My critique group goes to work!

If you write, join a critique group: other writers who read and critique your writing.¬†Yesterday, my critique group liked the conclusion of “The Criminal Cupid!” (click to read it) I’ll share their comments. (And I will likely do that again for future critiques.)

One newer lady had said this was the first story I’d turned in where she could easily visualize what was happening. She said I had a little more description that slowed down the action and let her keep up. (I still have concerns that I skimp on description.) An older lady who wrote wonderful prose-poetry said, “This is slower?”

My methhead description felt awkward. (I agree.)

One writer said the Billy Jack banter felt flat and did not contribute to the story progress. Another writer really liked it. (That bit is there because Bennie is delaying the arrow girl so Holly has a chance to break free, and so I can take a shot at Billy Jack. I’ll rewrite it to show the former.)

Late 60s Bennie the cop needed to resist 25-year-old Holly more lest he come off as creepy. (I am putting more effort into Bennie holding off love-arrow-smitten Holly. I must make sure the reader knows what Bennie is thinking: Holly needs to back off and get back to police work! It’ll make for better, funnier conflict.) And as a corollary, a writer also said the badge cam felt creepy. (The camera stays! All the cops wear them! I will foreshadow the camera earlier, Holly will also wear one for her day on the police force.)

When Holly struggled against her bonds, followed by her dialog, one writer did not know who was speaking. (I have erased dialog tags too often! Readers MUST know who says what! I will tag that.)

I stole a line from Time Bandits when the villain is about to cast a spell: “Half-warthog? Half-donkey? Half-oyster? Half-carrot?” Arrow girl says, “Half hippie. Half hipster. Half commie. Half socialist. Half angry poet. Half stoned rock star. Half vegan. Half beatnik. Half tie-dyed anti-war protestor. And no cop!” One writer said, “That’s a lot of halves.” (I added a Bennie wisecrack about the girl being bad at math.)

One write gave me the line “untidily bowled over” for the shattered toilet knocking people down. (I took it!)

A writer wants a better description of the arrows. (I will describe earlier in the story, maybe Holly can say superpowered exposition stuff?

A writer liked the collard greens joke and the mocha brown face and Holly’s pale Swedish face gag, but did not get Holly’s beaky nose as deadly weapon. Also said the fascist references seemed to refer to our current government. (Actually, that came from annoying Marx worshippers I met decades ago in college. They’re likely tea-partiers now, wimps who always stuff their little pea brains into a comforting ideology. “Ew, this capitalism sandwich tastes like crap! I’ll hoark down this communism sandwich in one swallow, I don’t need to smell or taste it, it must be good cuz the other is bad!” The epitome of willful stupidity!)

P.S. Ugh, the story is up to 7000 words, that is TOO MUCH! But I have the middle and beginning to rewrite, and a big scene to cut out, so I hope to get it to the ideal length of just over 5000 words. Ideal in not too long, and maybe can be split into 2500 parts for shorter audio files.

Sweetpea reads my book!

For an upcoming live performance of a couple of my Super Holly short stories (details coming!), a fellow writer asked me to take more photos of me, the author, reading to one of my cousin’s dogs. Tucker, the black dog heading my website, was not cooperative (just wanted to lie down and rest his old bones), so I read to squirmy little Sweetpea. Sweetpea’s light coloring and expressive face made for some decent photos.

Super Holly meets The 3 Geeks!

At Hydra Comic Con today, I asked Rich Koslowski (creator, artist, and writer of The 3 Geeks, best comic book about fanboys ever!) for a Super Holly Hansson sketch. He wrote the dialog for The 3 Geeks (perfectly written nose joke!), and I wrote Holly’s thought balloon. BEST SUPER HOLLY SKETCH EVER!!!

Check out Rich’s website for some great comics. Especially The 3 Geeks. Read Rich’s fave and mine, When The Hammer Falls. If you have read even one comic book in your life, your funnybone will be forever grateful.

My two views of Adam West’s Batman

I was twelve when my dad bought our first color TV, thus making me take Adam West’s Batman TV show even more seriously. I took it straight. I was a smart kid, but I had little sense of campy.

