Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Awesome Monday Night at The Inspired Word!

Tierra Sana Restaurant in Forest Hills, Queens, rocked with great writing last night.

For making it such a memorable night, I wish to extend my great gratitude to Vic and Stephanie Fiallo, the wonderfully gracious owners of Tierra Sana, to our MCs, Marron Cox and Foster Stevenson, and to our very talented and highly spirited writers, Emily Crocker, Roxanne Hoffman, Lawrence E. Soehnel, Leanna Renee Hieber, and Celia Farber.

Below are three past YouTube videos of our writers in action:

Leanna Renee Hieber

Roxanne Hoffman

Lawrence E. Soehnel

Our next event is April 6th.

Time: 7:00-9:00 pm (though you're welcome to stay until closing time!)

Free wine tasting! Free appetizers! Awesome ambience and food! A great collection of writers and their work!

Writers Scheduled to Read:

Janice Brabaw is the author of Universe, Disturbed, her first collection of poetry that draws directly from her teenage and college journals when she suffered from debilitating depression. She is also the author of And Again: A Memoir of a Life Disordered which chronicles her struggles with depression and borderline personality disorder. And Again is slated to be released in 2009 and Universe, Disturbed is currently in it's second edition. Brabaw lives in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. She runs the literary & musical series, Stained Glass Confessional in Brooklyn and has read at The Bowery Poetry Club, Otto's Shrunken Head, The Cake Shop, and the Library Lounge series at Telephone Bar. Her work has appeared in Poesis, The Toronto Quarterly, Ophelia Street, The Record, and The Cartier Street Review. Her website is: www.JaniceBrabaw.com

Alissa Heyman is a freelance writer and editor, as well as a Production Editor at Oxford University Press. She is the editor of THE BEST POEMS OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE (Mud Puddle Books), which includes brief biographies and annotations of poets and poems from Beowulf to T.S. Eliot. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in Lyric and St. Petersburg Review. She is co-curator of The Graduate Poetry Reading Series at Cornelia Street Cafe. Heyman received her MFA in Poetry at Sarah Lawrence College where she was Managing Editor of Lumina magazine. She has also adapted and abridged a series of children's books, including THE BIG BOOK OF HORROR, THE BIG BOOK OF ADVENTURE, and THE BIG BOOK OF KNIGHTS, NOBLES, AND KNAVES (Sterling Publishing). She lives in Kew Gardens with her husband.

Michael Northrop's first young adult novel, GENTLEMEN, has just been published by Scholastic. He has written short fiction for the Notre Dame Review, The Adirondack Review, Weird Tales, and McSweeney's. He has been an associate editor at The World Almanac and a senior editor at Sports Illustrated Kids.

Amy Ouzoonian is the host of Uzi's Open every Thursday at Tribes Gallery in the Lower East Side. She is the author of Your Pill (poetry Foothills Publishing) and the editor of three anthologies of poetry, "In the Arms of Words", "Poems for Tsunami Relief", and "Skyscrapers, Taxis and Tampons." She lives and creates art in Queens.

Sarah Riley is a writer and filmmaker based in New York City. She performs live Visual Artistry as a collaborative force with various DIY Artists, using music, text, video, and human experience as mediums. Ms. Riley’s body of work includes five film shorts and various published writings. She has recently completed her first novella, Borderlands.

Mary Saliba is a poet and writer living in New York City. She graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of The Arts with her BFA, and later earned her MFA in creative writing from Emerson College. While at Emerson, she studied poetry with Bill Knott and wrote a book of poems for her thesis, entitled, “Please Steal Something Before You Go.” Her fiction and poetry have appeared in small press publications which mainly begin with the letters “A” and “B” because she has never managed to get farther than that in The Writer’s Market. Her short fiction was recently reprinted in the anthology, “Brevity and Echo,” and is used in the textbook “What If: Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers.” She has been a newspaper editor, reporter and features writer at many publications in New York and New Hampshire, and is currently working on a novel.

Taína is the Founder/Producer of The Latino Poets' Society Spoken Word Tour, a national spoken word tour consisting of an all Latino cast, a TV producer/Independent filmmaker, writer, photographer, and performing poet in NYC. She is a consummate artist with an observant eye, a passion for her culture and an undying drive to showcase the social ills of a lopsided society, Always on a quest to reach individuals in less than fortunate circumstances, she draws from her own experiences and never runs out of hope or inspiration. Through her work, she intends on changing people’s lives with one piece of art at a time.

Boris Zilberman grew up in New York City and graduated from Hunter College with a double degree in Creative Writing and Psychology. In addition to writing fiction and poetry, Boris performs stand-up comedy and improv when he's not working full time in internet marketing. It's also no secret that he loves an audience, though he isn't always sure what to do with one. He recently was one of the stars of "Monolgues," a spoken-word show directed by Def Poet Vanessa Hidary.

MCs: Foster Stevenson, Marron Cox

Location: Tierra Sana Restaurant
100-17 Queens Blvd & 67th Road
Forest Hills, Queens
New York City

By subway, take the local R or V to 67th Avenue stop (and it's right there between 67th Road and 67th Avenue along Queens Boulevard).

All you need to bring is your love for the written word.



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Monday, March 30, 2009

C.K. Williams: Poetry for all seasons of life

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Is Facebook Growing Up Too Fast?

Is Facebook Growing Up Too Fast?
Published: March 28, 2009
New York Times

WHEN Facebook signed up its 100 millionth member last August, its employees spread out in two parks in Palo Alto, Calif., for a huge barbecue. Sometime this week, this five-year-old start-up, born in a dorm room at Harvard, expects to register its 200 millionth user.

That staggering growth rate — doubling in size in just eight months — suggests Facebook is rapidly becoming the Web’s dominant social ecosystem and an essential personal and business networking tool in much of the wired world.

Yet Facebook executives say they aren’t planning to observe their latest milestone in any significant way. It is, perhaps, a poor time to celebrate. The company that has given users new ways to connect and speak truth to power now often finds itself as the target of that formidable grass-roots firepower — most recently over controversial changes it made to users’ home pages.

As Facebook expands, it’s also struggling to match the momentum of hot new start-ups like Twitter, the micro-blogging service, while managing the expectations of young, tech-savvy early adopters, attracting mainstream moms and dads, and justifying its hype-carbonated valuation.

