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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Here is What Happened in New York

As my little family of three drew near the city the landscape transformed from one covered with tall trees to one covered with towering buildings.  An absence of foliage, numerous man made structures, constant honking of horns, multiple lanes of bumper to bumper traffic and the throngs of pedestrians communicated to me that I was not in a city but riding along on the back of an unique beast.  Everything about New York City gave me the sense that it was indeed the place where mere dreams go to become a reality.  It is weird how quickly the city claims you.  By day two I was apart of one of the many moving throngs of people on the streets.  Okay, I will push my wide eyed aw for the city aside now.
The Algonkian Writers Conference I attended was held at the Ripley-Grier studios.  I was in Michael Neff’s group.  Day one was reading of the pitches.  All of us (except for J.P. :-) needed to rework them.  The pitch is basically your hook.  Over the next few days we continued to tweak our hooks and met with editors.  One was flat out not interested in my story but a couple seemed intrigued.  I mean they asked a lot of questions about the plot, characters and themes.  One even wrote down my blog url (Hi).  Right now it is a waiting game to see if anything materializes from the conference.  I learned a lot and was reminded that though this is an art form for me it is a business for them.  They want to know if you will make them money.  Right now I and many others are standing before the locked gate hoping someone will deem our work worthy enough for entry.  I have started looking for an agent and have at least begun thinking about book two.  I met some incredible writers at the conference and wish I could attend one every month.  It was such a kick in the ass:!)  Happy reading, writing or whatever.  And be nice about the pictures please.  I was caught up in the whole New York fashion thing…



Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Where are the Outcries for Gary?

    I have been asked repeatedly to write this post.  And after watching last night’s episode of Teen Mom how could I not?  I remember how when on season one of the Jersey Shore cast member Snooki was punched in the face and person after person wagged their finger at MTV for showing the footage.  While that incident was unpleasant to watch what is happening to Gary is down right vile.  Not only because he is being abused, verbally and physically, but because of the lack of outcry about it.

Last night Amber got in Gary’s face several times while hurling insults at him.  At one point she went up to him and made a gesture with her fist threatening to hit him.  Later in the episode she made good on that threat when she smacked him repeatedly in the face, as he tried to collect his belongings that she had set outside of her apartment.  Where are the domestic abuse advocates?  Where is Child Protective Services?  If the roles in the above account were switched every morning show would have led off with a piece about the episode.  Abuse is abuse.  Is does not matter that the abuser in this case is female.  Not addressing the topic is the same as condoning it.                

Monday, September 20, 2010

NYC Pitch and Shop Conference

Hello All.  This week I am off to New York for the NYC Pitch and Shop writers conference.  I am both nervous and excited:)  Full details, the good and bad, will be posted next week.            

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

You Won't Make any Money

Last week while waiting for my daughter’s preschool orientation to begin another mother sat down next to me and soon after a conversation ensued.  It started out kind of boring with her seizing the moment to brag about her eldest son.  How he also had went through this particular YMCA’s preschool  program and was now reading on a much higher grade level than his classmates.  Some more chatter along these lines when, just as I am deciding whether to suppress an impending yawn or boldly let it out highlighting my boredom, she steered the conversation away from her little genius, briefly on to herself and then to me.  She wanted to know what I do.  I gave her my spiel about being a stay-at-home mom and writer.  After which this stranger said to me, “You won’t make any money.”  I was shocked and amused that this woman who does not even know me, has not read one sentence I have written could so matter-of-factly make such an assessment.  Needless to write but the conversation came to an abrupt end as I wanted to put some distance between me and that negativity.  Yet maybe she is right.  Perhaps I won’t make any money threading words together.  Whatever.  

What that woman and others like her fail to understand is that an artist (first-rate writing is an art form) practices their craft not only because they want to but also because they have to.  If Mariah Carey was not  Mariah Carey  she would still sing and write songs.  Instead of belting out high notes in front of huge audiences she would probably do so while getting ready to go to that regular, bill paying job.  Today I am just Tanya Yvonne maybe in some tomorrow I will be Tanya Yvonne, but whatever.  Because no matter what I will still write.  So to all my fellow artists the writer, singer, songwriters, painters, photographers, chefs and so on keep focusing on doing what you do well:-) 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Revising, Nothing but a Bag of Bones

For me the real writing of a story does not take place until the first revision begins.  I liken the first draft to a bag of bones. This is where you would focus mainly on getting the plot down on paper, on computer, or whatever.  Imagine someone handing you a bag of bones.  And the only instruction given was to use the bones to create the skeletal shape of a dinosaur.  You would lay the bones out, then you would start to put this bone with that bone and so on until all of the bones have been pieced together.  Yet when you step back to admire your lovely work you realize that the head bones are where the tail bones should be.  So naturally you remove those bones and rearrange them until you have the desired form.  Right?  Right:-)  Same type of situation should occur when constructing your story.

During that first draft you should focus mainly on getting the basic story completed.  Just like you had to step back to get a better view of the completed dinosaur skeleton, you now have to “step back” from your completed first draft.  You do this by sticking the printed rough draft in a drawer or make a vow not to open the file for at least a week, though I really recommend two.  You do this so when you go back to do that all important first read you will easily spot any errors that were made.  Like with the incorrect placement of the dinosaur’s head and tail bones.  You repeat the steps until your dinosaur shape, meaning your story, looks as it should.  Oh, and VIOLET EYES has gone through four revisions: ) 
Happy reading, writing or whatever:-)