Friday, April 30, 2010

Word of the Week #97 - terradiddle

*Just because it's fun to say.*

tarradiddle - [tair-uh-DID-uhl] - noun

1. A petty falsehood; a fib.
2. Pretentious nonsense.

The afternoon began with a terradiddle from one child about the other, and quickly degenerated into a full-blown quarrel.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Things I Learned from Running a Writers Conference

Last weekend was the 2010 LDStorymakers Writers Conference. 450+ people attended and it was pure awesomeness! Several of those attendees have blogged/will blog about what they learned from the conference. And since I was co-coordinator of the event (you know, the one tearing around like a chicken with her head cut off?) I thought I could blog about the things I learned, since they're probably a little different than what everyone else says.

1. Nice, black business shoes with heels will last half a day. Then you won't care who sees you walking around in socks.

2. Being in charge of a conference while wearing just socks is very bad for your pinky toes. You will stub them at every conceivable opportunity. And as you stagger around people might think you're drunk, when really it's just excruciating pain.

3. Running shoes are much more practical. Even if you are wearing black slacks and your shoes are gray and purple, wear them anyway.

4. Don't even try to take notes when people approach you with ideas for future conferences, even if they're fantastic ideas. Give others your email address and ask them to email said fantastic idea later next week, because you won't remember it. You just won't.

5. Set your phone alarm for check out time, so you don't have to sprint through the hotel because you were supposed to check out an hour ago. But if you do have to sprint, at least you're wearing running shoes. (See #3)

6. When you are in charge of a music video, the more embarrassing parts fall to you, since you don't feel like you could ask others to do it.

7. No matter what your rational side says, every little thing that goes wrong feels like you dropped the ball.

8. It takes more days to recuperate than you think, so you'll get behind on blogging.

9. People are awesomely cool. A shout out to all the random people I grabbed to help me with this and that. You rock!

10. Watching people have a good time and things running smoothly can move you to tears.

I also wanted to share that the national agents that attended were impressed with the conference, with how friendly everyone was, and with the quality of fresh ideas they heard. They've spread the word to fellow agents, so everyone's on the lookout for great stuff coming their way from the conference attendees. Yippee!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Lady Gaga--author style

Curious what I've been doing on my spare weekends in March and April? (No, I'm not the one in the wig.)

We showed this at the LDStorymakers Writers Conference last weekend. It's always good to get in touch with your goofy side.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Taking a Break

I'm just letting you all know that I will be "off-air" this week, but I'll be back to full blogginess next Monday. Have a great week!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Me at the Moment

I will get the Mad Libs blog post up soon. Promise! *dodging yet another email flying out of the computer*

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Word of the Week #96 - phantasmagoria

phantasmagoria - [fan-taz-muh-GOR-ee-uh] - noun

1. A shifting series or succession of things seen or imagined, as in a dream.
2. Any constantly changing scene.

Alice in Wonderland is an entire story with that jumbled up phantasmagoria feel of actual dreams.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Don't Just Learn the Craft--Do the Craft

For today's post I'm going to channel Yoda. As writers we are all encouraged to Learn The Craft (in suitable capital letters). It often goes something like this:

1. Observe Suzy the Writer, who is one of the 85% of people who want to write a book. Suzy has gotten rave reviews from her grandmother about her creative writing, and she's penned several stories that, face it, are pretty darn good.

2. Suzy reads many books, and finally comes across one that is so terribly, incredibly, stick-a-fork-in-my-eye bad that she is certain she can do better than that.

3. Suzy starts writing a book. Even though she doesn't realize it, like many of the masses Suzy holds the belief that good writing just flows from an always-cooperative muse and falls into glorious order, depth, and beauty.

4. Before long Suzy knows that she is oh, so wrong. Writing is more work than she thought. But she reminds herself that the one book was so bad and got published, so certainly she can work through this.

5. Somewhere in the middle Suzy gets lost and the main character that was so compelling in her head is moseying around picking up dry cleaning, having boring conversations, arranging flowers in a vase, and basically avoiding any actions that might actually interest a reader.

6. Suzy is really stubborn, so instead of quitting, Suzy turns to writing books to figure out how to fix her book.

7. After reading the writing books, Suzy realizes that everything she's written her whole life until now is complete crap. She throws her manuscript on a bonfire in her backyard, roasts some marshmallows, and starts on the next book that she just knows will be genius.

