Sunday, December 26, 2010

#257 Manifesto

My manifesto is
just large enough
to scrawl
on the back of a leaf:

Balance in all things.

Sunday Scribblings this week asks us to write a manifesto.

When I think of a manifesto, I’m remembering demagogues through history who screamed at their followers; economies out of control, privation, suffering, and war became real demons to fear.

Our greatest religious teachers have distilled their insights to simple truths. Do not do to others what you would not want done to yourself. In the west, Ten Commandments, sacrifice and denial become a way of life. In the east, a search for nirvana based on meditation led people to act intentionally and to try to do no harm.

The tension between a dream and reality remains. I wish that all people lived in peace and harmony, safe from harm. But this speaks to a survival level. A larger dream would be for each soul to achieve its highest vision, whether that is to be a parent, an artist, a musician, a writer, even a politician. And, yes, I do believe that all actions are expressions of human creativity, even to making a simple meal, and that the best creative works have something uplifting, something good in them. So I would add: As your hand turns, work for the public good.

Monday, December 20, 2010

2011 Resolutions?

I've never made specific writing resolutions, but I just joined a new online writers' group and found Joe Konrath's A Newbie's Blog for Publishing. He's been setting resolutions since 2006, so I thought I'd piggyback on just 4 (OK 5) of his resolutions.

Konrath's resolutions (and my commentary) follow:

1. "I will start/finish the damn book" (2006).2. I have finished STANDING STONES and have 3-4 ideas in the research/drafting stage (RIVERS OF STONE and YEARS OF STONE, both sequels at 40% planned, and MOTHERS DON'T DIE (85% drafted) and THE LAST TAPESTRY (10% drafted). I will work on two of these.

2. "I will always have at least three stories on submission, while working on a fourth" (2006) This is a biggie for me as I have a horrible track record at sending stuff out, whether poems, stories or subbing the current novel. So my take will be always have two out working while working on a third. That seems sustainable.

3. "I will create/update my website" (2006). Does every writer who keeps a blog have an identity crisis or worry about readers? (See resolution 4 below) I want to go back to simply writing about writing. Those who come here can just expect a little venting, an occasional poem, and updates on research and writing -- as well as appreciation for other writers.

4. "I will stop worrying" (2010). Konrath worries??? I will strive to write (and edit) my best every day, and then I will let it go. That's me in 2011. I will dig deeper, write more intensely, and stop worrying!

5. "I will self publish" (2011). Yes, I will, just as Amanda Borenstadt did with her short story to test the water and then her book, Syzygy, an acronym I cannot type without doublechecking. Smashwords, look out! I'm nearly ready to play!

If you are a writer, my mantra remains: May your own writing go well!

Friday, December 10, 2010

An Unexpected Moment . . .

I have been sadly remiss in keeping my writing blog up. I'm in the research phase for the next book, RIVERS OF STONE, with some days going well, and other days, not so well. I've found some great stuff online and at the library, delved into history, worked on understanding the "real" structure of "plot", but the story has remained elusive. Until this morning.

Larry Brooks writes that the reader must discover a compelling reason to keep reading: An unexpected moment occurs when everything changes. Up to this point, you may be writing (or reading) about sympathetic characters, interesting situations, but the story doesn't really grab you. You're just as likely to put the book down and turn to other, more rewarding pursuits (Farmville, online Scrabble, sex), right before nodding off.

But as I was reading his post what readers must experience for a satisfying read, something clicked for my story. A true WHAT IF moment. And for the first time, the story I've been working on for the last two months felt like a story. Thank you, Larry. Thunder fingers is ready to roll.