Friday, December 31, 2010


"Let him that would move the world, first move himself." ~Socrates

I wish everyone a very Happy New Year!

It's a time of rebirth, reinvention, and... let's face it, renegging on resolutions. Here is my desire for all my friends, fans, readers, and passersby:
  • Do make a list of things you want to accomplish this upcoming year.
  • Do create a plan for how to achieve them.
  • Do create a meaningful way to monitor your progress.
  • Do make a back up plan if your Plan "A" fails.

Strive to make 2011 your best year yet. If you aim for the stars, at least you'll get off the ground.


*see you on the other side*

Thursday, December 30, 2010

ARTFUL THURSDAY: A Picture's Worth A Thousand Words- My Writing Process

I figured for this edition of Artful Thursday, I would give my readers and passersby a glimpse into my process. In this set of pics, I was writing a retelling of the Greek myth of Jason and Medea. In Ovid's Metamorphoses, that particular story is told primarily from Medea's point of view, and offered few details into Jason's mindset and his daunting labors in obtaining the Golden Fleece.

So, that's where I came in. I told it from Jason's pov and provided fast paced details of his grueling tasks, and threw a bit more fantasy in there. Right now the short story retelling of Jason's Quest for the Fleece is on submission. Cross your fingers for me.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

TUESDAY TIDBITS: Good Enough Never Is.

     I'm finishing up my Caenus manuscript. It has seen a lot of iterations. It's gone from plot twists to plot strangles. It's marginally recognizable from it's younger days, in the same way that a grown person doesn't really resemble themselves as a baby, yet you can still see the signiture lines and features. My manuscript is grown now... or at least I hope it is.

     Which leads me to my next point. WIP's are *never* really grown... they're always growing. They can always be improved, yes? So, thinking that my Caenus WIP is all *grown* is simply to say that I think it's ready to be queried. But even as I think that, every time I read back through it, I change something. OK, who am I kidding... something(s). A writer's job is never done.

     Which leads me to my next point. Good Enough Never Is. Agents and editors turn down "Good Enough" every day, all day long. "Good Enough" still needs more work. In some cases, lots more work. Even "Great" manuscripts need more work. So why try to submit something that is simply "Good Enough?"

     Keep working, striving for perfection, honing, sanding, smoothing, sharpening, and polishing. Look at every word, every verb, every dialogue tag, every sentence through the *Good-Better-Best* lense. The difference between "Good Enough" and "Great" is not huge, but it is significant. And it could mean getting an offer of representation versus simply a request for a partial/ full and then a response of "not for me."

Here's a great post from Clarissa Draper over at Listen To The Voices
Here's another great resource

And with that... I'm off to hone some more before I travel maneuver wind through get beat down by enter the dreaded gauntlet of querying.

Happy Writing. Happier Editing.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Peer Deep Into My Mind... What Do You See?

I saw this over at Labotomy of a Writer and just *had* to do it.

You can go to Typealyzer and the program will analyze your blog and tell you what kind of person you are. And as for me, and apparently Anastasia at Labotomy, this program is scarily accurate.

Go ahead. Try it. I dare you.

SO I had my blog analyzed and it said this:
The analysis indicates that the author of is of the type:

INFP - The Idealists

The meaning-seeking and unconventional type. They are especially attuned to making sure their beliefs and actions are congruent. They often develop a passion for the arts or unusual forms of self-expression.
They enjoy work that are aligned to their deeply felt values and tend to strongly dislike the more practical and mundane forms of tasks. They can enjoy working alone for long periods of time and are happiest when they can immerse themselves in personally meaningful projects.

Let me just say that this is eerily... scarily accurate. Got. me. Pegged.

How about you? Try it and see. Click here to go to Typealyzer.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

ARTFUL THURSDAY: Poseidon- The Ultimate Marine

Poseidon was the Greek God of the Sea (and horses) and brother to Zeus (King of the Gods) and Hades (God of the Underworld). His Roman counterpart was Neptune, who, in many cases, is more well known than he is. Consider that the eighth planet from the sun in our solar system is named Neptune. And while we're on the subject of crazy eights, Poseidon's holy number was, you guessed it... 8! And the eighth day of every ancient Greek lunar month was celebrated in honor of Poseidon.

I missed the 8th day of Poseideon this year but that doesn't mean it's too late to honor the Earth-shaker. Today, The Oracle and The Muse honors the God of the Sea and his ever present trident.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

TUESDAY TIDBITS: He Said/ She Said-- Principles of Great Dialogue!

Today's little TIDBITS workshop is dedicated to Writing Better Dialogue.

Great Dialogue Begins With Characters
First, really get a good sense of your characters, their motivations, their nuances, their quirks, their voices. Good writers, in some cases, can write dialogue with no tags (Dan said, Molly said). If their characters are fully realized, it's possible to know who is talking simply by what they say and how they say it.

