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Monthly Archives: April 2011

Crazed Writers Meet Again!

Yes, the Rogues continue to blur the line between fiction and reality. We are currently embroiled in a novel that requires the four of us to write four characters of a writer’s group called the Rogues Gallery Writers. Our characters have characters they happen to be writing about. In order to get to know the challenges their (the unreal Rogues) characters face, the Rogues (unreal ones again) pull a page from the ‘method acting’ notebook and become ‘method writers’.

If that is not confusing enough, we Rogues (the real ones now) have tuned into our characters (the unreal Rogues) and their names. Things have become so confusing that we attempt to send emails to our fellow Rogues with the ‘unreal’ Rogues’ names rather than our actual names. Then it takes us a few minutes to figure out why the email address doesn’t automatically pop up.

Yes, writerdom can be a strange place. What will really get strange is if we set up actual email addresses for our ‘unreal’ Rogue characters and possibly even THEIR characters. The ‘real’ Rogues meet tonight, as we do every Tuesday evening. As our plot thickens, we steam ever closer to that magic moment of a completed first draft. My best estimate is that we will possess a true first draft manuscript by late May early June.

For those of you who follow our work, this should be great news. For those of you not yet following our trek to artistic infamy, you can check out a number of our works. As a group, the Rogues have produced the books Writing is Easy and More Writing is Easy. Both books are collections of short stories penned by the Rogues. I highly recommend More Writing is Easy as an introduction to Roguery. The Kindle price tag of $2.99 is highly attractive. You may even purchase a PDF copy of the book through the ClearView Press Bookstore for $1.99.

Until we meet again…

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Posted by on April 26, 2011 in The Method Writers

 

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Insane Writers – Great Stories

A short post on the comings and goings of the Rogues Gallery Writers. We meet nearly every Tuesday evening. We go over the plot lines of our book – The Method Writers which is shaping up nicely. Each of us is writing a character who is a member of a writers group and is writing a book.

The twist of this book is that the characters decide to try something they dub ‘method writing’ after the similar occurrence in acting labeled ‘method acting’. The characters decide to pursue some aspect of the book they’re writing by physically experiencing whatever it is they want THEIR characters to experience. One of the writers is incorporating a bank robbery into her story so she plans out and executes a bank robbery. Another character is writing about a character that gets involved in the sex scene, so that writer dives into the world of sex.

The fun of this book is that our characters interact with each other and we must make sure we’re all on the same page. The book is being written with a lot of dark humor which should make it fun for the reader as well as getting the reader to invest in the characters. We are working at making this a big deal. We’ve planned to film a ‘Mockumentary’ about the project, again with loads of dark humor. We also are planning to come up with playing cards, trading cards, calendars, mugs, t-shirts and other promotional material. Keep checking out our companion blog, www.themethodwriters.wordpress.com for quotes from the upcoming book, some of the character pics and other book related tidbits.

Also check out our book, More Writing is Easy on Kindle or order a physical copy through the bookstore at ClearView Press.

 

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Everyday Neurosis – Writing Consistently

As writers we all possess the demon of procrastination in some hideous manner. We force deadlines or put off projects or drag our pens as if writing were some evil punishment. Yet when we get going, forcing us to quit can only be achieved through severe hunger and/or dehydration, volatile argument or collapse. This personality trait tends to come with the writing landscape.

We authors also own various means by which we goad ourselves (or prime if you prefer…) into writing. We discipline ourselves (isn’t that the antithesis of writing???) to regular schedules or use software that is playful or struggle under a constant barrage of self-loathing because we have not written every day like big time authors tell us we must. Whatever trick you use, whatever method gets you into the button chair (more appropriately spelled butt-in-chair), whatever sorcery actually hands you success in this area is worth its weight in sold manuscripts to other writers who can duplicate your success.

With that last little tidbit in mind, I present a wonderful website called 750Words.com. This site offers daily prompts to your email suggesting you write 750 words today. The site creator was brilliant in his site setup and theme. Any writer knows 750 words is not much. Once you hit that four digit number, writers begin to blanche, but 750 words can be knocked out in fifteen minutes if you have average keyboard speed.

The creator of the site also knows that if a writer puts down 750 words, most likely there follows an avalanche of ideas and projects to spring forth while at the computer. A writer on a roll will continue until some force of the outside world interrupts. Getting into the chair to begin with is the primary issue. One of the things that motivated me to take on one of the website’s challenges – write 750 words every day for the entire month – is that a fellow writer I know jumped on the site and joined in the challenge. Now, I won’t miss a day simply because she is still in the running to complete the challenge and I will not be out-done.

