Thursday, November 4, 2010

NaNoWriMo or How to Embrace Your Masochistic Side

What I'm reading right now: Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien 

There's not a lot for me say here, is there? I mean it's Lord of the ephing Rings: L-O-T-R. My writer friends will be relieved to see that I'm finally taking it on. I admit it--I've never read it. I've only seen the movies is parts. Before you go Orcian on my a** let me say that I'm a late comer to this genre. I've only read a scant number of Fantasy books and although I've come to enjoy it, it's not usually my first choice in pleasure reading. In fact, I feel a little like this is assigned reading. LOTR is referenced so often at writers' conferences and workshops you'd think it was required reading--not just for the conference but for life. I'm finally getting on board if for no other reason than I can say that I've read it. Perhaps it will become pleasure reading.

I hesitate to say that this is what I'm reading now. I have started it mind you, the question is how much I'll read in it this month--see below.


It's November and what does that mean? Thanksgiving, epic college football match-ups (Utah vs. TCU Nov. 6--GO UTES!) and National Novel Writing Month aka NaNoWriMo.

If you're unfamiliar with NaNo the object is to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November, not a word prior to or after. The idea being to lock your inner-editor away for 30 days and allow yourself to simply create with no restrictions. Let the words fall where they may and grammar be damned!  

Back when I was a young writer, okay a younger writer, I decided to try it, just to see if I could do it. I knew very little about writing so I didn't know enough to be scared. That was Nov. 2006 and I did complete it. It is largely a pile of refuse however it did merit me one thing for which I will be forever grateful. On June 10th 2007 I found out about Orson Scott Card's Literary Bootcamp. He was holding it in Salt Lake City that year. The first two days are open to anyone, but after the second night only the 15 Bootcampers whose applications were accepted stayed for an additional four days.

This was a Monday and the application deadline was Friday. I had to have a sample of my work to submit and it had to be the beginning of a story. All I had was my NaNoWriMo story. With no time to come up with anything else, that's what I submitted and it got me in. I remember thinking I would just do the two days and not apply for the bootcamp then I realize all they could do was say "no" so I applied and wouldn't you know it, I got in.

That experience altered the course of my life in a way that I'm forever grateful. Perhaps I'll make that the topic of my next post. For this post however, it's NaNoWriMo.

After completeing it in 2006 I said I would never do it again, at least not blind. If I were to do it again, I'd go in with a plan, an outline. This year, one of my best friends was soliciting someone to do NaNo with her. She and I dragged each other through it back in 2006. I did not intend to, because again, I was blind. Slowly an idea germinated in my grey matter and I toyed with the possibility. I discussed the possibility a bit with my friend Margot (names have not been changed in order to applaud their awesomeness) and I succumbed to her writerly charms.

Chris Baty, the founder of NaNoWriMo, has created a novel writing kit for NaNo called: The No Plot? No Problem! Novel-Writing Kit. It is really well done with all sorts of tracking and rewards and motivations. From that kit I scanned the following. It really sums up the escence of NaNo:

If you'd like a blank one of your own, I'd be glad to send you a digital copy, just LMK.

NaNoWriMo 2006 Winner's Certificate

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wonder Woman Bra

What I'm reading right now: Odd Hours by Dean Koontz 

I've read numerous books by Dean Koontz. He, like Stephen King, has received an unfair assessment by many. They both have been called horror writers. Although they have written in that genre, (Koontz claims to have never written in that genre--that's for another post,) they are both much more than that. Odd Thomas, our hero, is my favorite Koontz character (Jimmy Tock is my favorite narrative). His approach to life and response to his unique gift make him a memorable, if not unlikely, hero. If you need an introduction to Koontz, start with the Odd Thomas series.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. eBay has teamed up with Bling My Bra dot Org to raise funds for the  Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation. Here's the basic idea. Aquire a bra, either by generous donation or purchase, add some bling, and send it to Bling My Bra. They will list it on eBay and donate whatever they raise. You can get full instructions for bra blinging and submissions here.

