Tues. March 26, 2019: WGA & Writing Intensity & Creative Vampires

Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde

Only a few more days until Mercury goes direct. The last week of it is always difficult for me. I’m just trying to keep my head down and keep going.

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to read my essay on how the wonderful book SCRATCH, essays and interviews where writers talk about money, had a strong impace.

If you ever dream of writing for film or television, I hope you’ve kept up with how the WGA is fighting to make sure agents avoid conflicts of interest with their “packaging”. I’ve always hated it. Michael Ovitz talks about how he came up with the idea in his memoir. Agents are supposed to represent their clients, not act like additional producers. If they want to produce and create art, then they should switch jobs. But representing both sides of a negotiation — no. We’ll never know how many mediocre projects could have been stellar if the best people for the job had been hired instead of the project “packaged.” There’s a balanced post with both sides of the argument here. I’m also sharing a post by David Simon, who created Homicide: Life on the Streets and The Wire, who has a great piece about his personal experience with  the practice here.

Friday was about running errands, getting some writing done, working on books for review, and reading contest entries.

We had some snow on Friday night into Saturday, just enough to look like someone dumped powdered sugar over everything. I wrote in the morning, then we took the recycling in to the dump and ran more errands, then wrote more.

Sunday, more writing. Which was upset by the jackasses using leaf blowers. Leaf blowers should be banned on Sundays. Period. Unless it’s clean up after a hurricane or something.

I took a social media break for most of the weekend. I checked in now and then, mostly due to the Mueller Report. But there were too many early-career writers having the same questions, refusing to do any homework, the same arguments over and over and over again.

Everyone needs to start somewhere, to find community, to find encouragement, to learn. But all this repetition shows that people AREN’T learning from each other or researching answers. They can’t be bothered. They’re too in love with the sound of their own tweets, obsessing on how many thousands of followers they can accumulate, or why they lose followers.

But they expect and demand writers with more experience to take away time from their own work to answer questions easily answered by a Google search or by picking up any of the writing magazines. And then, instead of thanking the experienced writer for the time — they start arguing.

Shut the hell up. Say thank you. If you choose not to use the advice, fine. But don’t waste our time and throw our generosity back in our faces by arguing. Every minute spent answering a newbie question is a minute spent away from our own work. Time we can NEVER get back. Most of the time, we are happy to help. Hey, if we can spare someone pain from our own experience, of course we’ll do it. We don’t expect groveling. We don’t expect everything we suggest to work for you. But we expect basic courtesy. Act like the professional you claim you want to grow into. Learn the protocols of your industry, and behave with grace. Because professionals in any industry talk to each other, and remember the asshats. Don’t be a creative vampire.

Sunday into Monday was a challenge. Bad dreams, lonely coyote howls, strange night-calling birds. Awake by 3:30, couldn’t get back to sleep before the alarm went off.

Monday was mostly onsite with a client. A big marketing package I worked on was approved and will now go out. I’m getting us on some additional influencer channels. Meditation group was a much-needed relief.

Monday night was the performance/broadcast of “Horace House Hauntings” in Florida. I look forward to hearing how it went.

Today and tomorrow will be with clients, and then it’s down to another few days of intense writing.

April is going to be a busy month, and I have to work to make sure it’s a good busy.

 

Published in: on March 26, 2019 at 5:32 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 26, 2019: WGA & Writing Intensity & Creative Vampires  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tues. March 5, 2019: Prepping Pitches

Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Dark Moon
Mercury Retrograde

Today is my friend Arlene Kay’s launch of her new book, DEATH BY DOGSHOW, the first in her new series! She’s a wonderful writer, and I’m looking forward to reading it.

Not loving the Mercury Retrograde thing, especially since it covers most of this month.

I ran around a lot on Friday, doing storm prep, errands, laundry, baking, etc. Got some reading done, but not much writing.

Got a new idea during meditation that I’m playing with. Kind of out of my wheelhouse, but it intrigues me. It needs a lot of figuring out before I can write it.

Slept in Saturday and woke to snow. Snowed most of the day. The heavy, wet kind.