By any measure, Facebook’s growth is a great accomplishment. The crew of Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s 24-year-old co-founder and chief executive, is signing up nearly a million new members a day, and now more than 70 percent of the service’s members live overseas, in countries like Italy, the Czech Republic and Indonesia. Facebook’s ranks in those countries swelled last year after the company offered its site in their languages.

All of this mojo puts Facebook on a par with other groundbreaking — and wildly popular — Internet services like free e-mail, Google, the online calling network Skype and e-commerce sites like eBay. But Facebook promises to change how we communicate even more fundamentally, in part by digitally mapping and linking peripatetic people across space and time, allowing them to publicly share myriad and often very personal elements of their lives.

Unlike search engines, which ably track prominent Internet presences, Facebook reconnects regular folks with old friends and strengthens their bonds with new pals — even if the glue is nothing more than embarrassing old pictures or memories of their second-grade teacher.

Facebook can also help rebuild families. Karen Haber, a mother of two living outside Tel Aviv, logs onto Facebook each night after she puts the children to bed. She searches for her family’s various surnames, looking for relatives from the once-vast Bachenheimer clan of northern Germany, which fractured during the Holocaust and then dispersed around the globe.

Among the three dozen or so connections she has made on Facebook over the last year are a fifth cousin who is a clinical social worker in Woodstock, N.Y.; a fourth cousin running an eyeglasses store in Zurich; and another fifth cousin, living in Hong Kong selling diamonds. Now she shares memories, photographs and updates with them.

“I was never into genealogy and now suddenly I have this tool that helps me find the descendants of people that my grandparents knew, people who share the same truth I do,” Ms. Haber says. “I’m using Facebook and trying to unite this family.”

Facebook has also become a vehicle for broad-based activism — like the people who organized on the site last year and mobilized 12 million people to march in protests around the globe against practices of the FARC rebels in Colombia.

Discussing Facebook’s connective tissue, Mr. Zuckerberg recalls the story of Claus Drachmann, a schoolteacher in northern Denmark who became a Facebook friend of Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Denmark’s prime minister. Mr. Drachmann subsequently invited Mr. Rasmussen to speak to his class of special-needs children; the prime minister obliged last fall.

Mr. Zuckerberg says the story illustrates Facebook’s power to cut through arbitrary social barriers. “This represents a generational shift in technology,” he says. “To me, what is interesting was that it was possible for a regular person to reach the prime minister and that that interaction happened.”

Read the rest of the story here:

Click here

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Writing Quotes of the Day

"I think the first duty of all art, including fiction of any kind, is to entertain. That is to say, to hold interest. No matter how worthy the message of something, if it's dull, you're just not communicating."
Poul Anderson

"I asked Ring Lardner the other day how he writes his short stories, and he said he wrote a few widely separated words or phrases on a piece of paper and then went back and filled in the spaces."
Harold Ross

"It seems to me that those songs that have been any good, I have nothing much to do with the writing of them. The words have just crawled down my sleeve and come out on the page."
Joan Baez

"Have something to say, and say it as clearly as you can. That is the only secret."
Matthew Arnold

"I have been successful probably because I have always realized that I knew nothing about writing and have merely tried to tell an interesting story entertainingly."
Edgar Rice Burroughs

"Those who write clearly have readers. Those who write obscurely have commentators."
Albert Camus

"The virtue of books is to be readable."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Every writer I know has trouble writing."
Joseph Heller

"Tediousness is the most fatal of all faults."
Samuel Johnson

"When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing."
Enrique Jardiel Poncela

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Fascinating Interview with Stephen King/7 Parts

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The Celebrity Twitter Ecosystem

The Celebrity Twitter Ecosystem
New York Times
Published: March 27, 2009
HONESTLY, does anyone care that Martha Stewart has a blog supposedly written by her French bulldogs, Francesca and Sharkey?

Snoop Dogg might, perhaps, because Ms. Stewart recently sent him a Twitter message urging him to visit “The Daily Wag.” “Yo Snoop,” she wrote, “check out MY doggies’ new doggie blog.”

Tha Doggfather received this dubious shout-out because Ms. Stewart follows him on Twitter — “following” being Twitterspeak for signing up to get someone’s musings delivered directly to your cellphone or computer. She is also following P. Diddy, Rachel Maddow and Jimmy Fallon and, in turn, is followed by Michael Phelps, Jane Fonda and nearly 200,000 other people; they were all alerted on March 4, for instance, when she had lunch with Ludacris, whom she found “just charming” and who “loved lunch — esp. choc cake.”

That Ms. Stewart recently broke bread with the artist behind “Pimpin’ All Over the World” is just one of the many weird bits of trivia that can be gleaned about famous people on Twitter. There are at least a hundred well-known actors, singers, business magnates, politicians and writers using the service, and their chitchat — most of it authentically written by the stars themselves, according to interviews with them or their publicists — is available for anybody to see. (Not to obsess too much over Martha, but just the other day she welcomed Emeril Lagasse to Twitter, sending him a note that said, “i am still loving the etouffee you made yesterday.” O.K., yes, she did buy up most of his franchise last year, but there you go.)

What is the sound of celebrities tweeting? Well, it might be Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails notifying Dave Navarro, a musical collaborator who now plays for Jane’s Addiction, that he’s “hanging on the bus.” Or maybe it’s Ashton Kutcher and John Mayer comparing notes on being 31 years old (from John to Ashton: “Let’s open a hip new restaurant together. ‘31 club.’ Where it’s always standing room only. It will fail but we will have had fun.”).

Most celebrities let anybody follow them on Twitter, but are pickier about whom they follow themselves. Mr. Kutcher, for instance, in addition to following his wife (Demi Moore) and a stepdaughter (Rumer Willis), follows a mix of boldface names from different walks of life, including Evan Williams (a Twitter founder), Soleil Moon Frye (remember “Punky Brewster”?), Maria Shriver and Ellen DeGeneres. (The latter two are not shown on the already-too-crowded chart below.)

It seems that — just like the rest of us — celebrities enjoy hearing about other celebrities, and Twitter lets them participate in a giant cross-disciplinary mash-up of a conversation.

To the delight of many, some celebrities expose themselves on Twitter in a way you won’t see in Entertainment Weekly. “I love it when they don’t talk with their publicists before posting things,” said Mario Lavandeira, who is better known as the gossipmonger Perez Hilton, “like Solange Knowles talking about how she was taking a lot of Nyquil and then ended up passing out at the airport.” (Erykah Badu and Q-Tip were among 23,000 people who received Ms. Knowles’s increasingly distressed alerts on Feb. 17, which culminated a day later with the tweet: “Woaah ...How’d I end up in the hospital?”)

