Monthly Archives: November 2008

Tis the season…

For brotherly love:

Jingle Bells
Andrew smells, a million miles away
Oh what fun a jingle bells
Andrew smells, all the way to Africa

As sung by Miss B.


Filed under Kids


Not really the weather, since it’s a balmy 31 degrees according to my weather widget–and sunny. But me, and Miss B. We. Have. Colds. Or coughs. (Or cough-es, as she used to say, because that’s more than one cough.)

I’m wearing a long-sleeved T-shirt, plus I have my old school, velour-lined hoodie on the back of my writing chair–just in case.

However, the house is filled with restorative things:

  • The Republic of Tea’s Kiwi Pear Green Tea–with honey.
  • Pecan pie (recipe here–so good).
  • Pumpkin pie (you wouldn’t want to neglect a pie–it might hurt its feelings)
  • Being on page 321 of 343 of the edit for The Fine Art of Holding Your Breath
  • Having a good excuse to hibernate and finish it.


Filed under Misc, Writing

Is your Thanksgiving bejeweled?

Ours is:


Wishing everyone a most bejeweled and bedazzled Thanksgiving.


Filed under Misc

Not so manic Monday

So, I’m off work this week, transfixed by how quiet it is when the kids are not home. Things I’m doing:

  • I’m wondering if it’s possible to melt one’s deltoids, because I’m thinking I totally did that during this morning’s workout.
  • I’m enjoying the simple goodness of the grilled cheese sandwich for lunch.
  • I’m contemplating the possibility of the house cleaning itself if I think really hard about it.
  • I’m currently on page 125 of editing The Fine Art of Holding Your Breath.

Stay tuned for exciting page count updates. Sure to be the highlight of your Thanksgiving weekend.


Filed under Uncategorized

Who are those masked kids?

So today Bob outfitted the kids for their ongoing sibling battle:


The kids, ready to continue their war. Oreo, enthralled, watches in the background.

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Filed under Kids

What do you suppose he has in mind?

So after school, Andrew sometimes uses my computer. On the front page of, I found these in the recently viewed items:

  • World Industries Complete Skateboard (4 Styles) by Bravo Sports
  • Mojo Rails Complete Skate Park by Mojo Rails

I have to mention that the Mojo Rails Complete Skate Park is on sale, for ~ $4,000. A steal. Plus, it qualifies for Amazon Prime. Hey, free shipping! Seriously, they’re practically paying you to get one.

I wonder if this has something to do with the skateboard tournament he said he wanted to host a few weeks back. Being boring and practical, I mentioned things like insurance, liability, massive lawsuits, and so on. He was unmoved.

The real question is why hasn’t he approached Miss B. She would gladly construct a skate park for him out of paper.

That would work, wouldn’t it?


Filed under Kids

What’s your (blog) type?

Yet another fascinating way to waste time since I discovered Wordle. I give you


It analyzes your blog (or really, anyone’s blog) and suggests what personality type you are, or at least what you’re writing personality type is when you blog. How’s that for specific?

Writing Wrongs happens to be The Mechanics:

The independent and problem-solving type. They are especially attuned to the demands of the moment are masters of responding to challenges that arise spontaneously. They generally prefer to think things out for themselves and often avoid inter-personal conflicts.

The Mechanics enjoy working together with other independent and highly skilled people and often seek fun and action both in their work and personal life. They enjoy adventure and risk such as in driving race cars or working as policemen and firefighters.

That’s it. I’m giving up writing and racing cars for a living. Or not. Still, this might explain the whole jumping out of airplanes thing.


Filed under Uncategorized

They don’t listen to me either

So, last night I’m in one room, the kids in another. There might have been (nerf) football throwing going on. But it was getting close to bedtime, so I say:

Me: No more rowdy. It’s time to get ready for bed. Play a quiet game.

Kids: Okay!

Andrew (after a barely imperceptible pause): Kyra, throw this at me as hard as you can.

Yeah. Some days it’s like talking to the walls.


Filed under Kids

Getting schooled: a writer prepares (for the worst)

Despite all his talk about writing from the unconscious, Butler believes a writer should prepare before sitting down to write a novel.

So, does he want you to outline?


Brainstorm, do character sheets?


Plot boards, Excel spreadsheets, synopses?


He wants you to dreamstorm your novel. Yes. You’ve heard it here first. (Well, unless you’ve read Butler’s book, in which case, you heard it there first.)

It goes something like this:

  • Dreamstorm a scene from something sensual, by making a list of words, having some sort of sense impression attached to it with the briefest identifier of that scene. Do this for a whole bunch of scenes. It doesn’t matter at this point if two scenes contradict each other.
  • After eight to twelve weeks (yes, really), Butler suggests the next stage is to write a phrase identifying the scene on a 3 X 5 card.
  • Then orchestrate the scenes, embracing the randomness in creating the sequence, but looking for continuity. (No, I don’t know what this means.)
  • Look for the first good scene, the best point of attack, to begin the flow of sensual moments. (This, however, makes more sense.)

Butler believes in the natural sequence. (I don’t know if this is like natural selection or not.)

Actually, what he means is the scenes will eventually fall into an order that works for the story. You start with the best point of attack, Then select a few more follow-up scenes to write. after you write those scenes, you look at the remaining ones. You may need to rearrange or dreamstorm new scenes based on what you’ve written.

He doesn’t like the idea of writing out of order. If you start writing a scene without any previous context, he believes you’ll lose the unconscious aspect of it. You end up creating ideas as to why the scene is happening rather than dreamstorming them.

At some point you type: The End.

In all seriousness, I am all over the index card idea. You can do anything with index cards. Miss B can create a whole cityscape with inhabitants and pets with index cards. The very least I can do is write a novel.

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Filed under Getting Schooled, Writing

Getting Schooled: If we were a movie

Now here’s a chapter I think we can all get behind. Butler calls it cinema of the mind. He’s not talking adaptations here, but rather film techniques writers can use. These are:

  • The shot: A unit of uninterrupted flow of imagery.
  • The cut: A transitional device for getting from one shot to another.
  • Dissolve: A transitional device that superimposes a second image over the first as it fades out.
  • Scenes: Unified actions occurring in a single time and place; a group comprises a sequence.

Butler considers the montage the most crucial element (that’s why it gets its own paragraph). This is where you put two things next to each other, causing a third to emerge.

For instance, we see pie tin with a bit of lone crust, a smear of chocolate filling, a bit of whipped cream. On the floor, two children (perhaps a big brother and his little sister), mouths rimmed with chocolate, whipped cream on noses and cheeks, the two snoozing lightly.

Yeah, we pretty much know what went on.

And that’s pretty much it. I know. Butler, this easy? Okay, so in the text, he goes into detailed (but helpful) examples from Hemingway and Dickens. But the advice is to write the movie in your mind.


Filed under Getting Schooled, Writing