Monthly Archives: December 2015

The different madness of actors and writers

Actors and writers are the yin and yang of creativity. Neither are normal, nobody in the creative arts is normal; normal people get normal jobs, have normal families, and do normal things. Creative people are neurotic, they see things normal people see, but don’t think about until writers and actors remind them, then if the norm agree with what the creators see, they applaud, if they don’t agree, the reviews are bad.

Actors, like writers are introverted, but they approach creativity from a different angle. Actors need to be in the limelight, to have that klieg light shine upon them, hiding behind a character (one the writer creates), to escape who they are, be something they would like to be, at least for that play, movie, or TV show. No normal person wants to play dress up with makeup and prance around on a stage or movie set. It is said, even by many actors, that acting is unmanly, embarrassing in a way. Most actors prefer the stage because at the end of the play they hear applause. They get that immediate reaction; they like me-wait, no-they love me, I am accepted. My acting experience is limited. I remember only the panic attack before going on, and the laughter (it was intended). I remember little else. I didn’t like the feeling. It was not my element. 

The introverted writer, like the actor, hides his true self, not behind a character, but behind the words themselves. The writer is in the story somewhere, maybe everywhere, maybe here and there, behind or underneath the words; he is there lurking around. But he is far removed from the spotlight; allergic to lime, he is far from the immediacy of the audience, safe at his desk.

Both actors and writers are storytellers. The actor tells the story of his character, how he views things, by word, deed, or action. The writer tells his story using all the characters, seeing the whole, while the actor seeing primarily his role in the story. Both are drawn to ‘the word’ as actors look at the words they will speak and decide how to interpret the words, how the words will be used, revealed, spoken; the writer simply the architect builds layers of action, thought, conflict, and ideas though there is nothing really ‘simple’ about it.

 It could be said that actors take a bigger risk by being center stage, baring their soul to the audience, and while there is some truth to that, if the play or film doesn’t work they can blame the writer. Writers have nobody to blame.

 

coyotemoon_silentmurder

Here are some words to examine.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under dalies, e-books, fiction, indie writers, writers, writing

The strange birth of Otis Oglethorpe

The birth of Otis came not from a woman, and not in the usual method. He sprang from my brain cells. You see, Otis is a fictional character and following is how he got his name.

The story takes place in 1927, so using a name common to contemporary times won’t work. As a writer you need to search and find a name that resonates with the time period. I could use a common name, ones used decade after decade like Tom, Dick, and Harry, but those names are kind of boring-sorry guys, nothing personal. If this were a King Arthur era tale, those names, of course, would not do. You see what I am getting at, so the first name that came to mind was Otis. To me it sounds like a laborer from another time period, or perhaps a farmer; Otis is not a name I hear much anymore.

I needed a last name and could not think of one, until that is, I sat down to watch a football game on television and the Nano-second I sat down, the name Oglethorpe sprung full blown into my consciousness. I had to go to my room and jot the name down, otherwise I would forget, and then I returned to the NFL.

There are many ways to name a character. If you are of the literate mind, you can name a character to reference something critics and those ‘in the know’ will pick up on; for example naming a willful adult male Sawyer after the Mark Twain boy named Tom. Often the references are quite obtuse, referencing a Greek or Roman God, something from Norse myth, or a stray cat.

If say you want to have character who is cold-hearted, the last name could be Winter; if you want a character who has a happy disposition, Sunny would work as a caricature for a female, but something more even keel would be Sonny, for both male of female. There was a famous NFL quarterback named Sonny Jorgensen, so the name works for a male as well. The name can fit the character of the character.

There are many things to keep in mind for a character, such as nationality, the sound of the name, and even length should come into play. To me Otis Oglethorpe has a rhythm to it, it flows off the tongue despite the awkward looking last name.

In my novel in progress this is how he is introduced in a first draft, no doubt to be revised:

“Otis Oglethorpe, about thirty with a lived in face, waded into the Skookumchuck River and washed the blood from his hands. Nothing he could do about the bloody sleeves, but he sank his arms to the elbows into the clear water anyway and scrubbed them, hoping to wash the blood away.

He thought about stealing a boat at Gig Harbor or there about, but decided to take the long way, driving from Shelton up towards Bremerton, before turning right and heading south through Key Peninsula until he reached Home. Many people honed in on Home, a beacon to the wayward thinkers of the world, the originators, the oddballs, the free thinkers, the loonies, and perhaps, a hideout for those on the run. He walked back to his dirty, dinged up Ford and drove off.”