The accompanying chart shows a small and idiosyncratic sample of the celebrities who follow one another on Twitter. It represents a snapshot taken from March 18, and should be read with the caveat that allegiances can change quickly on Twitter (followers can drop follow-ees with a simple keystroke, and vice versa). Except for a few obvious fakes (Vladimir Putin), these accounts are all authentic, even if they might not seem like it.

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This Gadget

cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Win Tickets to see "Monologues

Win Tickets to see "Monologues"

In the Birthright Israel NEXT show, Monologues, Taglit-Birthright Israel alumni bring their experiences to the stage in a collection of monologues, spoken word and hip-hop performances that explore personal Jewish identity inspired by a 10-day trip in Israel. The show originally premiered in November 2007, and continues its fourth New York City run at the Triad Theater. It is directed by Vanessa Hidary, a.k.a. The Hebrew Mamita, from HBO's Def Poetry Jam.

They are giving away 2 pairs of tickets to the show for two lucky readers: one for the March 31st show and one for April 1st. All you have to do is leave a comment with your name, e-mail, which date you can attend (either March 31 or April 1) and why you think this show is cool. Winners will be selected Sunday, March 29th and will be notified by e-mail.

For those who don't win, Monologues is offering special $5 tickets for Mike's Writing Workshop readers.

For tickets, schedule, video and more info, check out http://www.birthrightisrael.com/monologues.

Click here

The Triad Theatre
158 W. 72nd St., 2nd Fl.
Between Columbus and B'way

March 31
April 1, 29, 30
Doors Open at 7:30 PM
Show Begins at 8pm

$10 in advance
$15 at the door

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How to Become a "Death of Newspapers" Blogger

How to Become a "Death of Newspapers" Blogger
By Paul Dailing

Times are tough, my freelance work is drying up and I've recently come to the realization that any job where you can accidentally dye your thumb blue is not exactly career path.

That's why I've decided to become a "Death of Newspapers" blogger. I'll join the ranks of Jeff Jarvis, Paul Gillin, Jay Rosen and Clay Shirky in competing to see who can use the most jargon to describe something everyone knows is happening.

Apparently, it's very simple. The more you self-reference, pick feuds and talk about the failure of TimesSelect, the better you're doing. If you make it sound like you're the one who figured out newspapers are dying, you win.

I mean, the point's not to fix anything. It's to describe the problem more dramatically than the next guy. If Steve Outing says newspapers have a "death spiral" and Clay Shirky predicts "a bloodbath," the point goes to Shirky.

Basically, imagine a group of people watching a building burn down and bickering amongst themselves about whether it's a conflagration or an inferno. It's like that, but with consulting fees.

Talk about how everything online is wonderful, everything paper is crap and then use the online to pimp your upcoming (paper) book. Bonus points for talking about how much you love the New York Times at least twice per blog post. It'll help your credibility. You love the Times, but ...

The ratio of book pimpage to analysis should be one reference to your book per post, one reference per sentence if you're Jeff Jarvis.

Read the rest of the story:

Click here

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

My Favorite Writing Related Vids

Harlan Ellison’s Pay the Writer

Warning: Adult Language/For Mature Viewers Only

Carl Bernstein on Journalism

Martin Amis Talks to Charlie Rose

Elizabeth Gilbert: A new way to think about creativity

Vonnegut Advice on Short Stories

Lewis Black about writing

Warning: Adult Language/For Mature Viewers Only

Lewis Black on Writing

Warning: Adult Language/For Mature Viewers Only

Lewis Black on Writing a Book

Warning: Adult Language/For Mature Viewers Only

Foamy - Form Letter Rejection

Warning: Adult Language/For Mature Viewers Only

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Writing Desk

cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

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Author Andrew Mckenzie: Is There Life After Newspapers?

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Tip of the Day: Listen to Your Writing

Listen to your writing.

Rhythm and flow are so important in writing, and in keeping the reader moving easily through your story. Failure to have these things is almost certain death for the writer, meaning the reader will ultimately lose interest and put the story down before finishing. So, either aloud or quietly in your head, say your words over and over again, simply, strictly, to listen to how it sounds to the ear. I do this kind of thing dozens of times, if not more, with every story I write, until it hurts, until I can’t stand to hear it anymore. My rule of thumb: If it sounds good, it stays. If it doesn’t, I rewrite it until it does. If I can’t make it sound right, it goes.

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Spotlight Interview: Blake Snyder/Part 4

Blake Snyder, Screenwriter/Author

Mike: You live in Beverly Hills, right?

Snyder: Yes.

Mike: Do you think it’s important for aspiring screenwriters to live in the Hollywood area to make it bigtime?

Snyder: I think that planning a trip out here is definitely a good idea, not just to network and make good connections but also to get a lay of the land. I don’t, however, think you need to live here to have a successful screenwriting career. I do think you have to get an “in” with successful film people and have them be a core group of allies.

I wouldn’t advise an aspiring screenwriter to come out here until he or she has a good reason—which means they have a meeting with someone, or a few people, interested in their script. Try setting up four appointments for a week if you can. And every time you go to one of these meetings, ask for a referral. One question I always asked: “Do you know anybody else who might be helpful to my career?” It’s a myth that big people in the business will be cold to you and slam doors in your face. These people usually want to help you. If you’re a reasonably nice person—and not a stalker—they likely will, because they’ve all been there. Plus, they don’t know who you might turn into. You might be the future Martin Scorcese.

Mike: So, you should always be looking to extend your network?

Snyder: Absolutely. Every little connection leads to a bigger connection. And always remember that it’s just six degrees of separation or less to knowing somebody that can help you. Believe me, you know somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody who can help you in your writing career. Everybody does. It can as simple as knowing a guy who cleans pools for an executive in Bel Air. He can get your script to that guy. The trick is, doing your networking without being obnoxious or silly or outrageous. You want to get attention, but not cross the line. Just carefully, calmly make inroads and try not to burn bridges. Try to put yourself in the shoes of the people to whom you’re trying to give your script.

