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    Random Thoughts & Other Stuff

    Laura Bradford Icon

    It’s been a crazy couple of weeks with my hands in a few too many pies. But it’s how I operate for some strange reason so I go with it.

    I mean, really, why fix a wheel that’s not broken?

    I tend to be fairly focused though, dealing with one pie at a time as it appears on my plate (okay, okay…I’ll drop the metaphors now). Lately, however, my thoughts seem to be racing from one thing to the other (hence, today’s little-bit-of this/little-bit-of-that blog). So here we go, in no particular order…

    1) Surrounded by creativity.

    Perhaps one of my all-time favorite writing-related things to do (other than write) is hang with other creative types. It’s incredibly motivating in so many ways.

    *Tonight is the last of my six classes at a local community college. The course I’m wrapping up right now is called, Basics in Fiction Writing. My students range in age from college-aged to retirees. We’ve focused each class on a different element of the writing process: cultivating ideas, developing plot, characters, setting, tone/style, and dialogue. After the initial class or two, I started using more interactive ways of teaching each component (not a fan of straight book learning) and they really responded. Their enthusiasm and questions have been nothing short of fun.

    The “assignment” due tonight? A conversation between two people with no narrative, no tag lines, and no more than 3-4 words per line. If dialogue is not your strong point—try it. You’ll be amazed by just how little one needs to say (and how much more natural it sounds) to get a point across.

    *In direct competition with Judy Larsen–my friend and fellow guest blogger from last week–I, too, will be participating in a program Thursday night. Mine, however, will be held at another St. Louis-area venue and will involve a panel discussion with three other writers—all from different genres (romance, sci-fi/fantasy, P.I., and mystery). Now, as much as I enjoy talking to other mystery writers, I get just as jazzed hanging with those who write stuff I don’t. The reason being quite simple–I think mystery writers can learn from romance writers about character development, and from sci-fi writers about interwoven plots, etc. And, quite frankly, being around creative people rocks.

    2) I love beginnings.

    I got an email from my agent a few weeks ago with a project she wants me to try. If I can pull it off, it’ll require writing under a pseudonym—something I’m good with, by the way (I write because I love it, not out of some overwhelming need for name recognition). I’ve been pounding the keyboard ever since and just sent the chapter proposal off yesterday.

    *Let the finger crossing being… :wink:

    3) A request

    As most of you know, I’ve taken a job with a major bookstore chain. Watching this aspect of the book business has been fascinating to me as a writer. Fascinating and eye-opening. My request, however, extends to all places you may shop…

    *DON’T talk on a cell phone while you’re being waited on. Especially when you’re so engrossed in your conversation you can’t even bother to acknowledge the person trying to help you. It’s R-U-D-E.

    4) At the movies.

    I haven’t seen a “newer” movie in eons. I hear ads for new releases on the radio, even find myself chomping at the bit to see some of them, but I never make it to the theater. It just doesn’t happen.

    So, rather than pull out one of my old standbys during my most recent solo-weekend (Housesitter, Devil Wears Prada, Overboard…you get the picture), I actually rented not one, but two fairly new movies.

    The first, AUGUST RUSH, was on the advice of a few regular customers at the store. The second, GONE BABY GONE, was out of curiousity as it’s based on the novel by Dennis Lehane.

    As a result, I give AUGUST RUSH a definite “rent & watch” rating!

    ~”The music is all around us, all we have to do is listen.”~ What an amazing quote!

    And GONE BABY GONE? Whoa. Gritty flick. Takes place in some not-so-great areas of Boston and Casey Affleck’s Boston accent is tough to understand at times…but I thought it was good! Very interesting moral dilemma at the end as to whether what’s “right” is truly best.

    5) Last but not least, the MSKeteers are raising some nice funds for our walk on April 13th (a huge thank you to everyone who has donated so far). I’m continually reminded of the unpredictability of this disease and am more determined than ever to make a difference. We’ll be kicking off the weekend with a discussion/signing at Borders in St. Peters, Missouri (yup, you guessed it—that’s my store) on the 12th.

    Now it’s your turn. Share some random thoughts with the rest of us about whatever you want…a great new movie, a pet peeve, your favorite aspect of writing, a litany of sweet things about someone you love, a goal you’ve set for yourself this week, a book that surprised you…



    12 Responses to “Random Thoughts & Other Stuff”

    1. Fingers crossed, most definitely, for you. And toes as well, which is less comfortable than you might think. Have I mentioned lately that I’m kind of in awe of you?

      And yeah, I think people who talk on cell phones while being waited on should have the things slapped out of their hands. There’s one exception: I was in line at a fast food place a couple of years ago and this lady’s phone rang. She grabbed it, answered it, and her face lit up. Her friend who was with her in line explained to the clearly vexed person at the counter, ‘Her husband’s in Iraq, and we never know when he’s going to be able to get to a phone so she has to answer.” That, I’ll give a pass for.