I roughed out three pitches for trade journals, and an idea for another article. The latter probably won’t hit where I plan to pitch it. The editor decided she doesn’t like me, and she always rejects my pitches. As much as the call for pitches got me thinking down the road for this particular article, it makes more sense to pitch it elsewhere. Why beat my head against the wall? So I roughed the pitch but I’m re-thinking where it will go.

Got my hotel booked for NECRWA. That’s a relief. There were rumors all the rooms were booked. But I got my confirmation, etc., so I’m all set.

If you’re in the northeast, and interested in my workshop about using wardrobe as a character development tool, information on the conference is here.

Made some notes on the next section of GAMBIT COLONY, then wrote 16 pages. Made some notes on the next radio play, featuring Frieda and Lazarus from “Horace House Hauntings.” I think I’ll put them on a luxury cruise ship across the Atlantic.

Made some notes for the new idea. It pulls at me, but has to be worked around other things.

Read quite a bit. I really enjoy Ed Ifkovic’s mysteries featuring Edna Ferber as a protagonist.

Started watching the 1982 RCS NICHOLAS NICKLEBY starring Roger Rees. I’d seen it on Broadway, and wanted to see the DVD again. It’s quite wonderful and disturbing.

Up early on Sunday. Did some Canaletto research. The books I need for the next steps in my research are all at the MFA’s library in Boston, and can only be used in-house. So I’m going to have to arrange a day to go into Boston and spend the day researching in the library. Not sure when that will happen.

Read a few more essays in SCRATCH. It really is a wonderful book.

Worked on polishing the trade journal pitches and also on notes for an essay I’m going to pitch to some of the writing magazines. As I checked the websites for the first four listings I made, I saw that the first one has changed their formatting a bit, but the slant I put on my pitch will still probably work; the second has gone out of business since listed, so I have to figure out where else I can send the pitch; the third no longer uses freelancers and does everything in-house; the fourth, I couldn’t access the guidelines from where I was, but I got them yesterday, and I’m pretty sure I can send them a decent pitch. I do, however, have to scan some article clips and turn them into PDFs to go with the pitches.

The article I had an idea for but don’t think a particular editor will take because she doesn’t like me? I re-framed it, and I have an idea where to pitch it to a higher-paid market. And I made some more notes on the essay.

We had a breath between storms on Sunday. It was nice and sunny. The snow that fell after I shoveled Saturday afternoon melted down, so I didn’t have to shovel again.

I’m reading Andrew Lanh’s mysteries, set n the Vietnamese-American community in Hartford, CT. Very well done. I should have been reading other things, but I was too caught up in the book.

Woke up to slush Monday morning. It had snowed a bit, then rained, so it was a big. slushy mess. Got some writing done, then went to work with a client, ran some errands. I’m with a client again today and tomorrow.

I’ll be working on all the other writing, but my primary focus this week is whipping the article pitches into shape and getting them out. I’ve been derelict about article pitches for months now, and I need to get back into the swing of it. I’m a little worried about sending them out during Mercury Retrograde (one shouldn’t sign contracts during the retrograde), but I also don’t want to put myself back another month, and sending them out now doesn’t mean I’ll get hired during the retrograde.

Back to the page.

 

Published in: on March 5, 2019 at 6:40 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 5, 2019: Prepping Pitches  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thurs. Feb. 21, 2019: Developing the Monologues

Thursday, February 21, 2019
Waning Moon
Sleeting and cold

Hop over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest post.

Had a decent writing day yesterday, and a good session onsite with a client.

Got out the comic ghost story radio play (numbered draft), along with some other paperwork for them. Waiting to hear back from that company on a few different things, including my contract.

The weather was turning, so I came home after the client session, and worked on contest entries.

SCRATCH, the book about writers and money, is really wonderful. And the experiences can be applied across disciplines in the arts. Someone on social media couldn’t understand how a book about writing could apply to any other art. If everything has to be spelled out directly in your own reference, how can you possibly create art? Art is about going beyond the expected, and knowing how to make connections beyond the obvious.

