A writing funny

A college class was told they had to write a short story in as few words as possible. The short story had to contain the following three things:
1) Religion
2) Sexuality
3) Mystery

Below is the only A+ short story in the entire class.

“Good God, I’m pregnant: I wonder who did it?”

Agent: Demystified

Miss Snark’s First Victim book trailer for Agent: Demystified. Visit her at authoresspress.com

Like I’m anywhere close to looking for an agent. Still, no harm in having the idea planted…

Inspirations- Joseph Campbell

joecampbellThough he’s been gone from this Earth for over twenty years, Joseph Campbell still has the power to teach and inspire. George Lucas’ Star Wars series was heavily influeneced by Mr. Campbell’s observations on hero figures. Described by Bill Moyers as a very spiritual man yet not limited by a single theology or ideology, he was an expert on mythologies from all over the world.  He draws parallels in basic stories from all cultures.  As a child he said he wanted to ‘be a synthesis of Douglas Fairbanks and Leonardo Da Vinci’. A worthy goal indeed.

Get Netflix, or go to Amazon, get The Hero’s Adventure, the first in a series of interviews of Joseph Cambell by Bill Moyers. Watch and listen; you won’t be bored, I promise.

Get his books, most noteably The Hero With a Thousand Faces. Inspiration will follow.

Aren’t our own characters all heroes in a sense? They have a task to do, some goal or obstacle to overcome. Otherwise, nobody wants to read 200 pages of what our ordinary life is like day to day. Get up, go to work, come home, go to bed. Booorrriiinnngg. Instead, our imagination goads us into throwing adventures at our characters. It becomes then; get up, go to work, save the universe, go home (if it’s still standing), then go to bed. THAT’S what readers want.

Everything we write about is an archetype, everything in our life is a journey and he explains it so well, that it makes total sense in relation to writing and life in general. He encourages you to ‘follow your bliss’, to live a life pursuing that which makes you happy, makes you complete. To demur, to say, “I can’t do that” is the dragon within you, hoarding the treasure to himself, not letting you near it.

Slay the dragon, follow your bliss.

Good advice, that.

V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N, or Why Taking Time Off Doesn’t Mean You Have To Go Somewhere

writing-anthony russo

 When asked by my supervisor where I was going for my two weeks respite from work, I told her honestly, “Home.” Some people understand my desire to simply not be a work for a couple of weeks. While it may not seem it to some, not being at my place of employment is a vacation unto itself. I don’t have to think about anything of more immediate concern than, “What am I going to eat?” and “What porn sites am I going to troll today?” (Okay, so maybe not so much on the porn. But Supernatural fanfic sites can suck you in just as insidiously.)

If I had the money? You’re damn skippy I’d have spent two weeks aboard a cruise ship, in Edinburgh, London, Dublin, Botswana… wherever. However, my time at home, mashing my ass in the chaise lounge has not been completely unproductive. (You knew I’d turn it back to writing, didn’t you?)

Aside from the minimal time I’ve spent actually doing chores and keeping the house just above pigsty status, I’ve spent time visiting my characters. Rayne is currently suffering a fever and feels like crap and has no choice but to face it and recover in a tent in a winter forest on her trip along with the Duke and others. She’ll go on to deliver a baby in a brothel and have a major falling out with her employer and end up a free agent again. But much of the excess garbage in the writing has been purged. (Some of her stuff I’ve written as much as four and five years ago. I’ve learned so much more since then.)

Valerie and Daniel have reunited after she was sure he wasn’t coming back. And I’m not just talking flowers and hand-holding either. I’m alomst a little embarrassed about the explicit nature of the long-awaited love scene. (Who needs porn when I can write stuff that’s so much better? And it doesn’t load viruses onto my computer!) I have to restrain myself from making their post-reunion story one long string of fooling-around scenes, since the two of them are so good for one another and neither of them has been in a sexual situation (with another person anyway) for over two years. I was worried I might induce a cardiac event in one or both of them. There are still a lot of questions in their future, but right now, they’re together and happy.

My werewolves have been visited and attended to, though nothing further has been added to their story. But I love my main character so much, she’s been making appearances in Supernatural scenes that crop up in my mind, fully formed, like Athena from Zeus’s forehead. (NO! No fanfic!! I’ve got enough stuff to work on that might actually get published (*and then, a miracle occurs*), to write something with NO hope of ever seeing the legitimate light of day.) Still, talking to the Winchester boys in Lily’s voice does serve to keep myself entertained while I pay bills and rip music to my hard drive. And makes the dog look at me funny.

I sometimes wonder what goes through that dog’s head.

I probably don’t want to know.

Ode to an Unfinished Work

music16Maybe music isn’t as important to everyone else like it is to me, but I love it, I hear it in my head all the time and I love to incorporate it into my writing. I know there are others out there who feel similarly; you know who you are. But I have a question to ask of my fellow writers: do you prepare soundtracks for your writing? To explain what the hell it is I’m babbling about, I guess I have to explain what I’ve done.

I have iTunes. I love it. I also have friends that entrust me with the creation of the in-case-the-house-burns-down-and-my-entire-music-collection-melts emergency backup copies. This offers me the benefit of amassing quite a lot of music files. I’ve finally overwhelmed my 30 gb iPod; it refuses to load the entire collection anymore. To give you an idea of how much music I have stored, iTunes has a little display at the bottom of the main screen that tells you how long it can play without repeating anything. My playtime hovers somewhere around five weeks now. I could start my own internet radio station.

And this music is very eclectic in styles. I have everything from A-Ha’s Take On Me, Bessie Smith, Leadbelly, Fergie, The Chieftains, Hank Williams Sr., to The Fifth Dimension, Right Said Fred, Vivaldi, DeBussy, Air Supply, Andrea Bocelli and ZZ Top. It’s a wonder the external hard drive doesn’t spontaneously combust from the warring styles.

I make playlists, sometimes burning them to cd for use in the car or at work. (This is where I’m finally getting to the point. You knew I would eventually. Right?) It all started with me dragging in a group of Celtic pieces that reminded me of Rayne and her story. Stuff from Braveheart and Rob Roy, as well as some vocal stuff that could be songs she actually knows. Then I did the same for another story, and then it blossomed into full-fledged soundtrack building.

My story about Valerie and Daniel has an honest-to-God soundtrack. I haven’t even finished writing it, but, if I ever do, and the miraculous series of events occurs that leads to my novel being made into a movie happens, I’m ready with the music. It follows the events of the story, containing songs that pertain to the plot and/or are songs that actually appear in the story itself, either playing on a cd or sang by the characters themselves. This playlist is almost as eclectic as the rest of my collection. It starts with Sister Hazel’s “Thank You”, wanders through a Louvin Brothers tune covered by Alison Krause, an a capella English folk tune, Jethro Tull, Jack Johnson, and ends up with The Who. Can it get any better than that?

So, now that I’ve demonstrated my weirdness and obsessive-compulsive behavior, is anybody else crazy too? Nope? Just me then…

Happy Birthday Rayne

running1The main character in my fantasy work-in-progress celebrates her birthday today. May 1, also Beltane, the pagan fire festival is the day she told me she was born. Easily my favorite character I’ve written, she keeps me entertained, frustrated, busy and delighted by turns with her adventures, blunders and occasional brilliance.

Maybe someday I’ll finish enough of her story to share with the world.