Month: July 2010

It’s Friday.  It’s time to rock.

If you’ve not been introduced to Blue Men Group, you need to be.  I’ve seen their show in Las Vegas four times, in addition to a live performance in Austin, and they truly blow the roof off.  Kinda inspiring, if you ask me.

Have a gander at this video and enjoy–plus, I just needed to tell you all how I feel!

Have a rockin’ weekend! And know the feeling is mutual.  I love you guys.  :)

The age old question: what famous writer does your work most resemble?  I got my answer this morning:

I write like
James Joyce
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I can’t say I am remotely disappointed with that result, although I’m not sure it’s true.  I have lifetimes to go before I produce anything on the order of even the meagerest of Joyce’s offerings, and I may never reach those lofty literary heights; still, dreaming makes good entertainment.  :)

Wanna know who you write like?  Head over to the I Write Like blog, paste a fragment of your writing into the submission block and hit the “Analyze” button.  I’m not sure it’s scientific or remotely accurate, but it sure is fun!

Share your answer in the comments, if you please!  Oh, and have a groovy day!

This morning, I woke to find my FB page abuzz over this recent HuffPo article about the latest job market problem: applications from the currently unemployed will not be considered, no matter the reason.

Frankly, since I am within a couple years of retiring from the military and will soon be looking for a new job, this kind of news strikes a unique kind of fear in my faint heart.  Bottom line: the Navy has been really good to me and the security and constancy of this job is one thing that has been hard not to take for granted.

But it also occurs to me that this employment problem is similar to the problem of getting published.  It’s a vicious cycle.  No agent or publisher wants to touch you if you’re unpublished, but you’re unlikely to be published until an agent or publisher touches you.  Normally, I getta big kick outta these Catch-22 dilemmas, but this particular one is downright depressing.

A good friend of mine, a writer whose material tends toward the literary and often lacks elements sought after by the mainstream industry, has decided the best course of action is to publish a few short stories.  Let’s call this the shotgun approach.  He is not being picky on who will publish his stuff.  He is basically taking what he can get and having some success at it–none of the publications are big names, but at least it’s a start.  Then he can put those accolades into his query letter and up his chances that an agent (or agent’s assistant) will pause just long enough to give his unconventional novel a chance.  This approach builds on a number of smaller successes which will hopefully lead to a contract with an agent.

On the other hand, there is a simplicity in the idea of hooking an agent on the strength of a single novel-length work.  You know the feeling: focus on a story with a single set of characters and make them pop off the page.  I call this the “one shot, one kill” approach.  It would feel amazing to actually pull it off, to yodel from the rooftops after I got that fateful call from the Dream Agent. 

Plus, being a good novelist doesn’t necessarily make you a good short story writer, or vice versa.  Short stories are more difficult to structure, and some folks just need the extra space to tell their stories.  Many of my own ideas first appear to be shorts but in fact seem to work best as novella length or longer stories. 

At the moment, I am leaning toward the shotgun approach.  What are your thoughts?  Which path are you on–“one shot, one kill” or the “shotgun” approach?

How are you on this fine Thursday?  Well, I hope.

Not much to report here.  I am getting organized to start writing again.  Though I believe I possess the capacity to simply sit down and pick up the pen–uh, er, pound on the typewriter, I’m discovering as I better learn my writing process that I do my best work once I’ve organized my workspace.  

This process always takes longer than I think it will, sometimes up to a week.  I retrieve my writing notebook and other references and array them next to where I’ll be working.  I clean my desk (or workspace), toss old papers, remove random detritus, review project notes, determine the nearest source of fresh coffee, prestage coffee cups, requisition pens and pencils and keep them at the ready for the quick note or diagram–all those nitnoid items.

Along with organizing my physical surroundings, I also tend to put my brain in a different gear, a wavelength reserved only for the writing process.  I begin to remember the problems my character(s) faced, recall the unfinished snippets of plot or story idea yet to be tackled, I think differently.  I find myself jotting down fragments of dialogue or shooting myself quick email notes throughout these preparatory days to bank trinkets and treasures discovered during moments of inspiration. 

Yes, perhaps all this prep and cogitation is a form of procrastination, but once everything is in it’s proper physical and mental place, I finally feel ready to go.  I wonder if everyone else has a similar process.  Do you find this happens to you?

Anyhoo, in lieu of any writing news, I am posting something different today: poetry.  When it comes to poetry, I’m a sucker for the classics.  This Kipling masterpiece always inspires.  Enjoy it, stay groovy and have a great day!

If

By Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

~~fin~~

“Every author in some way portrays himself in his works, even if it be against his will.”

~~Goethe