Also reading A PARIS ALL YOUR OWN, edited by Eleanor Brown, which is a wonderful anthology of writers and their experiences in Paris. It also lists their books. Some of them I’ve read; many I haven’t.

I’m also determined to track down a book by Jeannie Moon. She was disparaged by a person calling herself an author who said that a romance novel where the woman is ten years older than the man is “gross.” How sexist and ageist is that? So now I’m determined to read the book.

Between the lists of Parisian books and Jeannie Moon’s book and recommendations from the post on A Biblio Paradise’s Reader Expansion Challenge, I have a wealth of choices for the next challenge!

Did some work on Gambit Colony.

Watched HIDDEN FIGURES. What a beautiful, beautiful movie! Made me both laugh and cry. I can’t believe it took me so long to sit down and watch it.

Worked on the monologues.

I planned to test one or two of them last night, but decided not to because of the weather. Of course, then the weather didn’t get bad until later, but it would have been a challenge to get home.

Public reading is not something I can do off the cuff. I write for performers; I am not one. But, of course, a professional writer has to give readings. It’s even more layered when it’s from a stage piece that I have no intention of professionally performing — the actors cast will perform it.

However, the monologues from WOMEN WITH AN EDGE have served me well over the years — both in the professional productions where actors have performed the monologues, and in readings all over the world, both live and on radio. Those monologues have been around and performed since the mid 1990’s. The evergreen ones can be called up and spoken/read at the drop of a hat.

I need to test the monologues I’m creating for WOMEN WITH AN EDGE RESIST. At some point, when I have a batch of them, I might call upon some local actors to come over for a session and read. Or hire a rehearsal studio for a few hours, where we can read. Maybe hire a space over at Cape Space.

But right now, it’s too early in the process. I need to speak them myself and gauge a reaction. I need to feel the rhythm in my body in order to revise properly.

When there’s a script with multiple parts, it works better for me to bring in actors and listen to them read. That way, I can feel how individual rhythms develop and make adjustments. (And yes, I’ve often paid actors to come in, sit around a table, and read an early draft of a script).

But with monologues, unless I’m developing a piece with a specific group of actors (which needs time, access to the talent pool, and money), I need to read aloud the initial drafts myself. I need to feel the rhythms in my own body.

After a few drafts of the monologues, then I’ll bring in some actresses, and we’ll work in the room. But I need to test the initial drafts with an audience, once I’ve read them aloud myself a few times. Whenever possible, I also tape the reading, and listen to it for objectivity. I do this when I rehearse readings from my books as well.

By listening, I can figure out rhythm. Where do I need to take a breath? Where can I speed up? Where should I slow down? Is there anything that needs to be cut, because it doesn’t work in the piece?

Anything that is spoken needs to be heard. Simply looking at words on the page isn’t enough. Even when I have enough experience to feel the beats as I write them, I also need to hear them. That’s true of radio, stage, or screenplay. Having actual actors (not just random people) read the words out loud during the development/drafting process makes a huge difference.

Obviously, it was easier to do that in NY than it is here. First, the talent pool is smaller here. Second, even though there are some wildly talented people here, theatre is a “side” not a “priority” and getting people to commit and fulfill that commitment — even for a one-shot reading — is not easy. Anything shiny dangled in front of them will take priority.

It gets frustrating. But it is also vital to the process.

But I can’t just decide at the last minute whether or not I’ll read. I have to feel confident that the draft I have is ready for comment. In other words, it will have gone through several drafts, and I will feel it’s solid enough to have feedback.

Then, I have to rehearse it, so it feels natural when I speak it, and I’ve found its innate rhythm and show it off as best as I, a non-performer, can.

Had I gone last night, I would have read “Smile!” and possible “Emotional Lifting.”
“My Life in Quicksand” is still an unfinished first draft; while I’m having fun with it, it’s nowhere near ready to be read yet. Most likely, I would have just read “Smile!”

I’d rehearsed, to the point where I felt as comfortable as I can feel when reading. Which is “never very.”

But then, I have to gear up myself emotionally. I need the focus of my emotional energy to be set aside for that reading. For several days leading up to a reading date, I pace myself differently, and I store up the necessary energy, so I can tap into it during the reading. I do this when I teach in person, too, or attend a conference.

