Thursday, December 30, 2010

12/30/10: 'Sup?

Reading: Wuthering Heights
Writing: DED
Re-writing: London Towne (zillionth draft)
Watching: Community (TV series. Very funny)
Eating: Christmas leftovers
Looking forward to: 100-word sentence contest thing at Elena's blog!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

12 Days

The first day of the Twelve Days of Christmas begins on Christmas Day and then continues on until the fifth of January:

12 Drummers drumming (Jan 5)
11 Lords a-leaping (Jan. 4)
10 Pipers piping (Jan. 3)
9 Ladies waiting/dancing (Jan. 2)
8 Maids a-milking (Jan. 1)
7 Swans a-swimming (Dec. 31)
6 Geese a-laying (Dec. 30)
5 Golden rings (Dec. 29)
4 Calling birds (Dec. 28)
3 French hens (Dec. 27)
2 Turtle doves (Dec. 26)
1 A partridge in a pear tree (Dec. 25)

I wonder if anyone has written the story from the True Love's perspective. "On the first day of Christmas… I spent over ninety bucks on a stupid bird that pooped all over my car. Bah, humbug!" Or how about from the people in the song? "On the eighth day of Christmas… somebody cow-napped me and Bessie. I am now with seven other maids and we've been ordered to milk it for all it's worth. And don't get me started on those twelve drummers drumming. My skull's vibrating!"

Hey, if Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer gets his own song AND a TV special, so should the Twelve Days folks. It's only fair.

So, I guess I'm handing out an exercise:

Write a Christmas carol, any Christmas carol, from a different point of view. That Little Drummer Boy song? How did that lamb and ox keep time? Or the Grinch song. What about the poor dog with the horn tied to its head?

Have a ball.

Happy Birthday!


Thursday, December 23, 2010


Right before the pile of rejected manuscripts crushed him, Stooge awoke. He was alive and well in his bed. "Yipee!" he cried. "Oh! The muses did it all in one night—of course they could if they wanted to, bless them. I'm as giddy as a schoolboy!"

He stumbled into the computer table. "I'm as—as merry as a drunk!"

The door banged open and in walked Bob Muse. "I forgot my hat, sir, might I—"

"Bob! You wonderful man. Come, work with me this morning. I will double your pages!"


And Stooge was as good as his words. His prose grew on to be stronger and stronger, and though he received his share of rejections, in the end, Stooge kept the spirit of Dedication in his heart.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

AWC: Part VI

The clock struck a third, and Stooge sat straight up in bed.

A muse draped in black cloth stood in the corner of the room, glowering at him.

"Muse," said Stooge, "it is you I fear most of all. Are you the spirit that has been foretold?"

The muse nodded once.

"Oh, dear. You are the Muse of Drafts Yet to Come, aren't you?"

Again the muse nodded.

Stooge gulped. "Very well, Muse; I shall watch what you have to show me." He took the spirit's hem, and they plunged into darkness. "I don't understand. What is this place?"

A light spread slowly over the scene, and Stooge realized he was standing on a giant manuscript, with his name and contact information typed upon it. "I finished in time?" Stooge asked. "I can't believe it. What a miracle!"

"Well, this another load for the rejection pile," said the voice of an slushpile reader.

Stooge looked for the pile… and realized he was standing on it. "Spirit! Please tell me I am not doomed for the rejection pile! I can change. I will be a better writer. I will live with Dedication in my heart. Please, don't send this manuscript to an early grave." Stooge got to his knees and wept. "Please! Please!"

"Add it to the bin," said an agent.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

AWC: Part V

The clock struck two, and the room was filled with a blinding light… and much laughter. Stooge awoke with a start. "Bah! Who is it?"

"Come, Under-Achiever, and know me better, man."

Stooge stumbled out of bed and approached this strange new Muse. "Spirit, who are you?"

"I am the Muse of Drafts Present, a balance of fun and hard work. I come to show you scenes of writers everywhere. Take the hem of my robe."

