Friday, December 14, 2012

The Young Angels of Sandy Hook Elementary School

On this sorrowful day I thought I would share an article that offers a small ray of light.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

My December Challenge: Day 5

It was a great day! By the end of the day I had completed a very long chapter writing more than 1,000 words. I also managed on developing one of my characters even further. I find the first many chapters of my book is designed to get to know the initial personalities of my characters with some things altering and developing as we go along. It's exciting when I have to stop what I'm writing because its so good I need to dwell on it for a minute. I even found myself clapping my hands. Weird...I know! Oh well. :-)

Friday, December 7, 2012

My December Challenge: Day 4

Yesterday I was not as productive as I would like to have been. If you're like me each time you sit down and write you start by reading the chapter prior in order to get yourself back into the "zone". While this is a great method of connection it leaves the writer to falling into "editing mode". Don't get me wrong, the editing process is vital but I personally have chosen to do this on the end. Truth being if I was to spent all my time editing what I've already written I will never finish writing the rest of the book! Still, I did write and did edit...that's something to say the least. Today, I plan on working doubly hard to make up for it. So until tomorrow...

Thursday, December 6, 2012

My December Challenge: Day 3

I am so stoked! Yes, I said stoked. Why? Because I can visualize the story coming into a turning point now. So many discoveries my characters are making about each other and themselves. I'm pretty sure when all is said and done there will be a lot of editing and reworking to do but knowing that I would have a finished product is the first step. I am still undecided as to whether I will self publish or send my work into a publishing company. I guess it will partly depend on the responses I get once I try to get feedback from other authors and my editor.

Yesterday, I managed on writing about 1000 words, keeping up with my social media responsibilities yet still do the laundry, cook dinner and clean up the kitchen; all while giving my kids (one at home and one in college) and my husband the family time they deserved. It's no wonder I had one of the best sleeps I've had in a long time.

Oh and remember, if you are a Twitterer you can follow me at @lorrper...Facebook @lperfictionwriter. If you would like to read excerpts from my book follow my book page @leyendadesangre

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

My December Challenge: Day 2

So far, I've taken care of my social network responsibilities...getting great advice from fellow writers is a must. There are so many great talents out there sometimes there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Just stand on the shoulders of those who came before  you.

My plan today is to read some, write alot and read some more. I will attempt to complete a chapter or two per well as work on more character developments. I am still working through the outline process but it will take me a little time as I have written nine full chapters thus far. I've been thinking that I would like to take on the 10/10/10 Reading Challenge: 10 different novels from 10 different genres by 10 different authors (my adapted version perhaps). So, if you have any great book suggestion I would be more than happy to hear it.


Monday, December 3, 2012

My December Challenge: Day 1

Yes, I realize we are already a few days in December. I guess I will just have to write through the New Year. While I did not write as many words as I would have liked(migraine headaches are the worst) I did manage on developing more of the characters I foresee coming into play. What an adrenaline rush! What started out as a simple fantasy fiction will develop into so much more. I have always been a free writer...this has been a major strength in my writing; the ability to right logically from one scenario to the next without an outline has been a major asset. However, now that I am working so many more characters and scenes into my story it will be vital to keep it all organized. So it looks as if I will have to bite the bullet, so to speak, and develop the outline. Still, I have decided to follow the advice of another writer and give myself permission to veer off the outline trail if the story or my characters deem it necessary. The plot of my book: A young woman finds herself in a place of doubt and self discovery when she finds out that she is the descendant of a long line of Clairsentient Vampires.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Inspiration in a Big City

Having been born and raised in the Bronx I was well aware of the hustle and bustle that would surround my Thanksgiving Holiday. However, I think it's important as a writer to change sceneries every once in a take in new and exciting environments conducive to sparking a creative flow. I love nature and to be in it as it is a great inspiration to me and my writing. It's in a sense...hypnotic. Yet, I found my trip to the Big City to be equally inspiring. Perhaps it's the sparkling of the city lights or the fact that there is so much artistic talent in one place but regardless all I could think of while walking the city blocks was, "I can't wait to get back to my laptop to write". I am obviously an expressive person but what I am unable to convey with words I do with pictures. Good or bad shots you can guarantee I will have some kind of camera on me prepared to keepsake a lifetime of memories. An additional benefit is there is sometimes no need to add lyrics to a song...a picture often can speak for itself.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Key to Avoiding Hectic Holidays!