Mike: When do I stop pitching my script?
Snyder: I trust the look in someone’s eye. If they have a twinkle, I’m ok. If they look away and say, uh, huh, I’m in trouble. If too many people are looking away, I know I have to reassess things: What’s missing from the pitch? What elements do I need to work on? What do I need to include or exclude?

Mike: What are the realities of the business?

Snyder: That it’s very hard to sell even one script. That even the best screenwriters typically sell scripts without them ever getting made into movies. That out of the 50,000 scripts registered with the Writer’s Guild last year, maybe 20
got purchased and of those 20 maybe one will get made.

So, in the end, your script is not a finished product. It’s merely a possible blueprint.

Mike: What online resource sites would you recommend?

Snyder: There’s the Hollywood Creative Directory at:


I would definitely make that your bible. It’s updated every quarter, and the addresses and phone numbers and sometimes the emails of anyone who’s anybody in the business.

Another wonderful site is:


Mike: Any final words of advice?

Snyder: When you come up with a new movie idea, pitch it to real people. It’s more important to get the opinions of strangers than friends. You’ll know fast how good it is by pitching to people with no vested interest in your writing career. It’s THE best way to find out if what you have is gold—or just dust. Pitch it to the person in front of you on the line in Starbucks. Pitch it to the guy behind the counter in the drug store. And especially pitch it to people buying tickets to movies. Find out what brought them to the theater. Was it a concept? Was it the star? Was it the special effects? I mean, we screenwriters are all working for the same goal—get the people into the theater and give them a great experience. So go to the source. You’ll be surprised at what great ideas you come up with.

Remember that concept will always will be KING! The hook is vital for getting all of us interested—agent, producer, studio, AND ticket-buyer. Lure people to your movie with a concept they can’t wait to see, regardless of who’s starring in it, and keep their attention with great storytelling—which will always be in fashion.

Learn to tell a great story and you will always be in demand.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Neil Gaiman discusses Amazon and Kindle

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Please check out Debbie Ridpath Ohi's wonderful site:

Click here

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Media Centers Essential for Authors on VBT (Virtual Book Tour)

Media Centers Essential for Authors on VBT (Virtual Book Tour)
By Angela Wilson

One of the most frustrating things about being a virtual book tour host for Pop Syndicate’s Book Addict blog is searching numerous Web sites for author information.

When I book authors for tour spots, I give them a brief paragraph of what we need and attach a PDF with more detailed information. Some authors read it thoroughly and follow through. Other authors are lucky to make their tour stop deadline.

When I pull together Q&As, photographs and book trailers for posts, I have to visit a variety of sites to get the information. It takes a lot of time, effort, and frustrates me when I cannot find what I'm looking for. What makes it even more infuriating is that the authors didn't bother to include that information with their completed Q&A or guest blog.

This is why every author who is serious about their work should have a media center on their Web site.

Your media center should be a one-stop shop of details about you. It should include anything anyone would need to do an interview with you, host you at their blog, write an article about you, include in reviews of your work, pass along to fans and link to from blogs and other sites.

Media centers also make it easy on you. When people ask for details about you, all you have to do is refer them to your media center.

Want to add a media center, but don’t know where to begin? Here is a quick checklist of items to get you started:

▪ Photographs of yourself in JPEG
▪ Cover art in JPEG
▪ News release archive (PDF)
▪ Guest blog appearance list (PDF or links list)
▪ Book tour and virtual book tour stops (PDF or links list)
▪ Links to your social networks
▪ Biography (include one short and one long bio) (PDF)
▪ Publicist contact information
▪ Excerpts (PDF)
▪ Downloadable audio clips
▪ Videos with EMBED codes

Your Web designer can help if you want to add this to your current site. If you don’t have a big budget, consider using a free blog like WordPress or Typepad, which allow you to add pages of information - not just blog posts.

Angela Wilson is an author, freelance author publicist and professional blogger and podcaster. She requests ARCs and manages the book blog for Pop Syndicate, where she hosts authors on virtual book tours. If you have a question about promotions, visit www.askangelawilson.com and fill out the contact form. Your question may be used on that site or in a future newsletter column.

Find Ms. Wilson at:





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William Faulkner's Famous Nobel Prize Speech

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Spotlight Interview: Blake Snyder/Part 3

Blake Snyder, Screenwriter/Author

Mike: What’s the No. 1 avoidable mistake that beginning screenwriters make when submitting their screenplay?

Snyder: Make sure the concept is strong. That will open a lot of doors for you. And including a nice query letter with your concept will get you a lot of attention as well.

The truth is, if you have something that someone wants, you can’t make mistakes. Everyone is looking for the next hit. This is why I focus so much on the logline in my book.

I have run across people who are totally tone deaf about concept. I could tell them about concept and “poster” and “loglines” all day long and they won’t get it. I think that’s the biggest stumbling block to success.

What is this movie about? That’s the key question when you’re pitching someone. We are busy people, with plenty of stuff to occupy our time and attention. So, how are you going to break through that haze and communicate an idea to me? How can you capture my imagination?

Mike: What makes for a perfect logline?

Snyder: A perfect logline is a poem. I have to see the movie and the poster and it has to intrigue me. The best ideas are ones where when you say it, anyone who hears it immediately chips in with suggestions.

Mike: During the writing process, how do you know when a scene is working or not?

Snyder: After a while you start to set up some rules for yourself. What’s the conflict? How do you start off emotionally? How do you end emotionally? How you satisfy that goal? It is kind of hard to explain, but I think that there is that thing about what is boring and what is fun. It’s hard to do a scene analysis, but if you’re reading the script and you can’t stop turning the page, that’s a good sign. For me, momentum is important. If a scene is a problem for me it’s because it stops me from reading. Why that is and what I have to do to fix it differs every time.

Mike: How has your writing improved over the years?

Snyder: Screenwriting is a craft. It’s full of tricks. And that craft and those tricks can be learned with experience. For instance, what’s wrong with a story becomes clearer faster, and I love that. I am better at it now because I am no longer afraid to say I’m wrong, or fix some part that’s just limping along, dragging the rest of the story down. I also think my writing has benefited from other kinds of writing I’ve done. In my occasional periods away from the business, I’ve written a weekly Internet column, a novel, and articles for magazines and newspapers—that has all helped my communication skills tremendously.

Mike: Have the style and requirements of scripts changed drastically in the last decade?

Snyder: Yes, a lot. When I started my career, a typical script was 120 pages long. If it was 119, people that matter in the business might read it, might not. Now, scripts are between only 90-95 pages.

