Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Pinnacle of Weirdness

Wow, the pinnacle of weirdness.

I've finally reached it. I just finished reading a story titled "Pornucopia" by Piers Anthony. I'm a decent PA fan and like to read his stories that are more on the science fiction edge.

Let me see if I can give a brief synopsis without exceeding the limits of decency. In this story, a man is on the beach, sometime in the future, when he is approached (in daylight) by a Succubus. The Succubus soon discovers a stenchy cheese-like substance produced by the man's uncircumcised, and unwashed phallus. She also discovers this substance to have some "medicinal" properties.

Soon after, the man is introduced to some kind of demon doctor who steals his penis for her scientific research. This sets the man off on a quest to get his member back. He is, of course, fitted with a prosthetic by the doctor's twin sister. He spends the next one hundred pages or so duelling demons to the death through fornication until he finds what he is looking for - on the top of Ice Cream mountain (in some parallel universe). I must add that his prosthetic was just a stump or connection point. The doctor also gives him a plethora of attachments; each one useful for some particular demon.

Why am I espousing all this information? Reading this story made me feel so much better about myself. I mean, I put out some pretty weird stuff (according to family, friends, and associates) but I now believe that I have not even scratched the surface of weirdness. If this story is marketable, my erotic crime suspense story of a succubus being hunted by a police detective only to find out he is a werewolf when she tries to take his life force through intercourse - is within the realm of normality.

I must say, even though this story strectches the limits of imagination, dignity, and decency, it was still written in a way that I found appealing enough to continue reading to the end. I just found myself stopping often to utter, "WTF" outloud.

Nothing like a story of ultimate weirdness to spur me on to more confident writing of my, not-so-weird-after-all, story.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

My First

Aah, rejection.

Such bittersweet sorrow.

Yes folks, I've made my first actual submission for paid publication ever. And now, I can say I've gotten my very first rejection.

I am encouraged because I was able to achieve rejection in the form of a personal letter on my first try. My submission was for a speculative fiction piece. At only 739 words, it is considered flash fiction. Of course, I continue to work on longer projects but my creativity stretches the bounds of genre. I am currently working on a project in the mystery/crime/amateur sleuth, science fiction, and paranormal crime erotic romance genres.

Here's what the editor wrote to me:

I'm not going to buy this story, but I wanted to write to encourage you that it has promise. You'd be surprised at how infrequently we get stories that try to say anything, that have any real emotional and moral reality. And I'm not saying -- be sure you don't mistake me -- that the way to move forward is to write a bunch of preachy, emotionally laden garbage, saying what you think are the right things, voicing what you think are the right objections. That stuff is worse than the stuff that attempts nothing and so fails at nothing.

No, you've written a thoughtful piece that dares to actually be thoughtful. There is far too little of that kind of writing. So please keep at it, and keep approaching it with this kind of thoughtfulness, this kind of intention. If you keep at it you can't fail. Although fame and money may not be immediately forthcoming.
I'm not exactly sure what to make of some of what is written, this being my first rejection and all. Maybe some of you can comment on this and give me your thoughts about what was written.

I cannot post the actual piece that I sent in because I've already submitted it to another market. But, I will surely post the short in its entirety if it cannot be sold.

I do believe that I should consider myself lucky to have recieved such a nice rejection letter given the really crappy query letter I sent, as shown below:

I would like to submit my 739 word story *title removed* to *market removed.* I've been writing most of my life, but this is my first submission -- ever. I'm not in it for the money, but must admit, fame is certainly appealing. I can submit an author bio upon request. Thank you for your consideration.
Ya, maybe some of you could post comments on how I can improve my query-writing as well.

Anyway, this first submission begins my journey into the world of professional writing and publication.

Monday, June 21, 2010

E-Reader Mania

Sorry for the scarce posts folks. I received a Nook e-reader for Father's Day and am happily engrosed in e-book reading nirvana now. All I can say is: so far, I love it.