Fast forward to now, the day after Adam West passed, and a little light went out in the world. I still revel in the adventures and excitement of that show. But I now know that Adam West was the Buster Keaton of superhero actors. His voice was an orchestra of heroism and good, brave and bold, strong as steel, rich as Prolific Oven chocolate mocha cake, and brimming with deadpan humor. The straighter the face, the greater the camp.

It is a crime to fanboys that Adam had no cameo in the Tim Burton Batman movie. Furthermore, the Watchmen movie should have been a two parter, and the role of the original Nite Owl should have been expanded and played by Adam West. I wish I had met you, Adam. (I did meet Julie Newmar at a comic con. I bought an 8×10 glossy. But I was too tongue-tied to say anything. Julie still moved and sounded like Catwoman, MRROW!)

P.S. I perfectly understood the subversive humor of George of the Jungle, Superchicken, and Tom Slick. But those were cartoons.

P.P.S. Super Holly Hansson would have loved to meet Adam West. She would have gone all fangirl and super-kissed him.

My schedule at the San Mateo County Fair Literary Arts Stage

Come see me this weekend and later at the San Mateo County Fair Literary Arts Stage.

Saturday 6/10: 12-2pm I will sell books at the local author meet and greet. 2-3:30: I will be on the Carry the Light winner’s panel, and doing an open mic reading after that with other winners.

Wednesday 6/14 7-9pm I intend to do the open mic. At 6:45, my friend Tina Gibson will be reading from her book, Misfit Island.

Thursday 6/15: 7-9pm I will read from the story I submitted to this year’s Fault Zone anthology (currently title: What Goes Up). Saddest ending I have ever written for Super Holly.

Saturday 6/17: 2:45-4:30pm I will sell books.

When I personally sell my printed Super Bad Hair Day book, I include a CD with artwork, audio stories, and ebook copies of Super Bad Hair Day. And I sign it with a cool superheroic catchphrase. Only $5. Such a deal.

Wanna read local author stories? Buy Carry the Light at the fair or from Amazon. It contains my short story, The Lutefisk Door, and the transcript of my audio story, The Intellecta-Rhapsody (this was inspired by the classic music Hungarian Rhapsody as played by Woody Woodpecker.

Whose side am I on, or Robin Hood vs. Trump!

At my critique group last Saturday, one writer said that my latest piece (part 2 of The Criminal Cupid, that she was not always sure who to root for, and that I seemed to be gong after the left-wing side. Yeah, that was intentional. The POV character is Bennie the Rubber Cop, who is showing Holly the ropes of police work. I don’t want to show ideology, but a cop mentality. The law vs. morality. And I need a few more wisecracks. (You know, I should riff on that taxpayer line.)

I wanted a teen girl villain who tries to be a Robin Hood type to contrast against Billington Stumpfinger (Donald Trump type), and who would show the differences between Holly and Bennie in what is right and wrong. I was drawing on Law & Order’s Lennie Briscoe for Bennie, and for the arrow girl, I was thinking of misguided and annoying liberal types (other than myself), afraid to think without an ideology and spout Errol Flynn movie lines mixed with old 1960s protest/hippie lingo. Maybe I was thinking of the couple of communists I met in college. One actually said that because capitalism must exploit the masses (how about proof of that?), communism must be a better system (how’d you pole vault to that with no evidence?). Super Holly, at one point, does not want to stop the arrow girl from steading from Stumpy and giving to the poor, whereas Bennie wants to stop her from causing a riot. It is fun to take shots at both sides, and I figure Bennie, as a cop, would want more law and order and less political ideology. I wish I could talk to a few cops about this.

I thought this would be a short post. This is why I do not tweet.

Will be at BayCon tomorrow selling my little Super Holly book and CD

I will be at a table in the dealer room with a few local authors. I will also go to a panel or two. If you are going, stop by. The table will have a lot of books on it, one book cover will show an irritated superheroine in a barber chair.

The San Mateo Marriott is at 1770 S Amphlett Blvd, San Mateo, CA.