"No," said Stooge. "You're much too bright and merry, not unlike my present muse Bob."

"Under-Achiever Stooge," the muse said in a warning tone. "Here take a sip from my cup."

After one sip, Stooge was giddy as a schoolboy. "I feel so giddy!" he said. "Like I could write for hours upon hours. What was in that cup? Inspiration? I want some more."

"This is the drink of Dedication. With or without Inspiration, Dedication is the thing which keeps a writer coming to the page. Now, do as I say and take my hem."

Stooge obliged and they were pitched into a scene of wonder. Writers were writing everywhere! There wasn't an inner editor in sight. "What is this place?" Stooge asked.

"You knew it once," said the muse; "back in that scene from your childhood. This a writer's workspace… a space where writers work."

"Yes, yes, I know what a workspace is, and I want to go home now."

"Under-Achiever! Here, take another sip." So Stooge did, and again felt the wonders of writing.

"Look at him! He's missing the delete button. And him; he's thrown out his eraser. They're all getting it down on the page."

"You've forgotten that, my good man, the joys of writing. You've been caught up in the business of it all."

"Edits aren't bad."

"Yes, but they are when you're creating. It's time to return, I fear. Again, take the hem of my robe."

Monday, December 20, 2010

AWC: Part IV

Stooge beheld himself in his later teen years, studying a thesaurus. He was quite alone, and looked quite pensive. "I must find the perfect word," he muttered.

The Idea, love of his life, walked into the room. "Under-Achiever," she said, her voice shaking. "I have come to say good-bye."

"You're leaving for the day, are you?" young Stooge said, without looking up.

"No, I have come to say good-bye for good. Next to Publication, I weigh very little."

She dropped a handful of gold coins onto one side of the scale, then dropped a pen into the other. She then turned around and left.

Present Stooge cried out. "No! Write her, you fool! Don't just sit there: Write her."

"He cannot hear you."

"Muse, take me away from this place; I wish to see no more." His wish was granted. Stooge found himself in bed again, his eyes wet with tears.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Writer's Blah

Dashing through my prose
Is a horror a minute. Say,
Please don't tell me "No"
Or go laughing on your way.
Hell's to pay for me,
If I can't get this right.
Won't you come and write with me
A writing song tonight? OH!

Blah blah blah, blah blah blah
Blather, rinse repeat
I am not very good at writing on my feet
Toes are froze
So's my prose
It might as well be dead
I just hope that my good muse will strike me in the head.
Written once upon a December...


The clock struck once. "Under-Achiever Stooge, I am the muse that was foretold," a woman said. "I am the Muse of Drafts Past."

Stooge awoke to a bright light, opened his eyes and beheld the first spirit foretold. "Muse, tell me, why have you come? I was just settling down for a long winter's nap."

"There will be plenty of time for napping later. Now we must go. Time is of the essence."

He rose out of bed and approached the spirit.

"Take the hem of my robe," she said, "and I will guide you to a Novel many drafts ago…"

As Stooge took her hem, the world fell out from beneath him and he was transported to a small computer room, where sat a little boy. "Why—that's me as a little boy!" he said. "Little boy, what are you writing?" Stooge looked over his shoulder and beheld a manuscript full of so many errors that he cringed away in horror. "Spirit, why did you have to show me this depravity?"

"You were happy then," said the spirit. "You were happy writing until you discovered the snares of over-editing."

Tears formed in Stooge's eyes as he spied his old favorite characters on the screen. "That's Annabelle! And look! There are all the schoolboys. Oh, what fun I had in those days."

"Something you would be wise to remember. Come, to another scene."

Saturday, December 18, 2010

AWC: Part II

"Stooge," said Novel, thrashing his heavy chains of red tape.

"Gah!" cried Stooge.

"Novel! It's you! No it can't be. It must be part of my imagination, or a bit of indigestion. I thought those last nine lattes tasted a bit funny. That's it. That's what you are: You are an old cappuccino!"

