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WRiTE CLUB - Last Call

At midnight CDT on Sunday, June 30th, will be the last time my wife will accept a 500 word writing submission for the 2013 WRiTE CLUB. That means you still have time to send in your own entry and take part in one of the most entertaining contest we have in the blogosphere.

Between that date and July 7th, the panel of 10 judges will be deciding which of those entries will compose the 32 member contestant pool for the one on one bouts that begin on July 8th.  Remember, whether you plan to enter a writing sample...or you just plan to vote for your favorite fighter during the need to sign-up on the Linky List located on THIS BLOG POST.

I've also had a question regarding language...or more specifically...swear words (f-bombs) and other crude language.  The email asked whether I will be allowing entries containing the use of those words.  What I told them, and now you, is that the only restriction is the word count.  I am not censoring anybody...the panel of submission judges and/or the WRiTE CLUB voters will do that based upon their own values if they have a problem with it.  I make an announcement anytime a bout features a submission with "rough" language to warn my more sensitive readers, but I would never consider not allowing one to compete.

If anybody still has a question about WRiTE CLUB or it's rules, please leave me a comment and I will get back to you with an answer.

Are you ready to RUMBLE?!?!?!?!

WRiTE CLUB Returns to the Coffee Shop

Writer Gold: I don’t want to startle any of you, but we’re being watched.

Writer Green: *looking around* Really? By who? Is it that stud yoga instructor from next door?

Writer Gold: Well, I guess watched isn’t the right word.  Maybe…read?  Definitely observed.

Writer Red:  What the heck are you talking about?

Writer Gold:  It’s difficult to explain.

Writer Blue: You’re a writer, surely you can find the words.  

Writer Gold:  You’re right…okay…here goes…the readers of DL’s blog are watching and listening to us right now.

Writer Green: So, it’s not the yoga stud?

Writer Red:  What do you mean the readers of DL’s blog are watching us?  You mean DL Hammons?  The blogger?

Writer Gold:  *nods head*

Writer Blue: How can they be watching us?  Do you mean he’s set up some sort of web-cam feed in here?  Isn’t that an invasion of privacy?

Writer Gold:  It’s not a web-cam.  His readers can’t actually see us, but they know every move that we make and every word that we say.

Writer Green: *whispering* Even this?

Writer Gold:  Even that.

Writer Red:  How is that even possible?

Writer Gold:  I told you it was hard to explain.  Suffice it to say that our little critique group is the focus of his blog post today.

Writer Blue: Are you trying to say that we are all imaginary characters?

Writer Red:  Oh, that would be so awesome if it were true because then I wouldn’t have to pay that imaginary electric bill I got in the mail this morning.

Writer Gold:  What are you doing Green?

Writer Green: I just felt my makeup needed a little touching up, that’s all.  Is this like being on TV?  You know how they say it adds ten pounds.

Writer Gold:  I told you…they can’t actually see us.  DL has never really described us to his readers.  He prefers them to use their own imagination.

Writer Red:  You might want to re-think that cheese cake though.

Writer Blue: And why is it Gold that you know all about this?  Has DL peeked in on us before?

Writer Gold: Yes he has…numerous times.  I’ve just recently became aware of what’s going on.

Writer Blue: Why you?

Writer Gold: I can’t really say.  Maybe it’s because -- out of the four of us I’m the one closest in temperament to him.

Writer Red:  Then he must be conceded as well?

Writer Gold: There’s no need to be hurtful.

Writer Green: Well that concludes Red’s contribution to the discussion.

Writer Blue: Why today?  Why is DL looking in on us today?

Writer Gold: My guess…because we were talking about WRiTE CLUB.

Writer Red:  So, we’re a promotional tool?

Writer Gold: That’s one way to look at it.

Writer Blue: I’m not sure how I feel about this.

Writer Green: I say we just go on doing what we were doing and discuss WRiTE CLUB like we were.  We shouldn’t let the fact that our behavior is being observed by another writer change what we would normally do.

Writer Red: For once, Green makes sense.  Screw it…let’s talk about WRiTE CLUB.

Writer Gold:  That’s the spirit.  So, where were we?

Writer Blue: Talking about the changes for this year.

Writer Red: Okay…ummmm…*clears throat*… I think they’re good.

Writer Gold:  Really?  They’re good?  That’s all you have to say? And you sound like a robot.

Writer Red: What? I mean…I like the shortened season, I like having the submissions pre-screened…and I really like the chance of winning a gift card by just voting.  What’s not to like?

Writer Blue: What about the one and done?  In the previous versions if you lost a bout you always had the chance of getting picked to fight again, but that won’t happen this year. What if the two stongest pieces of writing are matched against one another in the very first round, isn’t it a shame that the loser won’t have a chance to come back?

Writer Red: First off, having a second shot was something that I think ticked off a lot of people before.  Why should someone get a second bite at the apple when there were plenty of other writers waiting for their first bite?  And besides, if I know DL…he has something up his sleeve to address that possibility.

Writer Green: Point of order!

Writer Blue: Green, this is a critique group…not the appellate court.

Writer Green: I was one of those who got selected for a second bout in the first year and I ended up losing again.  Getting picked again isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Writer Gold:  You know what really gets me?  Mrs. DL.  This year she’s been diagnosed with breast cancer, undergone a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery, is in the midst of undergoing chemo, and she STILL wants to be part of this for him.  In my book, that goes beyond support!

