Saturday, April 13, 2019

The Music of Writing

When I’m in the zone, I listen to extremely loud music. 

For me, music is the language of the soul, the language of love, the language of writing. 

I translate the notes—I can’t read—into words that dance onto the screen as my fingers dance across the keyboard. 

Listening to playlist with lyrics interferes with the flow of words twirling around inside my head like F-4 twisters.

When I edit, I need a cone of silence. 

When I’m writing, I listen to classical music, orchestra music, and movie soundtracks. 

I need the pounding end credits from The Chronicles of Riddick, the eerie repetition of the theme from Terminator, the rushing sound, like waterfalls, of The Last of the Mohicans.

I love the epic music of Audiomachine. 

Rhythm helps keep the action moving in my stories.

It’s hard to get bogged down, in long winded exposition, when you’re typing to the beat of battle, the symphony of ecstasy, the crescendo of crisis. 

I sit in my recliner, computer on my lap desk, noise reducing headphones encasing my ears, turn up the music as loud as I can stand it, and drown out the rest of the world. 

Suddenly, whole new worlds flow onto the page like molten images spewing forth from a volcanic imagination. 

The rhythm of the music choregraphs the dance of the words. And, I am in the zone.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Italian Aria

Dreamed I was in a musical.

Which we all know I do not do, because I can't sing, and I don't dance.

At the end of the third act, I  had this wonderful solo. I was allowed to speak my part instead of singing it.

I followed an amazing tenor,  who sang an Italian Aria about a man who lost the love of his life.

She had her heart ripped out, and was left alone, bleeding, and dying, in an ally, during a storm.

As she took her final breath, he found her, cradled her in his arms, and pledged to avenge her death.

As he exited stage right, I entered stage left.

Same setting. Same ally. Still raining. His lover's blood still fresh and warm on the bricks.

My solo was actually a beautiful, interpretive dance, to the same piece of music as the tenor's Italian Aria.

I spoke different words in English. My song told the story of a woman, abandoned at birth, still searching for her mother.

The Italian tenor returned. He accused me of being the one who killed his lover. We struggled, and fought, and he stabbed me in the heart.

As I was dying, I reached out, ran my fingers through his wife's still warm blood, pressed my fingers to my lips, and whispered, "Mother."

The tenor continued his solo. He informed the audience that his wife died in childbirth, and it had taken  him over 30 years to find her murderer, and avenge her death.

Of course, in that moment, as he held me in his arms, he realized his wife died because she was walking to the hospital alone, during a storm, because he was not at home. So he actually murdered his wife and his daughter.

Then he stabbed himself with the same knife he used to kill me.

In the dream the audience went wild, cried, clapped, and jumped to their feet for a standing ovation.

In real life; I woke up crying, "Mother."

Friday, January 12, 2018

Having an Unhappy, Unproductive New Year

Jan 12, 2018

Twelve days into the New Year and I’ve only written 300 words.

I succeeded in writing 50,000 words in one month for NaNoWriMo Nov 2017, and challenged myself to write 50,000 words a month, every month, in 2018.

I am not off to a glorious start.

I need to write 2,485 words a day to complete 50,000 words in January.

I’ll never make it. I just know it.

Of course, if I have a few of those 4,000 word days, like I had during NaNo, I just might make it.

I blame my lack of accomplishment on the flu. I contracted the demon disease a few days after Christmas, and I am not fully recovered yet. During my convalescence I haven’t felt like doing much more than sleep, eat, and watch TV.

I actually started to binge watch The Good Doctor. I’ve heard great reviews on the show, but hadn’t seen it yet. So, I watched the pilot, got all excited about catching up on the series, and realized they skip from S1E1 to S1E7 on Hulu. Argh!

Did binge watch Star Trek: Enterprise on Netflix. Just looking at Scott Bakula made me feel better.

You can learn a lot about writing, and pacing, from a TV show.

TV writers must tell a complete story, with a strong beginning, middle, and end, in only 45 pages. Each page of script usually equals one minute of screen time. Gotta leave room for commercials.

I’m experimenting with writing first drafts in script format. Get the dialogue down first, and then add all the descriptive narrative prose as an afterthought. Wonder if it will speed up my process?

Hey, it’s worth a try.

Maybe I’ll get a little work done tomorrow. We will resume our weekly Rose Rock wRiters’ Brunch meetings. We haven’t met since last year due to the holidays, illness, and Miss Dion’s recent surgery.

We will not be hanging out at the library tomorrow. We’re going to the Gray Owl, on Gray Street. We’ll be there a little after 10 AM until one of us gives out.
Come. Join.