I have participated in this fabulous event. You can see my bra donation here, and included some pics below. I attached each of the gold and silver studs individually and the stars are sewn on by hand. Why a Wonder Woman theme? Because every woman who battles cancer is a Wonder Woman:

I put a lot of long hours and love into this bra and I'll tell you, it feels great to take part in such a great cause (or two as the case may be). So what are you waiting for? Go check out my listing (and I guess you can look at the other bras, too).

Place a Bid
Win a Bra
Save a Life

Monday, October 18, 2010

Prescriptive vs. Descriptive Revisited

What I'm reading right now: Odd Hours by Dean Koontz 

I've read numerous books by Dean Koontz. He, like Stephen King, has received an unfair assessment by many. They both have been called horror writers. Although they have written in that genre, (Koontz claims to have never written in that genre--that's for another post,) they are both much more than that. Odd Thomas, our hero, is my favorite Koontz character (Jimmy Tock is my favorite narrative). His approach to life and response to his unique gift make him a memorable, if not unlikely, hero. If you need an introduction to Koontz, start with the Odd Thomas series.


Of all the posts I've done here at Confessions of a Logophiliac (I know--oh so many! {insert sarcasm here}) none has received more anonymous comments than the one I did about a year ago on Prescriptive language vs. Descriptive language.

Recently I came across a similar, though much more indepth post on Dan Wells's site called A rilly good blog post. I completely and totally unabashedly loved this post--loved loved loved (waving my nerd flag here). You can go to the link or, for your convenience, I've reposted it below.


I live in Utah, and in Utah, as in every region of every country on Earth, we have a regional accent. That’s kind of the way languages work: there is a single, overarching language (such as English), and then each area that speaks it will develop, through usage, different ways of pronouncing certain words, different ways of using certain words, and sometimes entirely different words. A native English speaker from Texas will sound different from a native English speaker from New York, or Boston, or Alabama, or Minnesota, or wherever. These smaller groups of linguistic differences are called dialects, and these can be broken down into even smaller groups, all the way down to an ideolect, which is the specific version of a language spoken by a single individual. There are many people who share your dialect, but you are the only person in the world who speaks your ideolect. The technical term for this uniqueness is called “being a precious snowflake.”

Spanish is a great example. Assume that a single, “correct” version of Spanish exists (it doesn’t, but assume it for the sake of this explanation); each country speaks a slightly different subset of this uber-Spanish, and each region of those countries speaks a different version of their nation-Spanish, and each city speaks a different version of their regional-Spanish, and so on. In Spain they pronounce the z as a th, whereas the rest of the Spanish speaking world pronounces it as an s, which is why everyone makes fun of Spaniards for lisping. In Mexico they have a lot of regional dialects: in the south, in Chiapas, they have a lilting, kind of sing-song quality to their sentences, thus changing the tone of the language; in the north, in Chihuahua, they pronounce the ch as sh (as in “Shihuahua”), thus changing the phonemes of the language; in the middle of the country (I forfeit [sic] the exact region), they use the word “buscar” to mean both “to look for” and “to find,” thus changing the vocabulary of the language. And those are only a tiny handful of examples.

Each new generation learns to speak their language the same way their parents speak it, while also adding new variations of their own, which both perpetuates the dialectal differences and creates new ones, thus drawing the dialect even further from the hypothetical uber-language it descended from. This can eventually create an all-new language—Spanish descended from Latin via this exact process, as did French, Italian, Portuguese, and others. This is why it’s not only impossible but ridiculous to tell someone from Chihuahua that they’re saying the ch sound wrong because it differs from “real” Spanish—you might just as well say that the entire Spanish-speaking world is wrong because their language differs from “real” Latin. For that matter, you might just as well tell a sparrow his biology is wrong because it differs from the standard dinosaur template his biology is descended from. Things change, and we have to deal with it. That’s why most linguists just look at France’s attempts to legislate their language and laugh.