1. Buy what your children need when they need it. Nothing a kid considers more boring than receiving socks for Christmas.

2. Buy special gifts for your friends/family all year long when DESERVED. No need to wait for this one time of year to pile it all on.

3. Do not try to buy anyone's love with gifts. Most of the time he/she rather have your time.

4. Buy gifts that promote quality time. There are plenty of Xbox games you can play together.

5. Instead of buying gifts for Christmas consider buying only one or two gifts and spending the rest of that money on a vacation.

6. Nothing teaches us about the spirit of Christmas more than serving. Even if you do not have children serving others can bring a special joy within that far out values gifts you buy in a store.

7. Buy gifts online. Nowadays online deals equal that of Black Fridays and No Lines. If you must go out this day spend it at the movies with friends/family.

8. Group Shop! Yes, if you insist on Black Friday Shopping you might as well do it together and make the most out of it. Besides, you have more resources this way.

9. Let's not forget the spirit of the holidays. Avoid confrontations and unnecessary bickering in stores. Nothing is worth breaking your holiday spirit.

10. Take a moment and reflect on why you or your family celebrate the holidays. Is it a fat jolly man in a suit or does it have a faith connection? Either way, its always a good idea to reflect on our actions and reasonings in doing what we do not just on certain occasions but on a daily basis.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Written Word

Ever wonder why people are addicted to social media websites and blogging? Sure, one of the reasons is because we're naturally curious creatures who have an appetite for secrets and gossip but its also because, for most people, writing down thoughts provide a sense of relief and expression. I remember in my very first literature class my professor had us keep journals. I honestly could not see the sense of it at the time but now I understand only to clearly. The fact is it is very therapeutic. There are things some of us want to say that have been buried down deep in our hearts but it has been hard to vocalize; either we're afraid of the reaction others will have to our words or perhaps it forces us to seek a resolution we are not prepared for. Self expression can be scary...we open ourselves up to all sorts of rejections and/or criticisms and it can have a devastating impact on us. Now that does not mean there will be less rejection/criticism with the written word but it can lesson the blow. There are even many thoughts that are perfectly okay to write down without sharing (I.e. diary/journal). Still there are times when we need to say things to people directly and we have the right to do so. Now that does not mean we should get on Facebook and tell Lisa off on her wall or profess our love to that friend we can not stop thinking about (some things should obviously be said/ or written in a one-on-one conversation) but there's nothing wrong with writing on your sibling's wall to say "I love you" or telling your bud or BFF how much you appreciate them (so long as you know the other person would be cool with it)... Not everyone does good with public displays of affection. Even when we are consumed with negative emotions such as anger or jealousy, writing out our feelings in a journal can be very soothing. I have heard where people write out frustrated emails to their employers without sending it. I would not recommend this method only because an accidental slip can be bad...really really bad. Still, there's no harm in writing a letter. So, the next time you have something on your mind and you have a need to release those thoughts consider writing them in a journal and see if it provides you with all the release you need.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Getting past Writer's Block

Have you ever stood there watching the white abyss of your computer screen for hours? You keep telling yourself "any moment now" as if expecting a masterpiece to magically appear. How did that work out for you? Yeah, not so hot on my end either. Luckily, this is neither uncommon or permanent. Sometimes our brains and sometimes emotions are holding a bit too much and this can lead to a "burn out". It happens. Whatever you do do not get discouraged and for no reason whatsoever are you to give up. Try taking a walk, listening to your favorite music or even taking a hot bath. Grab a book and begin reading...after all An avid reader makes a great writer. Sometimes the best thing to do is to just write. It makes no difference if your first few paragraphs make absolute no sense. The point is to get your creative juices flowing again and the best way to do that is by just doing it. Luckily, advancements in technology and word processing software have made it easy to delete what you do not like. Now if you are old school and still prefer the notepad and paper method I hope you have a few erasures on hand....whiteout might work too!

