Tuesday, September 27, 2011

In keeping with yesterday's Corn theme....

Here's a few more facts about corn that you might not know:

For the history of corn products in our food, see The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan:

Wow. Did you catch that last line? Corn is dependent on humans?
Somebody's smoking some pretty high-fructose marijuana! 
I am pretty sure the corn plant can do without humans. It might not look quite the same several generations from now, but it will, surely, survive.

Just think ye, of the native version of the carrot! It probably didn't taste that good, but somebody ate it! These days, nobody complains about carrots....

And I have corn in my backyard. But it's corn on the cob. Does that make it wrong or right?

Soon, all our corn may be made in China. And little green men will visit, asking for the secret to long life. We will tell them, corn! Corn! Corn!

Now if we could only get it to do tricks!

More later,


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Rhonda Stapleton's Writing Workshop

For those of you not doing NaNo, or feel that you need an extra challenge during the month of November -- any overachievers out there? - you might sign up for this:

Rhonda Stapleton

Plotting--amazing how this one word can strike fear or even hatred in the hearts of writers. Writing is supposed to be creative, right?
Well, the problem is that many writers have no idea how to go about making a novel happen. How do you know your idea is big enough for a full novel? How do you make sure you won't be stuck with a saggy middle? What's a good way to weave subplots appropriately in a story and give them a meaningful connection with the main plot?

I'm offering a month-long workshop designed to teach you how to craft a full plot for a novel, including character depth/development, plot twists, the dark moment/climax, and a satisfactory ending. We'll use Debra Dixon's principles in her book Goal, Motivation, and Conflict as a partial basis for the workshop (it's highly recommended you purchase this book before the workshop--find it HERE), as well as various unique tips and tricks I employ in my own writing.

This intense, hands-on workshop will run from Nov 1 to 24. Here's a tentative syllabus (lessons posted twice a week on Tuesdays/Thursdays, with homework accompanying each lesson):
Week 1: Intro to Rhonda's nerdalicious plotting methodology; creating your own plan of action

Week 2: Employing effective brainstorming techniques; refining your core idea and applying GMC to enrich character development

Week 3: Turning points/building your plot in manageable chunks; tips/tricks for plotting

Week 4: Weaving in subplot; final thoughts on plotting

The course will be held via Yahoo groups. Questions and brainstorming is highly encouraged (a separate brainstorming loop will be set up just for this purpose!). For maximum benefit, it's recommended you bring at least a core of a new story idea to work with, though if you have a work in progress, you can use this workshop to enrich and deepen your current plot.

BIO: I am a multi-published author with Simon and Schuster in teen fiction. I am also an acquisitions/developmental editor with Carina Press, the e-book imprint of Harlequin Publishing. I offer numerous workshops on employing sophisticated style, voice, and practical self-editing tips. I have a Bachelor's degree in English, Creative Writing, and a Master's degree in English Literature. I've also taught college composition.

Cost for this workshop is $20. I accept paypal or check.

The registration deadline is the day before the workshop starts. Once registered, you will be subscribed to the workshop loop prior to and for the duration of the class. The workshop is held on Yahoo groups--you will be sent an invitation to join. It's important you check your spam filter so you don't miss it! No refunds if you fail to enroll yourself once you are offered the invitation.

Questions? Want to sign up? Please email me at rhonda@rhondastapleton.com -- thanks! :D

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A writing workshop!

The Triple Threat Behind Staging A Scene

An Actor’s Take On Writing Physicality, Choreography, and Action

"Tiffany Lawson is one of the best editors to ever critique my work. Her unique background (part actress, part editing wizard) helps people look beyond what's on the page. She forces writers to work on body language, emotions and cause-effect relationships, resulting in strong, believable worlds full of real people. Tiffany took my writing from blah to a lesson in excitement."

---- Koreen Clemens * Immersion Master Class Graduate

October 2 - 30; Fee: $30

Action creates a rhythm allowing the reader to breathe in sync with your characters. Physicality has the ability to highlight personality, relationship, and motivation. Choreography, in a fight or love scene, can expose the intricacies of your ever moving story.

Topics covered in this course:

- Fight Scenes: Physical. Learn how to brawl on the page from a certified Stage Combatant.

- Fight Scenes: Verbal. Words can be stronger than swords.

- All Scenes Have Rhythm: Plain Jane and G.I. Jane show how action plays a role.

- Multiple Character Scenes: As easy as 1-2-3.

- Emphasize personality, relationship, and motivation through small, simple details.

- Spotlight on the Backdrop: Using props and setting to move your story forward.

- Audition each character: Making sure each movement matches their personality.

- Manipulate the reader’s focus using tips from Broadway directors.

- Write your character deeper into conflict, with a flick of the wrist, and a punch of emotion.

*****Please note, these lectures and assignments apply to all genres.

There will be 2 lectures each week. Lectures include: examples pulled from NYT Best Sellers, links to movie scenes, scene dissection/manipulation, and editing tips. One assignment per week. Class members may be active or lurk and learn. Class members are encouraged to use this course to edit their current manuscript, or they may write fresh for each assignment.
Cost: $30

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Coffee and Christianity

Dear Bratty Friends,

So, I'm sitting in a coffee shop today in the little one-horse town of Cle Elum, WA

Zee coffee shop! 

Having a chat with my friend Tony from Juneau, AK.

Tony, AKA Bone. No, he does not play the xylophone! 

He brings up the subject of Christianity and coffee, and I have so say, it tickled my funny bone! Why? Well, if you think about it, the irony of all these Muslim-hating Christians around the globe guzzling down what is essentially a Muslim beverage, is pretty funny. Considering, as Tony says, that coffee is what really keeps all us Americans going. I mean, how many of us could live without caffeine?

The earliest credible evidence of either coffee drinking or knowledge of the coffee tree appears in the middle of the fifteenth century, in the Sufi monasteries of the Yemen in southern Arabia. From Mocha, coffee spread to Egypt and North Africa, and by the 16th century, it had reached the rest of the Middle East, Persia and Turkey. From the Muslim world, coffee drinking spread to Italy, then to the rest of Europe, and coffee plants were transported by the Dutch to theEast Indies and to the Americas.

So, the next time you're drinking a cuppa Joe, take a minute to reflect that the beverage came to Europe and the rest of the world mainly through Arab influence. Add a little sugar, some cream, and enjoy!

And oh yeah, I don't really want to listen to your crap about how the U.S. needs to beat up any more Arab nations. Sorry. Unless you're willing to give up that morning cup, I just ain't listening.

More later,