A great modern example is the word “hopefully,” which used to mean “in a hopeful manner” but now means “I hope.” This modern definition breaks ever grammatical rule we have in English, and yet it is still “correct” because that is how everyone uses it, and usage creates correctness, not the other way around. There’s actually two schools of thought on this, called prescriptive (linguistic rules should prescribe the way people speak) and descriptive (language rules should describe the way people speak). I obviously fall into the latter camp, but there are an astonishing amount of gray areas and exceptions and corner cases in the issue. If I decide that “shnoogenblat” means “blue,” am I wrong? Not within my own ideolect, but no one else will understand me. What if a whole city starts using it? What if a whole nation does it? At what point does it become correct, and is there a point in the middle where it’s still not correct but isn’t really incorrect, either? If everyone in the whole country uses the word “ain’t” instead of “isn’t,” is it still wrong? Who decides? How does a proofreader know when to correct them? What does it mean, if anything, that my spellchecker not only accepted the word “ain’t” but actually suggested it when I wrote a-i-n? Even the modern definition of “hopefully,” so commonly used that most people don’t realize it used to mean anything else, is painful to allegedly-descriptive ears. I’ve forced myself to stop correcting people when they use it, but I haven’t yet been able to say it myself.

So anyway, I was talking about the Utah accent. I find this stuff fascinating so I get off on a lot of tangents. Anyway. One of the things we do in Utah is shorten our vowels, for example turning ee into i, and the ay into eh. “I got a rilly good dill on some still-belted tires. They were on sell.” We also drop the Ts from a lot of words, replacing them with glottal stops so that the word “button” turns into “bu’un”, and “mountain” turns into “mou’un.” Most regions of American English drop the Ts from these kinds of words, but it can get really exaggerated here: “I was si’in on the mou’un at Brigh’in, ge’in ready to ski.”

The thing I love about Utah, though, is that people think our accent sounds irredeemably hickish. People in Boston pahk their cahs, dropping their Rs all over the place, but that’s okay because they’re from Boston; people in the south are happy to git somethin done fer ya, but that’s okay because they’re from the south. I knew a guy from New York who named his son Don and his daughter Dawn, and he pronounced them completely differently. I knew another guy from Louisiana who explained that “yall” meant “several of you” and “all yall” meant “all of you.” These are accepted, even “cool” accents and dialects that most people hear without even thinking about, and have no problem understanding or accepting. Tell someone their tell light is out on their car, though, and suddenly you’re a backwoods yokel who doesn’t know how to talk.

Which is not to say that I’m any more accepting of dialectal differences than anyone else. My wife is from Wyoming, where “to be” is a fully optional verb (“The car needs moved”), and I make fun of her and her family all the time. And it still gives me a jarring, ear-gouging headache when people itch something instead of scratching it, or ask me to borrow them some money. I’m a descriptivist, but I also have a degree in editing, and so help me if you say something “wrong” I will love the opportunity to get all up in your face over it. I appreciate, support, and vehemently the defend the concept of linguistic change, but I still love telling people they’re wrong. I guess in the end it’s like freedom of speech: “I do not agree with what you say, sir, but I will defend to the death your right to say it incorrectly.”

Friday, October 1, 2010

Banned Books Week & SPEAK

What I'm reading right now: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson 

Here is another one where I cheated. I'm not actually reading it now; I've finished it. However, it is particularly relevant this week, being Banned Books Week. It was the focus of Wesley Scroggins, an associate professor of management at Missouri State Univeristy, who considers the book to be pornographic and as such wants it pulled from school libraries and curriculums.

I first read the book after a recommendation from James Dashner, author of the Maze Runner. I found the book to be poignant and honest. Something I never could have written. The subject matter aside, try writing a novel where, for the majority of the book, the protagonist has little to no dialogue. Speak: an impressive novel by a skilled writer.