Cut to a man finding a head on a grave. I think it fair to say readers will immediately suspect Otis of murder. But is he? Or just a red herring? That is a matter for another blog.

coyotemoon_silentmurder

 Otis does not appear in “Silent Murder” but the man looking for him is. You can find the e-book at Amazon

Leave a comment

Filed under dalies, e-books, fiction, fiction writing, indie writers, self publishing, Uncategorized, writers, writing

Writers are liars

Let me be specific. While non-fiction writers and journalists sometimes make errors in research, get their facts wrong, or shade their story to suit their bias, overt or otherwise, I am talking fiction writers. They are all liars.

Their is no Huckleberry Finn or Tom Sawyer. No Sherlock Holmes or James Bond. There was no Ahab chasing a whale (didn’t he have something better to do?) and there is no Count Dracula with a neck fetish. All lies. None of it is true.

Jane Austen lied to you, as did Mark Twain, and yes even contemporary writers like Thomas Pynchon, Gillian Flynn, Roberto Bolano, Umberto Eco, Paula Hawkins, and every other writer in the entire history of literature. Al liars.

So why do we read these insidious devils who have trampled on one of the ten commandments? I think lying is one, but I’m not sure, I don’t pay attention to most of the commandments; but if it isn’t a commandment it should be. And while we are at it, there is nothing wrong with looking at my neighbors wife. Touching is out, but looking should be okay.

We read these liars, to get back to the point, because in reading these lies we see truth. For within the lies are emotional truths we recognize as our own; the experience we see that happens with the characters we recognize as our experience, even if the action is crazy. We might not be astronauts, but the feelings they have, the experience they have we can identify with. We can empathize.

Unlike Ahab, I will not chase a whale. I get seasick. But I understand his motivation; I know why he goes on the insane hunt. I will not venture to Dracula’s castle (yes there is one) for I have heard rumors about him and know to stay away from people who avoid the sun. I also know to use garlic and carry a cross. This is what happens when you believe the lie. It becomes real, you see.

So if you want to be a writer who wants to tell the truth of the world, then start writing lies. We all do. And it works.

My lies at Amazon

 

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under dalies, e-books, fiction writing, writers, writing

What? 7 tweets and 34.6 million followers

I have a Twitter account. I follow 626 and am followed by 552. I have tweeted 920 times, the majority of which are my blog posts that automatically go to Twitter. Of the 626 I follow there are only two I check out, maybe once a week. The majority that I follow are writer related, and to be honest, many are ready to help you Tweet your books- for a price of course. I ignore them, but I follow, or at least I click the follow button. And if I don’t they unfollow me. Shame. On both of us.

I don’t spend a lot of time on Twitter as I would rather hang out with you folks than chase numbers to make me look popular. It does not matter who or what is trending. Trends change by the minute, so the chaser is deluded, chasing only a chimera.

Here is an example I found today to show, no prove, Twitter is a numbers game. I received an email saying that iceicles (their spelling) is now following me. I checked as usual and found she or he has 34.6 million followers and is following 32.8 million. Forget the fact that no human can possibly follow 32.8 million people, consider that this account has seven tweets, three of which are re-tweets from the same link.

Assuming the numbers are correct, this is a case of someone clicking follow day after day, year after year, or possibly having an auto device that randomly follows people and all those 34 plus million who follow the account just click follow for no reason. Whatever is going on it makes no sense, none I can think of anyway, unless of course someone is promoting a website.

I prefer being followed by real people, you know the kind; tall, long haired beauties with runway model legs, who naturally are writers. But I digress. Twitter has become a place for numbers, not interaction of any meaning. I know I can go there, check out #hashtags and make my 140 character opinion known, but what, in the long run, is the point. Twitter is becoming a landing spot for self promotion. Nothing wrong with promoting yourself, but many of the accounts like the aforementioned one with 34.6 million followers on seven tweets make it seem like a joke.

I have more social interaction with you in blogs and posts.

I know what you are thinking, that being, why am I still on Twitter. I don’t have an answer, except I like to check out those two people I actually do follow.

My Amazon page where you can click follow without going to Twitter

 

2 Comments

Filed under dalies, fiction writing, indie writers, Uncategorized, writers, writing

Amazon’s one side policy on book reviews.

Indie and self published writers flock to Amazon to publish their books like out of work actors answering an open call audition. It is our chance for fame, wealth, move deals, or at least-and more important-good reviews.

But what is wrong with Amazon’s policy on book reviews?

It is good in the sense that they aim for honest reviews by screening out paid reviews. I would never pay for a review, nor should anyone. They also screen out friends and relatives-and yes their Big Brother algorithms will  find out. But they also screen out reviews for reasons that make no sense. I had one disappear, a four start review for “Loonies in Hollywood.” I have no idea who wrote, it but I did find the review two years later on Goodreads. So I did what someone suggested in a blog. I copied it and also copied my other good reviews and saved them in Word and posted some on my website.

