Summer Time and the Living is…

except, with more rain and less sand

That last gap there? That was finals. Being a college student, or any student, means life spikes around the end of semesters. Life gets swept up in papers and testing and you hardly get a chance to notice the seasons changing.

Hopefully, now that I’m settled out of school for the summer I hope the to get this blog back in action, starting with the twice a week posting I promised.

I’m going to do my best to hit all the categories for you as I go. But for this post, I’m going to do a speed run.

Exercise: Fiction: Take an idea you have or a story you have written and write it like a screenplay – all dialogue and action, no internal states or thoughts.

Genre/Form: Twisted Realism/Magical Realism is a genre known by many names. The basic concept is this – take one element that is unnatural and insert it into the normal, every day world. A ghost who instead of killing of the inhabitants of a house, makes things go stale faster. A parking garage where change vanishes from cars.  A mermaid that lives in a local pool.

Links and Recommendations: WATCH THE AVENGERS. Seriously. Pay attention to character, little things that make relationships and character work. How does this movie keep the ensemble together. Joss Weadon is an amazing writer and those are his strengths.

Professionals: William Faulkner famously said: Murder your Darlings – don’t hold too tightly to any part of your writing. If someone tells you to cut something, you have to be willing to consider their advice

Prompts: A race; coloring; disappointment; a false witness; a teaching assistant given more work and power than they should be.

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Prompts! Fresh off the Press!

smiling woman looking up at lightWords: Ring, Appropriate, Symbol, Broken, Coat, Able, Ten, Windowpane

Locations/Settings: Bus stop; Post office; Public Swimming Pool; Shared Hotel Room; Open field

Characters: Someone in the wrong time (either era or just time zone); An old idealist; a new doctor; an atheistic preist; a son following in the footsteps of his father; a caregiver; a child less than five years old

Opening Lines: She tossed her things on the ground and started to cry; She was almost finished when there was a knock on the door; No one was meant to find out; The snow dazzled him every time; He was tired of waiting;

Symbols/Motifs: Doors and doorways; Wind and air; Fruit (The Metamorphosis) ; Eyes (The Great Gatsby); Specific colors (The Scarlet Letter); Hair; Cars

 

Schedule Update: Lofty goals vs. Reality

When I set up this blog, I intended to give you all something every day, whether it be an idea or a piece of advice or a recommendation. That was the goal, the idealistic hope for this blog. It still is, really, it is what I hope to ultimately accomplish, between the technology offered by wordpress and having more time on my hands. But as it stands, that is simply not possible, between school, other commitments, and everything else life has been throwing my way. I don’t want to put things up that aren’t quality, and, as a result, I don’t get as many posts up as I would like.

As of now, I am going to be cutting down my goal to two posts a week, and I will be more or less cycling through the different kinds of posts. I am truly sorry I couldn’t keep up with the goal of daily posts and hopefully over the summer I can work back up to that. Right now, I am going to be focusing extra hard on getting you at least two posts a week, every week.

Please let me know in the comments what kinds of posts you’d like to make sure I get up and I will definitely keep that in mind.

Hope you’ll all stick around!

Overcoming Writer’s Block with io9.

Because it is technically Wednesday (technically, in some places), today’s link dips a bit into genre as well. In case any of you don’t know what io9.com is yet, it is a news, advice, and review site focused on things that matter to science fiction (and fantasy) geeks. Their motto – “We’re from the Future.”

I recently ran across an article on ways to overcome different types of writers block on their site and I thought I’d link it to you. So here it is:

http://io9.com/5844988/

If this article doesn’t spark a story or get you over a hump in writing, browse the rest of the site. Check out the new science news – imagine inventions or worlds they might inspire. Check out their reviews of different recent films, books, and television shows. Click around! If you find something fun, feel free to share it in the comments!

Bad News, Good News, and your Weekly Prompts

The bad news isn’t really that bad, and it should be pretty clear already — I still don’t have this darn queuing system figured out. But the good news is, as a result, we should be good on posts this week! Hopefully, it was just a date mix up on my part – human error is sometimes the easiest to fix. I should get the link/rec post up tonight, even if I have to do it manually. Or the online equivalent, which I suppose just involves more button pushes. It isn’t really “manual” is it?

Well, enough of that. On to prompts!

pacifier on the ground Words: Wire; Nightfall; Armchair; Underneath; Quickly; Endgame; Fortified.

Objects: hard-hat; Stained-glass window; price tag; envelope; rubber ball; single earring; backpack.

Phrases: Clean and simple; contact us for further information; in isolation; small bits.

Dialogue: “I read it somewhere.”; “I have to go.”; “Maybe later.”; “We talked about this already.”; “You could do that…”

Characters: Young single mother; stay at home father; harried graphic designer; aging bohemian; aspiring actor/actress; new rising employee in Fortune 500 company; Mother/father of successful musician; Son/Daughter of a factory worker.

Please leave a comment about your favorite types of prompts so I can make sure to include those every week!

More Than your Average dictionary

DictionaryMost dictionary work like this: You know a word, but not what it means, so you go alphabetically until you find it. Dictionaries are great tools for when you are reading and stumble across an unknown word, but they are a lot less helpful when you’re the one doing the writing. Until now.

onelook.com is a different kind of Dictionary. Sure, you can use it to look a the meaning of a word, but you can also use it as a reverse-dictionary, where you look up a word based on its meaning. This is the perfect tool for getting at the word on the tip of your tongue. It’s also great to check for terms you may not know. For example, you might not have known that there was a more technical word for “wine maker” (vintner). It isn’t perfect (searching assistant cook doesn’t give me sous-chef) but it is certainly a useful tool.

There is more the site can do as well. It can give you all words starting or ending a certain way (*ing, *down) or starting a certain way (re*, under*) or help you fill in missing letters (fev?r). You can even do topic searches ( :beach).

It’s a fun tool. Check it out. Play around. Bookmark it for later, too!

Prompts, again.

Image

Words: Lost, Temple, Program, Year, Counter top, Fringe

Phrases: A moment of regret; I’m weak that way; There are things you can’t control; How long will it last?

Dialogue: “Let’s drink to it!”  “That wasn’t me.” “Is that what I think it is?” “Let’s look over here.”

Objects: A pillow: An empty jar; A bowl of cereal; a muddy footprint; A wig.

Settings: On a political campaign bus; Setting up for a concert; On a construction site; At or After a friends wedding

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