Archive for May, 2008


Stranger Than Fiction (#1)

May 31, 2008

Futility? Obviously I’ve been feeling morose.

Anyway, I’ve been trying to find some way to justify my prior post about sublimated incest and, finally, days late, of course, what I was overlooking struck me like the proverbial heap of bricks.

That said, our first installment of “Stranger Than Fiction”.

After all, this was part of the problem I was having dealing with the idea of a Purity Ball. On the one hand, I don’t think I ever would have come up with a road story about driving across three states to shack up with my daughter in a hotel and then pledge to enforce her sexual purity in front of a roomful of people. Really. Maybe that says something about how flat is my creative arc of late, but still, even if I did invent such a tale, would it be readable? At what point do we look at a character or plot and say, “No. No way. Absolutely no freaking way. Just … no.”
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Ultimate Music Challenge = fun!

May 29, 2008

Hey writer friends, wanna see my latest writing project? It doesn’t suck too much.

Ok, so, as I was telling MSG, I’ve been doing this really cool gig at Viejas Casino called the Ultimate Music Challenge. I’m one of the judges. It’s your basic battle of the bands contest, except, there is 30 thousand dollars of prize money on the line.

UMC is an 11 week long concert series at Viejas’ Dream Catcher Lounge. Each night 5 bands compete and the judges pick a winner, who advances to the next round. It’s f*****g fun!

Anyway, aside from the judging, I’m also running a Judge’s Blog for the event . It’s on fire right now. Lots of people are stopping by and chiming in. There’s a great ongoing debate about the fairness of the judges and whatnot. Check it out. I’m kinda proud of it. More importantly, come down to the show itself, join me for a drink. It’s on Sundays from 6pm till about 11ish. Maybe we’ll gamble or something afterward. Who’s in? Michael? Chrissie? BD? Don’t hold on out me!



His first one hundred years

May 28, 2008

An inspiration for every writer. From the San Francisco Chronicle, by staffer Edward Guthmann:

Mill Valley’s Molarsky is still writing at 98

Osmond Molarsky has been writing all his life. He’s written ad copy, radio documentaries, U.S. Navy training films and a series of children’s books. But it wasn’t until last year that the 98-year-old Mill Valley resident wrote his first novel…

Read full article.

Oh, and he paid James Michener his first money for writing. Apparently, Michener liked the idea of getting paid to write and later went on to make a bit of a name for himself doing just that.



Irvine conference update

May 27, 2008

Additions to the staff pretty much round out our LA6 event. Among them, authors Raymond Obstfeld (over 40 published books under his belt, including The Executioner, Diamondback and Warlord series), award-winner Steven M. Thomas with his unique mix of literary/crime fiction, and Lorelei Armstrong, debuting her first novel, In The Face, which I can attest is a MUST READ!

The Little Publishing House That Could — Iota — is present in a big way, so pop over to the site and get all the skinny. More soon.



Futility as a writing exercise?

May 24, 2008

Futility: Trying to write this post has been an ultimate exercise in futility. Trust me, please, there is a story to that, but it is beside the point.

I thought maybe a writing exercise might be in order. Four times I’ve tried to sort through this mess, not only the article itself and the dirty jokes, but how to make it something that suits our purposes here at SCWC.

So let us start with a general exercise open to anyone who wishes to participate:
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Coming soon, an exercise in futility

May 20, 2008

Okay, I’m sorry. I’m back after an unplanned recuperation from a fit of low spirits. Or, rather, recuperating from an unplanned fit of … er … yeah. Enough about me. Well, almost.

Because what shook me out of my stupor was a news item that struck me rather strangely. I was discussing it yesterday with a friend who encouraged me to post the story here. And I’m working on it. Perhaps it’s my sense of (melo-) drama, but it seems a delicate endeavor.

First, though, a more general proposition. When we write character, just how much can we distill or condense from life?

Part of what I’ve been dwelling on in the last couple weeks is when and whether to be satisfied with character development. How much insight is necessary as a bare minimum for the reader? How much beyond that will help tell the story? And then at what point does character analysis and exposition become an egocentric digression to satisfy the author?

Does that make as little sense as it seems? When I was in high school—a Jesuit school—we had a novice come through, and the first time he gave the sermon, he opened with a joke, that in seminary they teach that the first six minutes of the sermon are for God, the second for the self, and the third … well, you can fill in the blank.

Anyway, it’s a start. We’ll put our heads together—maybe … if you’re willing, as such—once I drain off enough of the politics to not wreck the idea at the outset.

Futility is such a dangerous game.



Another editor in Irvine

May 20, 2008

From Thomas Dunne Books, a division of St. Martin’s Press, associate editor Katie Gilligan will be joining us in Irvine.  I haven’t updated the conference site yet to report the news because there’s still a couple other equally exciting confirmations pending, but that’s what makes readers of the blog so well informed.  What more can I tell you right now?  Katie is seeking “genuine” voices in fiction and nonfiction.  That and the fact she assisted with the editing of John Hart’s New York Times bestseller (and 2008 Edgar Award winner) Down River, which PW concluded thusly: “This book should settle once and for all the question of whether thrillers and mysteries can also be literature.”