Monthly Archives: June 2009

George Sand in IMPROMPTU (Portrayals of Writers)

Actress Judy Davis, striding through the streets and countryside of 1830s France, brings writer George Sand to life in the 1991 film IMPROMPTU (rated PG-13).   Written by screenwriter Sarah Kernochan, the film is  loosely based on George Sand’s life (for example, Sand really did wear men’s clothing and smoke cigars).

The film succeeds in conveying the frustrations of being a woman and an artist in the 19th century.  Sand attempts to live as free as a man, but is faced with being treated as a possession by her ex-lovers.   And she has to deal with the disapproval of some about her being a woman writer (women often had to take a male pseudonym due to the societal disapproval of a woman writing).

While the relationship between Sand and Chopin is romanticized in the film, I found it uplifting to watch how Chopin comes to respect and treat Sand as an equal.  Their relationship becomes one of mutual support in their artistic endeavors.

It is also fun to watch Sand’s interactions with her editor/publisher, wheedling him for advance money.  And her determination to write every night (no matter what) results in her being treated as a hack by Alfred De Musset, who is suffering from writer’s block in the film.   Alfred’s jealousy and nastiness reminded me of a few writers with productivity problems who take their spite out on others.  Like Sand, it’s best to ignore the insults and just keep writing.

Shirley Raye Redmond on Productivity and Marketing

I’ve known Shirley Raye Redmond for about six years, and most of the 21 book contracts she’s signed have been during this time period.  Two of those books, TENTACLES! TALES OF THE GIANT SQUID and LEWIS AND CLARK: A PRAIRIE DOG FOR THE PRESIDENT, have each sold over a 100,000 copies.  She writes fiction and nonfiction for children, as well as romance novels for adults.   This June she’s in the envious position of dealing with three books coming out around the same time–ROSEMARY’S GLOVE (romance novel), THE JERSEY DEVIL : MONSTERS (nonfiction for kids), and BLIND TOM: THE HORSE WHO HELPED BUILD THE GREAT RAILROAD (nonfiction for kids).

She’s taught her techniques on productivity and marketing through workshops with SouthWest Writers and Wordharvest, but nothing is scheduled in the near future.  So I’ve compiled links to articles she’s written that you can find online.  She also is a teacher at the Institute of Children’s Literature (though there she teaches their curriculum, not her own).

Here’s an excerpt from “Putting More I Will Into Will Power”:

Setting monthly and weekly goals and determining to meet those goals are good ways to strengthen your writing will power. Put those goals down on paper and use a calendar, notebook or journal to chart your progress. Invest in an appointment book and schedule regular appointments for researching, writing, and revising—just as you would schedule a doctor or dentist appointment. Your great expectations will be easier to achieve when you can see in writing exactly what they are.

There’s also “Pulling Weeds From Your Field Of Dreams” and a few articles on her website.  She also has an article, “Six Weeks to Write A Children’s Book” in THE WRITER’S HANDBOOK 2003 on page 131–the article is also in The Writer online database under a slightly different title.

But most of what she knows is not written down, for it’s through lectures and workshops that she passes her knowledge on.  So keep an eye out for a chance to sit in on one.

James Van Pelt’s PERSEVERANCE, PUBLISHING AND THE URGE TO WRITE

I was snooping around in the Articles on Writing section of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), and stumbled across this essay written in 1998 by James Van Pelt entitled PERSEVERANCE, PUBLISHING AND THE URGE TO WRITE.

His essay does a great job conveying the mindset needed to keep writing despite despair and discouragement.   Here’s an excerpt:

In fact because publishing is so unlikely, it gives me the freedom to write anything I please.  I recently sold a story to Realms of Fantasy that was a writing experiment on my part.  I didn’t think it was commercial at all, but I liked writing it.

I sent it out because I have this second hobby, submitting the work.   Marketing feels exactly like fishing to me.  Most of the time, nothing happens, and I begin to believe there are no fish in those enticing holes I’m tossing my lure into.  Then, every great while, I get a strike.

The rest of Van Pelt’s short essay, as well as lots more advice about writing by various authors, can be found at the SFWA website.

Great website to check for forum spammers

Sorry for the delay in posts.  I’ve been on travel and finishing a major edit.  Also, I’ve been dealing with a sudden flood of forum spam.

If you do a blog, I highly recommend the Stop Forum Spam website.  Wonderful resource for doing a quick background check. I wish I’d found it sooner.

Anyways, new posts on the way over the next seven days since I have a backlog of stuff to say or point out.