      Books…well, I can’t say that J.T. Ellison’s ALL THE PRETTY GIRLS surprised me, exactly, because I know JT’s an awesome writer. It’s a serial killer book, though, with a character who’s an FBI profiler, and there are just so many of those that I approach any new one with some trepidation. But it’s sort of like the P.I. novel…with the basic form so similar, what sets one serial-killer novel apart from another is character, setting, and the quality of the writing. And JT also plays around with the form in interesting ways: the profiler isn’t a tormented loner who “sees what the killer sees” for example. So ALL THE PRETTY GIRLS is definitely one to check out.

      by J.D. Rhoades on March 18th, 2008 at 7:12 am

    2. I talked about movies yesterday. Again, for writers, I’d highly recommend No Country For Old Men and watch the character development and handling of the ending.

      Inspiration -
      Several months ago I went to a lecture, hosted by the St. Louis Writers Guild, that featured Author Dr. Qu Xiao Long. He’s originally from Shanghai and has lived in St. Louis for quite some time. Since I’ve been to China and dabble with the language, I found his talk about crossing cultures in writing very inspirational. I’m piecing together ideas for a new suspense novel with an Asian twist. I’m working through an outline and I’m pretty excited about it.

      Speakers and Panels -
      I’m going WAY out to the far reaches of west St. Louis to sit in on Luara’s panel, sorry Judy, I can’t be in two places at once. So, if anybody has questions they want me to ask Laura, let me know.

      Back to the St. Louis Writers Guild. I’m the defacto Programs Chairman, so if any of you authors wants to travel to St. Louis this fall, I’ll get you a nice audience. I’d love to book the GGs as a group for a Saturday Morning workshop. Or some of the Murderati Group, (Ahem, Dusty).

      Dusty, I’m waiting to meet JT in person to get a signed copy of All The Pretty Girls.

      Conferences -
      Since I missed Left Coast Crime due to day job responsibilities, I’m trying to decide on a couple of conferences for this year. Malace Domestic is a possibility since my editor is working on the agenda. Thrillerfest sounds appealing, but pricey. Any suggestions for a poor Thriller Writer?

      by Will Bereswill on March 18th, 2008 at 7:37 am

    3. Random, disjointed column? From the Larry King School of Journalism!

      Theo went to the same high school as Dennis Lehane–not at the same time, though, because Dennis is an old man.

      by Theo Epstein on March 18th, 2008 at 8:52 am

    4. Good luck with the new most excellent proposal! You’re due for a boatload of good news soon.

      I read GBG but haven’t seen the movie yet… Of course, I haven’t seen Mystic River yet, either, so it could be some time before I actually watch it…

      Have fun at your panel on Thursday!

      by Heather on March 18th, 2008 at 11:59 am

    5. Air Supply is not something to have to be forced to listen to at 7:30 in the morning. Or at any time for that matter.

      Do not read anything by Philip K. Dick after being forced to listen to Air Supply at 7:30 in the morning.

      Especially when you’re in the midst of an identity crisis.

      And haven’t slept.

      The plastic bear full of honey sitting on my desk is staring at me. Probably likes Air Supply. Smug bastard.

      Well, you did ask for random.

      by Stephen Blackmoore on March 18th, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    6. Honeybears love Air Supply, anytime of the day. You may want to light a candle to appease your bear. Just don’t get the heat too close, plastic melts.

      Conferences - maybe next year. This year’s time and money is being spent on Vegas (and darts) but mostly Vegas.

      Goal for the week. Lose one pound. One little pound. Doesn’t sound so hard does it?

      by Lynn on March 18th, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    7. Lynn, Are there any writers conferences in Vegas? I’d sure as hell make that one.

      by Will Bereswill on March 18th, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    8. Will, (Hi, remember me from SLWG) Actually there is a conference in Vegas. It’s April 17 or something like that. I think a Henderson writing group puts it on. But it’s pricey. I checked it out because I’m going to be there for another conference and thought I might stop in…but not at those prices.

      by Tricia S. on March 18th, 2008 at 9:21 pm

    9. Thanks, Dusty. I’ll have to check out JT’s book. And yeah, that cell call would be okay. :)

      Looking forward to seeing you Thursday night, Will. And if the SLWG will fly in my cohorts, I’m SURE the good girls would do an event. They can just buy ME dinner. The girls can stay with me.

      Oooh Theo…does that make you almost famous?

      I’ll take that boatload, Heather. :mrgreen:

      Stephen, how’s this: “making love out out of nothing at all…Oooohhh ahhhh”
      That’s air supply right? My 9 year old thought they sounded like girls recently on the radio.

      Lynn, I like your little goal!!! You go!

      Hi Tricia!! You need to go to Malice or Magna or sleuthfest!!!

      by Laura on March 18th, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    10. We will be driving (The Gods are Crazy) on 4-17 but I’ll look up the conference stuff. I have Friday night free and Sunday AM. The rest of the weekend is dart filled.

      I’m thinking I’ll plan on Love is Murder next year in Chicago. I could ride the train!

      by Lynn on March 19th, 2008 at 6:37 am

    11. Oooooh, the train? Sounds like fun. I may consider this one next year too, Lynn. If so…maybe we can drive.

      by Laura on March 19th, 2008 at 7:14 am

    12. The train is easier and cheaper if you consider the charge to pay for parking, along with the gas. Just make sure you take one of the express trains.

      by Will Bereswill on March 20th, 2008 at 3:55 pm

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