Monday, December 30, 2013
When we assess how our writing affects our families, we usually think of time spent locked away from the rascal kids and the deprived spouse who is left to kiss the boo-boos, clean the crusted dishes, and run the errands. We weigh the money spent on printer ink, research trips and conferences against the statistically low chance of the book being blessed with a publishing contract.
If we write memoirs, we may face the veritas challenge. Should we offer the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? Or do we censor to keep the peace at home or protect the guilty? When I teach Writing Your Life workshops (as I will on the Thursday before PPWC in April), I suggest writing all the warts and determining later whether to pull back—for legal or personal reasons. No matter how we look at it, family relationships are important considerations.
I’ve just run into another family versus writing conundrum. I’ve written a lot of erotica short stories and flash erotica (the latter sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it?). I was preparing to make a collection of them available for purchase online. My husband asked me not to. I assured him I’d use a pseudonym. He still didn’t feel comfortable about it. He worried our sons might find them. Or others could trace the stories to me. In our private lives my husband is far from being a prude, but the subject is so personal to him, a modesty button was pushed. His comfort is important to me, so I won’t sell them.
Before you frown with empathy or cringe with peer indignation, you should know I have no regrets. I had a blast writing them and I believe no writing is time wasted. Special skills come from writing erotica: splatting down the truth with courage, avoiding stereotypes and clichéd euphemisms, and most fun—delaying the payoff. Wink, wink, suggestive smile.
About the Writer: Karen is an editor, ghostwriter, pitch coach, speaker and award-winning author of novels, cookbooks, and screenplays. She’s written over a dozen solo and collaborative scripts (with Janet Fogg, Christian Lyons and director Erich Toll); each has garnered international, national and regional recognition: Moondance Film Festival, BlueCat, All She Wrote, Lighthouse Writers, Boulder Asian Film Festival, SouthWest Writers Contest, and PPW Contest. Find out more at www.karenalbrightlin.com.
Sunday, December 29, 2013
This week on Writing From the Peak...
...Karen Albright Lin asks whether pillow talk in public is worth it
...Deb McLeod brings us her monthly post on writing
...I present the January news, events & links for the Pikes Peak region
Friday, December 27, 2013
Simpliciter Paratus. Absolutely Ready - the motto of the Air Force 506th Rescue Squad. But after the death of his best friend in Afghanistan, parajumper Nic D’Onofrio is ready only for vacation. Driving back to his condo on Christmas Eve, Nic, known as Batman to his teammates, does something really stupid. He stops to help a damsel in distress. Her name is Julie. That’s all she knows. She’s wearing her pajamas. Nic can’t leave her there and she won’t let him take her to the hospital. The only logical - yeah, right - thing to do is to take her back to his condo.
In a blinding snow storm, wise-cracking Air Force Colonel Rick McIntyre, crashes his Black Hawk. His lifeline, as he awaits his own rescue, is the voice of Lily Atherton. If he gets out of this alive, he wants to meet her. Thank her. Fall in love with her. Marry her. But fairly tales like that don’t happen. Or do they?
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Monday, December 23, 2013
- Find your deadline date.
- Find today's date.
- Do the math and figure out how many days you have to accomplish your goal.
- List the steps necessary to finish the work. (Outlining, research, world building, character building, photos, maps, writing, etc.)
- Assign a number of days (or hours if you want to get that detailed) on how long it will take you to finish each item in the list. Don't fret too much over the days/hours assigned. They're flexible (to an extent), and are just there to assist you in planning.
- Do the math and figure out if your workload (as measured by time) will fit into the number of days you have to accomplish the entire project.
- You can ask for an extension to the deadline. Asking your editor/publisher earlier (rather than later) for extra time will give you some goodwill and might lead to an extension.
- You can look at your list of tasks and see if you can drop something. In other words, do you really need that detailed map of the world for your writing? If not, drop it.
- You can also look at your list of tasks and see if you can shave a few days/hours off of an item or three by doing a little bit less work on them. Sometimes, you plan for a deep research dive that isn't necessary. Just hitting the surface details of something is sufficient to get you started.
About the Author: J.T. is a writer of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. He has been actively been writing since he discovered a local writers group in 2006. He joined the Pikes Peak Writers in late 2008 and attended his first conference in 2010. In that time, he has worked his way up the ranks in Pikes Peak Writers from "chair mover" and "auction guard" to webmaster and president of the organization. He has a story published in An Uncommon Collection, and is expecting two more short stories to be published soon. He is working on his second fantasy series, and will push the first book from the proverbial nest when it is ready.
Sunday, December 22, 2013
This week on Writing From the Peak...
...J.T. Evans discusses "Working From Your Future"
...We share some two Sweet Success stories from Pikes Peak Writers members
Have a wonderful holiday week!
Friday, December 20, 2013
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
bout the Writer: YA Paranormal author Aaron Michael Ritchey has penned a dozen manuscripts in his 20 years as a writer. When he isn’t slapping around his muse, Aaron cycles to look fabulous, works in medical technologies, and keeps his family in silks and furs. His first novel, The Never Prayer, is available now from Crescent Moon Press. Most recently, his work appears in the steampunk anthology The Penny Dread Tales Volume III and in the May 31, 2013 issue of Electric Spec. His next novel is under contract, due out spring of 2014. It's a happy, little suicide book for young adults.
Monday, December 16, 2013
Why do we start a bunch of resolutions on January 1? It shouldn’t really matter when you make your resolutions...
