Posts Tagged ‘ people ’

The Story of Sexy Grammar: Peep Shows & the Power of Fiction

I straddled the brown plastic wastepaper basket and made a kissy face at the man behind the glass. I tried but couldn’t piss. This is unusual, I thought.

Before I became a writer and tackled my first novel, I worked at a peep show, San Francisco’s World Famous Lusty Lady, a literal window into a gutter-glam world not everybody sees.
That particular day found me torn between my conservative work ethic–the guy had forked over $200 for a golden shower show–and my fear of spraying a fine mist of urine all over a tiny glass box I shared with a hundred other women. Still the new girl, I’d listened attentively to bitter dressing room complaints about bodily fluids left behind for other dancers to clean up.
Not everybody has been in that unique conundrum, but anyone can find herself stuck between a rock and a hard place with her pants down. Novelist Barbara Kingsolver says of fiction, “It cultivates empathy for a theoretical stranger by putting you inside his head, allowing you to experience life from his point of view. It can broaden your view of gender, ethnicity, place and time, power and vulnerability, all the elements that influence social interaction.” That’s what compels me to write fiction: the opportunity to tell a unique story that cultivates empathy in the world around me.

The Sexy Grammarian is a writer struggling to tell her story, just like you. When you get a free Private Session with The Sexy G, you get a teacher, a collaborator, and an empathetic writing partner to help unfold your burning stories

Network Like A Pro: 5 Hot Tips

Small Business Week is right around the corner, and organizers have planned some great events. Are you ready to network your heart out? Here’s the Sexy Grammar approach:

  1. Whom do you want to meet? I usually find the best solutions to my business conundrums in other people, so before I go out networking, I ask myself, “What does my business need right now?” Need a logo? You need to meet a talented graphic designer. Need an office space? You need to meet a good real estate agent. Go to the event looking for someone specific to help your business grow.
  2. Seek quality people, not quantities of people. It’s easy to meet a lot of people and hand out a lot of business cards at a networking event, but how many of those 30-second glad-hand moments turn into valuable business connections? Seek out one or two high quality connections, and you may find your next collaborator or mentor.
  3. “Have you met anyone interesting here?” It’s one of my favorite conversation starters at a networking event. Suddenly, your conversation partner becomes your co-conspirator. Mine the people you meet for the connections you both want to make.
  4. Streamline your follow-up. After the event, don’t let your stack of collected business cards become an object of follow-up guilt and misery. Instead, break down the stack into 3 groups: 1) people you really need, 2) people who really need you, and 3) people you’ll probably never see again. Write to the first group right away. Give the second group a chance to approach you first by putting them off a day or two. Send a polite but short note to the folks in the last group whenever you get around to it.
  5. Look your best. Don’t over-drink. Have fun. Just because the party has the word networking in front of it doesn’t mean the basic rules of party attendance don’t apply. Look great to feel confident. Have a soda between those free glasses of wine, and have some fun. It’s a party!

The Sexy Grammarian arouses entrepreneurs and professionals to build their own strategy, brand, social media, and marketing content with private sessions, intimate workshops, custom style guides, and free writing secrets such as this tip about why your company’s name should not end with an s or this advice about how to be a sexy social media writer. And check out these useful tips for business owners from last year’s Small Business Week: How To Get Organized, How To Engage Your Social Media Community, How To Set Goals, and How To Become A Sought-After Speaker.

Elite Audio Coffee Bar Rocks

This is a 4-star review

893A Folsom St
San Francisco’s SOMA district

The service is top notch, and the concept literally rocks. Owner Michael Woods has a dream, and he’s making it happen in full surround sound right here on The Sexy Grammarian’s own block.
The blue bottle coffee is strong and brewed one cup at a time by super friendly baristas. They have a few pastries and a decent tea selection. The place is intimate. And although the seating’s not designed for a writer to camp out for hours and write, I found myself doing so  because the staff’s so welcoming, the music’s so good, the design’s so beautiful. And I’m only a hop and a skip from home, which is sometimes all I need to get myself writing: a half block walk.
The sign says coffee and wine, but so far it’s just coffee and tea. I look forward to their wine and beer license.

Take yourself out to a cafe to write. It’s good for your writing and good for the economy too. This review has been cross posted on Yelp, where you can read all The Sexy Grammarian’s cafe reviews as well as reviews clients have written about our services.

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.