8. Suzy struggles again. She finally breaks down and realizes she doesn't really know what she's doing. She reads a whole bunch of great authors to try and figure out how they do it. Maybe she goes to conferences or takes classes. She probably reads writing blogs. She is now doing what everyone told her--she's Learning the Craft.

However, Learning the Craft isn't enough. Often we try to learn the craft just by studying it. But to when you truly learn something it is a combination of knowledge with action.

I love to play tennis, and played a lot of it in high school. And during and after college I played in adult leagues and tournaments. I used to spend time reading tennis magazines and watching tennis on TV. No one would call that Learning to Play Tennis. In order to learn it, I had to practice and play tennis. A lot.

I didn't get to the level I did just watching others play. Yes, I watched and learned and was coached, but it was only by doing that I truly learned the craft of tennis. It was through practice that I figured out how to apply my learning. Through practice I figured out how to develop strategy, the importance of ball placement, and how to spot the weaknesses in my opponent's game. I didn't just run on the tennis court and fling my racket around hoping to get lucky. Every hit had a purpose. And if it didn't, then my chances of losing skyrocketed.

You don't want to just Learn the Craft; you need to Do the Craft.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Spring Break Epiphanies

  • Spring Break is not conducive to blogging, writing, or anything you have to concentrate on for more than 3 minutes at a time.
  • Even if it's snowing, my kidlets will still run outside in their socks.
  • Snow on Spring Break is wrong. Just wrong.
  • We are the most boring Spring Break family ever. We stayed home, unlike 2/3 of the neighborhood.
  • When 2/3 of the neighborhood is out of town, there aren't very many kids for mine to play with.
  • Apparently, not everyone thinks getting up at 5:00 a.m. to exercise during Spring Break is a great idea.
  • It is physically impossible for my children to simply brush their teeth; something about the small bathroom and the chemical makeup of toothpaste makes them fight. Every. Single. Time.
  • In theory, I planned to make time for writing this week. *laughing hysterically*
  • I wish Hollywood would lay off the 3D already. Yes, it's cool, but not for every movie.
  • I want a dragon of my own. And a viking helmet.
  • If I don't have time to watch a 1 hour TV show, then I don't have time to watch a 40 minute DVRed TV show.
  • I refuse to let my Google Reader or DVR make me feel guilty.

Wishing you all a happy Spring Break if you're on it. If not, have a happy day anyway! Don't forget to submit your suggestions for my Mad Libs. I'll post them next week.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Word of the Week #95 - matutinal

matutinal - [muh-TOOT-n-uhl] - adjective

Relating to or occurring in the morning; early.

I am much more productive after a matutinal bout of exercise; who needs coffee?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Going Mad (Libs)

Last week's post got me in a Mad Lib mood, so today we're going to do some Mad Libs together. For this to work I need reader participation, so don't be shy. I'll give you the sentence parts I need to complete the mad libs based on different stories. You give me suggestions in the comments. And then next week I'll reveal the most funny/odd ones. It sounds fun to me, but then I'm bizarre. Speaking of bizarre, bizarre words often work good for this sort of thing.

Mad Lib #1
  1. a food
  2. an –ed verb
  3. noun
  4. a beverage
  5. a type of body part (plural)
  6. noun

Mad Lib #2

  1. boy's name
  2. noun
  3. occupation
  4. measurement
  5. noun
  6. adjective
  7. game
  8. adjective
  9. plural noun
  10. verb ending in "ing"

Mad Lib #3

  1. verb
  2. adjective
  3. verb
  4. plural noun
  5. weapon (plural)
  6. adjective
  7. noun
  8. food (plural)
  9. verb
  10. adjective
  11. noun
  12. verb
  13. noun
  14. verb ending in "ed"
  15. noun
  16. adjective

***How this works for those unfortunate souls who haven't been introduced to the word nerd beauty of Mad Libs.**

I have something already written out, but with missing words. I ask you to give me generic words (a noun, verb, etc.), I plug your words into the right places, and the results can be really fun. For example (and I am just randomly pulling these words from my brain), let's say I ask you for these words:

1. a plural noun = you give me the word garbage cans
2. a color = you give me chartreuse
3. a plural noun = you give me raindrops
4. a color = you give me purple
5. a food = you give me pizza
6. a taste = you give me gag-me disgusting
7. a person in the room = you give me Phyllis

And here's the Mad Lib:
Garbage cans are chartreuse, Raindrops are purple,
Pizza is gag-me disgusting, and so is Phyllis.

That really wasn't a great example, but I needed something short and easy.