Have you ever had Writer's Block? How did you get over it?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hangin' with Sandy

This past weekend I was invited to a few Halloween parties. While I was actually a gypsy everyone thought I was a pirate. So much for having a distinguished look! Oh well, my only question now is, "where's my ship me matee??" With Sandy making her presence know all over the east coast we might be better off in Noah's Ark anyway. Really though, my area is not as bad as with previous hurricanes but there are friends of mine who are not so lucky. However, all we can all really do is take precautions and hope they are enough. News stations have been doing an awesome job keeping us updated and even President Obama encouraged everyone to follow the instructions of emergency personnel. All we can do at this point is wait for it to pass over with some movies, books, hot chocolate (maybe something stronger if you like) and something munch on. Be safe friends!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Review of Fifty Shades of Grey

Okay, so I know I was supposed to write this ages ago but being that women (and men) are still discovering the guilty (or not so guilty) pleasures of these books I figured I still had plenty of time to give an overview of my experience.

For starters, this book is definitely not intended for anyone under 17. In fact, my daughter was seventeen at the time I read the series and I still did not want her to read it. Why? Because this book does and WILL arouse your senses. Anyone who knows me knows that one of my main goals for the past 18 years is to try to maintain my daughter's purity for as long as possible. I'm not saying there are not things or circumstances out in the world that will do this. I am only saying there is a difference between placing your tongue on a battery to get a slight charge and putting a plugged iron in a bathtub of water. At this age a girl's hormones are already going rampant and the last thing I want is an overcharge of hormones. I, like many other moms, prefer my children to concentrate on their friends, careers and then eventually meet that special someone. At that point, I would definitely suggest a good read of the Fifty Shades of Grey series. So, if you haven't figured it out already, I give these books a definite 17+( leaning toward 21) Rating!

Now, let's talk about the writing itself. Fifty Shades of Grey is written in 1st person point of view. We go through the experiences of a young woman named Anastasia Steele who may just remind you of another well known female protagonist from the also highly successful Twilight Series by Stephenie Myer. There is, in fact, a reason for this. Fifty Shades was originally written as a fan fiction book which eventually evolved into carrying a life of its own. Now, E.L. James has been criticized for her lack of inspiring writing and while I have to agree her lack of writing experience shows through each paragraph in her overuse of particular phrases and words I find the story compelling enough to make these deficiencies in her writing minimal. Based on the success of these series of books it is fair to assume thousands of others agree with me. Personally, I find it of great encouragement to newbie writers such as myself when readers are willing to bypass the lack of exceptional writing skills for a great story. After all, writing is a skill that is honed over a lifetime of trial and error. I'm afraid to count how many errors I have overlooked in this blog alone! Ugh!

That brings me to what you have all been waiting for: The Story! (SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!)

In the beginning of the story we are introduced to Anastasia Steele. By her own confession Ana is clumsy and her daily routines are anything less than exciting. She is beautiful(although she does not see it) and has little interest in developing a relationship with the opposite sex although there are several members of the opposite sex that show interest in her. That is until she unenthusiastically agrees to conduct an interview on behalf of her very sick best friend, roommate and college paper journalist Kate. Little did Ana know that an interview with the very handsome and arrogant multi-millionaire Christian Grey would be the beginnings of a very sexually filled emotionally draining yet exciting relationship. For the first time in her life Ana finds herself sexually drawn to a man and he is as equally drawn to her...if not more. As is often the case she develops intense emotions for him but because of his childhood he finds it difficult to connect with women in any other way other than in the roles of Dominant(him) and Submissive(her). Christian is well versed in what it takes to be both a dominant and submissive as his first sexual encounter secretly put him in the much older and much more mature handling of one of his adoptive mother's closest friends. What at first appears to be an intense fettish Ana soon realizes that Christian's "no touching" rules and need for control stems back to a very traumatic childhood experience he suffered while with his birth mother. Ana slowly attempts to help Christian open up but understand when he admits he is "Fifty Shades of Fucked up". Ana believes one of the reasons why her "Fifty Shades" is so conflicted is due to the once inappropriate and current friendship he has with Mrs. Robinson. Although Ana loves her "Fifty" deeply she feels she will never be enough to satisfy his controlling and sadistic needs so at one point (after he spanks her to her limit) decides to leave him. Eventually, after an extremely short breakup they reunite only to find she could have avoided the entire conflict with the "safe word". They were both also miserable without each other. As the story continues, Anastasia demands more independence in her work environment which eventually leads to Christian buying the company and Ana having to teach her sleazy Editor a lesson about sexual harassment. As they later find out an unrevealed history explains his resentment and attempt to ruin their lives. Let's also add a love obsessed ex-submissive, the entertaining personalities of additional family and friends and you have all the ingredients needed for a three book series. You did not really think I would tell you EVERYTHING, did you? What fun is that?!?!

