Thursday Thoughts

Just saying Hi tonight.  I’m still determined to finish my WIP by the end of the month, not that I’ve made much progress so far this week.  The Michael Hauge workshop pretty much derailed the weekend (well worth it), not to mention the three contest entries I had left to the last minute for judging.  Fortunately they were all quite good–I even gave one a perfect score.  By the time I finished those on Monday night and went to a meeting of the HBA RWA chapter on Tuesday night, I’d run up a string of six or seven nights going to bed at one AM.  Keep in mind I have to get up at 6:30 on weekdays, and 5:30 last Saturday, so Sunday was my only chance to sleep in.  Add to that the cold I’ve caught from my BFF Jo Anne, and by Wednesday I was a zombie.  So I wrote a couple hundred words (keeping up my run, Day 130) and crashed at 11.  Still have the cold, but at least I got a good night’s sleep. 

I’ve had very little time for reading this week, but that hasn’t stopped me from collecting more books.  At the West Houston RWA meeting on Saturday, I picked up Deeanne Gist’s latest, Love on the Line, along with a second copy for my neighbor.  Bethany House gives Deeanne’s books the most charming covers.  I also picked up Kerrelyn Sparks’  Sexiest Vampire Alive, the latest in her Love At Stake series.  On Monday night I found a box of books on my doorstep:  Sue Grafton’s V Is for Vengeance, Marcia Muller’s City of Whispers, and Jack McDevitt’s Firebird.  So many books, so little time.

This past summer, Houston radio station KTRH abandoned its long, proud history of news programming and surrendered to conservative talk.  Even the morning news is now more conservative opinion chat than actual news (and I exchanged a few emails with the station manager on that topic one morning when I woke up to a particularly offensive mockery of one of our area congresswomen).  Fortunately our NPR station has split, amoeba-like, to give birth to full-time news and information on one channel and full-time classical music on another.  KUHF does carry local news, but I was delighted to learn recently that many of the people thrown overboard by the KTRH shipwreck are involved in the launch (to stretch the metaphor a little too far) of a new 24/7 news station, NEWS 92 FM.  Should be on the air next week, and I’m hoping the venture will be a huge success. 

Here’s another of those pictures that wander around cyberspace with no atrribution.  Made me chuckle.

Somebody missing a cat?

Michael Hauge’s Story Mastery Workshop

kept the West Houston chapter of Romance Writers of America® entranced yesterday.  Hauge is primarily a screen writing consultant and teacher, but he has become very popular with RWA chapters and his workshop at the RWA National Conference in June was a big hit.  I skipped that two-hour session because I knew I’d have the chance to see him here, and for a full day at that.

Only one or two people in our group of more than sixty raised their hands to say that they were actually interested in writing screenplays, but Hauge’s Six Stage Plot Structure, Key Components of Story, Story Concept Template, and Four Categories of Primary Character are thoroughly applicable to novel writing.

It was a long day.  When Michael Hauge gives a presentation, he gives it his all, and yesterday that covered seven hours (not including breaks) packed with information.   I’m not usually a note taker, but I filled up five sheets of paper (both sides) with truly useful ideas.

As you would expect, Hauge uses films as examples for his theories of story structure.  He sent ahead a list we might want to brush up on, and as a result I watched one movie that was already on my DVD shelf (The King’s Speech) and two that I might otherwise never have seen, Shrek and HitchThe King’s Speech deserved every one of those awards and nominations it racked up, Shrek is delightful (and Donkey is a stitch), and I found Hitch perfectly charming.   One of these days I’ll rewatch all three, with Hauge’s comments in mind.

If you have a chance to see Michael Hauge in person, I urge you to do so.  If that’s not possible, check out his Story Mastery web site.  It’s full of free-for-the-reading articles, Q&As, and writing misdemeanors, along with a variety of books, cds and dvds for sale. (Selling Your Story in Sixty Seconds was the most popular yesterday.)

Needless to say, I barely kept my eyes open long enough to add a couple of hundred words to my WIP last night.  Today I had to do my grocery shopping, laundry, bookkeeping, etc.  I read and judged another contest entry and returned two of them to the coordinator (I have two left to do), and I still need to do at least a little bit of writing, if ony to keep up my current hundred-words/hundred-days streak (today is 127).  60,751 words and counting.