- Identify the trigger that starts the existing habit that you want to change. (For example, you want to write for 15 minutes in the morning every day--the trigger might be the alarm going off).
- Identify the routine. (When does it start, and when does it really stop and your conscious mind take over again--for example, after you have your first cup of coffee at work?).
- Identify what rewards you get from continuing the old routine. (Knowing you’ll be getting a paycheck, getting to sleep in later after hitting the snooze alarm, etc.)
- Optional: Establish the attitude that change has meaning. (You can’t change a habit if you’re too pessimistic that the attempt will do any good).
- Optional: Gather support from your community in changing your habits. (We are social creatures, and approval from our peer groups is a big reward).
- Optional: Release your doubts to a “higher authority.” (A good explanation for this is in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. The point is to have something you can fall back on when things go awry--“This isn’t working!” “It will, eventually!” Whatever you normally use for that kind of thing is fine).
- NaNo forces you to find time to write 1667 words every day--or at least to explore different solutions to the problem of finding time.
- NaNo clearly defines the routine (1667 words or more).
- NaNo rewards you for completing the routine (daily bar graphs; comparing yourself against others; encouraging emails from professional writers, etc.).
- NaNo continually sends the message that any writing you get done is valuable.
- NaNo certainly sends support both through the writing communities (we’re all in it together) and in the wider world (“look, a lot of people are doing this, honey”).
- Spend time now, in December, studying the writing habit you want to change and setting your goals (might I suggest 1K a day?).
- Identify the community that can support you through this change (like Pikes Peak Writers!)
- Accept that iterative success is not the same as failure, and that yes, anything you get done has value.
- Set up a test phase for the new habit in December; make sure to include the trigger for the habit, the routine, and the reward.
- Be prepared to change your routine if it’s not working, both during the test phase and after you officially start.
- You want to write every day and have identified that you want to write every day first thing in the morning.
- Study your early-morning routine. Where does it start, and where does your brain click off autopilot? What triggers it, what do you actually do, and what do you do to reward yourself after you’re done?
- Figure out a new habit: what’s going to trigger you to start it (pour first cup of coffee), what the new steps will involve (pour first cup of coffee and put it down by computer, start computer, start writing program, write until x words written OR until y time, backup work, close program, open email/web browser), and what the reward is (adding running total to a spreadsheet, announcing word count by way of bragging, staring at the bestseller list for 10 seconds while imagining your book at the top).
- Tell your support community about your new routine.
- Report in to your support community about both successes and failures.
- If you get stuck writing or if your writing isn’t very good, trust the writing process: “writing more now leads to better writing later” and ignore that day’s crap.
- If you drift off track, look at your routine to make sure it has a trigger, routine, and reward--and that those things are actually meaningful to you.
About the Author: DeAnna Knippling started freelancing in May 2011 and wouldn’t be able to do it without her wonderful family and friends, especially her husband. In fact, she owes a lot to Pikes Peak Writers for helping her be a better writer, especially through the Write Brains, both in the lectures and in meeting lots of other writers.
Her reason for writing is to entertain by celebrating her family’s tradition of dry yet merry wit, and to help ease the suffering of lack of self-confidence, having suffered it many years herself. She also likes to poke around and ask difficult questions, because she hates it when people assume something must be so.
For more kicks in the writerly pants, see her blog at www.deannaknippling.com or her ebook How to Fail & Keep on Writing, available at Smashwords, B&N, Amazon, and OmniLit.
Sunday, December 15, 2013
This week on Writing From the Peak...
...DeAnna Knippling discusses New Year's Resolutions for writers with "Get Ready, Get Set, Get Writing."
...Aaron Michael Ritchey asks "Why a Critique Group?"
...MB Partlow brings us our first Countdown to Conference post for PPWC 2014!
Friday, December 13, 2013
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
This month we’re going to add just a bit to the box by discussing character description. Remember that we’re looking at screenwriting, and in many ways screenwriters don’t describe their characters in the same way novelists do. I think we can learn a bit from them, nonetheless.
A translator's words ring in the earpiece of a handsome man [Harrison Ford] in his mid-forties. Worry lines crease his forehead and the touch of gray at his temples attest to three very difficult years in office. This man is JAMES MARSHALL, and he is the PRESIDENT of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Air Force One.
I find it interesting how some of these characters are described so much more fully than others, even in the same screenplay. In L.A. Confidential, we don’t have a clue what Bud looks like, but we see Vincennes with “slick, good looks." Exley gets even more with characterization in his. As I read through screenplays, it’s interesting to see that sometimes the writer give you a nice description of the character and at other times allows the character to show himself through his actions straightaway. Here’s an example:
A MAN idly walking around the building. He is BUTCH CASSIDY [Paul Newman] and hard to pin down. Thirty-five and bright, he has brown hair, but most people, if asked to describe him, would remember him as blond. He speaks well and quickly, and has been all his life a leader of men, but if you asked him, he would be damned if he could tell you why. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Until next month, when we’ll discuss Visual Storytelling, keep your butts in the chair and your hands on the keyboard - BIC-HOK.
Monday, December 9, 2013
|Agent Sara Megibow asked and Letters and Lines Fall Conference participants delivered singing Happy Birthday to her husband. It's a little fuzzy as I was singing and taking picture with my cell phone at the same time.|
By Stacy S. Jensen
Sara Megibow of Nelson Literary Agency suggested writing something from your heart, your voice, and your passion.