The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Friday, September 23, 2016

Viola Davis is Back... and Back-of-the-Book Blurb Friday # 27

         Last night How to Get Away with Murder started its new season. If you haven't seen it, and if you enjoy twists and turns and jaw-dropping plot surprises that completely blindside you, you need to watch the first season and then catch up... quickly.

        Viola Davis has a lot to offer writers. With just an arch of an eyebrow, she says volumes. By just kicking off her heels, she is showing us something, not telling us. When she uses one character against another in a completely unexpected way, the show's writers are reminding us:  don't be too predictable with your writing.

         The show also plays with time--in a big way. Their use of flashbacks keeps the viewer on their toes. (Thankfully, there are helpful textual notes like, "Four months earlier" to help everyone keep track of the timeline.) For example, last night one of the main characters died/was killed. We don't know who it was and we don't know how. Viola Davis uncovered their face (after she rushed to the ambulance and yanked the doors open) but the viewers are being kept in the dark--for a while. The teaser for next week promised that we wouldn't find out for a while who it was, but each episode will tell us one character it is not. I imagine that each week, one of the characters will find out about the death (in flashbacks) and if they can be told about it/see it happening/commit the murder... well, it's not them.

         I hope your weekend--and the beginning of your next week--is a good one... and now, onto the book blurb's brevity exercise...

  • Look at the photo below. That is the cover of your book.
  • You choose the genre. A mystery? A child rearing how-to? A horror story? You decide.
  • Write an enticing blurb--150 words or less. (The title doesn't count in the word count.) Lisa Ricard Claro is the original brains behind this writing exercise. Her third romance book just came out in July (Love to Win) so now she has the time to focus on her friend Cathy C. Hall. Cathy is getting her name legally changed to "Korea's James Patterson" and Lisa is helping her out by making her physically look the part. The next time you see Cathy Hall's photo, she will have big jowls... thinning, dark hair... and in her hand will be Jimmy-on-a-Stick. 
  • Include your blurb in a blog post. Include a link to this post. 
  • Link your post to Mr. Linky. Mr. Linky is easy. You don't have to buy him a drink or anything. If you've never done it, you'll be impressed with how simple he is.
  • Check out the other blurb(s). It's interesting to see the different directions writers take, given the same photo.
  • And have fun with it. Think of it as a way to take a break from the truly important writing you do... like a bit of a warm-up.

The Ungratefuls

Timmy and Jimmy had a whole cultural vista spread before them… and never did they appreciate it.

Their mother took them to the 1st annual Croc Convention, so they could check out the new Croc models before they even hit the sidewalk. Mom paid for the three of them to view the “History of Crocs” movie (recently edited down to 2 hours and 13 minutes). How did Jimmy and Timmy respond? They whined and moaned and napped.

Their mother bought them cheese-in-a-can. The snobby tikes turned their noses up. She made them watch a 12-hour marathon of Cat Ballou. They read comic books instead of enjoying the film. She took them to the fanciest store in town--Salvation Army’s Shoppe--and they wandered around listlessly.

What will make Jimmy and Timmy wake up to the wonders of the world? Will they ever show their thanks? Or will they remain ingrates forever? (149 words)

And here is the photo for next week, Val (and maybe Pat, if you can take a break from knitting long enough to write a blurb).

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Because of the Dogs... and the Boss

         Everything I learned, I learned in kindergarten. That's a popular saying, but I beg to differ. I think the last couple of things I've learned (lately) I learned from my dog.

* Don't be afraid of being big-headed sometimes... at least inwardly.
        Okay, I'm not saying anyone should walk around full of arrogance. However, writing is hard. Being a writer is even harder. Deep down inside, you have to have a core of confidence in order to keep slogging forward.
Bruce Springsteen said it best this past weekend on CBS Sunday Morning. Unfortunately, I didn't write it down, but it boils down to this: artists make it because someone said they'd never make it and someone else thought they were the second coming. 
Keep it a secret (most of the time), but know your strengths. Are you capable of crafting a decent phrase? Can you make people laugh? Can you make readers cry? Get puffed up when you write something that sings across the page... but keep the puffiness to yourself. 

Radar looks like he has an abnormally large head,
which is weird, because there's no need for much room
for the gray matter... Actually, he's quite intelligent
but does some crazy-stupid things sometimes.

*  Be ready to take a break when you need to.

            Don't feel bad about taking a break from writing to read a good book. Or going on a walk with the dog. (Radar would really like that.)  Writing taxes the brain. Doing something else will help reboot the brain and ultimately, our writing will be better.  

           In the picture below, if you can't tell what that chewed-up "plate" is at Radar's feet, it's one of his beloved Frisbees.

       Howboutchou?  What have you learned lately from your dog, your cat, your horse or your kid?