"Under-Achiever Stooge! Hear me: You will be visited by three muses tonight."

Clutching his heart, Stooge stumbled to his feet. "Three muses, you say? But why, Novel, old friend?"

"The first muse will visit you on the stroke of one. The second will visit you on the stroke of two. The third one, on the stroke of three. Heed their words, Under-Achiever Stooge, or you may be doomed to a life of edits."

With that, the visage was gone. Stooge looked around, but saw no traces of an intruder. "Bah. Humbug."

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Writer's Carol: Part I

Some seasonal writerly fun... in seven parts. Kind of like Voldemort, only with less evil and more hair.

The Novel was dead as a doornail ten edits ago. Under-Achiever Stooge, the late novel's author, was a mean miser of words, a killer of Craft, an abuser of adjectives.

Late Deadline's Eve found him penned up in his office, dawdling, while his assistant, Bob Muse, attempted to stoke the fire of Inspiration. "Leave it," said Stooge. "Do you think books grow on trees?"

"No, sir," Mr. Muse said. "It's just that your prose is so cold, and the deadline's tomorrow."

"I suppose you think I shouldn't take the day off, am I right? Be gone with you."

Mr. Muse shuddered and took a step back from the word processor. "If I am to leave early, then, might I have my pages?"

Stooge waved him away with an ink-stained hand.

"To some it's acceptable behavior, I suppose, picking a man's brain, whatever the weather. Very well. Here are six sentences. Be gone, and be even later upon the next!"

Mr. Muse accepted the sentences with gratitude and ran home to his other authors, none of which Stooge knew about or cared.

"Bah, humbug!" Stooge said, shutting down his screen.

"Stoooooge!" said an empty voice. With a jump, Stooge looked around, but nobody was there.

"Hello? Who's there?" "Under-Achiever Stooooooooge." A visage of a book, ten edits dead, appeared before him. It was The Novel.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Parodied and parroted. That's what I've done to dear Jane.

Austen, Jane Austen.

Happy 235th birthday, Jane!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dear Santa Claus

We've read your manuscript "Holiday Season" and decided to pass on it for the following reasons:

- Present tense, no matter how you wrap it, is not our style
- Whoever/whatever you're using that whip on, we don't support animal cruelty and we don't publish x-rated erotica
- The title is too ambiguous. In future, perhaps clarify by using the name of the holiday around which the season is based
- "Ho," no matter how many times it is said in immediate succession, is a derogatory term that we strive to avoid

Thank you for submitting to Hope Publications. We look forward to reading more from you in the future.


Chris T. Mas

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dear Ms. Cliche...

We didn't find your novel "breath-taking" or full of "edge-of-your-seat action." The heroine wasn't "to die for," nor was the hero "the spitting image of" any famous hero from any "trove of literary treasures" we've ever read.

There were no "thrills and chills," nothing to "knock our socks off," and absolutely no "crystal clear" anything.

In short, your novel is as "dead as a doornail."

Thanks for not submitting a sequel. We appreciate it.


Ruth Less

Friday, December 10, 2010

Emily and Me

Emily Dickinson and I have a handful of things in common. Besides having put words on paper, we both share the following things:

A December birthday

Happy 180th birthday, Emily!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Excuses, Excuses...

For not blogging:

- I'm writing
- I'm stranded on a desert island and the Professor can't get the coconut computer running (I am currently on an adjoining island with very fussy Web)
- My minions stole all my Internet passwords
- Ninjas did it
- No ninja PIRATES did it


For not writing:

- I'm blogging
- The cat thought my keyboard was a litter box and, well, you get the not-so-pretty picture
- Aliens have taken over the earth and are using my manuscripts as fuel for their rocket ship
- I'm conserving every nanobyte or giga-whatever-a-jig
- Agents hacked into my computer and stole all my shiny ideas. Oh noes!

Yes, those are my excuses and I'm sticking with them. What's YOUR excuse, slacker?