Mike: What caused such shortening?

Snyder: Short attention spans.

Mike: Do you listen to or read pitches from aspiring screenwriters?

Snyder: Every single day. I’m approached all the time from 20-year-old screenwriters, and I absolutely love it. I’m always telling writers: “Send your best pitch to me. Let me hear your idea.” I’m thrilled to hear new ideas, and I try my best to give the most helpful feedback I can. But I’m a big believer in giving the screenwriter the truth about his or her chances to sell their script. The truth is, I’ve turned over many a student to my agent or producer friends of mine in the past. If you can intrigue me with your log line and your structure, I’ll help you. I am happy to provide that service for the industry. Because I think the industry needs new blood, new writers all the time. It’s also very rewarding for me personally.

Mike: Do you read full scripts as well?

Snyder: Yes, if they hooked me with their pitch first.

Mike: How long does it take you to figure out if you have potential hit on your hands?

Snyder: I can tell you if your movie has a chance in the first 2-3 pages. I could look at a script from across the room and know whether it’s been written by an amateur or a professional. If I see big blocks of dialogue or thick descriptions, I know that the writer doesn’t know what he or she is doing.

Mike: What should an aspiring screenwriter do to become better at doing the craft?

Snyder: Obviously, I think you need to read books like mine. But also read the ones written by greats in the industry such as Syd Field and Robert McKee. And go to screenwriting workshops and seminars. I’ve been to a couple of McKee’s seminars. He’s such a great performer. His intensity is very inspiring. Any aspiring screenwriter should find a way to go to one.

And, above all, practice, practice, practice.

Mike: Should I read a lot of scripts?

Snyder: As many as you can.

Mike: Any ones in particular?

Snyder: I would be as current as possible. Look at what’s being made now and what’s hitting it big and try to figure out why. And stick to your own genre. Each genre has its own rules and regulations.

Since my genre is PG comedy and family, I studied Wedding Crashers. What a great script! From title to concept, it was perfect. People think it’s just a silly movie. A lot of people don’t like it. But it made $200 million. And they made it for $40 million. I want to know why it was such a big hit.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

The Inspired Word - Monday, March 30th!

The Inspired Word/Monday, March 30th!

Time: 7:00-9:00 pm (though you're welcome to stay until closing time!)

Free wine tasting! Free appetizers! Awesome ambience and food! A great collection of writers and their work!

Bios of Reading Writers:

Emily Crocker is a graduate of the Jack Karouac School Of Disembodied Poetics and the co-founder of a small experimental press called Black Lodge Press. Please check out her website at http://www.blacklodgepress.org.

Celia Ingrid Farber is a writer primarily of investigative and narrative journalism living in New York City. She has written for Harper's, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Salon and many other periodicals. She is the recipient of the 2008 Semmelweis "Clean Hands" Award for Outstanding Investigative Journalism for her 2006 article in Harper's: "Out of Control: AIDS And The Corruption of Medical Science." She has recently changed course and launched a literary website called The Truth Barrier, where her writings will appear, as well as the writings, (poetry, prose and fiction,) of many other known and unknown writers from around the world. She likes to quote Marina Tsvetaeva who wrote: "Naturally I prefer someone who feels but doesn't write to someone who writes but doesn't feel."

Leanna Renee Hieber is a professional actress (Member AEA, SAG, AFTRA) and award-winning playwright but her greatest loves are fantasy fiction, the 19th century and a spooky story. Graduating with BFA in Theatre and a minor in the Victorian Era, she adapted works of Victorian literature for the stage for Miami University and the Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival. The dramatic, historic, spiritual and paranormal are the primary forces in her lyrical, eerie, atmospheric fiction. DARK NEST, a futuristic fantasy novella, debuted to critical acclaim and remains the Bestseller at Crescent Moon Press. THE STRANGELY BEAUTIFUL TALE OF MISS PERCY PARKER, the first in her Gothic Victorian fantasy series from Dorchester Publishing releases 9-9-09. She's the proud co-founder of NYC’s first reading series devoted to romance/women's fiction; Lady Jane’s Salon, which benefits the Share The Love charity for women in need. Please visit her at http://www.leannareneehieber.com.

Roxanne Hoffman, a former Wall Street banker who now answers a patient hotline for a major New York home healthcare provider, has had her poetry anthologized in The Bandana Republic: A Literary Anthology By Gang Members And Their Affiliates (Soft Skull Press) and can be heard during the independent film “Love & The Vampire,” directed by David Gold. She and her husband own the small press, POETS WEAR PRADA (http://poetswearpradanj.home.att.net), specializing in limited edition poetry chapbooks.

Lawrence E. Soehnel is a poet & publisher from the Hudson River Valley, who hosts the decade old Nyack Poetry Jam in Nyack, N.Y. He is the publisher, primary author and sole owner of the means of production at People's Pages - a publisher of broadsides and chapbooks. In March he will launch West Bank Poetry Review (http://westbankpoetryreview.blogspot.com), a blog about grassroots arts and activism. A former carpenter, Soehnel invites you to "roll up your sleeves, take a deep breath and make culture happen."

Christine Soria, an aspiring model and actress, is a new voice out of Brooklyn whose love for poetry is her "one escape from the world, soothing each day one line at a time," she says.

Christine Timm is a NYC performance poet who produces and co-hosts the NYC College Slam, the annual international Love Poetry Hate Racism event, and Bowery Kids - all at the Bowery Poetry Club. She also co-produces and co-hosts the Smalls Jazz Club Lit Series. She has a Ph.D. in English Lit with dissertation on the Beats and spoken word and teaches poetry, creative writing, and composition at Westchester Community College. Christine’s “Sleeping with . . .” series book is forthcoming on Smalls Book Press.

MCs: Foster Stevenson, Marron Cox

Location: Tierra Sana Restaurant
100-17 Queens Blvd & 67th Road
Forest Hills, Queens
New York City

By subway, take the local R or V to 67th Avenue stop (and it's right there between 67th Road and 67th Avenue along Queens Boulevard).

All you need to bring is your love for the written word.



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A Conversation with Poet Irene McKinney/3 Parts

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New York Writers Workshop Perfect Pitch Fiction Conference

New York Writers Workshop’s Perfect Pitch Fiction Conference where novelists pitch manuscripts to editors from major New York publishing houses (Viking, Penguin, Random House, Scribners, Simon and Schuster, others). Saturday special: a panel of agents.

