Much Ado about twiddle-twaddle…

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

Yes? Okay, then might it not follow that ‘promoting’ by any other name would still be (Webster’s here) 1. To advance in rank or honor and  2. to contribute to growth or prosperity?

We writers have been consumed lately with all we can ethically do to help readers find our books. Yet there is a pre-conditioned paranoia about promotion that has infected social media and, in consequence, us. With so much flotsam and jetsam floating about this issue, I thought I’d define a few categories of ‘promotion’ to shed a bit of sunshine on this murky subject.

 

  1. Anesthetized promotion (loss of sensation)
  2. Irascible promotion (marked by hot temper)
  3. Edacious promotion (devouring or voracious)
  4. Killa-dilla promotion (having a wildly, good time)
  5. Dimorphic promotion (a state of having two different forms)
  6. Hyperbolic promotion (extravagant exaggeration)
  7. Promiscuous promotion (not restricted to one kind)
  8. Irrational promotion  (not based on reason)
  9. Pragmatic promotion (practical, or meddlesome)
  10. Gobbledygook promotion (long winded and pompous)
  11. Copasetic promotion (all safe, all good)
  12. Four letter promotion (rude and objectionable)
  13. Facile promotion (easy, affable)
  14. Irritational promotion (exasperated or inflamed)
  15. Surreal promotion (unnatural juxtaposition)

Creating a list helped me put the nature of this particular beast in perspective. Because as Gertrude Stein said, “ a rose is a rose is a rose”. And we write books for readers to fall in love with. Which means putting our work out there. Artists, like any other business person, must sell or starve.

 

So I say go ahead and get twitter-pated over tweeting. Or avoid stepping on cracks in case you break your sales ranking’s back. I’m staying copasetic and facile while I remain surreal in this four letter world!`

by Pam B. Morris

 

“Quirking” the lead

Characters take over a story, that’s a fact. Often a very memorable character takes over our lives while we read or write a story. And who doesn’t love personality, odd quirks and memorable attributes? These enhance a story and create opportunities for misunderstandings, misinterpretations and mishaps. And also chances for conflict, humor and tenderness.

1)     Phobias: Great heroes and heroines possess private fears; i.e. situations they’d rather avoid. So how about a fear of snakes (Indiana Jones) or the fear of heights (the Green Lantern) or a bat phobia that leads to becoming Batman? A heroine can be shy and overcompensate or impulsive and stutter. Bridgett Jones comes to mind or Kate in Taming of the Shrew. And then there are obsessions, Ahab in Moby Dick, Heathcliff  from Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre.

2)     Physical attributes: Though a wandering eye or the pox may not make a character endearing, other quirks can. Glasses, for instance, can be sexy, but what if the hero or heroine is too vain to admit they need them? Maybe a leading lady can’t decide on a hair color and continually experiments. Or the leading man wears plaid shorts winter and summer, stylishly clueless.

More quirky? Okay. What about a hero or heroine with a bionic limb? With so many veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan war, true heroes, wearing prosthetic limbs, why not a leading man or lady fitted with a robotic leg. It isn’t science fiction anymore. After all, a man with two missing lower legs ran in the Olympics! Pretty cool, right? How many ways can this concept be sexy or heroic or superhuman?

3)     Behavioral quirks: Twisting of rings, snapping watch bands, twirling hair strands, inability to sit still, pencil tappers, strange key-chain charms, bumper stickers, cowlicks, ties that never hang straight, favorite but really dumb hats, each of us can create our own list of odd, uncool quirks we hide away like naughty children.

We seem to have a need for perfect heroes and heroines. But isn’t it more fun if the leading man loses his temper and learns to apologize or the leading lady acts like a jerk and has to make it up with a sweet gesture? Men lose their patience and bulldoze into situations. Women are self-conscious, worry about their hair and talk too loud. When forced into a look-your-worst, talk-softly and be-patient or die situation the plot gets way more interesting.

I love a story that challenges and ‘flips’ characters. Because the more quirks or ‘weakness’, the more occasions for him or her to overcome, grow, fix, repair, change and evolve. Or not! Perhaps they learn to accept themselves for who they are as they see themselves through the eyes of a lover. And how romantic is that?

Pam B. Morris, author of Smitten Image, a story brimming with fears, quirks, magic and mayhem.

Creative chaos to live by…

Hi, my name is Pam and I’m a pantzer. Which means I write by the seat of my pants. No outline, lots of notes jotted from ideas that swarm and bite at me like mosquito’s. And so I swat them. The most persistent ideas live to suck my blood and create an unceasing itch. Which I scratch.