I know this is an extremely short post, but I've got reading to get back to!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Daleville Dan - Southern Discovery

Forensic archeologists recently discovered copper cables buried ten feet below the surface of the ground in upstate New York. They stated that the discovery led them to assume that New York had a complete, if not functional, telephonic communication system more than a hundred years ago.

Daleville Dan folded his local newspaper and read on to the story, continued on page two.

The story continued with a statement from the Ohio geological society on their discovery, just a week after the New York discovery. Geologists in Ohio dug to a depth of nearly twenty feet and discovered not only copper cabling, but wooden fragments believed to be telephone poles. They estimate Ohio may have established an electronic communication system up to two hundred years ago.

"Dang, ain't that a hoot," Dan said to his friend, Bobby Joe.

"Ah heck," Bobby Joe countered. "I'm sure Alabama must be more advanced than those folks."

So, Daleville Dan pulled his shovel out of the shed, declared himself an amateur archeologist, and started digging right in his back yard.

Dan dug for the next two weeks. He dug in the sweltering heat of the summer. He dug through torrential afternoon downpours and through crackling heat lightning.

After two weeks of sweat and swelter, Dan had reached a depth of more than thirty feet. His efforts were not without peril. In his digging, he managed to cut through the city's gas main, his neighbor's cable and the drain field for his home's septic system. Other than that he found nothing. He was elated, and immediately called the local paper and the big television station in Montgomery to reveal his findings to the world.

The next day, Daleville Dan stood proud in front of the massive hole he'd dug. Perplexed news reporters surrounded him with microphone booms extended and cameras rolling.

One reporter started the questioning.

"Daleville Dan," the reporter shouted above the agitated crowd. "You've declared yourself an amateur archeologist and spent the last two weeks digging this hole in your back yard. If you discovered nothing, what could this big announcement possibly be about?"

Daleville Dan stood tall, and swept his eyes over the crowd, taking care to make eye contact with as many reporters as possible. He took a deep breath and waited for the crowd to fall silent.

Finally, he said, "At more than thirty feet below the surface, I found nothing so I must assume that more than three hundred years ago, Alabama had already gone wireless!"

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Movie Theater, Television, or a Good Ol'e Book

I went to a movie theater this weekend to see the movie "Killers" with Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl. The movie was decent, cute, and full of great action and special effects.

But, I'm not really posting a review here. I think it will turn out more like a rant.

What disturbed me about the movie, or theater, or whatever, was that I was made to sit through commercials (for underarm deodorant, among other things) before watching the actual movie.

Hey, I don't mind the little slide show for local businesses or movie trivia on the screen before the movie begins. I don't even mind sitting through twenty minutes of previews for upcoming movies. But, I can't help but wonder, if I wanted to see commercials, couldn't I just have stayed home and watched television and saved myself thirty bucks?

I'm just a little disappointed that, after paying a bunch of money to see something I consider special, I'm made to sit and watch commercials as if I was at home watching television. But hey, on the bright side, at least the movie itself was not interrupted to slide in a commercial. I'm sure that will be coming soon.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Dancing with Myself

Sometimes I talk to myself. But, don't we all? I remember a time long ago when I was much younger. I was at a nightclub in Williamsburg, Virginia. The nightclub was located in, or rather, under a hotel. Willamsburg has a college so, of course, the club was frequented by the local college students. I was not a college student. I was already in the military and doing some special operations training in the local area. I was like a wolf, let loose in the hen house.

But, I digress. Let me get back to the story.

This club, being the local college hangout, had all kinds of nighttime activities. The night I was there, they were having, among other things, a "dancing with myself" contest.

Did I mention that I was young and single during this time?

Of course, Billy idol was very popular at the time and his music got lots of airplay. I knew the song well and, although I will never admit it out loud, I may, or may not have danced to the song by myself more than once.

I won the contest. I suppose I did not win through any great measure of skill or dancing abilities, rather, I likely won because I simply had a greater display of uninhibited foolishness than anyone else there. Unlike many of the students in the club, I would not have to face the people in the bar the next day at class.

The prize was a Billy Idol album (and, yes, I mean album - not cassette or CD) and a certificate awarding the recipient a free dinner for one at a local restaurant.

