Monday, November 26, 2012

Beethoven and Me

     When I was a little girl I thought that Ludwig van Beethoven wrote For Elise for me. I was the muse for a great composer even though we had been born centuries and cultures apart. This month is Beethoven Awareness Month and while listening to WQXR--our public, classical music station--I learned that he wrote it for a woman named Therese (one of the many he is thought to have loved.) There was a mistake in the transcription of the title and Therese's loss became my childhood fantasy.
     The composition is the only one that I know of that bears my name. Alice has her "Sweet Little Alice Blue Gown." There is a song for Carol and one for Dinah. Evelina has been around for awhile. Georgia was on someone's mind and Ida remains "Sweet as apple cider." Jeannie is famous for her light brown hair and the First World War made Katie famous. There's also Kiss Me Kate and every breeze whispers Louise and Astaire loved Louisa. Then there is Laura. Mary remains a "grand, old name," and what about Marie (from sunny Italy?) Sinatra sang about Nancy and Rosemarie had Nelson Eddy singing about her. Guess I'll keep Beetoven as my composer.


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Tuesday, November 20, 2012


     Dare to Stand Out Photo by Jamie Wilson
      What do the characters we write about want, need, expect and wish for? Our characters emerge from our imaginations and, like their creators, they would like to be someone a reader thinks about, discusses with friends, and recognizes after the last page of the novel where he or she resides is reluctantly closed.
     The baddie prefers to be a multi-dimensional scoundrel—a rakish fellow—perhaps someone the reader finds attractive. Does he despair of ever being understood and does he ask you to blame his childhood, his parents or his genes? Did someone do something that made her vow revenge? Is she immoral? Reprehensible? Why? She/he certainly doesn’t want to be a common, everyday stereotype.
     Heroines tire of being just another buxom, big-bosomed blonde or an innocent, big-eyed waif—they need that special something that no one can name. It? Sex appeal? Depth? Perhaps a touch of wild ginger?
     Our heroes want more than divine ancestry, muscles, courage and a body to drool over. They often request intelligence—more of those “Little gray cells,” Hercule Poirot talks about.
     And what of our secondary characters, they yearn to be noticed. Casting directors are fond of saying, “There are no small parts, only small actors.” We are asked to insert a quirk, a tick, a line that enables the secondary character to keep the chapter and plot going. Tidbits that will make the person stand out without overshadowing the plot or the principals.
     Do you give your characters what they ask for?

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Friday, November 2, 2012


Photo by Fairoesh Nan I
     I believe every writer has an editor they’ve been extremely fond of. The one that you key in with, who thinks your piece is perfect for his/her publication. Who can communicate quickly and with ease what changes, cuts or additions he would like.
     Alas, in our world today, Editors often move on to other publications, their magazine or newspaper may close and their new job may not allow them to use the type of material you write. You have to go on the hunt and search for another magazine, another editor but you think—she was so perfect who can possibly take her place?
     The first article I ever wrote and submitted was rejected by the editor but he took the time to encourage me to send it out again. I did and it was accepted. I often think of him.
     I wrote freelance pieces for an international company beginning with on-line travel squibs and soon longer travel articles were accepted for their print magazines. The editor became a favorite of mine but eventually the magazine was sold to another company and immediately their articles all related to selling property. My editor (I tend to be possesive) moved on to a technical magazine. Every once in awhile, I write something and catch myself thinking wouldn’t this be perfect for...then I remember...the magazine is gone.
     The search begins again and I think of an editor who addresses me as Miss--our relationship is formal-- but she purchases most of my submissions and encourages me to send more. I'm extremely fond of her. A new magazine (for me) recently published another piece of mine--after we were hit by Sandy, she wrote and asked how I was.
     Now these are editors I love and would happily write for any time they wish. Are there editors you feel the same way about?



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