The leaves have turned, there’s a chill in the air and panic has creased the brow of writers from coast to coast. Like you, they’re contemplating that annual autumnal albatross known as National Novel Writing Month. If you’re readying yourself for a November spent huddled over the keys in an effort to arrange 50,000 words into some sort of coherent narrative, I wish you godspeed and offer the following 3 Nanowrimo Prep Tips: Continue reading
Creative types have an interesting relationship to notions of ownership – from the copyright that protects their work to the semi-sacred spaces in which they create it. Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own was the early 20th century prototype for this type of declarative claim for personal space, literal and figurative, feminist and otherwise. By century’s end, taking ownership included whole states (My Own Private Idaho) and finally religious figures (“Your Own. Personal. Jesus.”).
It’s a combination of Woolf’s concept and Depeche Mode’s need for “Someone to hear your prayers / Someone who cares” that’s preoccupied me since rising.
Question: When do you know when your sense of ownership of the ecstatic state of creation has dipped into a kind of psycho-religio madness? Answer: When you get stigmata. Continue reading
I spend many an evening hour reading children’s books to my child and many a midnight hour trying to rid my sentences of the rhyming couplets that subsequently infest my consciousness. It’s a real problem since many of the books are so masterfully constructed that I can’t help but let their rubaiyat rhymes echo into my own work. When it’s late and I’m on deadline and my resolve is weak, that’s when I’m most susceptible to their music.
For no reason at all, I’ll hack out little ditties like, “Do you pronounce the N in autumn? Or the other L in Fall? Are they whispered like the whistling wind, or have nary a sound at all?” and then I orphan them in a file I call “Lost Lines,” since it’s cute enough to keep (for what I don’t know) but of no use to a weekly newspaper column. Like these tortured lines, which will dribble out of me for hours: Continue reading
As a writer, I’m subject to certain aesthetic ticks. Fortunately, the monocle and sword-cane phase didn’t last past adolescence.
But others remain, such as my allegiance to the brass tacks styling of Portage brand reporter’s notebooks and ink black blazers. Unlike some of my colleagues, however, I don’t fetishize vintage typewriters – a phrase that, I realize upon writing it, has been redundant since at least the ’80s. Continue reading
Sonoma writer’s seven-figure print deal
Like all media-based industries, publishing has seen its share of digital disruption. Unlike the music and film biz, however, the seismic shifts caused by Kindles, iPads and their lot have had direct benefit for the creative people behind the work. Writers, who often have stopped just short of human sacrifice to score a traditional publishing deal that would net a mere 7 percent royalty off the cover price, are now able to go it alone with little to no overhead and a worldwide market at their fingertips.
Among the thousands of authors successfully charting their own path is Sonoma-based author Bella Andre, who recently inked a seven-figure deal with romance imprint Harlequin MIRA for her popular series The Sullivans.
How, you ask, can Andre have her indie publishing cred and a major contract, too? Continue reading
To the uninitiated, the term “poly-hyphenate” sounds like an alternative lifestyle choice or a James Bond villainess. For many in our current job market, it’s how we describe our careers. I’m a “this-that-and-the-other,” is not uncommon to hear when people discuss their lines of work. The more the economic recovery drags on and we pastiche a living from a potpourri of jobs and positions, the more hyphens we can expect to acquire. Especially as creatives.
This style of descriptor probably first bubbled up in Hollywood, where everyone is something by way of something else. Writer-Directors are not uncommon, ditto actor-waiters, or as likely, actor-baristas, writer-baristas and the occasional marketplace fluke, the barista-barista who naturally specializes in doubles.
Hyphenated job titles are a new kind of binomial nomenclature, those two-fer Latin names biologists use to describe flora and fauna by genus and species. For instance, we’re all Homo sapiens and some of us even have jobs. Continue reading
Last May, Wired Magazine’s Clive Thompson filed an interesting piece about the utility of fan fiction and its relationship to the concept of paracosms – imaginary realms replete with their own well-imagined geographies, flora and fauna, which often belie certain psychological dispositions on the part of their inventors. Continue reading
To clarify, I’m not addicted to having a deadline – due dates are proven productivity tools, which I applaud. Overachievers love beating them (“on the seventh day he rested” totally accounts for the rushed job on the universe in my opinion) and lesser beings need them to bitch about (“Can you believe I only have seven days to make everything? Literally, everything.”) I’m more in the Beatles’ camp – they advocated an “Eight Days a Week” calendar, which would give me that one extra day that everything seems to need. Like weekends. Or dying. Continue reading
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When I lived in Los Angeles, I would frequently discover stray screenplay pages littering the streets. I saved them all and with my ArtsID co-host Gretchen Giles, am pleased to present a staged reading of these pages, complete with cast and soundtrack provided by the fine folks of KRCB 91 FM, Cotati, CA. Since I had no idea who wrote these pages, they have no idea that their work, or at least part of it, has been performed and immortalized in this recording. If you happen to be the writer of one of these specimens, by all means, drop me a line – I’d love to hear your side of the story. Continue reading