Optimism is NOT Arrogance

Arrogance is the belief that you are BETTER than others. Optimism is the belief that you have the same CHANCE as others. We all have the chance to achieve our dreams. Don't ever let anyone tell you differently.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Spiritual Break From The Writing Posts

So...what have we learned from the much-hyped End of the World That Didn't Happen yesterday?  That people are gullible and willing to believe anyone with the cash to convince them?  That religions are evil and useless?


My sincere hope for the world is that we all learned one major, Earth-shattering revelation that has nothing to do with seven seals or four horsemen.  My hope is that we as a world learned only this:

Only mankind will ever bring about the end of the world.

God will never, EVER end the world, and I say the Bible, The Torah, the Koran, and every single religious writing in the world Guarantees It, for one reason and one reason only.

Every book of Judeo-Christian origin is based the writings of the Old Testament, and in it, in Exodus 3:14, Moses asks God who he is.  God replies I Am Who Am, or Ehyeh asher Ehyeh if Wikipedia is correct.  It means God is everything.  Ask any Judeo-Christian follower, no matter where they live, how long they've practiced, or what they believe, they'll say God is Everything.  It's what we're first taught about God.  God is Everything.  The Infinite.  All-inclusive.  I could go on with Biblical references but frankly I don't want to take the time to look 'em up.

God is Infinite.  The end-all be-all.  Guess what?  That means there is nothing UNGodly.  God is the good AND the bad.  The sinners AND the saints.  God is Everything.  Everything includes Every One of Us, therefore, God is Every One of Us.

Hopefully you've got that by now.

How does that guarantee that God would never end the world?  Because God can't end something infinite.  God is eternal.  God goes on forever.  You can't cut out half of eternity any more than you can divide God in half.  You can't remove the "UnGod" like parts of God, because there are none.  God is Everything.  God is Every One of Us.

Please pass this on to everyone you know.  Please.  This is the most important message the human race can ever hear.  The Mayans can't predict the end of the world.  God won't come again to judge the living and the dead, because that would mean God would come to judge God.  It just can't happen.  The only thing that can destroy the world is our own lack of recognition that we are all a part of an infinite, universal, eternal connection.  Yes our bodies die, and yes we don't know for sure what happens after we die, but we do know that for every death there is a birth.  Trees regrow their leaves every year.  Seeds fall and become plants.  Life goes on eternally, as it always has, and as it always will.  Even as the universe expands to its breaking point, we know it will collapse and begin again.

We go on.  Unless we, as a collective connection of human beings, decide not to.  Unless we decide to ignore messages from our own bodies, our own planet, our children, our conscience, or our friends.  We can chose to destroy the planet, or at least alter it so dramatically as to make it unrecognizable.  Or we can chose to evolve this planet, beyond the beauty it holds today into something even more spectacular.

But we need to get beyond the idea of separation.  It's all around us - it's how we judge ourselves against others, and it's literally killing us.  Republican or Democrat.  American or European.  Man or woman.  White or Black.  Muslim or Jew.  Us or God.

It's got to end.  There is only life.  There is only us.  There is only God.  We can see this - I know we can.  It's there, right in front of us.  We CAN heal the world, solve world hunger and bring world peace.

We have that power.  But only if we recognize God is Everyone of Us.  Every One of Us is God.

We are eternal.

P.S.  For those atheists out there who dismiss the notion of God at all, I understand completely.  Simply reread the post again, and substitute LIFE for the word GOD.  It still makes sense.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Saturday Morning Writing Prompt!

I'm working on a new invention that will revolutionize the way we read novels...a BLOVEL!  A novel written in blog form one chapter at a time.  After all, what is a blog but a place for people to read?  Why not combine the serial cliffhangers of old ("tune in next week for chapter 3!") with the quick and easy reads of a blog?

It's brilliant!  I'm working on trademarking that term....

Anyway, more to come on that.  Meantime, here's writing prompt for you...science fiction oriented since that's the subject of my first BLOVEL...


We had ninety seconds.  The altimeter spun backwards as the Earth closed in on us.  I looked over at Amy, and nodded.  "It's time," I said.  She knew as well, and pressed the button...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tell, Don't Show!

Damn the advice! Go for broke! Do what everyone says not to do!

Ok, I'm just kidding. Oh did I mention I now have sponsors? Oh sure. They're lining up. Today's blog post is brought to you by Crust Toothpaste! The toothpaste that leaves just a little something extra on your teeth!

