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my six ideas [Jul. 9th, 2007|07:11 pm]
Creative Writers!

#1. Write an essay about your favorite book - really dig deep about why it is you like it so much. I wouldn't go so far as to say this should be a persuasive effort to get others to go out and pick the book up but that probably isn't a bad goal to shoot for.

#2. As a follow-up to the above idea, -READ- someone else's favorite book and offer up an essay about it of your own. Did any of the ideas or experiences shared by the previous reader strike you with any of the same urgency or interest? Would -you- recommend the book to anyone else? Is this thing worth a damn?

#3. Tell us what you'd do, tomorrow, if you won the lottery tonight. And these are the half dozen or so ideas that come up AFTER all the boring, normal shit like paying off all your debts and buying your mom a trip to Disneyland and quiting your job and so forth - those are all a given, especially since we're talking a really serious lotto win, like upwards of $250 million [why think small when dreaming about a completely fantastical idea, right?] - this is the kind of money that doesn't just change your life, but that of the world around you, as well. These are the purchases or investments or schemes that go beyond buying fancy sports cars or all the shoes in the fall Prada line - you're financially independent and basically no one can tell you what to do anymore: So now what? [Assume, if you will, that laying around on the beach all day has finally gotten boring.]

#4. Write about what you'd do if given the choice of any one comic book super-power. This power can be anything you want, but should be limited to one broad category or ability - the power to regenerate and heal wounds [like wolverine, for example, but minus the admantium skeleton] would be fine but the combined powers of superman - flight, superstrength, invulnerability, superspeed, x-ray and telescopic and micro-vision and so forth - would be inappropriate for these purposes.

In any case, it doesn't really matter so much what your powers are, as what you'd DO with them. Say your power is teleportation: Do you rob a bank and live the rest of your life on easy street? Do you start working your way down Amnesty International's prisoners of conscience list? Are you above jumping into locker rooms for a cheap thrill? Do you try to gain access to all the nuclear weapons sites on the planet and teleport all the nukes into the nearest black hole? Start the world's most exclusive delivery service?

What would you do? Give us a list and have fun with it.

#5. Pick a short story, any short story, and re-write it. It doesn't have to be as long, it doesn't have to be in the same style or even the same genre and it doesn't even have to turn out the same - maybe you choose an eerie Lovecraftian horror story and re-do it in the style of a zany madcap comedy complete with pies in the face and pratfalls. Go a little nutty.

#6. In a vein similar to several of the above ideas, tell us about the fictional character whose life you'd most like to live. And, perhaps more importantly, WHY you'd want to live their life - is it the fame and adventure of Harry Potter's life you'd liked to live? Maybe James Bond's charisma and life of danger have always appealed to you - or perhaps it's the ludicrous exisitence of Papa Smurf whom you've always dreamed of. Give us some reasons why you'd want to switch places with this imaginary character and then let us know what you'd do differently, if anything.

[hope i didn't knock this off too quickly or anything but i thought i'd get a jump on one of these assignments for once.]
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July Assignment: Story Ideas [Jul. 9th, 2007|08:26 am]
Creative Writers!

Sorry I am a little late getting this one to you. I have been thinking about it and -- believe it or not -- enjoying the thought process so much that I thought I already did post it. Whoops.

July Assignment: Due July 28

Give us six story ideas. They can be as well thought out as you want, or as little. It could be a turn of phrase that has you thinking, a snippet of a dream or a character. Think about some of the stories that would be fun to write about -- don't worry you don't have to do it. Lets just hear some ideas.
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is today the 29th? i've been a day behind all duckin' week! [Jun. 29th, 2007|10:10 am]
Creative Writers!

well, anyway [a day late] here's what i have to say about writer's block:

What is writer's block? It'd be nice and smart-assed to say it's the worst feeling in the world but, like a lot of easy answers, that's a bunch of shit. Being told you have cancer or that a loved one was just hurt or that you're losing your job - those are some of the worst feelings in the world; staring at a blank page is pretty small potatoes by comparison.