I found the following from the blogulator dot com:

Laurie Halse Anderson is considered one of the most formidable talents in children's literature. Popular with teens, teachers, librarians, and booksellers (and, one would imagine, her publisher), Anderson debuted with Speak, a grim, sad, but redemptive novel about a young woman who is slowly coming to terms with having been raped. Speak won the Michael L. Printz award, a coveted YA prize, and was a New York Times bestseller (. . . Kristen Stewart starred in the 2004 indie film based on the novel). Naturally Speak garnered negative attention as well, from potentially well-meaning but ultimately misguided folks who, confusing "protecting the children" with "censorship", tried to have the book removed from public libraries, especially those in schools.

I don't know a single author who can abide censorship. Anderson herself wrote, "[C]ensoring books that deal with difficult, adolescent issues does not protect anybody. Quite the opposite. It leaves kids in the darkness and makes them vulnerable. Censorship is the child of fear and the father of ignorance. Our children cannot afford to have the truth of the world withheld from them."

 You'll want to read Ms. Anderson's own blog about it here and here.

That second link contains a link to the Springfield, Missouri paper (who ran Scroggins's story) and also ran a rebuttal from Ms. Anderson, where she said the following:

 According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 44 percent of rape victims are under age 18 and - shockingly - 15 percent are under the age of 12. Every two minutes, someone in our country in sexually assaulted.

Our teens need us to be honest with them about the harsh realities of life. Knowledge protects them. Truth gives them power. I have heard from thousands and thousands of readers who feel that this book saved their lives. It gave them permission to speak up about a terrible thing that happened to them. This book gave them hope.

That's why it is taught all over America. Some districts feel it is appropriate for 12th graders. Others teach it in seventh grade. It is taught by priests in Catholic boys' schools and by college professors preparing teachers to connect with their future students.

If you use Scroggins' technique of cherry-picking lines from books, you can falsely accuse any story of just about anything you want. That is a destructive and shameful practice.

Some of these and other great links regarding Banned Book Week can be found at the Dystel & Goderich Literary Management blog.
Now, instead of just reiterating stuff that I think is important and just plain cool, how about an original thought?
Along this same theme, the laudible folks at have documented more than 1,000 books that have been banned or challenged at U.S. schools and libraries since it was first launched in 1982. To illustrate the geographic distribution of these book bans and challenges, they’ve created a Google Map documenting the location of books that have been impacted over the last three years:

Here comes my original thought. Judging by this map, there appears to be three states who did not report an attempt to ban or challenge a book: Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah--my own Utah. Why do suppose that is? Are we really that much against censorship? Do we really embrace the idea that values and mores are taught by parents and we should talk about important issues with our kids and thus make our own decisions rather than foist them upon others? Or are we oblivious to the whole thing?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I'm Not Bitter

What I'm reading right now: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins 

Okay, who am I kidding? Like any fan of The Hunger Games I pre-ordered the book and finished it pretty quickly. I know there were those who felt the third book was "disappointing" but I imagine they felt that way because it didn't end as they hoped or though it might. I was not disappointed.

The great thing about fiction is you can do anything you want, provided you justify it. I thought Ms. Collins justified everything she did. I found the series to be quite satisfying. If you don't know what I'm talking about, then 1) shame on you and 2) get on board--it's not too late!

As a side note, this past weekend I attended the League of Utah Writers' annual conference. At these conferences, presenters often reference either Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings to illustrate a point. Since I have read neither, sometimes the example is lost on me (although I can usually surmise the point.) This time reference was made to The Hunger Games and I was able to contribute.


As mentioned above, I attended the League of Utah Writers' annual conference, called Round Up. I don't know where that title came from, but I'd be up for changing it, if I have a vote. Anyway, The keynote speaker at the dinner/awards banquet on the last night was Anita Stansfield.

As part of her address, she mentioned a study she had once read (I Googled to find this study, but my Google ninja skills failed me. I got the impression this was in some univeristy journal or the like.) In the study, they did a comparison of musicians. Group 1, musicians deemed successful by their peers and society in general. Group 2, musicians not deemed successful, but who felt they should be considered so and were "bitter" about the disparity.  

The study found that the members of Group 2 (the bitter group) had devoted approximately 5,000 hours to their craft. Those of Group 1 (the successful ones) had devoted . . . wait for it . . .

70,000 hours to their craft.

Drawing my own conclusions, do you suppose the members of Group 1 were more talented than Group 2? There may have been a few prodigies, but the numbers suggest that talent was likely equally distributed; it was hard work that differentiated the two groups.

I've mentioned this quote before, it's one of my favorites from Stephen King:

Talent is as ubiquituous as table salt. What separates the talented writer from the successful one is a lot of hard work.

As I reflected on Ms. Stansfield's address, I realized that I don't even work hard enough to be bitter. I have new resolve to, at the very least, become bitter (not really but you get what I mean) on my way to successful. Here's hoping I sustain it.

In addition to that, it was a great weekend. I got to hang out with my writer friends, read to each other from our works, learned a few things, and shmoozed with published authors like James Dashner (he's so awesome to allow a plebian like myself to hang with him.) Speaking of published authors, Elana Johnson gave two fantastic workshops and I got to rub shoulders (literally) with her as she cut in line in front of me at the buffet table because she forgot the ranch dressing for her salad. I told her I would explain it to people just like this!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The First 13 Lines

What I'm reading right now: Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby 


If you came here via Facebook, thank you. If you otherwise found your way here, thank you. Please take a couple of minutes and read the following thirteen lines, then leave a comment. I'm grateful for any feedback you leave, but mostly I want to know if after reading these 13 lines, do you want to read more? Don't be shy, tell it to me like it is.


Rayne felt cold, despite the bed’s warmth. Next to him, Aebigal shifted her body, again. Great with child, she struggled to find a position wherein she could sleep. He hadn’t wanted to stop, not even for one night, certain the duke’s men would converge on them at every bend in the road. Weariness besieged them, more so his pregnant wife. He’d known Aebigal needed rest, although she would never have said so.

Their main encampment lay two days out. He’d taken a great risk returning to their abandoned homestead, but other than the cold stone of the catacombs, there was nothing else nearby. One night, then they would push through until they rejoined the rebellion.

He stared at the crossbeams. With an absence of regular upkeep, sections of the roof showed signs of thinning. Even now, the wind desired to penetrate and invade their sanctuary. He longed for a time when his greatest concern was patching the roof. With the stores full of blessed wheat and the bellies of his people satiated with enchanted bread, Duke Kiergaard’s allegiance spell no longer enslaved the people.
Again, my sincere thanks.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

2nd Annual Writers' Cramp Retreat - Part 2

What I'm reading right now: Odd Hours by Dean Koontz 

In my previous post, I mentioned a bit about Dean Koontz and Stephen King. I was reminded of a quote by SK today and thought I'd share:

Talent is cheaper than table salt.
What separates the talented individual
from the successful one is a lot of hard work.


In the previous post I explained how my writers' group went on our own retreat/workshop weekend. This is a continuation of those three days.

Part 4 - You mean agents don't come to my door asking for my manuscript?

Margot led the group in a terrific workshop on writing query letters. She gleaned and culled this information from a workshop that Elana Johnson presented as LDStorymakers 2010. Brave and forthwrite, Margot offered up the original version of her query letter that she'd presented to Elana at LDStorymakers. She read it, with all of Elana's comments included. Then, she gave us a revision, and finally the final draft. We compared all three and I was amazed out how much better we can make a query letter (or a draft of any written work) even after it's already pretty darn good.

