Archive for the ‘ Writers ’ Category

How Is Writing Like Sex? Screenwriter Laura Goode Counts The Ways

After publishing her debut novel Sister Mischief last fall, self-described feminist poet Laura Goode tackled yet another genre, collaborating with best friend Meera Menon to write a feature film screenplay called Farah Goes Bang, the story of a woman who tries to lose her virginity while on the road campaigning for John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election. To promote the film as well as the art of sex-positive storytelling, they’ve also launched a blog called Cherry Bomb. Naturally, Sexy Grammar had a few questions:

Sexy G: You’re accepting submissions right now for Cherry Bomb.

Laura Goode:  Yes! We want to hear about the first time you had sex. Contributions can be totally anonymous, and we’ve password-protected the page to make the writers feel extra safe. You can only get the password one of two ways: contribute a story or donate to our Kickstarter campaign. I’m so happy to be co-editing Cherry Bomb with Neela Banerjee, who edited Indivisible, an anthology of poetry by South Asian authors. I knew she’d be totally into our themes of sexuality, art, and diversity.

Sexy G: Are those the themes of Farah Goes Bang? Sexuality, art, and diversity? In another interview you managed to boil down your first novel, Sister Mischief, into three words: feminism, poetry, and Minnesota.

Laura Goode:  I think for this film it’s: three girls, two candidates, and a gun. Or maybe: a girl who wants to have sex, an election we all know they’re going to lose, and the great American highway.

Farah Goes Bang is Thelma and Louise meets Y Tu Mama Tambien meets On The Road. No one’s going to give you permission to tell the story you most need to tell.  You just have to tell it. And the story of a girl losing her virginity later on (i.e. after college) is something Meera and I have been talking about for years. In terms of the process–we’ve been through 16 drafts of this script, and we’re on number 17 now.

I believe so strongly in the value of revision, and I think having a writing partner for this project has made revision a lot easier and better. Meera and I judge all of our writing choices by each other’s reaction–did this line make her laugh?  Did you choke up on that page? And as a result, I think we really empower each other to be ruthless about our choices–if something doesn’t work, it gets cut, no matter how much one of us loves it. We’re really fucking serious about making a great movie. And I couldn’t be more glad that we took two years to write those drafts–we really gave ourselves the time to spread out in this project and marinate on it and make it a script we were incredibly proud of.

Sexy G:  Some writing teachers suggest always cutting your favorite lines.

Laura Goode: Yes!  You have to kill your darlings.  You have to murder them with your bare hands through your tears.

Sexy G:  Writing can be so gory! At Sexy Grammar, we often compare writing to sex. How is writing like sex for you?

Laura Goode:  Like sex, sometimes hammering really hard on the same point in writing and expecting it to get you to the next level just chafes after a while. You have to be willing to try new positions, new points of view, new things that are outside your comfort zone. You have to not just work hard, but work smart. I also think sex and writing are equally filled with surprises.

Sexy G: And you obviously love both activities.

Laura Goode: I do!  I love both sex and writing!  A lot!  Publicly! In both sex and writing, humor is the silver bullet. You HAVE to be willing and ready to laugh in bed and at the desk. I think sex is funniest when we realize how seriously we’re taking ourselves.  I’m sure my husband finds me sexier when I’m laughing than when I’m, like, sultrily brooding. And in writing, it’s the same.  If you’re taking yourself too seriously, if the mission of your message is to tell people something really serious–sometimes that’s appropriate, and sometimes it’s total masturbation.

And I’m about to make Meera uncomfortable, but–the best partners in both sex and writing are people who bring things to the table that you never would have thought of on your own. Meera is so that partner for me.  She is one kinky motherfucker . . . literarily speaking.

Sexy G: Many of our readers have screenwriting in mind today because it’s the first day of Script Frenzy. Any words of wisdom for them?

Laura Goode: Churn out those pages! I totally support those writers, and that’s the best advice I have–nothing but writing makes you a writer.  So write. Write like your life depends on it.  Because it does.

You can get in on the action by submitting your own cherry popping story for Farah Goes Bang’s companion blog, Cherry Bomb or by giving to the Kickstarter campaign. At Sexy Grammar, we’re swooning over the thoughtful gifts they offer their backers. Pledge $100, and you get a priceless copy of what Laura Goode calls, “the most humiliating possible collection of all of our team’s early creative work.” Pledge $1,000 and you get a role in the film!

Guest Blogger Michael Platania on The Power of Deadlines: Part III

Part III: The Book Completed

After the death of my mother in August 2011, I decided to write a book about the amazing and surprising blessings I experienced the week of her funeral.  A friend and editor insisted I create a series of deadlines in order to complete the book, so I set a goal to write one chapter a week. She countered with a suggestion that I extend my expectations to one chapter every ten days. I had a plan.