Seriously, down to business. Saw a great post by one of my favorite blogger agents, Mary Kole (check out her blog here).  She's with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, which must be a very respectable agency because they turned me down twice.

Anyway, she has a great blog post about when to show and not tell, and so on.  Good reading.

But I'm here to blow that up.

Well, maybe not blow it up, but in addition to her words of wisdom (and she is right on - VERY insightful.  if you don't RSS her blog or follow her...go do it.  Now.  I'll wait.)

Sorry - in addition to her words of wisdom I wanted to pass on a couple of things I've learned that may help.

First of all, if you want to tell if you're telling and not showing, search your manuscript for BE verbs.  That's it.  That's all there is to it.  See, a 'be' verb by its very nature is a non-action verb.  Most every time you use it you're telling us about something rather than showing it.  "It was a dark and stormy night".  It was a long haul.  I was so nervous.  What's the common denominator?  Was, was, was.

Now, this isn't foolproof.  Read Mary's post for more insight.  But is a good way to quickly browse through forty or fifty thousand words to see where you might have a problem.

Point number 2?  DON'T SWEAT IT ON THE FIRST DRAFT!  I can't stress this enough.  When you write the first draft - WRITE.  Break all the rules!  Screw the 'no adverbs' and 'be verbs' rules.  Just write!  Otherwise, your killer novel will be a killer pile of paper in your top right drawer.  The first draft will never get to be a second draft UNTIL it's finished.

Remember, always remember, that writing is re-writing.  Give yourself that freedom to spew out words, and don't be surprised by the number of be verbs.  Don't even try to tame it.   It's in our nature.  We "tell" stories, we don't "show" stories.  We didn't go to bed as little kids begging mom to "show" us a story.

Oddly enough, though, no one buys a story and READS a story that's "told".  So, after you get through the first draft, the exquisite freedom of bad writing flowing from your fingers to your computers, it's time to get serious.  Revise, revise, revise.  Share with your critique group.  Use the MS Word SEARCH feature for 'ly', 'was', 'is', etc.  Take your time and revise.  But get it done.  Completing the novel is the hard part.  Revising is the hard work.  But both have to happen.

Until next time - WRITE ON!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

When Characters Talk to You

Don't you just love when one of your characters talks to you as your writing your first draft? My lead character in my new YA book suddenly revealed to me that his brother was killed in Iraq. Really? Never knew that! Store that away for future reference.

That's why I generally don't start a book with an outline. To me, the essential parts to know before you start a book is the beginning, middle and end. Where does your hero start, what causes him or her to go on a journey, and where do they end up. The rest is just discovery.

Stephen King wrote once that writing is like archeology. You uncover the story. If you spend too much time trying to plot it out and outline it, you might as well as the verbs and adjectives and write the dang thing.

Now that's just me. Others need a complete roadmap before they set out, and that's fine. It's a lot less daunting - you know exactly what follows what and when. But it's not as filled with discovery, to me. In fact, when I did try it I found myself forcing A before B when it didn't really feel good. But the outline said it was so.

Regardless, take your journey however you are most comfortable. Just keep an open ear out for hints and tips from your characters. After all, it IS their story.


Speaking of which - today's writing prompt:

I met a woman today in a bar and struck up a conversation. I told her I was a writer and wanted to practice listening to someone's story. Her name was Jillian. She said "My story would take too long and would bore you to death. Let me just tell you how it ends." She rolled up her sleeve and said "I'm..."

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

its away!! ......again!!

Ok, the manuscript is once again in Caitlin's hands, off for another tour of the Mannhatten literary publishing world. I'm typing tonights blog entry on my droid...and it sucks! Yrs, definitely not the most efficient way to do a blog entry.

So what did I change? Well, mostly the voice. Its amazing how different it is now than the conversational voice I had before. Before the two main characters would go back and forth, but eery editor rejected that idea as too disruptive. So now each of the two boys have longer sections that make more sense for their characters and don't interrupt the action.

Basic rule I broke: story is King. Even though it seems clever to throw some kind of gimmick in there, never, EVER take your reader out of the story.

Well, live and learn, right? Hopefully I've done better this time. I shall remain optimistic that it will be so.

Meanwhile, I'm still working on my sooN-to-be-WORKING AWESOME CRITIQUE GROUP FINDER (patent pending) for scbwi. Here's to it finally doing what it's supposed to!

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