Part 5 - Open Mic

The standard operating procedure of our writers' group is for each member to bring about 5 pages each week. We say about 5 pages because if you've got a scene that runs 7 pages, we'd rather get the entire scene than have it split up. You make copies of your five pages for everyone else. At the end of the night, we gather the pages and take them home to critique them. What this equates to, is in addition to preparing your 5 pages for the following week, you also read and critique 40-50 other pages. At the meeting, we then go around the room and take 2-3 minutes giving our feedback--both things we loved and things we thought could be improved.

At this retreat, we wanted to give an opportunity for each of us to read our work aloud and then talk about it together. It's great to hear the author read his/her work. It is also beneficial to read your own work aloud from an editing aspect. You'll find things you otherwise missed or the fix for that troublesome scene will suddenly present. Someday each of us will do readings while on our book tours. These are some pictures I took during open mic:

Part 6 - Special Agent

Toward the end of the retreat, we were lucky enough to receive a special guest. Art and Margot have a long time friend, Shaughn. Shaughn is an FBI agent. For several hours we sat in rapt attention as he answered our questions about his work (those that he could talk about anyway) and shared stories from his adventures. This guy is the real deal. Action, intrigue, espionage, terrorism, life and death--he has lived it. Edmund Burke is credited with a well known phrase regarding "good men." Shaunghn is one of them.

If possible we would have let him go on all night. Just when we thought it couldn't get any better, we were favored to hear one of his original short stories--and it rocked! We all loved it and talked about it again and again for the remainder of the retreat. There are scenes from that story that still linger in my head.

I first met Shaughn a couple years earlier at a similar event. He shared an experience with us then that I later used as the basis of my own short story. The highlight of the weekend for me was reading to him the story that he inspired.

When Shaughn arrived at our little retreat, he and Art unexpectedly came through the door. I am the  unofficial/official photographer and documenter of our retreat, but I did not have my camera at the ready {fail}. I leapt for it in the hopes of recording this joyful reunion between old friends, alas, all I got was this:


I'll take what I can get.

Part 7 - I can't sing

Toward the end of the weekend, we had a special treat. Both Margot and Rose brought their husbands along, Art and Nefi, respectively. To that point they had both been great company as well as fantastic enablers. They both took on a lot of the non-writer responsibilities so we could focus on the written word. This included driving us down there, cooking and clean up, plus witty repartée. This night, though, we got a special treat. Art presented a workshop on the similarities of sing and writing. He shared his journey of song and how he eventually joined the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. One thing he pointed out is the learning process in both disciplines and how constructive feedback is critical to improvement and deconstructive critisim can kill the dream. He punctuated his comments by singing to further illustrate his point then wrapped  it all up with a short performance. You would do well to acquaint yourself with the Hovelys.

I love that one of Margot. I watched her watching her husband sing and the look on her face was one of pure love and admiration. Further proof that chicks dig musicians/rockstars.

Part 8 - The Papparazzi

Since I'm a bit of a camera fiend, or camera-o-phile, I spent a good deal of time wielding the lens to catch candid shots as well as document the events. For the sake of fun, here are the candids:

Part 9 - The Broken Glass: Non-sequitor
On day one, when we were just getting settled into the condo, we heard the clink-clink of a glass bouncing on the tile floor. This glass bounced at least 8 times. Each time it hit the floor we expected it to break. Each time it didn't, we thought that one of us would catch it. We didn't. It finally broke. These are the pieces:

How does this relate to writing or our weekend? I don't know. I said it was a non-sequitor. Maybe you can come up with an analogy and post it in the comments.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

2nd Annual Writers' Cramp Retreat - Part 1

What I'm reading right now: Odd Hours by Dean Koontz 

I've read numerous books by Dean Koontz. He, like Stephen King, have received an unfair assessment by many. They both have been called horror writers. Although they have written in that genre, (Koontz claims to have never written in that genre--that's for another post,) they are both much more than that. Odd Thomas, our hero protagonist, is my favorite Koontz character. His approach to life and response to his unique gift make him a memorable, if not unlikely, hero. If you need an introduction to Koontz, start with the Odd Thomas series.