The content of the story is very sexually explicit but not tasteless. In fact, there are women around the world whose husbands, boyfriends and partners are grateful for the effect Fifty Shades of Grey have had on their sex life. The very detailed content has either restarted their libidos or heightened their curiosity to the very exciting world of SnM. Christian Grey goes through great effort to teach Ana and explain everything he is going to do to her as he goes along which makes it very enticing for women and if men were smart...a great learning tool. So if you or your partner are not comfortable with sexuality then these may not be the best books for you. However, if you are open to getting a glimpse of SnM through the erotic experience of a fiction character I would say make yourself a hot cup of cocoa, coffee or any beverage of choice, get comfy, grab the book or your Kindle and get to reading!

Have you already read all the books? One or two? What did you think? What other books/authors would you recommend?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My Birthday

Today is a special day! Well, at least it's supposed to be.'s my birthday so yes I think that counts as pretty special and I would like to think those close to my heart would agree. Of course, I do not feel any different...who usually does? Yet, I know that there have been many changes and many more in the future to occur. These changes are not only in my life but in this life we all live. I've decided to make very positive changes in my life...for my health and career. I've put the breaks on long enough. It's time to fulfill the other part of my purpose.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Reviving Myspace: A SWOT Analysis & WTH does that have to do with writing?!!!

Once the powerhouse of Social Media, Myspace, LLC must now fight for its ranks again in order not to find itself eventually out of business. Myspace clearly states on their website that the company caters to Generation Y with their use of embedded videos,live steaming, celebrity connections, televisions broadcasts, movies and an unending amount of games.Myspace is also the home of Myspace Music, which offers an ever-growing catalog of freely streamable audio and video content to users and provides major, independent, and unsigned artists alike with the tools to reach new audiences. The company is headquartered in Beverly Hills, CA and is a subsidiary of Specific Media.”(, 2012). At the present moment a majority of the sales generated by Myspace comes in form of advertisements from media related organizations. However, due to the nature of social media website,s it is highly likely that in the very near future other social networking websites will adjust their platforms to offer a similar experience as Myspace... leaving them out in the cold. While distribution on Myspace services is undoubtedly the internet, the advertisements on each page seem to offer a much more customizable experience. This may be a positive situation for marketers but not as much  for Myspace users.
Trends and taste are changing and the younger generations are getting older. They are tiring of the chaotic and music based environment offered by Myspace. So, how do we address these issues? The next step in the process is to figure out the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the company...otherwise known as SWOT Analysis.

In the my previous blog post (Can Myspace be Revived?) I spoke briefly about research. Research, as most writers will tell you, is the bread and butter to any good writing. Is some of it subjective? Depends. If I'm writing about a company I may offer my opinions but those opinions would be based on the factual information obtained...such as in this blog. Yet, the information I present will count for absolutely nothing unless I can "back up" my stance with the research I've presented. With that said, I am offering a SWOT Analysis...this gives us a clear understanding of how Myspace stands based on internal and external factors. While those items listed are not exhaustive...they are the items which turned up frequently in my research.

Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.

                                                                                    ~Seth Godin,
Long gone are the days when the primary means of communication consisted of a letter across the ways or a simple call from the home telephone. Today, there exist a phenomenon that has captured the obsession of the old and the young alike. When answering the question: what is social medial, Safko (2010) states, “Social media is the media we use to be social. That’s it.” (p. 3).  Social networking is no longer a means of simply sharing photos and letting people know about the latest trends but it is a complete form of communication. From video conferences and on-line gaming to market advertising and special cause advocacy…social networking possesses it all. “Social media marketing is like going to a networking event, a party, a trade show, sporting event, church, or anywhere that large groups of people gather.” (p.5). It provides a means for two way communication and is the primary reason as to why it has boost in popularity and effectiveness.

