Holiday Movie Recommendation For Writers

Today we have a recommendation from WF member Dave Smith on a movie that is both a holiday story, and a writer story.


I hate it when writing experts try to tell me how to write a story and then use a movie as an example of what to do. Movies are different damn it, like a thousand words blah blah blah, right? A camera is not a pencil.

But you know what? This blurb is to convince you to watch a movie. Say what?

Raise your hand if you’ve ever anguished over the perfect name for a character, or if you talk to the individuals in your stories (or maybe they talk to you), or if you find inspiration in the strangest places, or if you think you’re a failure, etc, etc.

Put your hand down now.

The movie is called The Man Who Invented Christmas, and it follows Charles Dickens through the few months before Christmas in 1843, during which he wrote A Christmas Carol. Even though Dickens was by this time a successful author, he suffered all the painful insecurities we all have about our writing and reacted as we all have. My wife said the weird scenes looked vaguely familiar, as in reminding her of me at times.

The movie is not about how to write, but about how an author struggles to write.

A delightful show and thoroughly relatable. I found it on HULU. I won’t offer any more spoilers, but we all know the outcome: A little over 27,000 words comprising one of the most well-known stories ever. So good they make movies about it.


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Fridays With Dale: Decorations

Title with image of author

Dale Angel

 

Decorations

By Dale Angel

 

An old fatigued dryer and a senile stove decorate my front yard. The stove, like some people, looks good from the outside but malfunctions from within. They’re both dangerous.

The neighbors are complaining about the decorations and I intend to do something about it. I’m filling up a wheelbarrow with cash to pay for the removal of these things.

Meanwhile, I fell in love with the seed catalog that found its way to my house. It featured red round plump tomatoes. All I have to do is grow them my self. I hauled in three half barrels and placed them in my front yard. It’s the only place that has sun. It says in my book tomatoes need sun. It only took half a wheelbarrow of cash to buy my supplies. I intend to share with my neighbors from my abundant crops. I used the money for the removal of the appliances, they’re on the back burner for my next project.

At present, I’m in hip boots wading in a river of economic crisis, I’m sure you have dealt with these periodic floods. If not, you have had the waves lapping at your feet whining for attention.

Sometimes my appetite exceeds my ability to assuage it. That’s when I find that I’m full time care…it takes me full time to take care of things like this.

Rest assured! I seriously will be responsible for my junk.

The tomatoes will fill in the front yard and cover all the unsightly decorations.

 


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Fridays With Dale: Emotional Purchase

Title with image of author

Dale Angel

Emotional Purchase

By Dale Angel

She was so pretty. I was so in love. She helped me understand the value of visiting the jewelry store with my pitiful paycheck.  Her choice was pricey, but I have two years to pay for it. I didn’t know about…high maintenance. I signed.

The next week her mother asked her why she would be interested in a skinny geek. Her love went cold about that time. When I next saw her she was wearing my two-year-contract as a short, heavy fellow was romancing her.

This emotional purchase would be a thorn in my side for a long time. I became unemployed and I have this dead weight around my neck that has to be fed every time the moon changes. It sucked away my youth.

It became a family burden when my car broke down and my mom had to get up and out in the freezing blinding rain in pitch black nights for transportation to fulfill this obligation.

She reminds me that after the birth of her fourth son, strangers said “Honey, you can’t keep having boys. You’re too meek and mild. They will have you tied up and fire at your feet.” I think this kind of fire is what they meant.

To this day deep rumbling growls comes from my mother’s throat when this episode is even mentioned. Emotional purchases can have long term consequences.

Is it any comfort that a member of my (former) love’s family got on drugs and looted their house?

Including my gift.


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NaNoWriMo: Planner or Pantser?

Planner or Pantser?

Last week I told you that I had decided to use a 25-year-old idea for my NaNoWriMo project this year. And then I didn’t tell you what that project was.

I wanted to leave you something for this week.

In the early 1990s, I went back to school at Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, California. While there, I was president of the Christian Fellowship Club for several semesters. That was an interesting time. I saw a lot of different things. I experienced a lot of different things. I learned a lot of different things while I was there, and all because of that position that I held.

My novel will be based upon my experiences with the Christian Fellowship Club at LMC. It will be a story of a maverick finding himself thrust into a position of leadership in a typically conservative organization.

And that leads me to my NaNoWriMo Topic of the Day.

Planners versus pantsers.

Like so many other endeavors, NaNoWriMo has grown its own vocabulary. One of the common dialogues you will find at NaNoWriMo groups is between Planners and Pantsers.

