Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Do It Froggy Style

Do it Froggy Style.    It's a line that catches your attention, at least it caught mine.  And I am now a customer.  Of what you ask or maybe that was why?  It's actually the catch phrase of an ale, "Dead Frog".  Yes, the catchy titles and taglines just don't go away.  I know, it's a strange beer for a "creature lover" to want to buy.  But it's the sweetest little nut brown.  There you go my plug for the beer manufacturer.

Dead Frog - a unique title for a pretty compelling little ale.  Like the beer's unique approach to advertising, there's any number of ways of approaching a writing career.  Hah!  And you thought this was going to be about promotion.  Maybe it should have been - but I veered.

Anyway - yes the topic, writing careers.  Immersed as I am in the world of romance and women's fiction I don't often get to see the "other half".  Just last weekend I discovered that other world at the Saskatchewan Writers Guild Workshop, or as they call it, "Talking Fresh".

It was a whole collection of writers that stretched from novels in many genres, to poets and screenwriters and....  And while the gist of the day was adapting fiction to the screen, what I mostly heard in the talks that were given was writers' journeys.  There was one author whose writing seemed to span from poetry to novels and had managed an amazing book tour that stretched through North America and overseas.  That seemed oddly surreal in a world where an author is unlikely to even get a virtual tour hosted by the publisher - and fascinating because of that. And while they were all amazing, it was the screenwriter who topped the day.  And truthfully, I was going to leave before that talk began because really, I don't want to be a screenwriter when "I grow up".  I was sure glad I stayed.  Like the Dead Frog beer, there was unexpected value in that talk.  A vibrant, rollicking talk through the ins and outs of the business of film and television adaptation.  Not only that but I discovered a new author - new to me.  Ian Hamilton's first book is being adapted to film and whether a movie is eventually made or not  - I'm for sure going to read the book.  Sounds like he's created a kick-ass heroine.  But that aside, the screenwriter herself, Karen Walton was a fascinating person to listen to.  And in the end, I was surprised to have one thing in common - we both write in our pajamas - at least I do, occasionally.  Of course that might just be an occupational hazard.  After all, what else do you wear in the early or waning hours of the day?

Snow cleared from street.
But what I loved best about the whole day was the vignettes I came away with, a bevy of new characters.  And yes, the scenarios were all assumptions on my part, destined to become fictional characters with no taste for reality.   Maybe the woman dressed in worn pastel sweats with the hair spiraled in all directions isn't a bad dresser but has lost her executive position and has nothing else to wear - her life is spiraling like her hair and all that is left is her author's dream.  Maybe the woman with the well-coiffed hair and the knowing smile in my direction assumed I knew who she was because she really was somebody - famous, maybe.  Is it a love of information or of lust that has riveted the thin man, mid-audience, to what the speaker is saying - I know he hasn't moved and his mouth is open and his face has rather a mesmerized look like a hooked fish.  But you see where I'm going with this - it was a day for learning and for people watching.  Probably that was the best part of the day, the people watching bit, the assumptions I made and the characters that came out of something real and became fiction before I'd even gotten out the door.

So in the end I came out with some surprising writing tips and inspired enough to get at it as soon as possible.  New faces - new ideas, always inspiring no matter what your passion.

And you - what gets you over the bumps and gets you going?


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