The rise of social network sites (SNSs) from obscurity in 2003 to among the world’s most popular Web sites by 2006 has been remarkable, even for an Internet phenomenon. In February 2010, according to Alexa (2010a), the top-20 most visited websites included Facebook (No. 2), YouTube (No. 3, SNS features, but predominantly for video sharing), Twitter (No. 12, micro blogging site with SNS features), and MySpace (No. 17, but No. 6 in the United States). (Wilkinson & Thelwall, 2010, p. 2323)

MySpace lost its prominence in 2008 to Facebook although the company once was the gentle giant of social networking. Unlike Facebook, MySpace focuses much of its attention on young audiences with its music/video imbedding capabilities, its highly customizable profile pages and its encouragement of musical artist/fan base connections. It also includes blogs, groups, bulletins, widgets, and instant messaging as well as online advertising called MyAds. (Safko, 2010). This is perhaps why, although it is ranked 6th in the United States, MySpace still attracts international users including notable organizations such as Operation Blessing International and Planet Aid. Even the current President of the United States, Barack Obama utilized MySpace as a highly functional campaign tool. According to Wilkinson and Thelwall (2010), “Among U.S. teens in 2007, the articulated reason for choosing either Facebook or MySpace was based on a perception of Facebook’s greater maturity/dullness” (p.2313). Tom Anderson, former president of MySpace, sold the company and now has his own Facebook account. However, this has not deterred the remaining creators of MySpace such as Brad Greenspan (founder of eUniverse), Chris DeWolfe (DE), Josh Berman and a team of programmers from blatantly describing to whom the company caters to....Generation Y.

Additional factors which caused Myspace users to seek refuge at Facebook are a concern over privacy and security and a dislike for the urban environment Myspace began to possess. This may continue to be a problem in the future if not addressed adequately. Myspace must also keep in mind that because its method of advertisement and communication resides on the internet the company must look into expanding its market otherwise it may fall short to additional online social media sites such as Friendster, Bebo, Fastpitch, Gather, KickApps, LinkedIn, MOLI, Orkut and now the growing Google Plus; each of which can easily adjust its platform to serve the needs of the same niche.

 What additional factors do you think you could come up with for each category?

Now, you are probably wondering again, "WTH does any of this have to do with writing?" Well, think of it this way. Suppose as a young child you have always loved dinosaurs. I don't mean just simply think they were cute...I mean really really loved dinosaurs and you spent most of your days reading about all the dinorsaurs you could think of. Now you are an adult and your love of dinosaurs is still as passionate as ever so you decide you want to write a book about dinosaurs. However, only about a month ago there was an explosion of dinosaur related books and it seems as if that subject is just over-saturated. So, do you just give up on your childhood dream and call it a night? Not necessarily. Research and SWOT analysis will provide you with the information you need to make a clear decision. By focusing on the the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats of the current books written on this subject you can determine the angle you wish (if you decide to write it at all) to take; this includes what genre and age market to write for. You may find out that the current books deal more with fictional stories of dinosaurs or stories related to their living habits. However, after much research and a SWOT of the market you realize the opportunity lies in crossing subjects matters...perhaps you decide to write a book that focuses on the relational habits of dinosaurs and how physiological needs determine our continued existence. Yet, making this work is highly dependent on your skills as a writer. My point? Know your market and figure out the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in your story telling.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Can Myspace be Revived? Part I

I had the opportunity to ask this question only recently during  a Creative Strategy and Execution class and I honestly believe that Yes it Can. I realize that Myspace has encountered massive fact, I am guilty of offering those criticisms myself. However, I am convinced that most of the problems have been due to a lack of vision...a clear cut vision that is driven by a target market. Now, you may be wondering what does this have to do with writing and the truth is that it has everything to do with writing. A good writer will be able to read something and determine whether the message is clear, concise and to the point. A good writer will be able to tell if the message is appealing or if it wasted words. A good writer will know when to say nothing at all.