 Out of these pesky ideas, characters are born. Or sometimes a character will yammer loud enough above the swarm in my head, I’ll take notice and flesh (or flush) them out. One time my hero started out a man and became a woman, and I’m not talking transvestite. Just the evolution of an idea.

 Being a fine artist, I draw and paint with words. Humorous scenarios are my favorite. Even I’m not sure what my characters will do once they stumble into a scene or dilemma. So I let them fall, wallow, get up, scramble, converse, lose their cool, struggle and fight. Dialogue pours onto the page like sticky syrup, oozing around and between characters, sometimes hot, sometimes cold, hopefully interesting. And I absolutely love it.  Pure creation.

There is a downside to being a pantzer, aside from its addicting qualities. Often the spontaneous spew is overwhelming. Scenes, dialogue, character attributes and interactions co-mingle with descriptive narrative and conflict, all fondled by my love of language. An artesian well of information that, at some point, must be dammed up, siphoned, redirected… very ‘sink or swim’-ish. Much ends up in the editing dumpster. All this eats time like Godzilla on crack.

 I may wish… I may want to write a novel in a few months, but my process is one of tortured nurturing. And I mostly like that too, because a scene or action I think amazing one day, after a month has become irrelevant or as dull and flaky as old makeup on a face. More often, a later event in my story will spin me back to revise and rewrite. And that’s when my imagination kicks into high gear. And I go a little nuts.

 I tend towards OCD with a warped sense of perfectionism thrown in. I see warts and blemishes in every supposedly finished product; painting or manuscript. Often unfixable since these imperfections take on a life of their own, becoming an integral part of the composition. Hence my neurosis. So when someone asks me about my creative process, I say it’s messy, chaotic, unfettered and an absolute high better than any drug. And when the final touch-ups are done on a work I’ve created, I’m satisfied. For the most part.

 Or I start over.

                                               Image

 

Pam B. Morris -Lady in Red

1. Introduce yourself, please (name you write under). Is this a pen or personal name? Why did you make the choice to write under that name?

I’m Pam Morris and write under Pam B. Morris so I can keep myself straight.  Smitten Image is set to be released, July 23, 2012!!

2. Let’s get the details out of the way:

Single, married, divorced, widowed?

Married for oh, so many years!

Parent?

Yes and extremely proud. A daughter, Kate, brilliant and creative playwright, soon to be grad student. A son, Jackson, sous chef at one of Missoula’s favorite Italian bistros. Love ’em both to pieces!

Living where?

Stevensville, Montana

Doing what, other than writing?

Paint watercolor and do other artsy stuff. I’m a retired K-8 school librarian and still give books out like candy.

One—just one—physical characteristic:

I’m very short.

3. What’s your secret passion?

Skinny dipping.

4. Tell us one thing about yourself you’d never change.

My silliness.

5. If you didn’t live where you do, where would you live? Why?

In a wilderness. I love the mountains, the space, the peace and beauty and sense of being part of the wild life but not the human race (a total cop-out but then I’m a total nerd)!

6. Do you write about where you live or where you’d like to live?

Yes, because I write totally from my imagination and that’s where I belong. My gig at the moment is futuristic paranormal.

7. What’s the first creative writing you remember doing outside a class?

A really crappy, sappy novel I wrote in pencil on notebook paper when I was sixteen.

8. Why do you write romance novels?

To combine great love stories with quirky characters and off beat plots.

9. What else do you write? Young adult and hopefully one day, a graphic novel.

10. What one thing from your book did you take from personal experience?

The heroine, Lily Barnett, is very  much like me, short, drifty, an artist who lives in her creative imagination.

11. What did you cut from your book that felt like severing a body part?

I had to take out one of the portrait paintings that comes to life, a diminutive, seven inch tall super hero!

12. Do you identify closely with one particular character? How?

The heroine, Lily, is constantly befuddled by reality. And that’s very me.

13. The best part about my writing life is:

I disappear and my characters become real.

14. The worst part about my writing life is:

I’m not enjoying what I call the “Network Rumba” much, though it’s a joy meeting so many other creative, fantastic people, especially my fellow Crimson Romance authors.

15. Give us a hint about what the next book’s like.

My next story is also set in futuristic New Chicago and is about an apprentice pleasure succubus trying to get out of the family “call girl” business and a space-jumping spy willing to die to keep her alive.