Friday, November 28, 2008

Prompt: What's My Motivation?

  1. Think about your character's driving characteristic.
  2. What animal might represent that characteristic?
  3. Write a scene from a dream your character might have featuring that animal.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Not Playing at the Playtime Drive-in, Sixty-three Hundred, Blanding Boulevard

I listened to a story on NPR about the new owners of the Playtime Drive-in. The property had been sold to a church, and the story made a big deal about the theater's "bad old days" as a XXX movie theater. The church was having a grand film-burning of all the movies left in the theater, treating it like a festival, with children playing and throwing movies on the fire.
The story made me uncomfortable, but I wasn't sure why.
Today, I looked up a story about the theater's closing. In the story, theater-goers and projectionists talked about the 60 years the theater was open, both as X-rated and family-oriented. They talked about how kids ran around the parking lot, met their friends, fell asleep in their parents' cars, and were conceived in the backseat. I compare that to the image of children frolicking around a celluloid bonfire.
I know which image makes me want to celebrate.
Closing of the Playtime Drive-in

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fun with Careerbuilder

I am reliably informed by an email I received via Careerbuilder that I am "perfectly fit" for a position as a warehouse associate. As I have always aspired to be a warehouse associate, I read on. I was really excited because there didn't seem to be any impediment: I'm a US citizen, I am WAY over 21, and I know how to use email. Very exciting!

But then I saw it, and I can't think that I really have this ability:
Can you deposit more than 2 cubic metres indoor?

Oh, the tragedy. I don't think I am able to deposit more than 2 cubic meters. Maybe outdoor, but not indoor.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Your Mother!

I feel a bit like Rodney Dangerfield today. After writing a 500 word press release about a 5,000 word article on nematodes and toads, I got this nasty-gram from the journal: "Thank you very much for providing a sample release for our journal. Our choice ultimately came down to finding a candidate that could grapple with the complex scientific content in our journal. We appreciate the time you took to apply..."

Never mind that I explained the subject in language that would be likely to catch an editor's interest -- what if I didn't? Did I deserve to be told that my intellect was lacking? Whatever happened to "Thank you, but we selected another candidate"?

Good grief. Or, as Rodney might say, "I get no respect!"

Sunday, November 16, 2008

To Score, to Cut, to Tear, to Write

I was considering today what makes a writer. The dictionary definitions are broad: "A person engaged in writing books, articles, stories, etc., esp. as an occupation or profession," or "a writer is a person who is able to write and has actually written something." (!)

The ancient roots of the word "writer" come with a much better range of meanings: to score, to cut, to tear. Now that sounds like the experience I know and love--and hate.

I am a scorer, a cutter, a tearer of words; I am a writer.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Prompt: Relate Your Character's Age to Something That Isn't Age

As I get older, I can choose to think of the years in terms of wrinkles, bigger clothes, number of pills, and my shrinking future, or I can compare myself to all the things for which bigger is better. Last year I was a .44 caliber. 23 years ago, I was merely a .22.
This year, I'm a .45. Don't f--- with me!

So, do this:
How old is your character, or in what year was he or she born? Write a description of your character as it relates to that number.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Dirty Money

What am I worth? --scratch that-- What is the work I do worth?
Since I became a feral writer, (an independent contractor, as some like to say), this has become more than a philosophical question.
To get paid, I need to know.

To find out, I look at this data:
  • What do people get paid around the country for doing this specific kind of project?
  • How much do I need to maintain my desired standard of living? #cats x $catfood + #books x $/book + bare survival + (fun/recession)
I then give weight to several factors:
  • If I'm perfect for the job, and not TOO good for it, bid high.
  • If the work is interesting to me, bid in the middle and/or offer to negotiate.
  • If I really need the work, bid on the low end of my range.
Bid what the job's worth, bid what's fair, and bid what I can afford. In the end, I'm selling a product, NOT my sweet self.

P.S. A nice site on what to charge:

Monday, November 10, 2008

For Sale: 1989 Plymouth Sundance

Selling my 1989 Plymouth Sundance. Blue with gray interior, 151,000 miles. Just professionally detailed, which totally got rid of a weird smell in the trunk after my boyfriend used it for a job.
Cheap! Make offer!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Prompt: Dream Character Personals Ad

When you first wake up, try to capture one character from your dreams whom you do not know in waking life. Note what was frightening or irritating about the character.

Pretending to be the character, write a personals ad that reveals that trait without the character knowing it.

Blogging Despite My Better Judgement

I read and enjoy a few blogs (Redneck Mother comes immediately to mind), but I have resisted starting my own because I don't think I have anything to say. Three reasons I'm here anyway:
  1. I keep getting asked if I have a blog.
  2. My friend Stephanie (who IS funny and ought to have a blog) told me I can be funny, which made me briefly big-headed.
  3. Forcing myself to write like this might be good for my stories.
I'll sometimes post writing prompts to make this less excruciating for both of us (trying not to nick from Jamie at Woodstream Writers).

Cure is the Condition

I loved stories from the moment I could decipher language, but perhaps I wanted to write my own because I was afraid.

When I was little, I could never sleep. I feared cockroaches, monsters, death, fire, ridicule, parasitic infection, and hell. Even as a teenager, I could see a "wolfman" on a paperback in the afternoon and need my father to talk me down by 3 am. In the overheated Florida night, I couldn't sleep without covers for fear illicit insects would walk over me. In the winter, with no heat, the fan still oscillated so that I couldn't hear the footsteps in my pillow.

I began to tell myself stories to drown out the internal noise that I couldn't block. Shaping my imagination kept it from becoming my nightmare.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Revising in Hell

I revise my novel using a pickax, then realize that what I really needed was a shovel.
So this is hell.