking notes on paper satisfies that earthy need in me. Jaye recently discussed a more technologically sound way of taking notes. I’d try it, but I am already drowning in technology as it is. I’m a simple kid. I am also not the brightest star in the sky, so when I finally get it together with the blogging, maybe I’ll see about better ways of taking notes. How do you take notes? Do you miss putting pen to paper?

Don’t forget to send love and kisses to the mother in your life. Tomorrow, my thoughts will be with Moms who’ve lost their children and children who have no Mom. If you have no Mom, consider adopting one in a local senior’s home or relying on an Aunt or your favourite wise old woman for sage advice. If you think she’s nuts, then you are in good company with those that do have mothers.

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