One of my favorite quotes is "Vision without action is Fantasy but Action without Vision is Drudgery" (author unknown). I mention this quote because as I stared into the media abyss of Myspace I noticed there was absolutely no method to this madness. I could not determine the theme of the entire website other than the fact it gave me a headache just looking at it. So, I did some research and looked up the vision statement created by the administrators of Myspace. According to the website:

Myspace LLC is a leading social entertainment destination powered by the passions of fans. Aimed at a Gen Y audience, Myspace drives social interaction by providing a highly personalized experience around entertainment and connecting people to the music, celebrities, TV, movies, and games that they love. These entertainment experiences are available through multiple platforms, including online, mobile devices, and offline events.
Myspace is also the home of Myspace Music, which offers an ever-growing catalog of freely streamable audio and video content to users and provides major, independent, and unsigned artists alike with the tools to reach new audiences. The company is headquartered in Beverly Hills, CA and is a subsidiary of Specific Media. (

Is it well written? Yes, it is. It describes exactly what and whom drives this social networking website and the many ways it accomplishes this. However, writing well is not enough. A company must offer its users exactly what it wants. The fact that so many users abandoned Myspace is a clear indication that it was not accomplishing this task. Now what? you ask.. Research. After that... well let's create a story. Yes, I said story. Let us create a fictional character that could represent an actual Myspace user and see what he can teach us.

Let's Meet Sean

Sean is a Myspace user. He is 20 years old and is a Hispanic male. He enjoys all types of music including hip-hop, RnB, rock, alternative, metal, salsa, merengue and some pop. He is a college student who lives with his parents but is working to try to get his own place. He works part-time jobs while going to school. He grew up in a household where music was a major part of their everyday lives. For him, not a day passes where he’s not downloading some music or walking down the street without his mp3 playing in his ears. When he gets home he relaxes by switching channels between VH1, MTV, and BET. When he hears a song he likes he’ll run straight to his computer and download it to add to his enormous collection. He looks for websites that cater to his interest such as entertainment websites and band pages. He’s pretty active on the social websites as well. He has a Facebook account to keep in touch with friends and family but will usually visit Myspace to connect to his favorite artists. See, Sean is musically inclined and has seriously been thinking about starting a band so he’s looking to make connections. Problem is it’s difficult to get past all the advertising on Myspace to get the help he needs and not to mention there seems to be more attention on already popular artists than those who need some kind of breakthrough. Don’t get him wrong, Sean loves the idea that he can see what his favorite artists are up to and really likes the live streaming of concerts and music related shows. He easily gets hooked on the games too. Yet, Sean gets frustrated when he has to click through numerous pages just to get to the screen he wants. So, if he did decide to start a band it does not look like Myspace would be able to help him unless he sent unsolicited emails and spammed anyone who would listen. Unfortunately, Sean has been the recipient of enough spam to know what a turn off it is…even to those who love music as much as he does.  So, Sean clicks off of Myspace and decides his next best option, if he was to get his band together, is upload the band’s performance to YouTube and attach it to all the social networking sites in hopes someone will listen. Sean now has to figure out how to connect to other local artists that may want to join a band but where does he start?

Sean suddenly remembers seeing some news article that said Myspace was just bought out by a company whose name he can’t remember and Justin Timberlake. Cool! Maybe now that an artist is in charge he’ll be able to make some positive changes.

As you can see, while this story should be brief, if written well, can offer insight into the target audience's likes and dislikes as well as their habits and invaluable tool when trying to re-energize or reposition a brand. So the next time you come across a company that has lost the interest of its audiences see if you can figure out what they may be missing by writing a story that captures the lifestyles of its target market. You may be surprised by what you discover!

If this blog caught your interest then subscribe so that I may share with you my additional vision to initiate a "New Myspace".

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Writing Advice from Stephen King

Stephen King is perhaps one of my most favorite writers. His imagination and pure excellence in the craft is what makes him one of the most read authors in his genre. You never know what you will get from him but you do know that it will be something to draw several emotions from you. One of the best practices of a good writer is to read about other great writers. You do not have to mimic them but if you listen enough there is so much that can be learned.

He uses humor to explain that there are two requirements in order to be a good writer:

1. You Must Read
2. You Must Write

The other videos discusses the art of storytelling and how many writers and readers have forgotten about the wonderful impact of short stories.

