Friday, June 22, 2007

Friday Fiver

1. New query challenge starts Monday and I'm not ready for it. Still working on some research for the queries I intend to send out. Yikes! But I'm on Leah's team. Woohoo!

2. Got to have donuts for breakfast. Love this, but it is really so bad for me. Luckily that's the only sugar I've had this week.

3. No books bought this week. Didn't buy anything as a matter of fact, so put the saved money into my SEP. Woohoo!

4. Found my King Co library card. This is really good news because I will be there a lot in the next eight weeks.

5. Got my passport in record time, which will help reduce the stress this summer as we prepare for London in September.

I may be called upon to go to London on occasion during the next year on business. Fine by me!

Keep moving forward. Off to work on my research.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

New book highlighted by Chip Scanlon

Great post today on developing a theme for a piece and it highlights a new book that is getting raves in the press.

Sons of Mississippi

Also, a writer friend has started a frugal living blog.

Leah Ingram

Yes, busy day. Still writing, but my thoughts are so scattered because I am working out a writing schedule for my summer.

Did finally get to watch Marie Antoinette from Netflix and absolutely LOVED it. I read multiple books about her this past winter, so seeing her come to life (even if I cannot stand Kirsten Dunst) was fantastic and Versailles is gorgeous. Kirsten did a good job, but I still can't stand it when she talks. She is a perfect image of Marie Antoinette though, and I did like Sofia Coppola's approach. Very good.

Keep Moving Forward.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

More from Boice.

Busy today. So I'll give you a great quote found at the start of Boice's chapter 2.

To capture what you experience and sort it out . . . you must set up a file. . . . Whenever you feel strongly about events or ideas you must try not to let them pass from your mind, but instead to formulate them for your files and in so doing draw out their implication, show yourself how foolish these feelings or ideas are, or how they might be articulated into productive shape. The file also helps you build up the habit of writing. You cannot "keep your hand in" if you do not write something at least every week.

(C. Wright Mills, The Sociological Imagination [2])

Which will serve as a great segue into the persuasive writing thoughts I wanted to write about.

Keep Moving Forward.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Roots of Marketing

All hail Cicero.

In How the Irish Saved Civilization, author Thomas Cahill outlines how the great literature was passed on to us by Irish monks who acted as scribes, but his discussion on Cicero caught my eye.

But we are made uncomfortable and bored by Cicero's elaborately coaching us in all the tricks of his trade--the many techniques for convincing others to act the way we want them to. For Cicero, "to speak from the heart" would be the rashest foolishness; one must always speak from calculation: What do I want to see happen here? What are the desire of my audience? How can I motivate them to do my will? How shall I disguise my weakest arguments? How [shall I] dazzle my listeners to they are no longer able to reason matters through independently?

Cahill continues,
The techniques of the successful politician, the methods of modern advertising--the whole panoply of persuasion is to be found in Cicero. The figure closest to him in our own age might be Dale Carnegie, who advised that every single word and gesture be calculated to "win" and "influence." However squeamish such advice may make us, to the ancients it made perfect sense.

What does this mean for writers?

More on Cahill tomorrow.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Write Before You're Ready

Okay, so this is harder than it sounds. And I overwrite by hundreds of words. Four pages of crap later, I think I hear something in the writing that could serve as a lead.

Other writers struggle with this: Susan Wise Bauer (see blogroll) wrote a million words for her first book in her four-book series, cutting about half of them; Anne Lamott writes page after page after page of sardonic comments for a single restaurant review, and then cuts it all out mercilessly in her next draft. It's that flinging of the spaghetti onto the cupboards in order to see what sticks.

For me, it's anal retentiveness. What comes out is what I suppose people expect me to say and then once that's out, I realize what I truly wanted to say.

For example, hubby is filling out an application for this training program and must answer five questions. The first of the questions are strained, forced, and generic. Then he gets going on question three and I'm impressed (and I already knew all the information anyway).

It's just how humans download, fling, and crap all over the page until the real deal shows up and connects, sticks, or is washed in the gentle cycle, leaving the gold nugget of expression that actually says something.

So go and write. Even if you scrape all that gunk off eventually, you will begin to see a glimmer of gold in there. I promise.

Keep moving forward.