Be Your Own Thespian
Role play the scene you're writing to see if it flows well. Grab your roommate, husband, wife, or crit partner and *run through your lines* like you're rehearsing a script. If it flows naturally... roll with it.

Avoid Redundancy
Part of this goes back to dialogue tags. If you can discern who is talking without a dialogue tag (he said/ she said) then telling *who* said it is redundant. Also, try not to repeat things previously said. There's nothing more annoying than a dialogue echo. Echo. Echo. Echo

Use Dead Spots In Conversation
Sometimes there are actions that eat up dead space. Non-verbal communication is just as important in writing dialogue as it is in real life. Use them to your advantage. For example, consider a convo between a mother and daughter about the daughter's report card.

Mom: "So, Marilu, do you have anything you want to tell me about this F in Chemistry?
Marilu cast her eyes downward, continuing to spread mayo on her sandwich.
Mom: "Did you hear me?"
Marilu nodded without looking up.

By the way... when you look at the pic above, do you see a candelabra... or do you see people talking.

Hope this was helpful. Happy Writing.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

ARTFUL THURSDAY: How Many Faces Does A Mountain Have?

How many faces does a mountain have? Does it depend on how many peaks it has?

When you cast your gaze upon the hallowed Olympus, the answer is... infinite. Mount Olympus is one of, if not, the most iconic home for a pantheon of gods... the Greek Gods to be exact. Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Artemis, Apollo, Ares, Athene, Aphrodite, Hephaistos, Hermes, Dionysos, and Hestia all called Olympus home. Although, it is debatable whether they threw Ares out for being a rabble rouser of sorts.

The beauty of the mountain itself is undeniable.   Artists' rendering of Olympus through the years... priceless.

The many faces of Mount Olympus:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

ARTFUL THURSDAY: King Of The Gods- My, You've Aged Well!

Since November to December was the ancient Greek lunar month of Maimakterion, and since the principle deity worshiped during this month was Zeus... then HE is the subject of this week's Artful Thursday. From King of the Gods to boss of the video game God of War, Zeus has captured our imagination. All men have wanted to be him. All women have wanted to be with him, including those Zeus had to transform himself into animals in order to seduce... but that's fodder for another blog post.

Without further ado... Zeus!

And here's another wonderful rendition

Sunday, December 5, 2010

SUNDAY INSPIRATION: Homage To Some Of The Best Writing Around

So today's installment is part inspiration-part homage.

Yes. The following clip has some of the most inspiring words from some of my favorite moments in film. Therein lies the homage. To all the writers who contributed to these iconic films and moments... I salute you!

NOW, the following clip is one of my most favoritest inspiring speeches, EVAH! Even as I watched the clip again to see if I would use it today, I got goosebumps and chills. Go ahead. View it.
I dare you to not get chills.

Tell me below, what are your favorite moments in film as a result of great writing?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

ARTFUL THURSDAY: Boreas- When The Cold Wind Blows

Since it is beginning to get cold here in south-east United States, and has already gotten cold in many parts of the northern hemisphere, Boreas came to mind for this week's Artful Thursday.

Boreas is the vicious, winged Greek God of the North Wind and Winter. With inky hair and beard spiked with ice, he swept down upon the Earth, chilling the air with his icy breath. Here's a bit of trivia: One of his children is Khione, the Goddess of Snow. Predictable. But, two of his other offspring, the twins Zetes and Calais, accompanied Jason of Iolkos on his mythic Quest for the Golden Fleece.

And now for images of Boreas. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

TUESDAY TIDBITS: Congratulations to ALL NaNo Wrimo-ers- Win or Lose!

(Reposted from Nov 30th, Nano Wrimo 2009)
Humor me... consider the following images...

What do they have in common? The views are amazing, are they not?
The view from the top of anything is always the most glorious. It is precisely this view that drives, dare I say, dares the adventurous to climb. The end... justifies the means.

As breathtaking as the views are from the destination you sought through the climb, it is the journey itself that holds the lion's share of rewards.

For NaNoWriMo... it's the joy of meeting small #writegoals and #goalwars... It's the joy of making friends (NaNoBuddies) along the way- the camaraderie born of a common struggle... And, it's certainly the joy of pushing yourself past limits you thought impassable.

We are not judged in life by achievements alone, but by the obstacles we've overcome along the way. Walking a thousand in-line stairs to the top, while significant, pales in comparison to taking a thousand steps on a winding path through uneven terrain, rocks, mud, fallen trees, and thorny brush. The person who stands atop the summit in clean clothes will never feel as good as the person who crowns the peak in tattered clothes torn by turmoil.

