I’m on Face Book

Date: Thursday February 28, 2008
Posted in: Random

Really, it’s not an exercise in self indulgence, but yes–I have a fan page on Face Book!


How’s that for shameless self-promotion :-)

You too can be a fan!!

Just click on the little doohickey to find me! And tell your friends!

Or you can just come over and harrass me…or post embarassing pictures of me…or tell really embarassing stories about me…hmm…maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.



How is writing like a Hannah Montana concert?

Date: Sunday February 17, 2008
Posted in: writing

Little M and Little C were absolutely thrilled when I surprised them yesterday with tickets for the Hannah Montana movie in 3D.

Squeeee! (That’s the actual sound fans make when she comes on stage.)

Did it matter that I went to three different theaters to get tickets? (Why didn’t I bring the movie listings with me?)

Did it matter that I finally gave up and bought tickets on-line?  (At a premium with a $1 surcharge per ticket for the privilige?)

Did it matter that I went to the WRONG theater the day of, and ended up arriving during the previews and had to sit in the very front seats, developing a not-altogether-comfortable crick in my neck? (What is it with me and directions?)

Nope. The girls had a ball!

And it got me to thinking, hmm, how is writing like a Hannah Montana concert…(Oh no! you say, THIS should be good *rolls eyes*)

Humour me for a sec. For those of you not familiar with Hannah Montana, (and if not, where the heck have you been? Or maybe you just don’t have little girls) HM is the mega blockbuster Disney enterprise starring Miley Cyrus, daughter of Billy Ray. Miley/Hannah has a hit TV show in which she portrays a girl living a double life–one of a regular girl and the other as a popular music star.

After giving this a Great Deal of Thought (not) I will now demonstrate how Hannah Montana and writing are actually quite similar. Allow me a bit of latitude here…

HM gives her fans what they want

She knows her audience. The lights, the special effects, the dancers and the great singing–all elements that thrill, excite and leave her fans screaming for more.

Writing for children is similar. You need to know your audience and deliver. Is the reader a boy or a girl or both? How old? What is their reading level? What style and elements do you need to draw from to engage that reader? Yeah, yeah, I hear you out there. But shouldn’t you write about what you are passionate about? How can you cater to an audience, isn’t that squashing your creative process? Hogwash.  In my opinion, the two don’t need to be at war with each other. There is plenty of opportunity to draw on creativity while still keeping the reader in mind.

HM goes all out, holding nothing back

That girl has pipes, wow! She sings like a songbird, engages her audience, is all over the stage and puts on a GREAT show.

I think writers also need to give it all, spend it all and not hold back. Annie Dillard said it best:

“One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water.”

HM doesn’t make excuses

That girl has the energy of an Energizer Bunny. Gadzooks. A hit TV show, writing and composing her own music, concert tours. Makes me want to take a nap just thinking about it.

I think writers can fall into the trap of, ‘I don’t have time’ or ‘As soon as things settle down’ or ‘My office is too messy–how can I write like this!’ Heck, I’ve used all those excuses too. But no writing can get done until you get your butt in the chair and get down to it. Plus, there are so many resources out there (check out my Writer’s Resources tab), there is really no excuse for putting off what you want to do and learning how to get better at it.

HM faces her fears and shows her vulnerabilities.

There is a scene where HM is afraid to do a dance stunt since she got dropped the first time. She works through her fears and gets the job done. Another scene, she bares a piece of herself and sings a song about when her Granpa died. *sniff*

As writers we need to spill it all out on the page. Be unkind to your characters. Put them in the worst possible situations and see how they react. Face them with their worst possible fears and let them rise to the occasion (or not). Susan Adrian had a great post regarding this subject HERE. She says it way better than I ever could.

HM leaves them wanting more.

At the end of the concert, everyone goes home humming the songs. Even today, I’m catching myself singing “This is the li-iiiiife….”

Good books should do this too, leave a residue, a feeling or a sentiment that you can’t quite shake. I remember feeling that way about LIFE OF PI and TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. What was it about those books that made such an impression on me? I think it was the fact that the authors touched on universal truths and made me care deeply for the characters.

It’s sort of akin to the way I feel every time I have to leave from my visits home to Cape Breton. It’s bittersweet. On the one hand, I really enjoyed my visit, but it’s so hard to leave it all behind.

Whew! I think I need coffee after that! Likening writing to a Hannah Montana concert this early in the morning–what was I thinking?

Am I crazy or does this make any sense? And hands up all you Hannah Montana fans…I know you’re out there…