Date: Fri – Sun, May 29-31, 2009
Location: Midtown Manhattan

For details visit http://www.newyorkwritersworkshop.com
Click here
Or write newyorkwritersworkshop@gmail.com

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Pt. Loma 2002 Writers Symposium: Kathleen Norris

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Spotlight Interview: Blake Snyder/Part 2

Blake Snyder, Screenwriter/Author

Mike: Should the screenwriter pursue the artist within his or her soul, or simply go after what’s commercially hot at the moment?

Snyder: Depends what you want out of your career. My goal is to make a sale and get a movie made—and I like the big, pop movies that travel internationally.

The job priority of a screenwriter, let’s face it, is to entertain strangers in a theatre; they don’t care about your growth as an artist. They want to laugh and cry and be dazzled.

When I speak to writers at seminars, I tell them to work on the one line that’ll hook people! With all the things competing for an audience’s attention—TV, movies, books, Internet—you’ve got to grab people with a compelling idea.

But if you’re still intent on pursuing art in your movies, my advice to you would be to first write a commercial hit.

I mean, the guys who wrote Problem Child—Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski—went on to write Ed Wood and The People vs. Larry Flynt. They started with a very high concept, a very saleable script. But that wasn’t their ultimate goal. They had grander artistic goals than I have. They wanted to make higher-quality films. But by selling a script, they became a known, viable entity. From there, they re-channeled their career to something else. For them, the early stuff was just a means to an end. Smart strategy. Great writers. Two clever guys with a well-executed plan.

Mike: What do the best screenwriters have in common?

Snyder: Humility! In person, even the most outrageous voices of our era are surprisingly self-effacing. True confidence comes out on the page. In the room, workmanlike cooperation and being a team player is a must. I have acted like an artiste in my time, standing on some point or clinging to a scene I love; it has not served me well.

The really big screenwriters are the ones who talk less and listen more. They are the ones who quietly observe human behavior, think first and speak second, and are most open to hearing criticism, taking notes, and being cooperative in this very cooperative undertaking we are all involved in.

Mike: How can you spot talent immediately?

Snyder: Again, humility in the room—combined with confidence on the page. The No. 1 thing I hope when someone sends me a script is that I feel when I’m reading it that I am in good hands. If I find myself using body English to move past one or more uncomfortable spots in a script, I know that confidence is not there. And the writer loses me for that script. I must get the sense that this is easy for the writer, that he or she is comfortable telling me this story (without being cocky) and surprises me along the way with turns I did not expect. I guess the easy answer is: If I lose myself in the script and forget I’m reading one, you've won me over.

Mike: What are your working habits like? Do you work days or nights, on a computer or in longhand?

Snyder: I work early morning, on the computer, and write 1,000 words a day—that’s all we ask for!

Mike: How important is originality?

Snyder: Very important. The screenwriter’s job is to constantly scour our writing looking for the cliché—and stomp it out. Whether it’s the hackneyed idea, the dull turn of phrase, or “the been-there-bored-by-that” character, it’s our duty to make everything about our screenplays—and our writing—POP!

And that means never settling for what is less than fresh and new.

I’ve just finished reviewing my usual 1000 words a day and found them laced with phrases like “when push comes to shove,” “the be all and end all,” and “don’t go there.” Ugh! But instead of beating myself up—for too long, anyway—I see these “place holders” for what they are: an opportunity to liven up my writing with a fresh way to say the same thing—by saying it my way.

Odds are if it feels like you’ve seen it or heard it somewhere before, it’s time to re-think and re-write. That comforting feeling that “It’s like a movie, therefore it’s safe for me to use it” is in fact misleading you into the world of Cliche Alert! And as they say in the now tired words from my writing today: Go there not!

Mike: How do you attract a top agent?

Snyder: If you have the stuff, they will find you. I really believe that. And, yes, I did have good connections. But I found them myself. I found friends with similar interests who would introduce me to agents or agent trainees. Finding an agent is not as mysterious as you think. It may be frustrating. It may be a Catch 22 scenario. But it’s not the most important thing. The most important thing is getting good at what you do.

If you have a great poster, a great hook, a great logline, if you have that winning idea, and if you have a script that’s well-executed and well-structured, agents will find you. Trust me on this.

Mike: How long did it take you to find a top agent?

Snyder: Actually, I got one fairly early in my career—Hilary Wayne at Writers and Artists Agency. I was going out with a friend of hers, and we just kind of hit it off. Like me, she was very enthusiastic, very creative, and very willing to try anything.

Unfortunately, she recently passed away.

Hillary sold a lot of my scripts and built my career from scratch. She was a huge influence on how I see the business and write for it even now. She encouraged me to think more commercially, to write the poster first, to think in terms of the target market (who is this movie for?) and the target studio (which studio is trying to fill that need?). And she backed it all up with results—she loved to sell. She knew how to position the script and me as the writer. She liked to say all the time that “Every sale has a story”—a compelling reason to buy beyond just the script. Her most reassuring advice to me was: “It just takes one person to say yes,” meaning that a hundred people can say “No” to your script and it doesn’t matter if one says “Yes.”

Eventually, with Hilary’s help, I learned about the marketplace and satisfying the marketplace and broke through. I started writing movies that were necessarily my favorites personally—even though I liked them a lot—but they met certain commercial criteria. They clearly made you think of a poster right away. They had a clear target market. And they were a style of movie that could be executed within the budget that would make it profitable.

I know a lot of people wonder when they hear this. They wonder if I’m selling out, if I’m being too commercial. To me, I saw it as yet another creative challenge, and I continue to this day to find that challenge interesting. You think it’s easy to create a commercial hit? Try it someday.

I challenge people who think it’s easy to rise up to the craft that it takes to write a commercial hit. There’s definitely snobbery involved with various films, such as indie film versus studio and artsy versus commercial. It’s ignorant. It takes a great deal of craft to write an entertaining, popular, successful movie. Anything else you want to try, good luck to you.

Mike: How do you see the relationship between screenwriter and agent?

Snyder: In a perfect world, I’d go in and pitch a list of ideas about 2-3 times a year. To which my agent stops me at some point and yells, “That’s the one!” What you need is someone trustworthy and honest and blunt, someone who’s not afraid to tell you when something’s really bad. Someone who knows the current market well enough to know what I can deliver. Bottom line, it’s a partnership like any other. I've been very lucky. I’ve learned something from every agent I’ve had, and nearly everyone has made a sale for me.