Win or lose, everyone's NaNoWriMo experience was different. And everyone's experience counts! And even if you only got half way up the mountain, there are things you learned about yourself. And you are better for even beginning the trek. I salute all those who even began the climb. If I had known in the early morning hours of November 1st what I know now... there is no telling into how many languages I could have translated "FORGET THIS!!"

But as I look back down the mountain I just climbed... I feel so much better for having done it.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pyanopsion- The Ancient Greek Lunar Month of October - November

With Halloween in the rearview mirror and Thanksgiving just ahead, it is a great time to peer into past Greek festivals and celebrations.

PYANOPSION is the Ancient Greek lunar month of roughly October to November. The Greeks observed three major festivals during this time.

Thesmophoria, occuring from the 11th to the 13th of Pyanopsian, honored Demeter and her daughter Persephone. The festival celebrated the third of the year in which Demeter abstained from her Goddess of Harvest role in mourning of Persepone's return to the Underworld. Married Athenian women celebrated with a feast and ritualized bathing to promote fertility. Read more here.

Oschophoria was a wine-pressing festival honoring Dionysus. The Mysteries of Dionysus were also held. The biggest attraction was a procession where young men would carry vines still bearing grapes. Behind them, a chorus sang hyms to the God of the Vine. Read more here.

Apaturia commemorated a single combat between Melanthus, representing King Thymoetes of Attica, and King Xanthus of Boeotia, in which Melanthus successfully threw his adversary off his guard by crying that a man in a black goat skin (identified as Dionysus) was helping him. Zeus and Athena presided over this four day festival during which the revelry was so intense, that the fourth day was used simply to rest and recoup. Read more here.

Pyanopsia honored Apollo and was held in Athens. The Greek hero Theseus began this ritual by first honoring Apollo for his assistance in helping him defeat the legendary Minotaur.
For more on the minotaur, check out this post: Many Shades of Minotaur- Grabbing Art By The Horns

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

TUESDAY TIDBITS: Advanced Character Building and Development

Whenever I think of character building, my mind always goes back to when I played Dungeons and Dragons.

If you're not familiar with D&D, players begin the game by creating the characters they are going to play with. You can chose from different races (Human, Dwarf, Elf, Gnome, etc), Class (Fighter, Magician, Cleric, etc), Alignment (anything from Chaotic Evil to Neutral to Lawful Good). Then you roll the dice to determine their attributes, strengths, weaknesses. You get the idea.

It is very much the same when conceiving the characters for a new story (which I'm doing right now). In fact, my D&D experience proabably shaped my current story telling in many more ways. Once everyone has their characters they go on an adventure quest only the characters (and the real life people who play them) have no idea where they are going.

A Dungeon Master holds the map and knows where the characters are and has to describe to the players where they are going, what they see, and who they encounter. Good for the DM from a descriptive standpoint. Good for the players because their imaginations are completely piqued.

The characters in a story can be developed in a lot of ways.So along this line of thinking, I've considered character development in four ways:

1)Physical Appearance:
Tall, short, handsome, homely, thin, rotund, clean cut, rough edges, hair, eyes, etc. Then also consider if there are any characteristics that make them unusual or unique. Piercings, tatoos, physical abnormalities.

Here's a good exercise. Pick 3 pictures from internet or magazines and describe them as if you were talking to a friend on the phone who couldn't see them.

2) Behavior and Actions:
Are they life of the party, center of attention, or are they a wall flower? Do they tend toward bull in a china room or eggshell tip toer? Do they gesticulate grandly? Are they easy going? Anxious? Short temper?

Here's a good exercise: Imagine a party with a lot of people where something odd happens. Plop your character in the middle of it and don't script their reaction. Just allow them to act and react.

3) Perspectives:
How do they view their world? How do they view their place in their world? How do they view others?

Here's a good exercise: Try to imagine a person who is 3rd generation poverty stricken and then also a person who is 3rd generation wealthy. Drop them both into a setting of your choosing and describe how each views their setting.

Now I must say, dialogue is one of FAVORITE things to write. "I" think I do great dialogue. But I suppose it's all in the eyes of the beholder. But I digress.
Dialogue is so powerful because sometimes the dialogue can say even more than the other descriptors above. Sometimes dialogue works in concert with perspectives, which creates a powerful tandem.
Consider this; how do they speak? Proper? Dialect? Slang heavy? Broken English? Do they even speak English? Is English their first language? Do they have an accent? Southern drawl? Are the concise, verbose? Snarky? Do they speak rapidly or slowly?
Consider the dialogue in The Color Purple. Or even Gone With The Wind. Consider indivual speech patterns like that of James Earl Jones.

Dialogue can be really fun. And it forces the writer to get completely into the character's head for the "voice" to be true.

Here is a very good link to some more in depth character development information.
Adventures In Children's Publishing

Below is a pretty good video that also delves deeper into the subject of character development. Enjoy.