My Scripting Change story for literacy: first draft!

At the end of this post is the first page or so of my first draft, which I just completed today. It is rough, it needs a complete rewrite, and I think it needs more visuals and other senses. Normal for a first draft.

Already, I know that Cal the Intellectual needs to be the Point Of View character instead of Holly. Later in the story, Holly loses the ability to read, then speak, then think. That made her mental narration hard to write, and I had to switch to Cal mid-story. It also means I might write this story in first person POV because that fits Cal’s personality.

Also, I am going to rewrite the start of the story so that Holly catches Cal reading a text novel behind his comic book. A play on a teacher catching a student reading a comic book tucked into his textbook. Holly is teaching Cal more about comic books, a reversal of the student/teacher role for them.

I do not have a snappy ending yet. Or a title. I will start the second draft tonight or tomorrow morning, and I’ll post a bit of that when it is done. I’ll also be cutting a lot out, since the limit is 1500 words. Wish me luck, and comments are welcome. (Well, trolls and spam are never welcome, but I do not expect that yet.) And without further ado:



“You can do anything with words and pictures, Cal. Surely your super-intellect can calculate that.”

Holly Hansson set her Power Girl comic book on the table to take another gulp of her creamy cold quadruple shot iced mocha. She leaned over, kissed her Batman-esque boyfriend, and sighed happily. Unlike her supersuit, her comfortable jeans had not crept up her butt.

Cal looked up from his “Workin’ Ammuricun!” comic book. “Harvey Splendor is an exquisite writer, and he has excellent taste for his artists.” He set the comic book on the table next to his small iced coffee and took another off his stack of 60 comic books, his super-intelligence sucking in ten comic books to Holly’s one. “But there is much to be said for the text novel, where readers paint pictures in their minds.”

ZZZ or maybe he finished his stack and now reaches for a novel. This is how I put in my own comments. ZZZ

Holly smirked at him. “Says the movie critic.” Cal’s day job. His night job was striking fear into the unjust. She picked up her comic book again. “You’re way ahead of me, let me finish my stack.”


No more jumpy open mic iPad text!

I write my stories in Storyist on my Mac and my iPad. When I do an open mic, standing in front of a coffee house crowd and reading my story to an audience, I read from my iPad. (And I often play music from the iPad, I plug the iPad into the sound system and it works great!) But my iPad text has been jumping up and away from me. During my last couple of open mics, my finger accidentally tapped the screen.

Before the tap:

iPad storyist 1

And after the tap:

iPad storyist 2

See? The text JUMPED up (click the before and after photos to see the effect). And I lost my place and I fumbled and scrolled and the seconds were tick-tick-ticking by and I did not want dead air cuz the audience might YAWN! Then I found my place and read again and then FINGER-POKE-JUMP again! GRR! (Don’t tell me not to tap the iPad screen, I still have to touch it to scroll to the next page. Hey! I said DON’T!)

But I discovered something that will probably fix the problem. The iPad keyboard can be split and place elsewhere on the screen. Like the top (to get the split keyboard as high as possible, turn off the extended keyboard option in Storyist first). Like this:

iPad storyist 3

I will try that at my next open mic. I hope that will stop the JUMPS. I’d prefer to leave up, up, and away to Superman.

Write every day.

I told a friend I need to finish my novel. This friend and fellow writer, poet, and black belt in karate would like to see that, she is a fan of Holly. At her birthday party yesterday, she gave me some advice. She is a pretty blonde twenty years my junior, but she laid down the law like a wise old teacher: I need to write every day. For an hour, for six hours, however long I can, EVERY DAY. That is what finishes stories. Similar advice:

Nora Roberts rule for writing: Ass in chair.

Billy Crystal in Throw Momma From The Train: “A writer writes.”

Gail Carson Levine from “Writing Magic – Creating Stories That Fly”: “The best way to write better is to write more.” She also says to nurture the writing of others.

So I wrote today. I finished writing my detailed outline for my upcoming Scripting Change story. And I started writing the story. My goal: first draft in a few days (1500 words), readable by others within a week. I feel good. Maybe even nurtured.

P.S. Currently, I outline, and then I write. It smooths out the bumps and keeps me focussed. I’ll keep doing that as long as it works. R. Crumb: “Anything that works!”




Raging Granny at Litquake Palo Alto!

litquake Jan Harwood 1Raging Grannies are really cool older ladies who promote peace, justice, and equality! (I think they are real-life superheroines!) I met Jan Harwood, a Santa Cruz Raging Granny. She was on the Shrinks with Ink panel (psychotherapist authors). She radiated wit. I took a selfie (I wish my arm was a lot longer, or that I was Plastic Man). I bought Jan’s book, An Un-Conventional Murder, where she fictionalizes the Santa Cruz Raging Grannies to solve mysteries. A more mature Scooby Doo gang. I bought the paperback since it is not on Kindle. She signed it for me, and wished me luck with my writing. Of course I told Jan about Holly, she liked the idea, especially that Holly has a beaky nose. She also said that one’s ears and nose never stop growing. That leads to interesting ideas for Holly as an old lady. (I tried to find Jan’s blog, but failed. Darn it.)

I saw some teen slam poetry also. Some of the kids read with a beat, some with energy, one with tears for her heartbreaking story about a grandfather’s death that her mom had to take over and read. The poetry was all GOOD! As a guy who loves and performs at open mics, I have some authority to say that. I told one girl she sounded like she had been writing a while. She said I was right. I love seeing kids get into writing. I hope those kids keep writing, can you imagine how good they will be when they are all grown up?

I also bought a paperback of Bad Girls (essays edited by Ellen Sussman), and kindles of Citizen (very short essays by Aaron Shurin) and Fire Year (poetry by Jason K. Friedman). The cover art on Kindle for Fire Year looks too small, but I am betting the writing will be big.

Ah, so much to read. YAY!

P.S. I did not write today, except for little ideas about my upcoming Scripting Change story. Nuts.

Litquake Palo Alto August 17, 2014 2:00 PM

Litquake banner cropI was reminded about Litquake Palo Alto this morning at the monthly Peninsula California Writers Club meeting. The Palo Alto Litquake—Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto, CA—is smaller than the one coming to San Francisco in October. It is free with the exception of a $15 ticket if you want to see Marcia Clark (O.J. Simpson prosecutor and crime novelist) speak at 7 PM.

I’m going because I like to meet local writers. I like the panels and workshops, such as Breakthrough Novelists, How We Write, Shrinks With Ink. This is like a little comic con for writers. I will talk to writers. I will buy some books. I will feel kinda literary.

The first five pages.

I spent a couple weeks rewriting and restructuring the start of a story. The hook that grabs readers and reels them in. Finally, I think it only needs a little editing and that’s it.

Speaking of the first five pages, check out The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman. It has great writing advice, often dispensed in a hilarious fashion: lots of examples of really bad writing. Noah worked as an editor at publishing houses and draws upon the dreck that has passed under his nose that made him wince, and us laugh. The “Oh, Henry! Oh, Margaret” melodramatic example and “The boy ran. Into the woods. It was dark. Scary,” example are practically worth the price of the ebook. If you write, buy this book. You will laugh and learn.