Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Thanks to the winter snows, I only last weekend got to see the movie Avatar.  Cinematographically it was a good movie, story-wise it was disappointing.  Of course, knowing story like I do, I'm a harsher judge than most.  For me there were too many cliches--along with stereotyping of the characters--until I realized that it was a plot driven story, one with a stereotyped theme no less, and not a character-driven one. And plot-driven stories are never as great as character-driven ones.  In my opinion, heroes should be heroic but, in the ending climax of Avatar, the soldier-hero was rescued/saved by the romantic lead.  Or was it the romantic lead was rescued by the heroine?  Then again, just who was supposed to be the protagonist?  That's rather murky.  I will say one thing, if anyone wants to know just how powerfully determined an antagonist should be, this movie's villain showcases it--and he now ranks second on my Villain's list - just under Hannibal Lecter.

Monday, January 11, 2010

February's Online Course: Dialogue

Registration is now open for my UNDERSTANDING & USING DIALOGUE: Intensive Online Writing Course. There is a discount for early registrations going on right now.  To register go to:  http://tinyurl.com/PennwritersCourse201002.  (Registration is limited, so act quickly.)

This is an intensive workshop with assignments and for those participating both a bonus and a free Cheat Sheet are offered.  If you have a questions, contact me.


Friday, January 1, 2010

2010 A New Year and a New Decade

New Year's Eve morning came with 5" of wet snow, which changed over to rain, which then changed over--on New Year's morning--to snow. As I write this blog, big, light, puffy flakes of snow fall outside my window. The weather people predict 4" to 8" of the white stuff today--with more snow daily until Tuesday, so no one is driving to the family gathering, which got postponed because of the Christmas ice storm.

Yesterday evening, between watching weather forecasts, I cleared off my desk, cleaned out files, and filed items. As I looked at each piece of paper, I tried to convince the pack-rat in me that I did not really need to keep that piece another year, and most pieces did end up in the wastebasket.

But this is New Year's Day, the pork roast is in the crockpot stewing in a pineapple-orange brew. Pork is the meal choice for this day because it's insurance--considered lucky--and who doesn't want to insure good luck for a new year? Of course there are a lot of other "good luck" New Year's Day customs, but this one is ours.

Another new year custom involves resolutions.  Mine are the same as they have been since 1995: 1) read the comma section of my GREGG REFERENCE MANUAL (which helps me remember the "comma rules" for another year), 2) read William Zinsser's ON WRITING WELL (which reinforces that I do, sincerely, want to continue writing well), and 3) set my monthly and yearly writing goals.

Lastly, in the process of readying my office for 2010, I tackled the stack of photos (all are 35 mm photos of the flowers that had grown in my 2009 garden--I am a prize-winning amateur photographer when it comes to flowers). My goal today (and if need be, over the weekend), is to process the best photos into greeting cards for my personal use--and scan the nicest as backgrounds for my desktop.  With the dawning of both a new decade and a new year, I thought I'd share one flower from the stack, a new bloom for me this year--a Red Morning Glory (which is actually a very dark pink).

I wish those who read this blog a Happy New Year of mornings and days glorious with opportunity and promises for the best in all that you write.