Now, let me regress from the digression after my first digression.

What I really want to write about here is self or internal dialogue. OK, I suppose I should have titled this post "Talking to Myself" but who wants to read some frippery about self dialogue.

Although something not often discussed, internal dialogue is a very important, but dilute subject for writers. I struggle with just how to show self dialogue, internal dialogue, or even speaking out loud to one self. (Or is it one's self - that's a subject for later) And, by the way, what's the difference between all these methods of self talk.

Every time I think about the subject of self dialogue and internal thought, I imagine the character in that movie. Often, characters (or people) talk to themselves quite differently than they talk to others. It's kind of  a dichotomy of personality. One may put on a brave front for others but show great self-doubt and reservation internally. How do we show something like this as writers of grand stories? Of course, by using internal dialogue and self dialogue.

First, let's distinguish between what is considered internal dialogue, internal thought/self thought, and self dialogue/self talk. These are all forms of dialogue but should be categorized so the proper grammar is used. Using a set of standard grammar rules when expressing self dialogue or internal dialogue helps the reader to better understand what the character of the story is doing or saying.

Internal dialogue is when a character makes a statement within their own head. The key to recognizing internal dialogue is that, even in reading the words, it must be clear that the character does not actually speak out loud.

Self talk, on the other hand, may involve the character actually saying something. Chances are, the character is saying to themselves, but it is still communicated out loud.

So how can we, as writers, properly write internal dialogue and self talk.

If one wants to write internal dialogue (where one talks to them self, but no words are spoken) then it is shown by putting the dialogue in italics. It is still considered acceptable in some circles to use quotations but the standard is quickly moving toward italics alone for internal dialogue.

If one is writing a manuscript, say on an ancient typewriter, and italics are not available, the dialogue phrase should be underlined to designate to the printers the section in italics. Years ago, this was the only way to designate internal dialogue so many writers simply used quotes because one can always find those on even the oldest typewriters. But, now, with the invention of computerized word processing software, one can just insert the italics where needed.

By way of example, here's a fictional statement a character might make:

Easier said than done, Romy thought. I'd like to see him try.

The above phrase works well in italics. Notice that the dialogue tag is not italicized. One issue I've run into using italics to denote internal dialogue is that it limits one's ability to show emphasis using italics. I wrote the above phrase specifically to show this. If I were writing this, I would possibly like to emphasize the word him.

The only way to do this would be to go back to the tried and true quotations to enclose internal dialogue:

"Easier said than done," Romy thought. "I'd like to see him try."

Expressing internal dialogue this way is acceptable but, just remember, your agent, editor, or publisher may prefer you use italics. Also, It's important to stay consistent in writing. Whether you choose to use quotes or italics, you should stick to it throughout the manuscript.

My reason for posting this subject is simply to help others that may have done the same thing I have. I was unsure of these rules and am now struggling through a manuscript, tediously picking out all my changes and re-writing - it's a long and painful process.

Of course self talk is different than internal dialogue. The key word here is talk. Even if no else can here, if your character talks out loud, it should be enclosed in quotes. For instance:

"Easier said than done," Romy mumbled as the screen door slapped against its wooden frame. "I'd like to see you try."

See, wasn't that easy?

I'm reminded of a little saying I once heard. "If a man speaks, and his wife is not there, is he still wrong?"

Remember, If your character speaks out loud, even to themselves, use quotes.

If you are describing thoughts of your characters, use italics preferably, and quotes if needed. Just remember to check with those responsible for publishing your work, and whatever you choose, stay consistent.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Water Works

My Grandson is at that age where he is learning how to use a potty like a big boy. Unfortunely, the only example he has on how to pee standing up is me.

I'm very fortunate to have spend years in the military aviation field where we had numerous unannounced urinalysis testing. I can now pee on request - a great talent with limited application.

Even so, I find it extremely difficult to pee on request while standing next to a small child who is about waist high to me and is curious about EVERYTHING. It is a constant battle of wits and maneuvering - a constant ebb and flow, a start and stop of the action, if you know what I mean.