This challenge sounds eerily like Nanowrimo which runs each November. During Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) writers are encouraged to write 1667 words per day to achieve a novel of 50,000 words by month’s end. Yes, 750 words copies that little format, but it works. I’ve complete two first-draft novels thanks to Nanowrimo. 750 words only asks for less than half the word count per day. Since I began writing on 750words.com in March, I have written 26,012 words and for the month of April I have keyed 16,383 words.

These are pretty impressive numbers. These numbers do not include my blogs and other writing I’m doing. Can you say, “Motivational feedback?” Seeing myself put up those kinds of numbers gives me hope. I know I can do this daily now. I previously wrote garbage. Whatever came off the top of my head, I wrote, so as to achieve word count. Then I began incorporating writing projects into my 750 words. I write articles for Daddy123.com so I wrote four articles using four different 750 word days. I also wrote a chapter of the current book I’m working on during one of my 750 word posts.

In March, I often wrote over 750 words. One day I keyed over 2000. Loads of words keyed is confidence to  a writer, even if the words are not all that great. The simple discipline of doing what we love helps move us along. 750words.com’s motivational aspects do not stop there. The site incorporates some really cool analytics. Once you are done keying your words, the site’s analyzer scans your words and tells you what kind of mood your writing reflects, what topics were foremost on your writing mind, what sense, tense and time orientation is reflected in your writing as well as breaking down your use of profanity, interruptions, use of filler words and a whole slew of other observations.

These analytical observations can be used as writing tools or simple curiosities. On a couple of my writing pieces, I wanted to know if the mood I wanted to project came across in my writing. The analytics gave me the feedback I needed.

Have I mentioned this site is free? Yes, free. The gentleman who whipped this cool tool together does ask to be supported with donations, but there is no obligation beyond your own sense of responsibility to helping maintain a fun and helpful site. In fact, I have not donated any money to the site as yet, but as soon as I finish up here, I will pop over to 750words.com and slide him a fiver. I don’t begrudge it at all.

As writers, we all look for something that will move us forward, get us into that writing groove and help us produce on a more timely basis. I’m here to tell you 750words.com helps me. Give it a shot. What do you have to lose other than your writing inconsistency? It’s free and if you don’t like it, you’re not out anything.

 
 

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Writing as Addiction

There is no doubt writing and authors possess a love-hate relationship. The love side can manifest in many ways. Satisfaction from creating something from nothing, release from voices that haunt a writer’s brain, heightened passion from going places emotionally one rarely dares to visit in life or many other aspects of writing that leave us feeling fulfilled.

The hate part tends to enter the equation on the more analytical side of writing – the fact of writing being a business, deadlines, frustrations at how the writing manifests itself, forcing yourself to ignore basic day-to-day chores or tasks that can make you look foolish in other people’s eyes and any number of stumbling blocks to making the writing happen in a manner you feel appropriate.

For those of us who stick with our dreams and passions, writing takes on characteristics of addiction. Once we hit a groove we feel invincible. We feel there is nothing to stop us from reaching untold heights and there is no downside. When we struggle to just get our blank page up on the screen or out of a notebook, we become the junkie craving a fix – especially if life has intruded and prevented us from scribbling or dibbling (my word for computerized scribbling – I know, this is an actual word already having to do with gardening, but when has that ever stopped the English language from promoting a new meaning – see the word ‘run’).

Every writer who sincerely pursues the craft must write. Consistency is preached but often neglected in a world where structure and analytics often squash or destroy creativity. Writers can be flighty and irresponsible, but they also create all the entertainment our species ingests on a daily basis. The appetite of consumers out-paces the ability of writers to produce. This is why you see so many reruns and rehashed plots.

The dedicated writer must write whether destitute or wealthy. Every writer struggles with similar bugaboos like time, block (always self-inflicted), muse, etc. Non-writers on one hand do not understand what writers call work and on the other they have no clue how writers create the pieces put out. Writers know when they are in the midst of their muse, no drug, no pleasure, no outside source of enjoyment can fulfill them like the passion of creation at their fingertips.

A writer’s fix becomes simple, not easy. Simply write that ‘true sentence’ as Hemingway put it. Create the story, novel, article, poem, etc. that moves the reader to another place of enlightenment whether it be emotional, intellectual or any other manner of insight. Writers desire to create words of power as much as readers desire to consume them. While we war against ourselves about what we sacrifice for our fix, just like any other addiction, we go back for more whenever we can. When we do, we hallucinate, we dream, we soar, we cry, we laugh, we crash, we die and we live.