No system is not without flaws, but Amazon ignores something that they should monitor, for writers and for themselves. There are trolls who buy an eBook, download it, maybe even read it, and trash it in a review, then get a refund. This is their idea of fun. There are also those who seek revenge on a ‘friend’ by trashing their books. 

I am not saying Amazon should weed out bad reviews. I have only one 1 star review. I don’t like that, but having read the review it is clear he or she misread the ending. It happens. But the reviews must be legitimate, and that includes trolls whose hobby is trashing authors for fun. If Amazon can weed out paid reviews, weed out reviews by friends-not always accurate by the way-then they should be working both sides of reviews. If fairness is what Amazon claims to strive for then they must weed out trolls as well as paid reviews.

 

My Amazon page with I hope no more disappearing reviews

 

Leave a comment

Filed under dalies, e-book publishing, e-books, indie writers, self publishing, writers

Why New Years resolutions don’t’ work

I am writing this ahead of time to warn you of the pitfalls of making resolutions. Most resolutions don’t work because they are made when too much bubbly is in your system and though well intentioned in that moment, you know deep down in dawn of morning there ain’t no way you will follow through.

It is the morning after when the new day sobers you up and you realize the person next to you is not the person you thought you knew, in fact, may not be anyone you know, or you wake up and realize you know the person, and are sorry that you do.

You can’t start a new year, a new outlook, new goals, a new you on the first of January. Hung over, dry heaves, wet heaves, with only football games for redemption to free you from  . . . what did I resolve to do?

Won’t work.

No you must make resolutions now in order to acclimate yourself for the new year. It is like baseball players in spring training, or football players in training camp; you must prepare yourself. You can not jump into it on New Years Eve. Well, okay, you can, and it is a lot of fun, but I am talking about resolutions here.

What I have resolved to do as of Sunday, December the 6th, is to rise each morning and eat breakfast while reading my emails, or should say deleting 20 of 25 without bothering to read. Then brew some tea, either green, oolong, or jasmine. I drink the tea because it has not only antioxidants, but a caffeine jolt to jump start my brain to write my 2,000 words Monday through Friday. One thousand words, then stop to exercise my body so that my rear end does not spread out like an amok excel spreadsheet. Then write another 1,000 words. After that I shall read, as I have tons of unread books, so many that my space looks like a literary agents growing slush pile. I am a book hoarder that must climb out from my computer chair like a mountain goat on Everest.

So I am now officially in training for my new 2,000 words a day. I don’t know how long it will last, but I am already eagerly looking forward to jumping into New Year’s Eve.

My website

My Amazon page with 5 delightful e-Books

1 Comment

Filed under dalies, e-books, humor, indie writers, Uncategorized, writers, writing

Don’t think when writing, instead see

The worst thing a writer can do is think. First, it is a waste of brain cells, and second, thinking gets in the way of creativity. Call it Zen. Ray Bradbury did in his book “Zen and the Art of Writing.” He says what other writers have said and when more than one tell you it is so, and you can verify by your experience, you know they are correct.

I have experienced it many times, none more so, then when I wrote 2,700 words in three hours.

When writing you visualize in your cinematic brain what is happening in the scene. As a writer you know every scene has a purpose, a beginning, middle, and an end, or at least a hanging chad type of ending, one that leads the reader to the next scene, because they can’t put the book down, not yet anyway, got to keep reading, because there is that chad hanging on and the need to find out what that chad means.

Example: I wrote a scene where three people come across a car they were looking for, the car of someone who is missing. The car is on an isolated road. They follow the dirt road in a misty rain, the road overgrown with weeds, hardly, if ever used. (since I write on the fly, I have no idea where they are going). But as they go down the road, I see the road in my cinematic brain. I see the rain- and see it is misty, so I write that it is misty. I see the weeds, I see the tall grass, and I describe what I am looking at. I see the bear in the middle of the road. I see the bear raise up and let loose a tree shaking, knee buckling growl.

What happens then is not important (hanging chad), at least to the point I am making. A writer sees and writes what he sees, and what he sees is shaped into a story. So don’t think, sit back and visualize and then report what is going on, what is being said. At the end of the day-or days, you will have a story.

The hanging chad resolved: one of the three, a woman raised in an area where bears would be encountered, knew how to shout and yell to scare the bear off. They then come upon a weather beaten old shack that they approach slowly; the woman who scared off the bear slowly turns the knob on the front door. (another hanging chad)

My website

My Amazon page where you can follow me or read about my e-Books

Leave a comment

Filed under dalies, e-book publishing, e-books, fiction, fiction writing, indie writers, writers, writing