Even though I wrote during the day. Even though I did client work during the day. I had to pace myself and save myself.

So add in a storm to the mix, snow and sleet, and bad road conditions at night, in an area where people are lousy drivers on a good day — I made the decision the night before, based on the weather forecast that said it would start getting nasty in the late afternoon, not to go.

In other words, that saved emotional energy was then released and dissipated into other projects.

I kept waiting for the storm to start. It didn’t.

Part of me was tempted to just drive to the open mic and read.

Only I’d used up the emotional energy I needed in order to read well on other projects during the day, because I’d made the decision not to read that night. Could I have read?

It would have been flat. It wouldn’t have given the audience something worthy of response, which meant I wouldn’t have gotten what I needed for the next draft.

It was snowing a little after eight, so it was a moot point anyway. I wouldn’t have gotten home until nearly ten (I don’t read and run — I stay for everyone’s work, and then we usually chat).

Have I ever just stepped in and stepped up to an unexpected opportunity? Or a request to fill in for someone who backed out at the last minute?

Of course I have. I’ve done well. Because I dig deeper, making like a hockey player, and use the adrenaline rush. I’m wiped out after, but I can do it.

I can do it not with new material, but because, after all these years, I have a wealth of material and experiences I can use to draw from in a spontaneous talk. It’s been hard-won, but it’s there.

So that was my Wednesday night.

Today, I have lots of admin and LOIs to do, then yoga, then, hopefully, a good afternoon writing and working on contest entries and the book I’m reviewing. I also am prepping for my client meeting tomorrow.

Which means that tomorrow’s post will go up late, probably in the early afternoon.

We have more storms this weekend, so I’ll tuck in to read and write.

 

Published in: on February 21, 2019 at 10:20 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Feb. 21, 2019: Developing the Monologues  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fri. Feb. 15, 2019: Books Make Everything Better

Gwen Finnegan 3B 3D Collage

Friday, February 15, 2019
Waxing Moon
Cloudy and mild

Hop on over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site for my mid-February check-in. I was discouraged, because I felt as though I hadn’t gotten anything done this month, but the list isn’t too bad.

I got the 3D versions of my book covers from my publisher yesterday, and I’m really happy with them. I got them as individual covers and collages. Now I can use them in the marketing campaigns. I have to upload them on all the sites.

Nautical Namaste 2B 3D Collage

Sent off my review, and already have my next assignment, which is kind of cool. I’ll pick it up today. Also downloaded a book as part of the Tor book club, and bought KILL THE FARM BOY, by Kevin Hearne and Delilah S. Dawson.

I’m reading WE SOLD OUR SOULS by Grady Hendrix for the Reader Expansion Challenge. So far, I’m enjoying it. I’m going to recommend it to some of my musician friends. If I can, I’m also going to read the other book recommended to me from this challenge – THE BUS ON THURSDAY by Shirley Barrett.

I’m also reading SCRATCH: WRITERS, MONEY, AND THE ART OF MAKING A LIVING, edited by Manjula Martin. All creatives, not just writers, can get a lot out of this book.

Almost ready to send off the comic ghost story radio play. It took another unfortunate turn, and I had to yank it back. I hope to get it out tomorrow or Tuesday. As soon as that’s done, I’ll start the straw hat comic mystery radio play.

Hint: If you don’t know what the Straw Hat Circuit was, I suggest you look it up! 😉

I have some grocery shopping to do, and this weekend, I’ll start planting the first of the tomatoes inside. Bills to pay, too, although this week and next week are tight, financially.

Which means I damn well better get those article pitches out, too, right?

The Narcissistic Sociopath is making an autocratic power grab by declaring a national emergency. He must be stopped.

Have a great weekend. I’m taking the Monday Presidents’ Day holiday. The #UpbeatAuthors post will be up, but Tuesday’s post may be late.

Today is Nirvana Day in the Buddhist tradition. In honor of that, I will light some joss sticks and do extra meditation sessions. Tuesday is the full moon!

Peace!
Coventina Circle 3B 3D Collage