Mike: What do you think of all the screenwriting contests these days?

Snyder: Amazing, huh? It’s the fad right now. Everybody seems to love sending their stuff to contests. My thought on this: Why? The key ingredient of knowing whether you’re a successful screenwriter is when someone buys a script from you, not winning some contest. When you make a sale is when you know you’re onto something, when you know you’re on the right path.

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The Five Myths about Freelance Writing

The Five Myths about Freelance Writing

Let me start with a pet peeve, something that continues to boggle my mind—and that’s how much misinformation there is all over the Net about freelance writing.

It makes me roll my eyes, shake my head, and even chuckle sometimes.

But mostly, it makes me terribly sad, because I keep thinking about all the aspiring freelance writers being led astray, thrown wildly off course, maybe forever.

During my weaker moments, it infuriates me enough to where I rant about it occasionally on here or Twitter, even though I know that ranting does little good.

So, what I promise you is this: that at least in this space, I will try to make up for all wrongs out there, replace the bad advice with sound advice.

To that end, I give you:

The Five Myths about Freelance Writing

Myth #1: It's all about query letters, pitching ideas, and resumes.

Fact: In my entire freelancing career, which has produced over 8,000 published stories in mostly big market publications, I've gotten less than a handful of assignments from this approach, as have most of my peers. It's really about having good contacts, a broad network of editors as allies (people you can easily chat up on the phone with an ideas or ideas), and ultimately a great reputation (a writing style that’s both vibrant and unique, an ability to work well with editors and always hit deadlines, etc.). Mind you, this DOESN’T mean you SHOULDN’T query, pitch, or send resumes. I’m a strong believer in throwing as many strands of spaghetti as possible against the wall to see what sticks. Just don’t build all your hopes around getting an assignment upon those approaches alone.

Myth #2: It's impossible to make a living at it.

Fact: I won't lie. It's not easy. I've seen depressing stats about 86% of freelancers earning less than $30,000 a year—and I’m sure that in this economy, the percentage is likely much worse. But if you're talented, work hard, network like crazy and keep building your rep into something sterling, you can definitely break through and beat the odds, making as much as $3 a word or as high as $5,000-10,000 a story. Believe me, it’s possible!

Myth #3: Once you make it, it's a glorious life.

Fact: I'll admit that when it's going well and you're hot, it can be a dream of an existence—prime assignments, awesome travel, no boss hanging over your shoulder, waking up and going to bed when you please. But...on the bad side, it has no 401K plan, no paid health benefits, and no guaranteed income. When things cool off (and, believe me, even for the best of freelancers, it occasionally does), you sweat out paying the phone bill and the rent. Not fun. If you don't have the stomach for that, you need to get a staff position or a day job outside of writing.

Myth #4: It's a constant hustle.

Fact: At the beginning, it most definitely is. But if you're really good, you can move within time into that exclusive realm of “contract freelancer”—or what’s known as GUARANTEED MONEY. If you look at the masthead of magazines, you'll see the categories of “Contributing Writers” or “Contributing Editors” or “Writer at Large.” Those are almost always the contract freelancers, and they're the divas of magazine publishing, getting the most money for the hours they put in. A typical contract guarantees the writer a certain amount of money (as much as six figures) for doing a certain amount of stories in a given year. This is the top of the top of the food chain for a freelance writer, and if freelancing is what you want, then this is the prize you should always have your eyes on. It takes the struggle out of it.

Myth #5: One of the best ways to get freelance work is through online freelance job sites.

Fact: I never did this once. Nor have any of the many major freelancers I know. But if you remember from above, I’m a spaghetti-against-the-wall man. So, please, with my blessings, go for it and good luck!

Best always and stay positive,


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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spotlight Interview: Blake Snyder/Part 1

Blake Snyder, Screenwriter/Author

Blake Snyder began his writing career in 1988 working for the Disney TV series Kids Incorporated, penning thirteen episodes before turning to writing spec screenplays full time. He’s the author of the screenwriting book, Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need, which was published in May 2005 and quickly became the No. 1 best-selling “how-to” on Amazon.com, and Save the Cat! Goes to the Movies, a dissection of 50 top Hollywood and independent films.

The son of Emmy award winning children’s TV producer Ken Snyder (Roger Ramjet, Big Blue Marble) and once described as “one of Hollywood’s most successful spec screenwriters,” Snyder has written, among others, the screenplays Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, Nuclear Family, and Blank Check, as well as sold many original scripts and pitches to such major Hollywood players as Steven Spielberg.

Blake also conducts screenwriting seminars, lectures, and has taught at Chapman, UCLA, Vanderbilt, and the Beijing Film Academy.

Please visit his Web site at:

Click here

Here is my exclusive newsletter interview with Mr. Snyder:

Mike: What got you started in writing?

Snyder: I actually can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a writer. But when I was 14, I saw this movie called Paris When It Sizzles, starring William Holden and Audrey Hepburn. Holden, of all things, plays a screenwriter in it. And Hepburn is a typist that helps him. I’ve been hooked on screenwriting ever since.

Mike: What most influenced you during your early years learning the art of screenwriting?

Snyder: Believe it or not, I never took a screenwriting course or a read a book on screenwriting until after I had sold my first screenplay. I was an English major in college, and when I was starting out in screenwriting there weren’t that many books on screenwriting to begin with. Maybe that’s why it took me a little longer than most. I wrote nearly 20 scripts before I hit with one. But I was very interested in what the form looked like, what was required creatively, so I simply learned by reading a lot of scripts.

Mike: You’re self-taught then?

Snyder: Yes, almost entirely. I learned from trial and error. Maybe that’s why it took me longer to make it than most screenwriters. If I had a shortcut, I guess I would’ve been selling much faster. You have to find your way.

Mike: What was your introduction to screenwriting books?

Snyder: I was already a working screenwriter, doing re-writes, when I finally read Syd Field’s classic “Screenplay: The Foundation of Writing.” In fact, I remember that the producer kept referring to the “act break,” and I had no idea what he was talking about. That’s how clueless I was back then.

Mike: What were the early years like, before you made it?

Snyder: I was like a lot of beginning screenwriters. I had my heroes, like Lena Wertmüller, and I wrote with those certain heroes, who weren’t necessarily, in mind, writing movies about subjects I liked, things that I thought were kinda cool—and not selling a thing.