Writer Red, Writer Blue, and Writer Green: *chorus of amens*

Writer Gold:  DL did streamline the submission process for her though.  What do you think of the compressed time for receiving entries this year?

Writer Blue: I understand the necessity of it, but it’s got to cut down on the number of people who get to enter the contest.  It’s so hard to get the word out to everyone in just a month…the blogosphere is so massive.

Writer Green:  I’ve talked about it several times on my blog.

Writer Red: Ditto.

*uncomfortable silence*

Writer Red: Why is it that I feel like we should break into a dance or something?

The Gap between Like and Love

The gap between like and love…is called Kadiva (pronounced with a long i)…and I bet you didn’t know that.  At least that’s what I called it back when my future wife and I were dating.  We had reached that tenuous stage in our relationship where we both felt our feelings for the other had grown past the serious like stage, but were uncomfortable floating the love word out there too soon.   You know what I’m talking about, that point where the connection between the two of you eludes a clear definition on the emotional scale…and NO…lust is not what I’m referring to.  Cherish, fancy, adore, deep fondness, these were all weak candidates and not being big fan of grey areas, I decided to make up my own word because I really wanted to let her know how I felt.  Out of the blue and on the spur of the moment, Kadiva was born.  We were in Kadiva with one another!

This limbo stage causes angst amongst a lot of couples and I believe the reason lies in the power of the word Love.  People like me don’t like to throw that word around casually, preferring to hold its value in high regard and defending its meaning against slow erosion.  There’s nothing wrong with that…right?  But what are you to do when like just doesn’t adequately convey how you feel and there's an ocean of sentiment separating it from love?  How can you pick between Miss America and Miss Congeniality when there's nothing to choose from in between?  How do you pick sides for the neighborhood kickball team when your only two choices is the local star athlete and the boy burdened by glasses resembling the bottom of a coke bottle with a mild case of asthma?  You don’t have to because there are always plenty of choices possessing a wide degree of attributes in life…except when it comes to choosing between like and love.

As always, there is a point to my rambling that is writing related, and I can see you tapping your fingers there, so I'd better get to it.  I recently critiqued a manuscript for a friend and when it came time to write my remarks I hesitated.  You see...I didn't love it.   If you get to know me you'll find out that’s not surprising.  There's not much...most assuredly in literature...and especially for things that matter...that I use the love word for. I'm a tough nut.  But I truly enjoyed the work far beyond the like category and I did my best to communicate that fact, but my mistake was that I used the dreaded like word to start off.  Can you imagine my words in the authors head effectively smothering their creative passion -- "he liked it, but he didn't love it!"

That gap between like and love I mentioned before, it's so friggin unfair.  It would be so much simpler if we just scored everything with 0-5 stars, like they do on Goodreads and Amazon (hint - I never give a 5).  Sure, I could bend my principles and simply say that I loved it, because the truth is it was closer to that than like, but I felt I needed to hold that author to the same standards that I hold every other published novelist to.  To do anything else would be a disservice to them, to me, to all of us.

The bottom line is that I felt Kadiva for the manuscript.  Falling short of love shouldn't be considered a bad thing, and the perception that it is needs to be eliminated. 

Just ask my wife.  :)

Detour Ahead

Sorry, I’m not really here today.  I’m actually over at the Blogfather’s (Alex J. Cavanaugh) place talking about WRiTE CLUB.  See you over there?  :)

Fill It Full Of Farts

I’m sorry…I can’t help it…farts make me laugh! Loud ones, squeaky ones, wet ones, silent ones, and especially the military-grade ones. Whether they are created naturally by someone who is gastronomically challenged, or artificially by whoopee cushions, it makes no difference to me. I understand there are LOTS of people who don’t go in for this type of crude humor (my wife for example), but I am not one of them. I seriously cannot recall a time when I heard one and it didn’t…at the very minimum…bring a smile to my face. I’m positive I can’t be alone in this. Most of us have more than a few things …maybe not farts… but something that elicits that kind of emotional reflex within us.

As writers, one of the things we strive for is originality. Monday I talked about telling stories in a way that’s never been tried before. How else can we hope to set ourselves apart and draw attention to our work…right? Well, today I’m here to flip the coin. There is another way to commercial success in publication and on the surface it might appear to be 180 degrees in the other direction. Want to publish the next best seller…fill it full of farts!

What I’m trying to say with my lopsided metaphor is there are elements of the human condition that tend to trigger emotional reflexes (just like farts make me laugh), and most good books make liberal use of them. Who doesn’t enjoy rooting for the underdog, or the hero up against insurmountable odds? What about wanting to see the unlikely couple find true love? These (and many more) are universal themes, scenarios, and situations that are used over and over and over and over again…successfully…because they strike a chord in us. Does striving for originality mean we have to abandon these time-honored principles? Not necessarily.

The challenge for us is to find a way to incorporate those reflex-inducing fundamentals into our stories in such a way as they don’t come off feeling stale or tired, thus sabotaging our quest for some measure of originality. This is not an easy task…but that is why we do what we do.

Give me a futuristic sci-fi novel with an android that farts, and I’m sold! :) 


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