When the first deadline approached, I considered letting it pass. After all, I was still in mourning. But in my heart, I felt it important to meet my commitment.  I completed the chapter shortly before midnight of the tenth day and hit the send button. Much to my relief, I made my deadline.

In that instant, I learned the power of deadlines.  I can never achieve perfection in my writing, yet without a deadline, I  continually search for it.  A deadline forces me to accept the best I can do with the time I’ve got.  A deadline forces me to complete my work and move on to the next chapter, book, or project.  Simply put, setting and meeting deadlines guarantees I will finish my book.

One day I will return to Pleasant Plains, give myself a deadline, and within that constraint, find a close-to-perfect opening line.

Michael Platania, the Social Media Story Teller, tells stories that are fun, sexy, and engaging, whether writing a blog entry, a Facebook update, or a Twitter post.   He used the power of deadlines to complete this three-part series.

Get a FREE Private Session with The Sexy Grammarian and learn how the power of deadlines can help you accomplish your writing goals. 

Guest Blogger Michael Platania on The Power of Deadlines: Part II

Part II: The Book Unfinished

The perfect opening line kept me from completing my first book, Pleasant Plains.  After hundreds of attempts, I always returned to:

A quick glance to the right was all it took for Thom to discover Buddy was no longer asleep.

My goal was to introduce the main character, Thom, while simultaneously establishing his relationship with Buddy. I wanted to intrigue the reader, and have her wondering “Who is Buddy?” and “Why is he no longer asleep?”  Within the next few sentences we learn Buddy is a dog, traveling with Thom on a cross country journey.

The phrase no longer asleep never felt right, yet I could not find a more satisfying opening line.  Each time I worked on the book, I went back to the beginning, tweaking, editing, writing and re-writing, looking for the elusive perfect first sentence.  I never found it, and today, seven years later, the book sits on my laptop, still incomplete.

Michael Platania, the Social Media Story Teller, tells stories that are fun, sexy, and engaging, whether writing a blog entry, a Facebook update, or a Twitter post.   He used the power of deadlines to complete this three-part series.

Subscribe now to get discover the breakthrough that changed Michael’s writing process forever when we post Part III, “The Power of Deadlines: The Book Completed” on Friday.

Get a FREE Private Session with The Sexy Grammarian and learn how the power of deadlines can help you accomplish your writing goals. 

Guest Blogger Michael Platania on The Power of Deadlines: Part I

Part I: The Book Began

Seven years ago I started my first book, Right Turns in Pleasant Plains.  The story takes place in the small town of Pleasant Plains, where drivers only make right turns.  Thom, the protagonist, arrives shortly after his truck breaks down and discovers that right turns apply to life as well as driving.

While writing the first chapter, I discovered the characters interested me more than the right-turn metaphor.  I shortened the title to Pleasant Plains, shifted focus to the characters in the book, and dropped the right-turn concept.

I don’t begin with an outline.  During the writing process, I put words to the page and let the story unfold. I jot down notes and ideas as they come to me, confident I can weave them into the narrative at the appropriate time.  I have many chapters completed, and many more in draft form, yet seven years later the book is still unfinished.

Michael Platania, the Social Media Story Teller, tells stories that are fun, sexy, and engaging, whether writing a blog entry, a Facebook update, or a Twitter post.   He used the power of deadlines to complete this three-part series.

Subscribe now to get an alert when we post Part II this Wednesday. In “The Power of Deadlines: The Book Unfinished,” you’ll learn what challenges kept Michael stuck and unable to complete his book.  

Get a FREE Private Session with The Sexy Grammarian and learn how the power of deadlines can help you accomplish your writing goals. 

Honorary Sexy G: Scholar Bat Sheva Marcus

Before she collaborated with other sexual health experts to launch The Better Sex Blog, which posts free, accurate, and empowering sexual health information for women, Bat Sheva Marcus published her trailblazing study on female sexual response to vibrators in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

On The Better Sex Blog, Marcus contributes nonjudgmental, pro-sexual pleasure posts like this stereotype-smashing piece on sex and aging and this discussion of erotic literature, young adults, and author Judy Blume. That’s what I call a Sexy Grammarian.

In honor of all that is sexy and grammatically correct, learn something new about sex at The Better Sex Blog, and tell them what you think by commenting, subscribing, or telling your friends on Facebook and Twitter about it. And thanks for celebrating Sexy Grammar Week with us!

What is Sexy Grammar?