But, like a lot of things associated with the arts and the non-life-threatening aspects of our lives, writer's block does take on the dimensions of a larger, more intractable problem to those it afflicts.

I remember reading in one of his afterwords that Piers Anthony insisted that he and Isaac Asimov were two of the only writer's he knew that never, ever got blocked. And his explanation, from what I remember, was that both set aside time to answer their fan mail. There might have been some small attempt at explaining that, along the lines of how it gave them a release from the work, or maybe just created enough cosmic goodwill on their part, I don't know.

Of course, I think I also remember another of his afterwords where he admitted that he no longer had time to send personalized responses to people who wrote to him, so maybe that notion didn't work out so great, after all.

I do know that, when I used to work at the newspaper, writer's block would hit me all the time. And not just on the boring stories I didn't want to bother with, either - sometimes, the ones I cared about the most were the hardest to put together. For me, the fear of failure is far more terrifying, far more paralyzing than any amount of boredom or lack of interest.

What I found worked for me, time and again, was to just start writing, simple as that. Anything at all, so long as there was something eating away at all that horrible, empty, intimidating white space. I'd go over my notes and transcribe any quotes or anecdotes I wanted to use first, of course, but that was never the hard part - that's just about on a level with sharpening pencils or flexing your fingers before laying them across the keyboard.

No, the tough part, the blankness, that awful lost feeling of "What am I going to do next?" would only really arrive once it came time to honestly get started with the writing itself, the process of actually saying something new and not just reporting what someone else had said or done.

Sure, sometimes the mere act of transcription would be enough to provide the spark, the idea, the impetous to get the metaphorical ball rolling.

Which was great, when it happened. Those stories usually came out all right, or sometimes even pretty good. But there were plenty more where all the quotes in the world weren't enough to really get me going and that's when, after an hour or two of killing time and waiting pointlessly for a muse to just drop the finished piece in my lap, I'd get sick of cleaning out my desk drawers or get nervous enough about the approaching deadline and just start writing.

Like I said earlier, anything. It'd often be sort of a run-on, stream-of-consciousness babble about what I wanted the piece to be about, with maybe some pep talk about how great I was or how terrible another reporter's recent effort had been, proof this didn't need to be perfect, just finished - things along those lines.

Sometimes it'd go on for a full page or two before I'd finally stumble across a sentence or a word or even just the kernel of an idea that I needed, but it'd usually happen, eventually. Not always, but I'd estimate my success rate up there in the 95th percentile or better - there weren't many stories I never filed something on, and none of them were hard news or on deadline.

So if I have any small wisdom to share, I guess, it's to just start somewhere, with anything, in the hopes of eventually winding up where you wanted to be in the first place. It's trite, but I suppose there's something to the Nike slogan, after all - you can't finish anything you never start, can you?

Maybe there's enough comfort in that to silence the fear of failure, I don't know.
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Now. [Jun. 28th, 2007|09:23 pm]
Creative Writers!

It's like a crippling anxiety that prevents you from laying down a single word. Why? Just write. Just do it. Now. Now. Now. Okay, now. NOW! Sometimes, it doesn't work. Sometimes you can't get off of the couch, either. It happens. You think about the epic task at hand and it just crushes you. So many things to do. So much to write. And suddenly, you feel like you are suffocating. And you feel ashamed. And you are full of self doubt and self loathing.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

I think of The Shining.

It's much like staring at a blank canvas. It's almost mocking. Go ahead. Ruin me. Waste. Fucking joke. At some point you have to get pissed off and just slap some paint on, saying, "TAKE THAT ASSHOLE!" You can't think of your supplies as precious, just as you can't think of your time as precious. Even mistakes are valuable. Sometimes you have to say, "I'm going to make a ton of mistakes and hopefully get one good thing."

I like to imagine throwing my computer out of the window sometimes, and it makes me laugh. Write it down, write it down! Now. NOW. NOW!
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(no subject) [Jun. 28th, 2007|06:19 pm]
Creative Writers!