It seems, we are standing there for a long time before my grandson finally gets the inclination to let it go.

And when he finally does, let it go, I feel like I'm standing next to the Banzai wigglin waterpillar. Maybe if I put some cheerios into the bowl. that might be fun for me too.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Coming Clean

Sounds like a great title for a romance or erotic romance. But, really, I'm going to tell you where I lied in my post of truths and lie a couple days ago.

Some of you guessed correctly.

1.) I once drove my car into a lake while trying to impress a date.

This is true. I was in high school and mad at one girlfriend for one reason or another, so I decided to take another girl out and drive right past the first girl's house. I chose to drive to a cement boat ramp that extended into Kitsap Lake. It was a beautiful spot because, at night, when the air cooled, a fog would build on the lake. If one parked far enough onto the boat ramp (this usually meant the front wheels of the car had to be in the water) the fog would roll up over the car, covering it, and hiding the activities that may or may not be going on inside. Needless to say, it was dark and I was trying to be cool, so I turned my lights off and allowed my car to roll onto the boat ramp. Unfortunately, the large rectangular cement slabs that formed the boat ramp had been removed for some upgrades. The front end of my car plunged directly over the edge and into the water. My date was not impressed. In fact, she became even less impressed when I asked her to get out of the car and sit on the trunk to try and add weight to the rear end. I eventually phoned my Dad to come and pull my car out of the lake. He was kind enough to never tell anyone of the events of that night. Oddly enough that same girl went out with me again. I guess dorkiness was endearing back then.
2.) I've seen evidence of Bigfoot in the Olympic mountains of Washington State.
Also true. Ok, it was never proven that it was actually Bigfoot, but our dogs did go nuts in the area and a specialist was called in to take plaster castings and video footage.

3.) One time, while serving in the military, I was in a flight of helicopters going to a field location when the helicopter in front of us disappeared in a fog bank. We later were told that the helicopter flew into the side of a mountain. I was then sent out to recover the crashed helicopter from a location that was so steep we had to rappel down the mountainside to get to it.

True. I still know some of the folks in the helicopter. Before then, I was involved in a small helicopter crash, but, obviously, survived. I've also been shot at in a helicopter but the thing still managed to make it back to friendly territory. At one time we had nearly three foot of one of our rotor blades completely destroyed. We were more than an hour flight from good-guy land. It was a very rough ride, but we made it. I was also trapped on the ground at one time and ended up in a knife fight with a bad guy. Fortunately for me, I had a handgun - the bad guy lost the fight.

4.) I once lost my own son in New York City. We were all running to get on the train from Long Island into Manhattan. Everyone made the train except our nine year-old son. All we could do is watch in horror as the doors closed and the train pulled away from the station.

Yep, I'm terrible. We had a mix up at the train station in bayside. Hey, don't judge me - we went back and got him!

5.) In 1983 I made a trip to Berlin (at the time, East) Germany. We had a great time in the underground bars. In fact, I had such a good time that I awoke the next morning with a very unflattering tattoo located in an inappropriate place on my body.

This one is my lie. It's not a complete lie though. I was in Berlin. I did party. By the way, I don't do that kind of stuff any more. I think I might have been nineteen years old then. Truth is, I've always liked the idea of a tattoo but just never was able to find something I was willing to live with on my body forever. If I did get a tattoo though, I think I would want to get one to cover unsightly imperfection or scar.

6.) When I was a child, I loved to go down to the bay and fish. The biggest fish I ever caught was a shark, which I promptly drug through the dirt for about a mile to my house so I could place the stinking dirty dead fish into my parent's bathtub so I could show them when they got home from work.

Absolutely true. My parents were not as pleased as I thought they would be of my catch.

7.) I was involved in a car chase, and managed to outrun the police (a long time ago) in a Volkswagen beetle.

