Sunday, May 31, 2015

Smithey Night Live

It was our family's turn for to be spotlighted in the ward newsletter. This was the result. 


  
We’re a family of creatives and artists. Of nerds and gamers. We’re educators and trainers, athletes and scholars. We take swings at the status quo and karate chop our Netflix queues. Spike’s our mascot, and badinage, our native tongue.  We’re Whovians and Browncoats and have a summer home in Whedonverse. We’re wordsmiths and jokesterraconteurs.

We are the Smitheys.

Rena, 33: E, ask us questions for the newsletter. Anything. Completely random.
E, 10: Would you blow up a house? With TNT?
Rena: What’s my motivation?
Cole, 35: Was it built on an Native American burial ground and was it haunted by a vengeful spirit who trapped my kid in the television?
E: Erm…yes.
Cole: Yes.
Rena: Isn’t that a movie?
Cole: [Nods.] Polterguest
Rena: Ah. …Isn’t it Poltergeist?
Cole: Yeah. I didn’t want to come across as one of those pretentious film know-it-alls.
Rena: Like Siskel &—
Cole: —Eggbert.
E: Would you rather have feathers or fur?
Rena: If I have feathers, can I fly?
E: Yes…and if you have fur…
Rena: People can make a coat out of you?
E: …you can nap forever.
Cole: FUR.
Rena: FEATHERS.
G, 7: Fur, so I could stay warm and I could fly like a flying squirrel.
Rena: Touché.
E: Would you rather have a beak or a snout?
Rena & Cole: Snout.
G: What’s a snout?
Rena: Like a dog’s nose or a pig’s nose. [Sotto voce to Cole.] Imagine trying to find a body on the banks of the Hudson with a beak? Or a pound of White Pony in a Caddy’s rim? Not gonna happen. [Cole looks quizzically at Rena.] In this scenario, I work for a K-9 unit.
Cole: Yeah, I’m not rooting around for food with a beak.
G: Dog’s nose.
E: Would you be a superhero who smelled like socks?
Rena: Dirty socks?
E: Any kind of socks. Sweaty, clean…
Cole: Do I lose my powers if I take the socks off?
 Rena: Yeah, are the socks my Samson-hair?

E: What?
Rena: My Achilles’ heel?
Cole: Do I have to take my shoes off to use my superpower?
Rena: Are flip-flops my Kryptonite?
E: Yes?
Rena: Then, no way.
Cole: Yeah. I’d do that.
Rena: Okay, my turn. Favorite Mexican food?
Cole: Pass.
E: Churros.
Gavin: Lasagna.
Rena: Lasagna is Italian.
Gavin: Oh, then…tacos.
Rena: Chicken or fish?
Spike
E: Chicken.
Gavin: Fish.
Cole: Beef.
Rena: Strawberries or peaches?
E: Strawberries.
Gavin: Peaches.
Rena: Bacon or bacon?
E and G: Neither.
Rena: [Eye twitches.] The apples fell far from the tree.
Cole: More bacon for us.
G: Apple! Was "apple" a choice?

--Rena Lesué-Smithey,
lorena.smithey@gmail.com


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Manna from Storymakers 15, Part 1

Boy, do I have some writing k-bombs (knowledge bombs) for you. Last week was the three-day LDStorymakers conference at the Provo UVCC, and I, if I could scribble fast enough, would have a tome of advice from nine break-out classes, one 2-hr MFA intensive, a "new deal" author chat, keynote speech, and a publication primer workshop I attended. 

Instead, here are a few of my notes:  


PART 1: PITCHES, SYNOPSES, & FIRST PAGES


  • The elevator pitch needs to be clever, interesting, concise and should include the title and sometimes comparative texts. (Mark Gottlieb, agent)
    • My attempt -- 
      • With wit similar to Jenny Lawson's in Let's Pretend this Never Happened and the darkness of The Liars' Club, A BIRD IN MY HEAD is a loss of innocence memoir about Rena, an eleven-year old, gap-toothed Mormon girl wrestling with familial expectations and her own ambition. 

  •  Synopses (Josi S Kilpack, writer)
    • Why do you need one? 
      • You need it for preparing for pitches or writing queries.
      • An agent will need to see how the story arc works
      • Editors - same 
      • Marketing Dept. - need it as a quick way to become familiar with the story
      • Art designers - same
    • Compress or condense your story down to the bones. Keep in mind your MC and plot.
    • Should be 2 pages or 1,000 words approx.  
    • 12 pt font, TNR, put info in the top right-hand corner
    • Capitalize your characters' names the first time you use them in the document
    • Single-spaced, unless the synopsis is two pages.
    • Write it in third person, present tense. 
    • Don't write as one of the characters. 
    • Tell how the story ends; no cliffhangers in the synopsis. 
    • When write one? Before or after? 
      • Before it can serve as an outline
      • Makes writing it easier
      • It's revisable
      • After it can assist you with revisions
      • Agents, editors want it

  • First pages (Jennifer Rofe, agent)
    • It is a promise to the reader that something in these first few pages will come true. 
    • If it isn't going to matter later, get rid of it. 
    • How does your first page reflect your last? 
    • When revising your first page, consider: 
      • Did you start in the right place? 
      • Do you place the reader in the world of the story? 
      • Do you give the reader a taste of the conflict to come? 
      • Is it tightly written? 
Up next: Slush Pile Secrets and Plotting: Hill-shapes and BEYOND. 

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