I was flat broke and still trying to find out what the industry wanted when I just sort of discovered high concept. I just sort of stumbled into it and eventually figured it out. Before, I was like a lot of writers; I wanted to write character pieces, or pieces that were true events that happened in my life, or adaptations of Greek plays. I tried all the things that I personally loved and wanted to do. Then I realized that I’m providing a service, that I’m providing a creative product, and I’m just like everyone else in this business; I’m trying to sell it to the next person. If you are a studio, you are trying to sell it to the public. When you figure that out, you will be able to fit into the business a bit better and really provide a service.

I mean, people would tell me that I’m talented, they were responding to me, but they weren’t buying anything.

I needed money, so I worked as a production assistant on a couple of TV sit-coms and was an NBC page, one of those guys in a suit who gave tours—which was actually a fun thing to do.

But I eventually realized that these jobs were interfering with my main goal, which was writing. So I took a day job, worked in the mornings as a sales guy in an insurance office, for six hours five days a week, which paid all the bills, and in the afternoons of every day I would write.

Mike: Did you ever get so discouraged that you wanted to quit?

Snyder: (He chuckles.). How many days are there in a year? There were a lot of times early in my career I thought about doing something else. I wrote 10-20 scripts, thought I had tried everything, and hadn’t had a big sale. Every time I thought I was starting to get it, a door would slam in my face. The only thing that kept me going was that people encouraged me, told me I had talent.

Mike: What’s the lesson to be learned from the way you went about things?

Snyder: To not do what I did. Don’t write a lot of screenplays and burn yourself out with a lot of false hope. It’s a bad thing to waste a lot of soul energy on things that are never going to work.

I’ve since discovered several shortcuts and lots of tricks of the trade that would’ve definitely made things easier for me. I guess I should’ve read those books and took those courses when I was young.

Mike: So, if you had to do it all over again?

Snyder: I probably would’ve taken any job that would’ve gotten me in the door, anything where you can gain experience of the development process. And I’d read even more scripts. I’m talking about hundreds of them. All kinds. I’d study the market. And I’d concentrate on the type of movie I really like. I think to know what your specialty is, what kind of service you offer, where you fit, and where you don’t fit, are important to know. If you have a passion for family movies, then become an expert and write nothing else. I don't see any benefit to being a jack-of-all-trades just to have samples in all genres.

The only good thing about my writing all those dead scripts early on was that I got in a lot of great practice. I developed my writing muscle. I built up skills, learned how to move people in and out of rooms on the page, and how to put description and dialogue on the page. I also established a strong voice, one that was obviously attractive enough to get me hired somewhere and get me an agent fairly quickly.

Mike: What made you write Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need?

Snyder: After being online with a lot of screenwriters wanting advice, I thought there was a need for a simple, slim, fun, easy-to-digest, easy-to-read book that covered everything on how to be a successful screenwriter. I viewed it like a screenwriter’s version of Strunk and White’s Elements of Style.

I sat down and wrote it in a very short period of time—just months. I guess it was something I had to get off my chest.

It was a lot of fun to write and I’m really proud of it.

And what makes me different from other people who write screenwriting books is, I’m a working screenwriter. I just sold a script last year. I’m going on pitch-meeting weeks all the time. I’m doing the job.

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Poem Animation: Rudyard Kipling's "If"

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Writing Quotes of the Day

"If you're a singer, you lose your voice. A baseball player loses his arm. A writer gets more knowledge, and if he’s good, the older he gets, the better he writes."
Mickey Spillane

"Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil - but there is no way around them."
Isaac Asimov

"I am always talking about the human condition--about what we can endure, dream, fail at and survive."
Maya Angelou

"You will have to write and put away or burn a lot of material before you are comfortable in this medium. You might as well start now and get the work done. For I believe that eventually quantity will make for quality."
Ray Bradbury

"The only thing I was fit for was to be a writer, and this notion rested solely on my suspicion that I would never be fit for real work, and that writing didn't require any."
Russell Baker

"The best children's book writers are not people who have kids, but people who write from the child within themselves."Andrea Brown

"Advice from this elderly practitioner is to forget publishers and just roll a sheet of copy paper into your machine and get lost in your subject."
E. B. White

"A writer's job is to imagine everything so personally that the fiction is as vivid as memories."
John Irving

"I am writing for myself and strangers. This is the only way that I can do it."
Gertrude Stein

"The man who writes about himself and his own time is the man who writes about all people and all time."
George Bernard Shaw

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Ann Bogle: Cut It Up

Cut It Up
By Ann Bogle

This exercise in prose, poetry, and revision has three parts.

Write a letter to someone you know well or someone who inspires you to write well. It could be an editor or agent or teacher or love interest. It could be someone with whom you’ve had a falling out, someone you might never see again, or someone you miss. There may be deep respect or erotic feeling to it. You may be enamored because of something you wish to gain—such as favor you wish to curry—or something you lost.

Write two pages double-spaced or one page single-spaced. Write freely because no one besides you will be looking at it. When you are satisfied, save the file, print it out, and cut it into phrases.

Cut at each comma, period, semi-colon, colon, and dash and at each line ending. Pile your phrases in a bowl then draw one out and transcribe it on a new page. Draw another and transcribe, another and transcribe until all the phrases are used. This is your new letter. Your cut-up should give you camouflage.

Once you have studied its new meanings, try it a different way. Print out the original letter again, cut it in one-line strips, and section each strip using your scissors into one-, two-, three- or four-word units. Put those in a bowl. Transcribe them on a new page, one unit at a time.

The second cut-up will likely be more abstract and may suggest meanings you didn’t imagine. You may wish to run the phrases and units as lines in a poem or as dialogue in a short play or as prose.

Save both cut-ups.

Finally, print out the original letter again. This time rewrite the letter based on things you learned in arranging the cut-ups. You may move sentences and paragraphs in any direction you wish, but try to stick to the original thoughts as much as possible, crossing out a sentence once you’ve recorded it.

This new version should be tight as a drum and devoid of excesses and looseness allowed in the first version.

You might even wish to mail it.

Ann Bogle has published short stories, prose, and poetry in many literary journals in print and online. For a listing of her publications and a sampling of her writing visit Ana Verse at:

Click here

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Foamy: A Poetic Meal

Warning: Adult Language/For Mature Viewers Only

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cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

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