Yep. I'm sad to say that I've done my share of hoodlum things. I can't quite remember the details of how I got into this chase (probably involved a party or something not working on my car) but I was in the chase. I knew that I could not outrun much in a VW Beetle so I darted and weaved through some back alleys and residential streets until I was far enough ahead to pull into someone's driveway, turn out all my light, turn off the car and duck down until the police passed by. I waited for, what seemed and hour, then simply pulled away and drove home. Seems funny now. I think I've actually seen this done in a movie or something. But, at the time, it was completely novel.
So, there it is, I've come clean. I found this to be a fun little exercise.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Helen Thomas - Retirement Bound

I know what some of you are thinking. Who, exactly is Helen Thomas? She is a senior member of the White House Press recently [retired] after making some rather unscrupulous remarks about what the Jews in Israel should do.

Those who already know who she is are probably thinking, good riddance.

I do know this much; Helen Thomas has been in the White House Press since the Kennedy administration. A few years back, I met her personally while on a military related mission. My organization spent a good month flying back and forth between France, England, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, and even Amsterdam, Holland in support of the fiftieth anniversary of the Normandy invasion in WWII.

The picture above was taken inside one of our helicopters at Point du Hoc, France, as we prepared for departure and flight across the English Channel and onto England. Yes, that is me sitting next to Helen. I know it's hard to tell since I had all that equipment on.

Unfortunately, the American President honored with residing over the events was former Preside Clinton. I say unfortunate because the actions of that singular President (and her husband) forever tainted me in my opinion of that Presidency.

After nearly a month of grueling schedules, and having to deal with about twenty whiny, immature, White House Press personnel on my aircraft every day, we did not get so much as a simple thank you from our then President. I have worked with other Presidents before and since,  and, I must say, our treatment was much better.

We had another aircraft solely dedicated to carrying the secret service around. I wish I could have transported them as they were much more mature. I must say though, that the other helicopter was much more loaded as they had to take on the special passengers that normally would have flown on the Presidential helicopter so that the First Lady could have her hairdresser on the Presidential flight.

For those of you that don't know, or don't care; here's a bit of history for you. Point du Hoc was one of the major invasion points around the Normandy invasion. As seen in the picture on the left, Rangers had to scale the sheer cliffs while under fire by German emplacements and also under a barrage of friendly fire meant to soften the hardened holds above. The craters seen at the top of the point are what is left over, years later. One can only imagine what those brave souls went through in defense of freedom. By the way, last week marked the sixty-sixth anniversary of the Normandy invasion.

Why do I rant on like this now? I don't know. It just kind of boiled up in me with the recent news of Helen Thomas' actions and subsequent retirement.

On a positive note, I did do much people watching during this month-long event and learned much about the personalities often associated with those in the political news arena, high-level security, and the Presidency.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Destruction and Rebirth

I know, It seems like such a morbid post title. But really, it is only a parable I would like to express about the processes involved in writing.

With the warmer weather and Summer nearly here, I've been doing my best to get out into the yard and clean up, beautify, and groom. I bought a lemon tree a few years ago and planted in its own little section in the grass of my yard. The constant rain in the summer and the extremely harsh winter last year finally took its toll on the poor little tree, and by this Spring, it was nothing more than a stubby little stick full of prickly stickers. The poor plant produced a total of two lemons in its, rather unproductive life.

I decided to dig the little guy up and put it into the burn pile - returning life essence to the nether in a plume of smoke and fire. But, lo and behold, clinging to the mangled root ball, I saw little sprigs of green leaves and struggling root shoots.

I cut those sprigs off the root ball and planted them in a container with some good potting soil. The three little sprigs have since taken root and grown nearly an inch in the last couple weeks. I'm hoping that someday I'll have three lemon trees rescued and risen from my deadly hand and the torrent of weather extremes.

What does all this have to do with writing? The experience has convinced me to try and convince all of you to hold back haste when you think you've written crap. don't just burn it or shred it and throw it away.

You might find that inside the mass of retched decaying matter, there may be a nugget or two, or three worth saving. I cannot count the number of times I've let something go only to think about it years later and not be able to bring back the original magic the work brought with it. Thank goodness for the computer age. We now have the ability to hold onto those fleeting thoughts.

So, keep those little sprigs even if you want to burn the whole root ball. Those little pieces of work may just bring about inspiration, or spawn an entire story for you someday.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Awarded for ... Lying?