What?  There was a writing assignment?  Why did I not see this on my friends page?  Oh hell anyway.
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The Block in the Way [Jun. 28th, 2007|01:16 pm]
Creative Writers!

No, I am not writing about wooden blocks, or little lego's, or even blocks of houses that you walk your dog around to pee on the trees. I am referring to nemesis of all writer's everywhere -- writer's block. Just off to the top of my head I think of it as the inability to write something when you have the time to do so.

The classic image comes to mind of a writer sitting a desk near a window, with pale light streaming onto a laptop, typewriter or pad of paper. The writer has her head between her hands with elbows on the desk staring a blank piece of paper or screen and you can almost see a tiny black cloud above their head. Nearby is a waste bin full of rumpled notes and sheets of paper with one or two sentences visible.

When one doesn't write for a long period of time, is it because they can't think of anything to write about? Is that what writer's block is? Take myself, I have plenty of time. Even if I didn't have plenty of time, I am sure I could make a few minutes of time to write if I really wanted too. I could leave a pad of paper in the bathroom and start a story, write about a character or jot ideas down instead of reading snipplets of articles in Time, ReadyMade or Good Housekeeping. If I were motivated I could mute the TV during the Sports segment and type a few words in Notepad, Word of G-Documents. I could take the time I would use to write one blog entry and put towards good and write down something creative.

So is lack of time the root cause of writer's block? Lack of ideas? Or is it something else? Something more sinister?

I sometimes think perhaps the real cause of my writer's block is self confidence. The things I write don't make sense, or if they do it's only because it's been an informal writing thing like a blog post, or a letter. I often get trapped in the mindset that in order to do creative writing, I really have to be creative and assemble clever plot lines, beautiful sentences, intriguing words and make it flow. I know logically that in order to write, all one has to do is simply sit down and write. Eventually, you will get better, or your words will come easier, your ideas faster, and then one magical day it will all come together and live as a "great piece of writing."

Let's not fool ourselves, sure self-confidence is part of the issue, just as time and lack of ideas, but maybe the real cause of writer's block is lack of ambition and motivation or, simply put - lazy. There are often many days where I sit down to write something and then realize "Hey, I really would rather be doing something else." or "I'm just not in the mood right now." It's okay and quite human to have those kinds of days, hours or moments but you can't let it continue to grow and eventually transform into that deadly disease known as procrastination.

To get out of writer's block, the best thing to do is write. Even if it all it is about writing about writer's block.
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Writers Block [Jun. 11th, 2007|07:32 pm]
Creative Writers!

Writers Block.

What is it? How does it happen? What can you do to get yourself out of it?

Due June 28th.
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(no subject) [May. 7th, 2007|07:57 pm]
Creative Writers!

Knock. Knock.

Hello? I miss you guys and I'm getting itchy to write again.
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The Death of Mr. Pickles [Apr. 23rd, 2007|11:29 pm]
Creative Writers!


The Death of Mr. Pickles

The languid lethargy of a dog day afternoon gripped the town of St. Ignace . A welcomed breeze stirred Paul who had been enveloped in Chekhov, a weeping glass of cold lemonade, and the nylon cords of a well-worn hammock. The peeling bark of the paper birch left curled shadows on Uncle Vanya’s envious tea as its limbs cradled Paul over a well-manicured lawn. Paul licked his pointer finger and turned another page. A purr resonated at his side prodding Paul for another good belly rub.

Read more...Collapse )
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so about pets [Apr. 9th, 2007|09:02 am]
Creative Writers!

Mom dumped my sea-monkeys into the backyard pit
Tragic and traumatic to a three year old girl
My Grow-A-Frog wouldn't eat food from the kit
So down it was flushed in a tearful whirl
Between glass panels I watched my ants
Dig tunnels to bury their dead
Eventually they were all under the sand
And a callous was forming inside my head
But OH! One glorious day my mom saved a kitten
We brought one home the next week
He ate and he played and I was so smitten
Nevermind the fact that he gnawed on my cheek
Blacky was crabby and violent and obese
the end

--ok...I'm sorry...but...it's something, right?
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