Almost here

Almost here

Monday, April 6, 2015

Energetic Markers Are The Key To A Great Story

I’m skipping right to E as I’ve failed miserably with B-D.

I know that is the point of the whole A-Z challenge, but I haven’t felt like blogging about my life and I tend to want to write about what’s going on with me.

Someone I was close with a long time ago died this week. My first thought beyond shock and sadness was should I write about this for “D” – death? The thing is I don’t want to. Not today. Maybe not ever. So I’m going to take a step back from emotional dumping and write about writing.

I want to give credit here to Plot Whisperer, Martha Anderson and Literary Agent Jill Corcoran for their great advice and formula for breaking down any story using Energetic Markers. You can find their PlotWriMo videos at

Seriously, their method teaches you how to dissect a story in such a way that you can easily see why some stories succeed while others fail. I can analyze any genre, any vehicle; book, movie, or play, it doesn’t matter. If the Energetic Markers don’t play out, the story doesn’t work – it’s that simple.

Below is a very brief introduction to their method, but since it’s not my idea you’ll have to go to their websites for more information.  

EM# 1
At the first ¼ of the story the character enters a whole new world – they may do it physically like move to another state, or emotionally, perhaps someone dies – but something major has changed in their world and from here on in it’s all new territory.
EM #2
At the second quarter of the story the protagonist recommits to whatever their goal is after entering their new world or reality.  Whether it be saving the universe, getting the girl or robbing the bank – they are in for the long haul.
EM #3
The third quarter of the story is the crisis – everything that can go wrong will and has gone wrong. The protagonist is in the dumps–their world is about to implode, the girl has found someone else, the bank is on to them – they are at their lowest point.
EM # 4
The fourth quarter is the climax – maybe they can’t save the world but they can save the human race, or the girl they’ve been pining after comes to her senses, or maybe they don’t need to rob the bank because they realize what they really want is a job in law enforcement catching criminals like themselves after all.

I know my examples are ridiculous and much better explained by Martha and Jill so check out their sites like and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

How To Get The Antsy Out

It’s April Fools Day and I’m feeling rather foolish n my PJ’s trying to think of what to write to kick off the A-Z challenge.

Aardvarks, augmentation, arithmetic…none of these are going to work. And then it hit me. I should write about how I’m feeling at the moment and I realized I’m antsy. I’ve been that way for a few weeks now. Maybe months. I could blame the state of the world.  From a serious water shortage in California to ISIS and terrorism, the world is not in a good place. Although I do think these are things I should be worrying about and they contribute to my feelings of uneasiness, I know it’s a hundred other little things that are fueling this feeling and I need to let go.

Will the buses show up to get 100 kids from synagogue to the reception hall for my daughter’s bat mitzvah (and yes they showed up and why did I think they wouldn’t in the first place)? Will my father get into a car accident because he has molecular degeneration and won’t stop driving (the specialist said he can still drive)? Will I ever query my YA book or will I just keep rewriting it (whine, whine, whine)?

So I’ve decide to make a list of 10 ways to get the antsy out of my head no matter if it’s world politics or first world minutiae that I’m obsessing about.

  1. Breathe. This is a yoga thing and I know it sounds hokey, but it works. Taking a deep breath is like swallowing in calmness.
  2. Write. Putting your worries on paper or facing them on a computer screen puts them in perspective. They are much worse in my head where they can grow and fester. They are a problem to solve not a growing monster.
  3. Move. My favorite is to run – clears the mind. Anything will work though - a walk, planks, a headstand.
  4. Create. Make something. Paint a room a new color. Put a photo book together online. Cook a new dish. Use your imagination.
  5. Purge. Get rid of things you don’t need. Receipts floating around your purse. Clean out your fridge or your garage. The immediate results make you feel accomplished.
  6. Change. Drive a different way to work. Work out in the evening rather than the morning. Go out to dinner mid-week somewhere completely new. Change it up and change up your thoughts.
  7. Read. Get a great book. The kind you can’t put down. Ask your friends for recommendations – travel into the past or experience a whole new culture. Let is suck you in and live another life for a few hours.
  8. Play. Swing on the playground. Do a puzzle. Even a round of Words With Friends can calm your thoughts and keep you sane.
  9. Talk. Get together with friends. Call you’re old college roommate. No one around? Visit a review site of your favorite TV show and exchange dialogue with other viewers. You already have something in common.
  10. Laugh. Watch a really funny movie. Check out Damn You Auto Correct or You Tube.  Antsy has trouble competing with funny.  Nervous energy gets released with real laughter. The I-can’t-breathe, stomach-hurts kind of laughter. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Three things I'm sure of

