Writing Can Be Murder

November 30, 2006

Share good news

Filed under: Uncategorized — jenniferelbaum @ 9:17 pm

I’m one of those people who would much rather give a gift than receive, so in that spirit, I’m going to ask you to share good news —BUT there’s a catch — the good news has to be about someone else.

 I’ll be the first to share some good news:

 Congrats to Maggie Attiwell! Maggie was named a winner of the Calgary RWA Writer’s Voice Contest. Her partial was requested by Paige Wheeler!! Woo hoo!! Good luck Maggie! Hope 2007 is full of great things for you!

Like I said, I like to give, so on January first, I’ll be choosing two names from those who have posted someone else’s good news in December. One winner will receive a download of Nowhere to Hide and one winner will be sent a print copy.

So sing the praises of someone you know!

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A burial plot at no cost!

Filed under: Uncategorized — jenniferelbaum @ 9:56 am

Yes, yes, I know that there are those of you out there that have received notice via email that you’ve won some lottery out of Denmark or some such place and you might think “Ooooh, I am soooo lucky” but I’ve got you beat.

 My phone number (not me, the phone number) was chosen to receive a “burial plot at no cost”! Whoo hoo! I’m set for life…make that death.

 What’s the weirdest telemarketing call you’ve ever received?

November 28, 2006

Faith in a writer

Filed under: Uncategorized — jenniferelbaum @ 9:11 pm

Have you ever read a book/watched a movie/tv show/attended a play where you lost faith in the writer? At some point that niggling doubt creeps into your thoughts screaming, “The writer doesn’t know where the hell they’re going!”.

 I was thinking about that last night. First I watched Heroes (I secretly wonder whether this show drives POV fanatics nuts…I for one enjoy all the hopping around) and then I watched Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. 

I happen to like both shows, so yes, I like the most popular new show of the tv season and I love the show teetering on the verge of cancellation. I like them both because I believe that writers know where they’re going.

 I’m not familiar with the writers of Heroes, so I’m going to stick with The Best Show You’re Not Watching aka Studio 60.

60 is written by Aaron Sorkin — the man is a god. Sure it’s got a top notch cast (Bradley Whitford, Mathew Perry, D.L. Hughley, Timothy Busfield, Steven Weber, etc.) but it’s the writing that lifts it into the stratosphere. But here’s the catch — to get the jokes, or the social commentary or the Oprah-esque AHA! moment you’ve got to pay attention.  Watch an episode from start to finish and you’ll get the payoff, if you don’t pay attention, it’s hard to follow.

I watch every moment (which is amazing because I flip stations with wild abandon — much to the frustration of my husband!). I watch every moment because I have faith that Aaron Sorkin is telling me a story, a good story, a story that doesn’t get lost. I have faith.

 What writers do you have faith in? Which have you lost faith in?

November 26, 2006

More proof that tv isn’t good for you!

Filed under: Uncategorized — jenniferelbaum @ 9:03 pm

 I couldn’t make this stuff up! 

Missing Woman Found Dead Behind Bookcase

AP

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. (Nov. 25) – A woman’s body was found wedged upside-down behind a bookcase in the home she shared with relatives who had spent nearly two weeks looking for her.

A spokesman for the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said Mariesa Weber’s death was not suspicious. Family members said they believe she fell over as she tried to adjust the plug of a television behind the bookshelf.

Weber, 38, returned home Oct. 28 and greeted her mother, then wasn’t seen again. Her family thought she had been kidnapped and contacted authorities. Family members scoured her room for clues but found nothing, though they did notice a strange smell.

On Nov. 9, Weber’s sister went into her bedroom and looked behind a bookcase, where she saw the woman’s foot. Using a flashlight the family saw Weber was wedged upside-down behind the unit.

“I’m sleeping in the same house as her for 11 days, looking for her,” her mother, Connie Weber, told the St. Petersburg Times. “And she’s right in the bedroom.”

Both Weber and her sister had previously adjusted the television plug by standing on a bureau next to the shelf and leaning over the top. Her family believes Weber, who was 5-foot-3 and barely 100 pounds, may have fallen headfirst into the space.

“She’s a little thing,” her mother said. “And the bookcase is 6 feet tall and solid. And she couldn’t get out.”

The sheriff’s office said Weber appeared to have died because she was unable to breathe in the position she was in.

November 22, 2006

Top 10 Gifts for Writers

Filed under: Uncategorized — jenniferelbaum @ 12:58 pm

How to give the writer in your life something they’ll like/appreciate/use.

1) Office supplies — I know that “normal” people don’t consider office supplies to be a gift but trust me writers do.  A writer can never have too many pens, notebooks, or reams of paper. Not sure what the writer in your life uses/would like — that’s why gift cards were created!!!!

2) Movie/Theater/Concert tickets — Writers need to refill their creative wells, so give them a gift that will inspire them!

3) A magazine subscription. There are a bunch of magazines out there for all kinds of writers.  Last year, my friend Cyndi gave me a subscription to The Writer and every time it comes in the mail I think of her!

 3) Books! Books! Books! — A writer can never have enough, so give them a gift card for a bookstore or Amazon!