       Next Norman Galaxy of Writers meeting
January 13, 2018
10 a.m. til Noon
University Lutheran Church at 914 Elm.

Writer’s Digest 
Short, Short Story Competition 
Jan 15, 2018

      I will be speaking 
January 20, 2018
at OKC Writer’s Meeting,
from 10:00 a.m. to Noon, 
St. Luke’s Methodist Church,
Room 130,
222 N. W. 15th  Street

       OWFI Writer's Contest Deadline
Feb 1, 2018.

Monday, September 11, 2017


May 4 &, 2018

Once again, I am happy to serve as OWFI’s Banquet Table's Reservation Chair Person.


All table reservations will be made ONLINE ONLY.

Reservations will open online on Nov 1, 2017.

The maximum number of tables a group or individual may reserve is a total of TWO.

We have a limited number of tables available for reservations. 

Table reservations are $20 per table, per night.

Table reservations are a fund raiser.

Tables are not reserved, or assigned, by OWFI officers for individuals or groups.

Every person registered for the banquets is guaranteed a seat.

You do not need to reserve a table to be seated at the banquet. My crew, and I, will personally assist everyone in finding a place. 

You may want to reserve a table if you have several people in your group who wish to sit together.

If you have extra seats at your reserved table, after your group has been seated, you may be asked to share those seats—at no charge to the guest.

If you know ahead of time that you will have extra seats at your reserved table, please invite speakers and new attendees to sit with your group. It's a great way to make new friends.

For questions or more info please contact

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Story Structure Workshop

Aug 22, 2017 

Story Building Blocks
The ABCs of Story Structure 

300 Park Avenue Oklahoma CityOK 73102

Monday, August 14, 2017

Speech to Text

I have this love-hate relationship with my speech-to-text programs.

I've tried several free programs. I bought Dragon Naturally Speaking for the computer. It's expensive, has a lot of commands, and is reasonably easy to navigate. Honestly, most of the free StT programs seem to work as well as the expensive ones.

The free speech to text provided on my phone is more accurate than the free one on my computer. The text I speak into the computer is not always the text that appears on the page.

Sometimes, I just want to shout, "Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?"

Sometimes, the computer's translations of the words coming out of my mouth are more interesting.

The phone's StT program usually types exactly what I say. Unfortunately, the microphone goes off every time I pause for longer than 5 seconds.

The phone speech to text doesn't recognize commands for quotation marks. In fact, it doesn't recognize any commands other than punctuation and new paragraph. I can't backspace, delete, or insert words when dictating on the phone. I have to stop dictating and manually insert quotation marks, or insert them during editing.

I should not be complaining. It is better to have words to edit, than no words at all on the page. Despite all the flaws, I dictate faster than I type.

There was a time, when I didn't own a typewriter and long before I owned a computer, I wrote everything longhand, with a pen, on paper. I have a friend, L. A. Willis, who still writes first drafts longhand. She says it's more visceral. I don't need to be that primal.

The great thing about dictation is that I can do it while driving, washing dishes, or taking a walk. Of course, the casual observer might think I've lost my frelling mind when they see me talking to myself.

I picked up a good piece of advice today from Michael J Sullivan during his Keystroke Medium interview. He said he wears earbuds, not attached to anything, on his walks. He doesn't dictate. He's just working the problems out, aloud. People assume he's talking on the phone or singing along with the music.

I can take that to the next level and actually dictate through the Bluetooth. If I could find the Bluetooth. Probably in the same place I lost my teeth.

If only I could figure out how to keep the microphone on when I pause to take a breath. I do need to breath. Occasionally, I need to pause and think about what I'm going to say next. I know it's hard to believe I've ever stopped to think about what I was going to say before I said it.

Pushing the mic button may eliminate the crazy lady image and maintain the illusion I am talking on the phone. At least until I start talking in different voices. My characters rarely sound alike.

It's a pain in the arse to keep pushing the button while driving. I suppose I should keep my mind on the road instead of my stories. But the truth is, I've always talked out my story problems while driving.

Speech to text can be a powerful writing tool. Most writers talk faster than they type. Practice can help work out the kinks, and you can even become proficient in time. Lots and lots of time.

I'm still waiting for the program that reads my mind, types what I'm thinking, even when I'm sleeping, and does all the editing for me. Until then, I'll struggle through imperfect speech to text programs, and the hunt and peck typing method, one story at a time.

Keep writing,


Thursday, July 13, 2017

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