Saturday, August 20, 2011

Voyeurs and Lurkers

     While parked at the mall, I watched a man and woman embrace and passionately kiss, oblivious to the world. Instead of going on about my own business, I lurked hidden in my car behind tinted windows. They didn't care; they continued to kiss, gently touching each other's faces and gazing at one another. I rationalized my behavior as character development for the next novel in the series. Really!

     Cars pulled away, others parked and they were still vertically entwined. I glanced at the time. Holy cow, ten minutes later I was still a voyeur behind the glass. In truth I couldn't open my car door. Not because of wanting to see what happened next with the heart melting couple, but because I couldn't open the car door. After sitting there so long saying, "Excuse me, could you move a little so I can shop," just felt slimy.

     While checking Facebook friend requests and searching bios yesterday I realized, the electronic age is creating voyeurs and lurkers. I'm not saying its wrong, but sometimes the truth is a rude awakening. We hide behind a persona, clicking into other peoples lives to learn more about someone we'll likely never meet than our immediate neighbors. We also lurk on blogs and Yahoo Groups without leaving a message, but are excited when a comment comes close to our own opinions.

     I guess admitting to lurking sites and people watching is the first step to moving forward. Is there a Ten Step Program for this problem? Who knows, but the next time I'll probably leave a comment behind a blog post or just people watch in plain sight. It's easier than getting stuck in the car again; the mall is filled with so many more interesting character subjects.
     You wonder how I managed to remove myself gracefully from the parking lot predicament? I started the car and found another parking space : )

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Reinventing your Wheel

     Just as cave dwellers chiseled the first wheel from stone, a writer must learn to edit and layer words to smooth patterned thoughts. Someone had to instruct other potential wheel makers of the pitfalls to avoid and how to shape the stone into a cohesive design. Otherwise, carts would thump along on different sized squares, instead of similarly circular discs of rock. Although a crude example, this format is how apprentices learned many crafts throughout time. How can you avoid the tar pits which could mire your novel? We all know the importance of proper sentence structure, but unfolding a story takes a reader through your character's world..

     Workshops on how to build believable worlds and creating characters is your opportunity to learn from others. Experience is an excellent teacher and workshops provide the forum to hone your writing craft. Regardless of your writing level, there's a workshop for you. They're available on-line, at conferences and local chapter meetings, any time of most days and can range from an hour to several months long. You're making a commitment to yourself to learn more, so the schedule must suit "your" time. Signing up for classes, but not completing them because of time management issues is a waste of money and hope.

      You'll adapt more to the story if you find classes to fit its immediate needs. For instance, a cover design workshop might sound exciting, but probably isn't the best choice when you really require help with character development. My Facebook page, "Network for the Arts," has workshop events popping up daily and one event that covers a wide level of writers and story progression is Bootcamp for Novelists. They offer individual and package subscription at your writing level.

     So what are you waiting for my friends? Classes begin soon and there's no better time to recommit yourself to writing than today. Just an FYI...I don't have any ties or affiliations with Bootcamp for Novelists, but I do find their course list interesting and worth sharing forward to all of you. Please direct all questions about specific programs to them.

Happy writing~Diane