Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tips from Russell Crowe

I've always been a fan of Russell Crowe. He's enormously talented and I love his movies. I happened to see a video on YouTube of him being interviewed for "Inside the Actor's Studio." This was done a few years ago, but something he said about character really struck me, and I realized that it can pertain to writers and our characters, as well.

Here's one nugget of gold: "Serve the character, not yourself." In other words, take yourself out of the equation. In your novel/short story/etc., have your character do what your character would do - not what YOU would do in that particular situation.

Here's another really good piece of advice:

"You fall in love with your character, you miss out on the opportunity of showing up their faults. Be objective about the character - it's those faults that make that person an individual...make he or she a human being."

Bingo. In acting as well as in writing, our characters need to be fully human. Don't fall in love with them and overlook their faults. Your character will come out as one-dimensional and unbelievable.

I love the parallels between creative worlds - acting, painting, writing, photography, etc. There's so much knowledge to be gained from taking a glimpse into a creative career that is not your own.


Friday, February 15, 2013

Randomness Post #7,921

Okay. I really haven't done 7,921 randomness posts, but it feels like I've been doing about 7,921 different things lately that are just really random. Lucky you. You get to share in that randomness again today.

1) I have had a sinus headache/infection/want-to-chop-off-my-head pain for the past three weeks. The doctor thought I had an infection and gave me some antibiotics plus a prescription of Prednisone. I do not like steroids because of their weight-gaining side effects. I have enough trouble in that department, thank you very much, and I am attempting to get rid of the stupid infection by just using the antibiotics.

2) Which brings to mind another point that really irritated me about the doctor's office. I told her I was on methotrexate for my rheumatoid arthritis. Since my rheumatologist did not want to put me on Prednisone, I called him when I got home and told him about it. They said NOT to take my regular dose of methotrexate this week if I was going to take the Prednisone. WHY didn't my regular doctor tell me this? I would have been double-dosing myself with imuno-suppressants! Grrrr. This, dear friends, is why you must ALWAYS be pro-active with your health.

3) Speaking of health, I have dropped some weight due to my new eating plan. It's actually pretty easy - I don't have to eat any special foods or anything like that. I went to see a nutritionist and she has me on 140 carbs max a day. Each meal has to be balanced with a serving of grain, protein, fruit, veggies, and milk. Portion sizes are a must. It's pretty basic nutrition and it is working. I pack my lunch every day and I'm already back in a pair of jeans I haven't been able to wear for two years.

4) Tonight's fun activity will be a home viewing of Skyfall, the latest James Bond film. We went to see it in the theater and as I am a huge James Bond fan (and Daniel Craig fan), I bought the DVD when it came out this week. If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend it.

5) We're about to have a big change at my house. My mother is going to be staying with us while she searches for a job. It's going to be fun and challenging and interesting. However, the key to all this is communication - frequent, honest, and open - and lots of prayer. That's the only way to make this work.
And I think I need to follow this mantra, too.  Wise Yoda was, yes!

6) I'm trying to finish my novel and have been attempting to write every night. I hope to get more done this weekend.

7) My daughter has a huge crush on the bass guitar player for the rock band, Shinedown. We are going to see them in concert in March. My daughter drew a picture of him and wanted to Tweet it to him. Since I gave up Twitter two months ago, I set up another account just so I could send that Tweet to him. Though I hope I don't get sucked into yet another social media website, it was totally worth it just to see her excitement over the possibility that her idol was going to see her drawing.

8) I'm not blogging very much lately. I think this is because a) I don't have much to say; b) I'm too busy with other social media stuff like Pinterest and Facebook. The blog has suffered as a result. Sorry.

9) For Valentine's Day, my husband asked me if I wanted flowers or dinner. I said dinner (because I very rarely eat out anymore due to my new eating habits). Yesterday, though, he surprised me by dedicating a song to me on Facebook. Since my hubby is quite the typical tough guy, this touched me much more than a bouquet of roses. I love being married to my best friend.

10) The weather can't decide what to do around here. Some days, we hit 52 degrees and only need a jacket. Then the next day, it plunges back into the 20s and snows. I am oddly looking forward to spring already.

11) Going to the library and picking out new books to read still gives me a thrill after all these years. I'm headed there over my lunch break and can't wait. I hope the thrill never goes away.

12)  It's Friday. Hurrah!

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

An Announcement

Sometimes, life works in ways you don't expect.

Let me tell you a story.

Early in January, I was surfing the 'Net and looking for potential freelance jobs. I visited the website of The History Press, a book publisher specializing in local and regional history. I'd had my eye on them for some time and was impressed with their dedication to publishing history books that university presses and big publishers missed.

On a whim, I sent them my resume and asked if they had any freelance opportunities available. I mentioned that I had focused on local history with my master's thesis on the German POW camp at Fort Robinson, Nebraska, during World War II.

Within ten minutes, I had a return email. I started reading, and my heart stopped.

It was from an acquiring editor.

"Would you be interested," she said, "in sending a book proposal on the German POW camp at Fort Robinson?"

Here is where life is interesting in more ways than one. I have long thought I needed to write the book on this camp. I did most of the research for my thesis and just needed to compile it for a book. But I kept putting it off. Now, however, I was being asked to write a book proposal on it for possible publication.

I didn't hesitate when I said I'd love to submit a proposal, and I worked on it that weekend, submitting it on a Sunday night.

The editor loved it. She told me she would submit it to the editorial board during their weekly meeting.

So I waited.

Then the phone call came.

"Well, it's not a yes, but it's not a no, either," she said. "They want to know if you can incorporate all of the major camps of Nebraska so that we can market to the entire state. Would that be possible?"

Instead of just a marketing to a small corner of northwest Nebraska, my book could reach far more people across the state. This meant more work on my end, but I didn't care. This was a golden opportunity. "I can definitely do that," I said.

She said she would call me back with their decision. Thirty minutes later, the phone rang.

"They accepted it!" she said. "Congratulations!"

That, my friends, was a good day.

I am now happy to announce that I have a book deal for a non-fiction book on the history of the Nebraska POW Camps during World War II. It will be published in mid 2014.

Finally, that master's degree in history is paying off.

I do believe that maybe I'll crack a smile the next time I pay my monthly student loan... =D