4) Gift card for a cafe. Writers love to go to their local coffee house to write. A gift card allows them to indulge their passion without feeling guilty for spending $4.00 for a cup of coffee.

5) A writer’s uniform — A t-shirt, a hat, a sweatshirt that proclaims to the world (or at least reminds them) that they are a writer. You can find a fun selection at both www.coolstuff4writers.com and Cafe Press.

6) Time — Most writers would appreciate extra time.  Offer to babysit or take over their carpool rotation for a month.  Make them a dinner they can throw in the oven and serve. Get them a gift certificate to a cleaning company. Time is a precious commodity!

 7) Offer to send them to a class or conference. Most writers will jump at the chance to improve their craft and interact with other writers.

8) Writing space — Help them get into their writing head by supplying them with coffee/tea/snacks, a candle, music, a desk chair, lighting, etc.

9) Technology — A writing program, a new printer, a voice recorder, voice recognition software, any of these make a writer’s life easier.

 10) Support — If the writer in your life had a book published, buy their book and give it to someone else as a gift.  If the writer writes magazine/newspaper articles, read them and let the writer know you did. Offer to read a work-in-progress. Ask them how their latest project is going.

That’s it, my top 10.  Do you have any suggestions to add?

November 20, 2006

Painting without a brush

Filed under: Uncategorized — jenniferelbaum @ 8:56 am

Met an interesting artist this weekend by the name of Ed Adams. http://adamsart.com/

If you hop on over to his site you’ll see that he does both sculpture and oil painting. I was actually familiar with one of his sculptures, so it was neat (neat?!?!) to match up the artist with his work.

What amazed me is that Ed does all of his paintings without a brush. He uses his fingers!!

So now I’m wondering what could I write without? Adverbs? Names? My fingers?

November 15, 2006

The Cliche I HATE

Filed under: Uncategorized — jenniferelbaum @ 3:50 pm

 I  hate the gay best friend who has no faults and always gives the heroine BRILLIANT advice, that of course she ignores in the beginning, because she’s too stupid to live. Anyway, I’d just read yet another version of Rupert Everett’s character in My Best Friend’s Wedding in a book last week and I wrote to complain about it to my friend Greg. I said:Next week I’m thinking about writing a piece about how I’m sick of the cliche that the heroine’s gay best friend is wise and stable and ALWAYS knows what’s best for her. I mean, why can’t a gay guy be portrayed as being well-intentioned but as screwed up as everyone else?”

AND HE WROTE BACK My experience has been that some straight women who have gay men as their best friends have granted the gay men this wisdom and stability which many times they do not possess other than in the eyes of the women themselves. The relationships traditionally have been non-threatening and non-challenging, therefore no growth.” (needless to say, he’s my wisest gay friend, lol).

When I see this cliché in books or movies, it pulls me out of the story. What about you? What things drive you crazy?

BTW — Angela James of Samhain Publishing had an amusing post on her blog today, about reality interrupting fantasy (it had to do with recycled breath, fruit and yeast infections — just read her blog to understand:  http://nicemommy-evileditor.com/blog/ 

November 14, 2006

Ambiguity

Filed under: Uncategorized — jenniferelbaum @ 11:57 am

The CIA is running incessant recruiting ads on the radio. They say something like, “Are you ready to enter a world of ambiguity?”

 What the hell is that supposed to mean? Are you ready to enter a world of vagueness? deceptiveness? uncertainty?

Since the CIA is so eager to hire, maybe they should consider hiring new copywriters!

November 13, 2006

I could write that…oh wait, I did!

Filed under: Uncategorized — jenniferelbaum @ 10:30 am

A few years ago a producer optioned one of my screenplays with the hopes of making it into a TV movie.  To make a long, rather boring, story short, the reason I was given that a well-known TV actress passed on it and the piece was never made was because she had just played the part of a photographer in a movie and the character in my script did sketches.

Apparently a heroine with an artistic bent was too similar for the actress to play again. This baffled me.(And yes, it frustrated me too!)

I watched the tv movie that she had made and there was really nothing else similar about the storyline except that it too involved a murder (but then don’t ALL Lifetime movies have a murder??).

I just found out that someone else is writing a story that has similar elements to a novel I’ve been working on for months. I got upset. Then I thought about it. We’re each writing our own stories. They’ll probably end up being very different since we each have our own strengths and weaknesses, our own voices, our own views.  I just hope we don’t end up sending them to the same publisher!!

Have you ever had a similar experience? How did you deal with it?

November 9, 2006

Can YOU do it all? I can’t.

Filed under: Uncategorized — jenniferelbaum @ 9:08 am

The other night we watched “The Village” (there goes 3 hours of my life I’ll never get back). I should have known when the opening credits rolled that I wasn’t going to like the film. When it said, Written, Directed and Produced by M. Night. Shyalaman I should have siezed control of the remote.

Why?

 Because I NEVER like movies that are written and directed by the same person (let alone produced by too!).

There are no checks and balances. No one to say “this drags” no one to point out “that makes no sense”.

It would be like reading a book where a writer never had the opportunity to get the feedback of a critique partner or an editor. A book that is created in a vaccuum like that probably has all sorts of faults, at least mine do.

 What about YOU? Can you do it all? Or do you rely on others to point out problems in order to improve your work?

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