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.