It’s the fun way we present writing tools and grammar guidelines. But it’s also a philosophy—that writing and art satisfy a human urge to create, not unlike sex. Sexy Grammar is about letting your inner writer be sexy—aroused, engaged, and unapologetic. When you do that, your writing gets sexy, and that attracts readers. You can get Private Sexy Grammar Lessons here.

What is Sexy Grammar Week?

We conceived Sexy Grammar Week three years ago when we noted March 3rd as  America’s Sexuality Day and March 4th as National Grammar Day. Then we established a flirtatious Sexy Grammar Week tradition: we crown honorary Sexy Grammarians and glorify them here on the blog. This year we’re featuring bloggers who really put out, like Bat Sheva Marcus. Did you miss this week’s other Honorary Sexy Grammarians? Each one’s a star! Meet some bloggers who really put out: Ken Stram, Dave X Robb, Mags & Stu, Lisa & Jenni, and Elizabeth O’Brien.

Honorary Sexy G: Marketing Guru Ken Stram

Ken Stram may be earning his living as the think tank behind 2Bridge Communications, a public relations firm that helps small and growing businesses reach the next level, but he’s earning his reputation as an entrepreneurial thought leader by sharing his business acumen freely and generously on his blog, Ken and the Art of Entrepreneurship. If you’re starting a business, growing a business, or re-thinking your business strategy, you should be following him.

Each one a precious gem, his posts sparkle with clever ideas about conceiving, building, and marketing a business. Learning from Ken, I’ve fallen in love again with the value of the old-school SWOT analysis and acquired the useful habit of asking my own business writer clients, “Who’s your Jenny?” I like his straightforward approach and cupcake-sized servings of marketing wisdom. His writing style challenges and inspires me to think about marketing another way. That’s what I call a Sexy Grammarian.

So in the name of all that is sexy and grammatically correct, go sharpen your marketing skills with Ken and the Art of Entrepreneurship, and tell him what you think by commenting, punching a like button, subscribing, or telling your friends on Facebook and Twitter about him. And thanks for celebrating Sexy Grammar Week with us!

What is Sexy Grammar?

It’s the fun way we present writing tools and grammar guidelines. But it’s also a philosophy—that writing and art satisfy a human urge to create, not unlike sex. Sexy Grammar is about letting your inner writer be sexy—aroused, engaged, and unapologetic. When you do that, your writing gets sexy, and that attracts readers. You can get Private Sexy Grammar Lessons here.

What is Sexy Grammar Week?

We conceived Sexy Grammar Week three years ago when we noted March 3rd as  America’s Sexuality Day and March 4th as National Grammar Day. Then we established a flirtatious Sexy Grammar Week tradition: we crown honorary Sexy Grammarians and glorify them here on the blog. This year we’re featuring bloggers who really put out, like Ken Stram. Did you miss this week’s other Honorary Sexy Grammarians? Each one’s a star! Meet some bloggers who really put out: Dave X Robb, Mags & Stu, Lisa & Jenni, and Elizabeth O’Brien.

Honorary Sexy G: Dave X Robb

On his sassy blog, Dave X Robb explores topics as wildly diverse as pop music, grammar, gay sex, and grilled cheese, yet his growing collection of essays achieves a bizarre cohesiveness. He’s doing what we most love to see a blogger do well: tell his story through his own quirky combination of perspectives.

Here’s an example: Robb recently posted a witty little bit appropriately titled, Not much, how about you? in which he confessed, ” I decided to write about something that doesn’t matter at all” but instead managed to note a grammatical quirk in a set of song titles, offend a semi-famous pop star, and subsequently attract his personal best number of blog readers. That’s what I call a Sexy Grammarian.

And did I mention, he’s hot? And single? That he’s a massage therapist? Rocked NaNoWriMo last year? Always offers sexy trade pics in all his online profiles?

This week, in the name of all that is sexy and grammatically correct in the world, go taste a grilled-cheesy nibble of his thoughtful essays and silly ideas and tell him what you think by commenting, punching a like button, subscribing, or telling your friends on Facebook and Twitter about him. And thanks for celebrating Sexy Grammar Week with us!

What is Sexy Grammar?

It’s the fun way we present writing tools and grammar guidelines. But it’s also a philosophy—that writing and art satisfy a human urge to create, not unlike sex. Sexy Grammar is about letting your inner writer be sexy—aroused, engaged, and unapologetic. When you do that, your writing gets sexy, and that attracts readers. You can get Private Sexy Grammar Lessons here.

What is Sexy Grammar Week?

We conceived Sexy Grammar Week three years ago when we noted March 3rd as  America’s Sexuality Day and March 4th as National Grammar Day. Then we established a flirtatious Sexy Grammar Week tradition: we crown honorary Sexy Grammarians and glorify them here on the blog. This year we’re targeting bloggers who really put out, like Dave X Robb.