Thursday, September 27, 2012

Explore Contradictions!

photo by Jim Siebold

  I was walking down a Chicago street and saw a man painting a beautiful mural on the side of a gray house.  Or so I thought.  Upon closer examination it became clear that he was in fact covering the mural with gray paint.  It took a few moments for that fact to register because it was inherently opposite of my initial reaction to the scene. 
  Exploring the contradictions in characters can give them depth.  Imagine a hardened criminal who still takes to heart a scolding from his beloved mother.  Or think of a shy, timid student who musters enough courage to face a bully head on.  The complexity of human nature is at the heart of most stories.  It never fails to fascinate us.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Ready, Set, Draw!

photo by Jan Siebold

Often when I sit down to write I find it hard to focus.  It's difficult to shake off the events and encounters of the day.  One technique that I've found helpful is drawing.  I'm not a skilled artist by any means, but I enjoy sketching.  It quiets my thoughts and helps me to concentrate.  Sometimes I sketch something that is around me at the moment; other times I draw from memory or from imagination.  Treat yourself to a nice sketchbook and some good pencils ... ready, set, draw!

Monday, September 3, 2012

"Then We Will Remember Things We Said Today" -Lennon/McCartney

photo by Jan Siebold

"I hate quotations," Emerson wrote.  "Tell me what you know."  With all due respect, Mr. Emerson, I like finding quotations that really speak to me.  In fact I keep a journal of quotes that I like.  To me, statements that are worthy of being quotable are the epitome of good editing.  They usually convey a big message in very few words.  They can be inspiring, humorous, clever, thought-provoking or all of the above.  "A time comes when silence is betrayal." -Martin Luther King Jr.  "In all this world there is nothing more upsetting than the clobbering of a cherished belief." -Charles M. Schulz.  "Those who wish to sing always find a song." -Plato.  "I know just the thing!" -Lucy Ricardo.  If I'm stuck in my writing I often pull out my journal of quotations to find inspiration or to help me contemplate the point to my story.  So while I agree with Mr. Emerson's quest for originality, I will continue to find wisdom in other people's words.  In the meantime, please "Be excellent to each other." -Bill, from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure