Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Universal Laws

Below is courtesy of Deirdre Savoy's post on her Yahoo group ladiesinred:

Law of Mechanical Repair: After your hands become coated with grease your nose will begin to itch or you'll have to pee

Law of the Workshop: Any tool, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.

Law of Probability: The probability of being watched is directly proportional to the stupidity of your act.

Law of the Telephone: When you dial a wrong number, you never get abusy signal.

Law of the Alibi: If you tell the boss you were late for work because you had a flat tire, the very next morning you will have a flat tire.

Variation Law: If you change lines (or traffic lanes), the one you were in will start to move faster than the one you are in now. (works every time)

Bath Theorem: When the body is fully immersed in water, the telephone rings.

Law of Close Encounters: The probability of meeting someone you know increases when you are with someone you don't want to be seen with.

Law of the Result: When you try to prove to someone that a machinewon't work, it will.

Law of Biomechanics: The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the reach.

Theatre Rule: At any event, the people whose seats are furthest from the aisle arrive last.

Law of Coffee: As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something which will last until the coffee is cold.

Murphy's Law of Lockers: If there are only two people in a lockerroom, they will have adjacent lockers.

Law of Dirty Rugs/Carpets: The chances of an open-faced jelly sandwich landing face down on a floor covering are directly correlated to the newness and cost of the carpet/rug.

Law of Location: No matter where you go, there you are.

Law of Logical Argument: Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.

Brown's Law: If the shoe fits, it's really ugly.

Oliver's Law: A closed mouth gathers no feet.

Wilson's Law: As soon as you find a product that you really like,they will stop making it.

Law of Chinese Restuarants: If you are the ONLY customer sitting in a Chinese restuarant when the next person comes in the hostess will seat him/her right next to you.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Rivalry Among Women

Last night I watched as Jennifer Hudson accepted the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Effie White in Dreamgirls and was reminded of all the rumors surrounding a rivalry between her and Beyonce, especially when I saw them perform together on stage.

Why is it that folks pit successful women against each other or we see our contemporaries as competition?

There is enough room for all women within every industry. We don't have to fight our way to the top. From their singing performance it was clear that Beyonce and Jennifer have different styles and strengths. Rumors have swirled that Beyonce is jealous of all of the attention and accolades Jennifer is receiving. I've even wondered why Jennifer's acting performance was categorized as a supporting role when she was clearly a leader actress in the film. Did Beyonce's star power make her an automatic marquee headliner? Is she a better actress? Prettier? Slimmer? Smarter?

If it's true, folks in Beyonce's camp shouldn't begrudge Jennifer's success any more than we are aspiring writers should envy the success of our author sisters. As women can't waste time comparing writing ability, speed and creativity, industry connections, and contracts. Instead we should cheer each other on and work hard for the same success.

Rather than lamenting about the limited space at the top, we'd be better served by extolling the richness of success.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Story Climax

Throughout my research on plot development, one of primary topics that resonates with me is the importance of building a climax, the point when a story's conflict comes to its moment of greatest intensity. According to Building Better Plots by Robert Kernen, a successful climax is impossible if the rising action that leads to it has been a failure or if the climax is poorly timed.

Could that be the issue with my story? Today I'm alloting time to carefully examine my scenes and evaluate whether the action serves to advance the plot and unleash the climax. I've written 200 pages and still don't have a firm thumb on the crisis Kelis and Paxton will face, individually and as a couple. (Grrrrr!) By the amount of time I spend agonizing, uh-hum, thinking about their story, I know I'm right on the cusp to a breakthrough.

When you write, do you know what the climax will be or does it just comes to you as you write?

Monday, February 19, 2007

6 Weird Things about Me!

Thanks to Jennifer Shirk, now I have to add to the weird quotient:

1. I broke my tailbone while delivering my daughter eleven years ago. I had no clue at the time, but the next morning I woke up with the worst pain in my lower back. I complained to my OB and he blithely proclaimed, "Oh you probably cracked your tailbone pushing." I had no idea such a thing was possible but if you think about it, it makes sense. I got an x-ray and, yep, it was cracked. Even now on rainy days I wish I had a sling for my rump.

2. The day after receiving my driver's license at 16 and 8 months, I hit a pedestrian while driving to the library. Talk about horrifying! My mother was driving right behind me when she turned right to go home and I continued straight toward the library. As traffic backed up into the intersection because of a stopped car ahead. I changed lanes to get out the intersection before the light changed. As I was proceeding forward, a guy dashed from between the stopped car and a city bus. I slammed on the brakes but it was too late. I clipped the guy in the leg, throwing him up onto the hood and into my windshield. When my car jarred to a halt, he rolled to the ground and hit his head once more on a parked car. I freaked out royally! I'll never forget the look on his face and the shock in his eyes. I had plenty of witness since it was rush hour and folks were getting off from work. Someone from the crowd came over and got my mother's number and she got to the scene just as medics were putting the young man into the ambulance. He suffered a broken leg, cracked ribs and a concussion, but survived. Thanks God! BTW, he got a ticket for jaywalking.

3. I go to the hair salon every week. I hate washing my own hair and look forward to my weekly pampering session. I don't drink, smoke, gamble or do drugs. This and reading are my two obsessions.

4. I never had a date in high school. What a nerd I was!

5. My favorite television shows: from the 70s was Good Times, from the 80s was Dance Fever, from the 90s was The Cosby Show and now CSI.

6. Like Chicki Brown, I hate silence. My television even puts me to sleep at night. When I work I'm listening to my Sirius radio or Yahoo Launchcast or listening to the tv. When it's quiet I draw a blank.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

What's in a Name?

My hero and heroine in my current WIP are Paxton Graham and Kelis Alexander respectively. Any feedback I've received concerning my choice of names have been negative for far. Those who've criticized have complained about pronounciation, spelling or both.

I'd decided on the names after scouring the website, babynames.com and reading the meanings of Paxton (English meaning "from the peaceful farm") and Kelis (Gaelic meaning "lively, aggressive"). I didn't settle on these names because they definitively describe the characters demeanor or personality, but because their meanings diametrically opposed each other. Immediately my mind conjured up conflict possibilities.

As my story begins, both characters are quite lively and aggressive in their opinions and actions. By the end, I hope they will find peace and internal acceptance...with each other.

How do you come up with character names?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Books on Plotting

As many of you know, I've hit a major roadblock in my current WIP and have been frustrated with the story for weeks. To help me out of the quagmire, I've been reading Building Better Plots by Robert Kernen. Another writer, LaConnie Taylor-Jones, recommended I read it from cover to cover and so its been very enlightening. Like another book I've read titled Plot & Structure (Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot that Grips Readers from Start to Finish) by James Scott Bell, BBP focuses on:

The Narrative,
Plot Structure (where I am right now),
Inciting Incident,
Rising Action,
The Climax and Resolution,
Using Plot Archetypes,
Creating Characters and Back Story,
Constructing an Outline,
Subplots, and
Deepening the Story's Resonance.

P&S gives a study of:

Beginning Strong, Middles and Endings,
The Character Arc in Plot,
Plotting Systems,
Common Plot Problems and Cures, and
Revising Your Plot.

So far both books have given me food for thought and made me realized that perhaps the initial conflict between Kelis and Paxton, my heroine and hero, is not strong enough to sustain the story. Those of you who have critiqued the story know what I'm talking about. Others will have to wait for when its published -- and it WILL be published! I can feel.

Even though I am studying this craft called writing, I must prevent the studying from keeping me writing. It's so easy to get so engrossed in research that you just don't create anything.

So what have you read on plotting if anything? Have you read BBP or P& S?