The 2nd Annual Writers' Cramp Retreat

About four years ago, I decided to look into the craft of writing. One of the first things I did was join the League of Utah Writers. I'd taken a couple of writing classes through the Continuing Education courses offered by Davis County. The classes were taught by Adam Olsen who, at the time, was the President of the Bountiful chapter of the League of Utah Writers.

I started attending the monthly meetings held at the Bountiful Davis Art Center. As luck would have it, or perhaps providence, a local writers' group was looking for some new blood. They'd lost a few of their regular attendees, so they sent an email to the League, who forwarded it on. I received this email and decided to take a chance. In retrospect I realize how fortunate I was then. I had little to offer in the way of experience, other than a few short pieces and a desire to know more. They tenatively listened to what I had to offer and gave me a chance to contribute to their little group, The Writers' Cramp.

For over four years now (hard to believe it's been that long already) my Thursday nights have been wonderfully occupied. This month, June 11-13 we held our second annual Cramp retreat. This one was in St. George. It was a fabulous three days.

Each member of the group (we are up to 9 now--although a few couldn't make the trip {sad face}) came prepared with a workshop to present as well as a few activities that only writer nerds like ourselves could enjoy.

We knew we were in the right place when we found this:

Part 1 - The Food

The first matter of business was to shop for food. We had delicious homemade meals, including to-die-for Rosemary Peasant bread, as well some great treats:

Part 2 - Guess Who

Our first activity was to present pictures of each others' characters and see if everyone could guess the character. Some were of known actors others were not. We had a great time presenting our idea of each others' characters. Now, you might ask, what sort of writing value is there in that? We've been together long enough that we know each others' main characters so well that we have our own idea of what they look like. The cool thing is these ideas are not so much based on physical characteristics as described by the author, but behaviors, attitudes, and motivations. It was interesting to see how similar many of the images we each had were--indicating the impression each character had made on us and thus highlighting the talents of the writer. Here are some pictures:

Part 2 - Stephen King

Workshops: I presented a workshop on Building a Character Bible. This was originally done by Scott Savage at the 2010 LDStorymakers conference. He graciously sent out the presentation to anyone who asked. Another workshop was done on Stephen King's On Writing. Prior to reading On Writing, I'd read two other SK novels, and that was many years ago (Thinner and The Eyes of the Dragon.) After reading On Writing, I realized how talented SK is as a writer. He is so much more than I ever realized.

Cory presented this workshop and shared some of her favorite insights from On Writing. We all got comment on what she presented then, we each went around the room and talked about the scenes that each other had written that just grabbed us and never let go. How amazing it was to hear other writers talk about the different scenes, and aspects of my writing that led to those scenes, that struck a chord with them, that resonated with them, I can't begin to express. I also appreciated the chance to directly tell these other writers/friends how much I admire their work. Here's a few shots from that session:

Part 3 - A peasant king, a gifted prescient youth, and a vampire hunter all walk into a bar...

At what may be considered our pinnacle of nerdiness, was the Character Draw. We each selected three of our own characters, wrote them down on slips of paper, and dropped them into a hat. Then, we each drew three characters out of the hat, the only caveate being we could not have our own character. Based on these three characters, we had to create a story. Again, you may ask what value would this exercise hold? Well, we couldn't just write a story with that character's name, the story had to stay true to the character's profile, attitudes, and backstory, yet we had to weave them together in some sort of coherent tale. I think this takes tremendous understanding of character development and creativity. We drew the names on Saturday night, just before bed, then had a couple of hours the next morning to compose.

These pictures are us preparing, then reacting, to the crazy and exciting tales our own characters endured.

As indicated in the title of this post, this is but one of two parts; come back soon, more greatness awaits.


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