Thursday, October 22, 2009

When the MUSE hits!

Hi everyone, I had a wonderful, crazy, awful, full week last week and I didn't even remember to post!! Let me tell you a little bit about why I was so busy. I attended an Online FREE Writer's conference. It's called The Muse Online Writer's Conference. There was so much information, my brain was spinning! I didn't participate alot, I mostly lurked in the forums and copy and pasted information to be processed at a later date, when my brain can handle it.

I also got to pitch my children's picture book to an agent. When I say an agent, not just any agent, it was Caryn Wiseman from Andrea Brown Literary Agency, one of my top choices!! I was super nervous and didn't even copy my pitch into the chat room correctly, but I got the point across. Then instead of gushing praise (I think I really did expect that!) she said she liked the concept, but why did the mom have to be sick? I stared at the screen for a moment then began groveling, "I'm willing to change it! It can stand alone, the first draft didn't have her illness, I just thought it would add depth." At that point we got our two minute warning and she said for me to cut it to 1000 words, change the title to Imagination Vacation, take out the mother's illness, then send it to her. I complied and sent it to her on Fri. I'm still waiting for a response, but after I made the changes the story is something I'm finally proud of. So even if I get a rejection I'm ready to send out to other agents and publishing companies!

Now I'm going to share a fun exercise I learned at the online conference in a class given by the organizer of the whole conference, Lea Schizas. The class was called "Assaulting a Writer's Thinking" It is designed to help jump start your juices and get your writing to flow. I really needed it. This is straight from her class, read her exercise and example then write your own in the comments.

Where do ideas come from? In Chapter Two I gave you tons of ideas if ever you get stumped…writer’s block. Now, funny enough, I never get writer’s block. As a matter of fact I have way too many ideas floating in my head and no time to write them all. However, I do keep a notebook just for ideas. If you don’t write your ideas down on paper when they strike you, they will be forgotten quicker than you can say, HUH?
The one thing I have constantly used and has never failed me to get new ideas is a fairy tale. That’s right, a fairy tale. How? Let me show you:
Let’s take the three pigs for an example:
Three pigs = three musicians – college buddies who form a band and want to make it big
The bad wolf = their manager – embezzles from the boys
The straw house = their first shabby apartment they rented in college while going to school and building their music career
The wooden house = their first home after their agent signs them up and gets them several gigs and small tours
The brick home = the mansion the boys get after they hit it big

Back to the wooden home = the home they need to downsize after they are left in debt when their manager takes off with their money
At this point I begin to build their fairy tale happy ever after finale where the boys struggle to make the comeback and overcome the deficit they are faced with; the fans who turn on them because the manager spread rumors about them, etc.
I use a fairy tale for the basic background of players but change the setting and pitfalls.
For this Day Two lesson I want each of you to use The Three Little Pigs fairy tale and come back with your own bulletpoint outline as I have.
At the end of this lesson you will see the various storylines anyone can come up with if you use a fairy tale as a storyboard.

Everyone try this excercise, and I hope to see you at next year's online conference. Registration starts in November!


  1. Here was my quick response to the exercise at the conference. It's a little weird, but I just went off the top of my head!!

    3 little pigs – three friends with young children

    Big Bad Wolf – kidnapper in their neighborhood

    The Straw House – A child they knew has been taken

    The Wooden House – They try to find clues themselves to keep other kids in the neighborhood safe

    The Brick house – They get too close to the kidnapper and one of their children is taken

    Fairy tale ending – They find the kidnapper and the most recent group of children he was getting ready to sell on the black market.

  2. Three little pigs- All brothers, triplets and sick of always being compared.
    Each of them build a different house than the others, each knowing they are right. They have asked the wolf to test all the homes to see which is the strongest. The straw house fails. The wooden house fails. The brick house wins and the little pig that built it gloats so much that the other two devise a way to 'take care of him' and involve the wolf in their plot. When things go south with their plan the two brothers blame it on the wolf and have a change of heart when the brother who built the house a bricks offers them a place to live inside his safe house.
    The end :) silly, but fun.

  3. What a great exercise. I keep all my story ideas on index cards with a few key points that will trigger my memory.

    I tried to attend this Conference, but found out too late. I will definitely get in on time next year.

    Thanks for sharing, I hope to hear more about what you learned.

  4. Cute exercise! Thanks for sharing! (Let us know what happens with Imagination Vacation!)

    3 little pigs= 3 teenage girls who all like the same guy

    the wolf= the guy they like plays them against each other

    the straw house= each of their dates with wolf

    the stick house= each date as they try to out-do the others

    the brick house= the three girls realize that the wolf is playing them and they devise a scheme to get back at him, which then "cements" their friendship back together

    And they live happily ever after!

  5. LOL! Love your versions of the three little pigs, Becca and Kristy!!



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