I've had the wonderful pleasure of being given a creative liar writer award by Clarissa Draper at Listen to the Voices. Thank you Clarissa for bestowing this honor upon me.

For this award, I am asked to write seven stories. I've chosen to write six true stories and one lie. Can you pick out which one is the lie?

1.) I once drove my car into a lake while trying to impress a date.

2.) I've seen evidence of Bigfoot in the Olympic mountains of Washington State.

3.) One time, while serving in the military, I was in a flight of helicopters going to a field location when the helicopter in front of us disappeared in a fog bank. We later were told that the helicopter flew into the side of a mountain. I was then sent out to recover the crashed helicopter from a location that was so steep we had to rappel down the mountainside to get to it.

4.) I once lost my own son in New York City. We were all running to get on the train from Long Island into Manhattan. Everyone made the train except our nine year-old son. All we could do is watch in horror as the doors closed and the train pulled away from the station.

5.) In 1983 I made a trip to Berlin (at the time, East) Germany. We had a great time in the underground bars. In fact, I had such a good time that I awoke the next morning with a very unflattering tattoo located in an inappropriate place on my body.

6.) When I was a child, I loved to go down to the bay and fish. The biggest fish I ever caught was a shark, which I promptly drug through the dirt for about a mile to my house so I could place the stinking dirty dead fish into my parent's bathtub so I could show them when they got home from work.

7.) I was involved in a car chase, and managed to outrun the police (a long time ago) in a Volkswagen beetle.

So, now I must nominate seven other "creative" writers with this award, and they must follow the directions as I have and post some stories of their own.

And the nominations are:

J'ni at: A Day on the Orb Edge

Propinquity at: Propinquity

Becky at: Valkyrian Sanctum

Taylor at: Taylor Tryst

Marsha at: Marsha Moore Blog

Thomas at: NotConcerned

B. Miller at: B. Miller Fiction

Those nominated, Please:
1. Thank the person who gave you the award.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you.
4. Tell up to six outrageous lies about yourself and one truth, or the other way around.
5. Nominate up to seven other "creative" writers for the award.
6. Link to those you nominate for the award.

See if you can guess which one of these stories is a lie. I will post the truth behind the stories in a future post.

Friday, June 4, 2010

New Look

Ok, I was reading a post on another blog about things that might make a reader not read a blog. Out of the few pet peeves the author of the post listed, I had violated every last one - black background, white letters, followers listed too far down.

So, now I've changed to another template for my blog. What do you think? I hope that all will find this appealing. I know there are other templates out there that are certainly more appealing than those offered by blogger, but I like simplicity. Still having some issues figuring out how to make my linked pages such as home, about me, and contact me, stand out a little more.

Shoot me some comments. Tell me what you think of the new layout.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Elusive Muse

It is truly amazing how inspiration strikes, sweeps through like a hurricane, then leaves just a quickly. I tend to be the kind of person that tries to jump onto that fast moving E-Train of inspirational muse and ride it out until I've squeezed every last drop of essence from it.

Unfortunately, I struggle with those in-between times when the inspirational muse is nowhere to be found.  But it is this time when a productive writer gets the job done.

I currently have a project where I rode the wave of inspiration through an outline and twenty-six thousand words into a first draft. But then my muse left me with a broken heart and five unfinished chapters. Sure, I keep busy by writing poetry, short stories, other projects, but it seems, as time slips by, I've found every excuse not to finish the project at hand.

Now, I must fall back on some basic truths and rules to get back in the fight - so to speak. Here are some basic rules and concepts I follow that others might find useful when trying to stay productive on a project.

1. Set a daily writing goal, and do your best to stick to it. If one wants their writing to be taken seriously, they must take their writing seriously. Treat your writing project like a job - either part or full-time. That means one might need to schedule time specifically for writing. I personally like to write my stories using many small chapters, so I try to set my daily writing goal at one chapter or a number of scenes within a chapter.

