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Friday, June 27, 2008

Weekly Writing Prompt 6/27

While I'm quite certain you've all been busily writing despite a couple of prompt-free weeks, I'm going to throw you something new just to keep those fires stoked *S*

Sometimes the more specific a prompt is, the easier it is to write with/about. But I'm actually a fan of the generalized prompt. I like an idea I can turn over in my mind, something I can stew over for a while. So that's what this week will be, one of the classic, one-word prompt weeks. In this exercise, I give you one word and from it you build a scene, a poem, a short story, a haiku - whatever gets your pen moving across the paper. Follow the idea wherever your mind takes you. Use characters from your work in progress, characters created for the exercise, or whatever adds variety to your chosen medium, ok? Okay.

This week's word is: burned.

Got it? Good. Now get writing!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Quote of the Week

Ginger's traveling, so I thought I'd drop in for this week's quote. I have two:

"Come on baby, light my fire." The Doors

"Just Do It." Nike

Monday, June 23, 2008

Heat

Last week I moved to Burbank, California, which is nestled in the Valley, the hottest part of Los Angeles County. Right now we're having a heat wave of temperatures over 100 degrees.

There's a tendency to slow down when it gets this hot, to sprawl out with a mint julep and five air conditioners pointed right at you. But I think there's a way to cultivate heat and use it to our advantage.

What if we internalized that heat and used it to build a fire from which all of our creative energy flows? Imagine a pan filled with all of your favorite vegetables. It's not until the heat is applied that it becomes a sizzling masterpiece.

Instead of the lazy hazy days of summer, let's use the heat to fire up our writing. If you find yourself sitting on your couch, complaining that it's too hot to move, try this little exercise:

Close your eyes.
Picture a banked fire in the pit of your belly.
Inhale deep for at least five counts.
Exhale slow for another five counts. As you exhale, imagine your breath stoking the fire in your belly.
With each exhale the fire grows a little bigger, the flames lick out to other parts of your body.
When the flames reach your fingertips, pick up your pen or touch your keyboard.
Then let the fire spill out of your body and onto the page.

At the end of your writing session, reward yourself with a mint julep. Happy Midsummer, everyone!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The value of connections

This has been a busy week for our FTP peeps. Ginger and I were in New York visiting Jen, Nicole's got a show and a move, Barb's relocating, and Linda's on vacation. Whew! No wonder I heard crickets when I came over here!

And about connections...it's been a pretty good week. Ginger and I attended the LIRW luncheon last Friday. Since Jen is a member of LIRW, she helped with the seating arrangements. I asked if we could sit with Janet Reid, an agent with Fine Print. I had seen Janet at the Surrey Conference last year, and was told she had a sense of humor. I'm all about the funny. So we talk, we schmooze, we pitch, we collect cards, and we imbibe some fab champagne punch. Then we sit at our table. Jen introduces Ginger and I as guests, and explains where we're from. Janet then asks more specific questions about where I live. After a bit of back and forth, turns out Janet lived in the same town I did. And almost on the same street. We went to the same college, know the same people...the list goes on. It was an instant connection. Ginger, Jen and I were amazed. It was one of those golden moments when everyone is smart, everything is funny, and every quip leads to another one just as hilarious.

We laughed ourselves silly, but the luncheon came to an end. Then, as we were saying our goodbyes, Janet asks if we want to come to a book signing in the city that night. Just a little one, but there'll be a toasting afterward, since this author is going to debut at #1 on the NYT Bestseller list next week. Do we? Uhhh, yeah!

I'll let Jen or Ginger talk about the signing and party. The gist here, and this was mentioned by Janet many times, is that the writing world is a small community, and connections can make you. Even if Janet doesn't remember us, we'll have something to talk to her about when we see her again, or when we send her a query. I made a new connection with Janet, and refreshed older connections with Jen and Ginger. Like I said, it's been a good week.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Ask The Agent

FYI - My agent, Elaine Spencer from The Knight Agency is answering questions every Friday in an Ask the Agent feature on Kwana Jackson's blog. Go check it out!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Quote of the Week

To write something, you have to risk making a fool of yourself.

~Anne Rice

Monday, June 02, 2008

Do they make Neosporin for this?

I’ve reached a milestone in my writing career (and don’t think that the phrase ‘writing career’ doesn’t make me giggle). I am almost ready to submit my first novel to agents. I have a query letter or three ready to go, and 252 pages of a twice-edited manuscript – 84,658 words that I’m sure will dazzle.

Now what?

I remember the first time I posted a snippet of my writing for critique. I actually felt nauseous. I was a mess. I mean, to open myself up to that kind of criticism…what could I possibly have been thinking? But once those first crits came in, both good and bad, I was able to stop popping antacids like breath mints. It was similar to taking off a band-aid, and it did get easier each time I did it. I hardly ever have to throw up now.

So here I am facing my first real world band-aid. This time I’m going to send my work to a professional in the publishing business. Will it be good enough? Will I stack up rejections as every author does? Is there a market for it? Does it re-define suckiness?

I’ll never know until I hit the ‘send’ button.

Tell us your story, good or bad, about ripping off the band-aid. Sharing your work for the first time. Querying agents. Submitting story changes to editors. It can be any challenge that you faced and conquered, even if the end result wasn’t exactly what you planned.

I hope my band-aid only stings a little. :-)