Our hope is that our readers do all those things as well.

 
 

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Writing Under the Influence (of sleep deprivation)

There are times as a writer where you simply run out of brain gas. This fuel wells up from some unknown source, sometimes labeled ‘the Muse’. I find it amazing how much writing accomplishment can come from a simple splash of inspiration. Writers own the ability to extend their creation over weeks, months and years.

There are times, however, that rob a writer of his or her fuel and leave the poor sot a blubbering, bubble-headed mess. I just experienced such a writing moment. In the midst of writing an article for an online mag, I nodded off to sleep and woke up to absolute gibberish on my computer screen.

Not good for a writer on a deadline. So what do you think I do? Yes, I immediately run to WordPress and key this post. Am I a glutton for ridicule? I just screwed up and article in a royal manner and I rush pall mall into more writing?

Dedication. What can I say. I’m a Rogue and that is special. Rogues Gallery Writers know no defeat, only opportunity. I chose to look on these moments of waning lucidness as a challenge. Can I rejuvenate myself to create a much-needed blog post? Can I pull myself up and make something out of a mind containing nothing?

Only the readership knows for sure. If this post is not disjointed beyond all sense, take the time to comment and let me know my insanities have not progressed so far as to take reality completely out of my picture of life. In the meantime, keep writing…

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2011 in The Rogues Gallery Writers

 

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Work in Progress…The Method Writers

The Rogues Gallery Writers continue on our trek to produce the Great American Novel. When four writers mesh like this and write together as a team, amazing results pop up like popcorn ideas in the pan of imagination. I personally begin to understand how groups reach the top, the national and international recognition, through enjoyable labor that breeds creativity.
When we meet, which is generally once a week, the fog of daily doldrums dissipate at the snap of ideas careening off the tongues of my fellow writers. Creative endeavors by a group of writers well-meshed in personalities opens up horizons none of us could reach on our own. The sum becomes truly greater than the parts. Connection on this level brings me to realize how rare, special and energizing a cohesive writers group can become.
Our book, The Method Writers, will be a read well worth the time spent by the reader. This statement should not be considered cocky, simply a statement of fact. When you work on something special, you know it. You want the world to know it. In this day and age, run-of-the-mill writing dominates the publishing world. Great work gets overlooked because the sheer volume of mediocre shields it from the world’s eyes.
For that reason, writers who produce something of higher value must let the world know. While most of us (writers) write because something inside us requires it, we also possess a strong desire for readers to appreciate our work. The same can be said of any creative endeavor. Musicians want their work to be enjoyed as to painters, sculptors, sketch artists, etc. Many people appear to overlook the fact that this dynamic holds true for writers as well.
This book will see the light of day in 2011. In fact, our first draft should be completed in June. The story line? Four writers have formed a group called the “Rogues Gallery Writers“, (hmmm) and decide individually to do the author equivalent of what DeNiro did before the filming of Taxi Driver. DeNiro drove a cab in New York as a ‘method acting’ way of getting into character.
These four writers decide to get into their characters by actually doing something in real life their character will do in each book they are writing. One robs a bank, another kidnaps an abusive neighbor to teach him a lesson about how the man beats his girlfriend. Another gets caught up in the lurid sex scene while another infiltrates a high end escort service.
All four writers run into their fair share of difficulties as well as a good number of Keystone Cop bungles. The humor will be dark, but not black. The drama will be real, but not overbearing. The characters will be strong with their own distinct voice as the REAL Rogues Gallery Writers each write one of the characters in the book.
Sorting this all out, with the interplay between the writer characters and the writer’s characters with subplots running amuck and tying everything up neatly at the end is a challenge we (the real Rogues Gallery Writers) take on with gusto. The ‘book’ Rogues show an amazing resemblance to the real Rogues. Hmm. I wonder how that happened! 🙂
I’ve not heard of any four-writer collaborations other than collections of short stories. I’m positive this has happened in this world, possibly many times, but the situation is new to me and the rest of the Rogues. When all is said and written, we will have accomplished something each of us will look back on as a special and important segment of our lives. Whether we gain a national or international audience, which, make no mistake, we will shoot for it, or not, our time spent on this project will bring smiles the rest of our days.

 

 

 

 

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The Possible’s slow fuse is lit By the

The Possible’s slow fuse is lit
By the Imagination.
~Emily Dickinson (are we not blessed to be privy to such writing?!)

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2011 in Quotes