2. Think seriously about your writing project. The reason I call my unfinished stories "projects" is to give them a sense of realism and priority in my own mind. Keep your "project" on your mind even when not writing by thinking about scenes, characters, motivations, or plot twists when you go to bed at night. It's a great way to relax and fall into sleep. Who knows, with practice one can even learn to bring projects into their dreams so the mind can perform double-duty.

3. When all else fails - doodle. I use a novel writing software program that makes it easy to file away character bios, locations, notes, keep a timeline of events, etcetera. When I get stuck in a project or feel I'm losing interest, I simply pull up a character card and work on the biography, add to character goals, write out dialogue I might like to use or thing the character discovers about themselves or others. One can do this with main characters or minor characters. This is also a great way to capture changes one would like to consider in a story without stopping to rewrite, or ponder things like hair color changes for characters or the environment surrounding the story, ie. weather.

I Hope this humble advise helps those who write. Please post your ideas in the comments section. What helps you capture that muse? What helps you get into the writing mood? Is is your writing place, music, silence, or just plain old dogged determination?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Discovering Talent

It is not very often that I get excited about artwork. Although I enjoy looking at wonderful pictures and they sometimes provide me with inspiration, I've never been a great connoisseur of artwork. I've recently seen the burgeoning talent in someone that is quickly changing my mind and giving me a new respect for art.

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce the world to a young artist I believe will do well in the future. I only hope that this article provides her the motivation to continue in her endeavor. I do not wish to embarrass, but her name is Hani Seo. She is a Korean college student living in Seoul South Korea. I first viewed her work on her facebook page, and now would like to try and convince her to sell some of her work.

Hani creates drawings and paintings in her own style - some reminiscent of other famous artists. Let me introduce you to some of her work.

This painting is my personal favorite. I named it: Sundial over Earth. The painting appears in a Postimpressionist style.

The painting is similar in style to that of Vincent Van Gogh, as depicted in his famous painting: Starry Night.

This is another work of hers I enjoy. I gave it the name: Teapot and Flowers.

The teapot and Flowers painting is similar to those by Claude Monet in a more realist style.

Above is a pencil drawing of a portrait. Again, in a realistic or postimpressionist style.

Similar to some of the drawings of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

I also enjoy some of Hani's abstract work as shown below:

And, for your viewing pleasure, here's some of her other works:

Hani Seo has many other wonderful pencil drawings and paintings that I simply cannot fit here. I post these works because I believe that, some day, many will see her name again. So, if you enjoy what you've seen so far, join me in helping her on her path to greatness and convince her to sell some of her work.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Thinking Game

I've been researching a story idea for a few years now for a few years involving poisoning by toxic plant. Specifically, Spotted Water Hemlock, not to be confused with the hemlock that killed Socrates. My research has led me to learn all kinds of things about Spotted Water Hemlock. For instance, Spotted Water Hemlock is one of the most toxic plants in the United States, and grows wild in almost all climates in moist areas. It is commonly mistaken for wild carrots or parsnips.

I even find myself wanting to go looking for the plant growing in the local area. In my story, parts of the plant are put into a juicer and then used to spike the drink of the unsuspecting victim. I've actually thought about trying to produce this oil for real in a juicer, but am thinking it may be just a little too dangerous. I'm sure that I'm already on some government watch-list for all my Internet research on the plant.

The point that I am trying to make here is that all this research, and planning, and thinking, has been for just a portion of the story idea.

Why so much attention paid to just this one item? Because I want the story to be realistic. I surely would not want some reader to go out and try this themselves but I want them to think it could be done - even if it cannot.

I think it is important to spend as much time as possible thinking about what is in a story. I believe one should spend as much time thinking about what will go into the story as the actual writing of the story itself. Some writers think of the details while writing, others do their thinking and writing separately.

Whether one puts these thoughts down on paper or files them in their head while (or before) writing is a matter of personal preference.

So fellow writers - stop being so hard on yourselves. It's Okay to spend some time thinking about what happens, and to whom, in your stories. Yes, it is equally important to write consistently, but I believe that allowing your mind to work out the little things - to "game" facts, assumptions, and things you have to make up to fill in the blanks and keep things believable.