Monday, May 23, 2011

I'm all a-Twitter.

Thanks to Nathan Bransford, I just read his blog and learned a lot about Twitter's @replies. The subtlties of who recieves @replies and when just makes me love the place more (also read about the subtle shifts of old school RTs verses new school at Nathan's blog - follow all the comment links if you want to find out why to use the old retweet protocol). Of course I found the post from his tweet in the first place. Which has been what has been the most fun about Twitter. The things you find (this you tube video about anti-gay marriage amendment in my legislature, these pictures of homemade dams, stink bugs and the Ashpocalypse, not to mention it is how I heard about school closings and the 9 pm curfew after last afternoon's tornado shook up the Northside, and this was just today). Twitter will not replace my bloggy connections, but it's faster and doesn't require quite the committment. It's poetry is a little addicting. I find my twitter feed developing its own personality. Sometimes its mood surprises me. I'm still figuring it out but I do believe it is going to to make the blog world better. I can see why this bird is all the rage.

Also, play the twitter game: #AlternateEndings today! Follow any of these folks if you want to see how it works  .

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A writing exercise and how it worked.

The first class of my new session was last night. I had so much fun! One of the things we did was use this blog post from - specifically Melissa Koosmann's take on Harry Potter: good telling and how that complements showing. The exercise: we pick a word out of my trusty bag, take a moment to daydream the image to describe. Then we come up with a telling sentence. This can be bland and boring. Contrast it with the showing if possible. Then detail the image. Timed: 10 minutes

It was more prescriptive writing than we normally do in class and was a little hard to grasp at first. Here's how it worked for me: My word was "coughing." My sentence about it threw me right into a voice and I spent too long telling, but once I realized, I got to showing. It was cliched but interesting for me to approach a beat like that, setting up the purpose before choosing the details. Afterward we all read and discussed. I learned as much from examining others' attempts as making my own. Ryan's topic sentence worked really well. His word was "nighttime." A bland sentence about a job. Followed by details of nighttime and secrecy. It gave his showing immediate meaning and drama. His paragraph described a robbery.

Another purpose a style like this might serve is to plot scenes. Could a series of these "topic sentences" provide a framework to the whole emotional arc of a character or reader to which I can apply the showing details after? I want to try.

I learn so much from my class. :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

A list

I love cabbage, let me count the ways:

1. Cabbage is cheap and you can find it on your supermarket shelves at any time of year.
2. Cabbage stays crisp for 6 weeks (or longer!) in the refrigerator (also stays crisp and fresh in your backpack when you take it on a hike).
3. Raw cabbage dips into numerous things (if you are in a hurry to your unplug after yoga try it with a little peanut butter)
4. Cooked cabbage is pleasing with sausage, white beans and tomatoes in a soup; or lovely with lentils, turmeric and ginger in a dahl.
5. For a quick dinner eat cabbage raw with a fish stick and chipolte mayo on a tortilla.
6. It's very beautiful sliced open (I always buy the red kind although I think it would be better called purple).
7. It can look like a rose.
8. Chefs love it.
9. Did you know that Captain Cook took sixty barrels of fermented cabbage (sauerkraut) when he sailed around the world in the 1770s? Not one crew member developed scurvy.
10. Cabbage is an ordinary vegetable but has many layers. (I wanted to link to my post where cabbage first came up. In the meantime, you can read about onions and their many layers - while I keep looking for it.).

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I like your emails and all but...

I miss the days of cozy commenting. You know what I am talking about? Where there's a conversation after a blog post. The blogger posts. People comment. The blogger comments back. Sometimes those comments can take you to whole different places and subjects and sometimes it's where the best epiphanies come from. I'm afraid the conversation may have switched to Twitter. I am afraid of that because I'm not particularly conversational on Twitter.

Melissa(MG Higgins) had a post a bit ago discussing the merits of the email response vs. commenting in response. Quite a lot of people came out in favor of blog comments over the emails. Anita's posts and subsequent comments feel like a convo to me (join the convo about Middle Grade books here.) What do you think? Are there any others out there? I'd love recommendations. Direct me to some blogs where a lively conversation exists. And what do you think those authors do to make it happen?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Tea or something?

Proudly announcing my next class session (which means posting it here and sending out an email to my local contacts):

Dates: 3 Wednesdays: May 18th, May 25th, and June 1st, 2011.
Time: 7:30 pm - 9, 9 - 9:30 optional writing time
Cost: $25 for 3 sessions or $10 per class - pay at class.
Location: south Minneapolis in our new studio space

And here is the description:

Writing Bootcamp!
Jumpstart your writing metabolism! Join our three week writing intensive workshop and get physically writing. Find yourself motivated and energized as Rachel and Tina lead you through structured exercises and give you the tools to establish your own writing routine. Open to all experience levels (modifications will be offered). Bring your favorite writing utensil and a cheap notebook. Please email Tina at with questions or to save a spot in class. Class capped at 6.

Come strengthen your writing core - because you get better at what you practice!

If you are in town, you should try to come. It really is a fun class. The people and the enthusiasm are fantastic! Practicing writing is energizing. And my garage space has turned out to be very convivial.

I need your advice though! Now that is it warming up (I think it is warming up - it is seriously hard to tell around here) what should I serve to my peeps instead of hot tea?