Wednesday, August 4, 2010

This is one way to procrastinate...

I do this:

And there's more here.

There. The cat's out of the bag. You know how my secret procrastination method.

Except it's grown worse. It's invading my writing world. I have this idea...

Wait for it...

I want to tell a story in pictures.

I mean, I see pictures anyway when I write. I see pictures when I imagine my stories, and meanwhile, I think in sentences, even when I look at the world around me. Or at least in words.

Like: "Street sign. Blue. Noticing -- why? Familiar street. Bright against background. Image? Image. Pole, sign -- computer. Maybe. Not my best. Can do?..."


That was pretty much the stream of consciousness of a second while I was walking my puppy tonight, and I happened to look up and notice the light and colors of a familiar street corner. And thought that it would be possible to make this exact image in computer art and that I almost had the skills, and then I started going through my computer files mentally...

So I'm thinking... If I'm that visual and the words come naturally jumbled and broken... What if I put images first and words as support, instead of words first and images as ghosts in my mind?

What if I tried my hand at a graphic story with the help of my favorite graphic software?

Plot -- scenario -- storyboard -- actors --

It's beginning to look a lot like a movie, actually. And no, none of my characters are in the Gallery yet, but then I don't know them well enough yet to ask for autographs.

What? Oh, what it's about?

Well, it's set in the real world, but sometime in the future...

Oh, sorry, I'd better check on the puppy. He keeps getting into all the trash baskets lately.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Teaching is Still Cool

There comes a time in a teacher's life when pulling a group of students along just sucks, and you think you'll never, ever want to do it again. Not ever.

But like a stage performer, you're drawn back to the limelight. Because teaching, in whatever form, is a performance, and you have the undivided attention of an eager audience.

I'm not immune to the bug. Oh no. So when I get the chance to show off and teach a workshop to fellow writers, I jump on the opportunity!

It's one thing to offer workshops through my own website at Otter Creations, but it's something else to visit a different site and teach out there in the wide world.

I just finished a workshop for Passionate Ink on world building and another one for Savvy Authors on descriptions. It was fun, that's for sure. It had me rethinking what I thought I knew about the subjects -- or rather, seeing things in a new light. That's the best part of teaching: you never stop learning yourself.

And of course, the attention you get isn't bad either. But you know, we writers have this little issue with self-esteem vs. ego...


Check out the next workshop coming up from Otter Creations. It's about writing a synopsis.

Were you one of the fortunate ones who made it to National? Did you get a request? Or are you just pumped up and ready to send out queries? Either way, you'll need to have a synopsis ready. Join me in a very hands-on, practical, 3-week workshop.

And while you're on the Otter Creations site, why don't you cast your vote for the workshops you'd like to see offered next year? You can even request a brand new one.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Mammals of the Universe Unite

So you thought that my Percy posts were all going to be about puppy cuteness?

Umm... no. After all, a writer's mind is twisted and takes strange side-trips.

What did my mind do this time? What it always does. Observe and step outside the box. Doesn't yours? Maybe you just don't call it that.

Percy the puppy is growing fast, although he's still a baby. Supposedly, he's going to hit "adolescence" in three months or so... Wait, that would make him the dog equivalent of a grade schooler.

Let's see... We got him at 3 months, and he was definitely a fluffy, cuddly baby dog. The first day he slept most of the time.

Then he started growing. The he started growing bolder. And then louder and bitier. Now he's losing his baby teeth... and his adult teeth are already there to replace them.

Darn, he's fast. He's doubled in size and he's only 5 months. He's thinking of lifting his leg to pee and he's debating about marking his territory.

So why is all this NOT gushing over puppy cuteness? Because I keep seeing parallels with human development. Before you say anything, no, I'm not anthropomorphizing Percy the puppy, or equating my toddler kids (back then) with dogs.

I'm marveling at the consistency of our universe and at the similarities in mammalian development and needs regardless of species. Saying that Percy the puppy is growing from babyhood into childhood is more than a metaphor: it's acknowledging a developmental step (or two). Calling a dog who's not a puppy yet not full-grown an adolescent is not the same as labeling him a teenager. Teenager is as much a cultural stamp as a developmental stage. Adolescent indicates a physical stage: growth, hormonal changes, behavioral and developmental changes.

And certainly, having a pet in the house keeps things lively and interesting. I certainly can't rest on my butt anymore. Have to get up to make sure Percy isn't getting into trouble.

What, you thought the kids were going to help? I'm not that naive.