Here's to a great author whose works never seem to resemble one another and stories always seem to get better and better.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Creativity: Spontaneous or Process

In one of my recent classes we were asked whether or not we thought there was a process to that great "idea" or is it something that creeps us on us without warning. I had to admit that I felt it was a little bit of both. While we may find that our backgrounds, experiences, mental and emotional strengths will influence our creative base there is really no question that there is somewhat of a process we all take to get there. For some of us it may be taking a walk in nature and for others it may be playing a game of chess in order to get our creative juices going. However, James Webb Young, author of A Technique for Producing Ideas, provides us with a five step process that most creatives follow in order to reach that ultimate "aha" moment.
  1. Immersion: this pretty much means that at one point or another, and we should all know this to be true in order to be held as credible writers, is to do research. It doesn't matter what it is. Go visit the person, place, thing you plan on writing about.
  2. Digestion: how many of you have recieved one of those emails of a painting of some kind and  you are asked by the sender, "what do you see?" only to discover that the original portrait if looked at from another angle looks like something complete different. We suddenly see the different dimensions of this one portrait. Do that! Try to see how many angles and dimensions you can make out of the research you just found...what can you turn it into? What else can it signify? Let your mind just run wild.
  3. Incubation: Okay, now that you have let your mind run wild....walk away. Don't look at it again...give you mind the opportunity to rest. Go visit some friends...go catch the latest movie. Grab your phone and seep into hours of aggravating fun playing Angry Birds...whatever!
  4. Illumination: Now what I am about to tell you is extremely important. CARRY SOMETHING TO WRITE ON AND WITH AT ALL TIMES. You have no idea when and at at what point that "aha" moment will strike but its best to be safe than sorry. How many times haven't you had a great thought and in a blink of an eye, "poof" that idea vanishes from your mind and memory never to resurface again. I finally was at the point where I keep a small notebook and pencil under my pillow, my ipad in the kitchen and the handy dandy note feature on my cell phone everywhere else. Relying on my memory to store all my great ideas is a waste of time. I can barely remember where I put my keys five minutes ago!
  5. Reality Testing: Let's face it, not all ideas that we think up in our minds look as good on paper. It's a harsh reality but it's reality none-the-less. Write them down...the one great idea or the many very good ideas and put them your desk. As you think of more ideas keep adding them to that one folder. Take your much time as you can at create that great idea rather than the mediocre one. Once you have created that one great idea or those few really good ideas its time to get feedback. What's that saying? Four eyes are better than two. In this case you may want to even go for eight or even ten. However, be sure to ask all the important questions: does it fit? Is the idea too common or cliche'? Does it have a niche? Is it interesting to me but boring to others? Does size matter?
In reviewing Young's processes I realized that, to some degree, I was already following these patterns. Did I realize it? No, I did not. Yet, I can definitely see the benefit. You may be asking, what's wrong with the spontaneous ideas? Absolutely nothing. However, what if those really good spontaneous ideas only had the time to be nurtured and developed so that they could be really great? Would you be willing to change up your habits? I would think so. In reading some of my short stories I can honestly tell you that I did not think these through...I wrote off the cuff, so to speak. I now realize that had I taken more thoughtful steps they could have turned into so much more. I guess that's the great part about writing...there's always editing and re-editing...and editing some more...and...well you get the

For more book suggestions go to my Book Recommendations page.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Meet Mark Twain!

The Governor's School for the Arts in Norfolk, Virginia would like to invite everyone young and the much more mature to an evening of laughs. If you are a writer, entertainer or artist of any kind you are surely to enjoy this. Tickets may be purchased in advance at ShowTix4U

Website Revamp

And so, a new year and a new website. Yes, I's about time! Sometimes it takes the criticisms of others to get your butt into gear and get motivated. Yet still, it was quite overdue. I have added a lot of new pages and areas to the website but please be patient as it is still under much construction. I invite you to take a look around and feel free to offer your opinions.

One of the major changes that I want to point out is where it says "Friends' Creative Works". I find one of the best ways to get your work out there is to share what you have done with those who enjoy the craft as much as you do. So, feel free to send me your work...with name, website/blog address and any other information you think you would like to share about your stories, poetries, etc....