1) My daughter's are definitely  teenagers -- moody demons that are all about me, me, me.
2) I do not remember how to conjugate anything Spanish (and therefore it's all my fault if my daughter bombs in Spanish class)
3) I made it through middle school and high school and somehow they will to even if they don't believe me and they swear they won't --

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Z is for Zip for Char, Nat & Yvonne

As my last post for the A-Z challenge I've created a little ditty:

To my fellow writing wenches who made me join
Yvonne, Char, & Nat
Thank you
For now I cannot stop pouring words onto page
Keystrokes across my screen
My heart on a sleeve
Even when other things beckon for my attention
Shopping, schlepping and even showering
I'm stuck posting to my blog like a loyal little blogger
But as they say all good things must come to an end
So I bid the A-Z challenge adieu
Alas, I know I will be back
Because I might have zip for you tonight
But tomorrow is another writing day

Y is for Yuck to Fakes

Yuck. I can’t stand fakes. I’ll admit to faking a tan or celebrating a fake holiday – National PB& J day was April 4th, after all, but I can’t stand someone air kissing me on the cheek or pretending to be my friend while stabbing me in the back. Maybe I’m exaggerating, but there seems to be more fake people now than there were back in high school. Perhaps it’s the government. After all, politicians are the ultimate fakes. They tell you what they think you want to hear, often stretching the truth to suit their needs, particularly in the last election. In fact, according to Time Magazine, “the 2012 campaign witnessed a historic increase in fact-checking efforts by the media”…”clear examples of deception fill websites.” If our leaders are setting the standard it’s no wonder people might be acting more fake than ever before.
I’ll take a fake politician over a fake friend, or should I say, frenemy, any day. Like my pal Debby in the fifth grade. She slept at my house on New Years because she knew my mother made awesome chocolate chip cookies and we had cable. How did she repay me for being able to watch Grease in her PJ’s? By reading my diary and then telling everyone the name of the boy I had a crush on--- including said boy.
And then in junior high there was Jen, your friend only if you met certain parameters. She would unabashedly pull the label out of the back of your shirt to see what brand you were wearing if it wasn’t already splashed across the front of your shirt. You only remained in her good graces if the label read Benetton, Esprit  or Forenza.
She was similar to the kid in school who was only your friend sometimes. The friend who might be willing to hang with you in class, but ignored you when you passed in the hallway. Unfortunately, those friends, or frenemies, don’t seem to have disappeared with locker combinations and braces. You know whom I’m talking about. Take my friend Julie. She told me about a woman who acts like she doesn’t know her even though they were once stuck volunteering together for over half a day. I get that you don’t need to be everyone’s friend, but it’s called courtesy. This kind of behavior baffles me as an adult. Perhaps Julie offended her while wrapping muffins at the bake sale, or is there another explanation for turning into a ‘Plastic’ from Mean Girls?
Prosopagnosia-- also known as face blindness is a neurological disorder. They can’t recognize faces. I caught a segment about it on 60 Minutes and it was an ‘aha’ moment. However the disease only effects 2% of the population, so chances are Julie’s frenemy is just a mean girl that took the halls of high school to the lawns of suburbia.
Fake friends are promoted everyday on “reality” shows like Housewives of NJ, NY or other states where women reside that want to pimp their lives out on camera. These shows are where the fake pretend to be real and then proceed to deceive their ‘friends’ and receive fame and fortune for it. The more notorious a character--the more profitable, marketable and sometimes even more loveable. Think Teresa Giudice.
A few years ago my hairdresser, Veronica, was on a reality show for the Bravo Network and asked me to be her customer for the episode. Since I needed a haircut anyway I agreed.  The premise of the show was a competition between two couples where each had to teach their trade to their spouse. Veronica’s husband, a plumber, was to learn to cut hair. Although he came from a family of plumbers, Vin was an aspiring actor and had assisted at the salon before. He knew as much about hair as he knew about washers making the competition already far from real. I didn’t get to meet the competing couple, another hair stylist and contractor hubby, but Veronica raved about how lovely they were while filming together.
When the show finally aired three months later, Veronica got to watch all the nasty things the other couple said about her and Vin on camera to the rest of the world. Fortunately, Veronica won the competition and $20,000, although my five minutes of fame ended up on the cutting room floor (no pun intended).

I guess when it comes to friends, your real friends are the ones that you know won’t lie, ignore, or say nasty things about you –even if they’re a politician or on a reality show.  Still it can’t hurt if we all take a pledge this month not to fake smile, fake thank you, or fake friend anyone even if it’s only on Facebook.