Some writers like to have their project planned out in advance. They have their research complete and organized. They have their book outlined. They know in advance all of the twists and turns that their stories will take. These are the Planners. 

Then you have those who prefer to Fly By the Seat of Their Pants. Hence, Pantsers. They usually have no idea where their story will go. They might not even have all of their characters in mind when they start. They like to be as surprised while writing it as their readers will be when reading it.

When I worked on my memoir project, I was definitely a Planner. It was a memoir. I knew where the story went, and how it ended. I knew all of the characters. I just needed to write those memories down in a creative way. 

This year, while my story is based upon my experiences, those experiences will be the basis for a fictionalized version of that story. My tenure as president spanned the better part of two years. I am going to compress that story into nine months, using material from the breath of my time there, plus some completely fictionalized complications.

Do I have this story outlined? Nope. Do I know all of the characters in the story yet? I know the principal characters, about five of them right now, but not all of them. Do I know how the story ends?  Roughly, yes, but I am going to include a fictional problem as a major point of the book…maybe the major point of the book…and I do not know yet how that problem will be resolved. I do have one specific event that will tie all of the others together.

Do I have any of this written down? Nope. I only have the basic ideas that have been living in my head for 25 years.

Am I terrified as I prepare to plunge into this project? Absolutely!

I believe I have joined the Pantsers this year.

Wish me luck!

Do any fellow NaNoWriMo players want to give us a snapshot of their experiences so far this year? Leave a comment!

Geo.


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Fridays With Dale: Desperation and Chance Met

Title with image of author

Dale Angel

Desperation and Chance Met

by Dale Angel

A chronically uninvited acquaintance visits my house often. When I see him coming and wanting to move in again, I get panicky.  You’d think with this familiarity, I wouldn’t get so hysterical. His name is Mr. Unemployment and we have spent too much time together. This intimacy hasn’t diminished or quelled my fear.

I was trying to out run him. My foot plunged to the ankle on the accelerator, forcing my car into overdrive as it coughed and wheezed. It is addicted to oil with an appetite I can’t satisfy, and the last tires I got off the used rack feels like one is square.

Desperation and chance met, and I got a job at the Inn. One of the perks: you got to wear a bright red jacket to represent the company. You’ve seen these jackets before, the same kind little monkeys on a string wear that do tricks.

I paraded in mine.

Besides the front desk I was to answer the phone and route calls. My desperation convinced them I knew what I was doing.  They took the chance I might.

When the lights flashed I was supposed to place the incoming calls to in-house people, except the lights all lit up at the same time. It looked like a casino. I answered in my modulated voice. Someone from the British Isles wanted room 14; it was busy…..What to do? I let him loose somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, explaining that we were experiencing international problems.

Once I had Hong Kong and I almost matched him, but my hand slipped. He got put out somewhere near Guam.

The man from the Philippines asked for room 55. I thought he said 65. Much of his frustrations and anger was lost in my inability to really appreciate his profanity. Language was a problem, but I understood hysteria.

I got better on the phones. When I made contact, I was inflated with success. In this euphoria, I got a lesson in Big Business.

At morning showers, all the guests got cold water. The Inn was prepared for this. Ordinary business men went wild. They surged in mass, in their pajamas wearing shaving crème and toothpaste with their hair standing on end.

The phones lights were all blinking at once. The staff coolly explained that as a prank, vandals had shut off the power in the night. That was the standard reply. There were others as good. Once a man started coming over the counter screaming “That’s what you said the last time I was here!” I mingled with empowering big business.

A limo drove up with an entourage of high-powered people. The leader didn’t even have to stop and register, I was impressed. The lights lit up the bar, and they used dollies to deliver liquor up to the suite.

I arrived for work the next day to find the staff looking for little pieces of paper, anything to show who it was that was there. He was an early riser and had left with no forwarding address.

I had troubles of my own: my roommate announced she was getting married and moving, I asked “May I please keep the apartment?”

She said “no’’.

I threw my stuff in the car.  I couldn’t shut it off; it wouldn’t start again. I filled the tank with the engine running, gunning the motor. I headed for the freeway south. You could see the Inn is self-destructing.  Desperation and Chance was a failed relationship and Mr. Unemployment wants to move in again.


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Type of Material and Guidelines for e-newsletter and Website Submission: 1.) Your articles on the art or craft of writing. 2.) Essays on subjects of interest to writers. (200 words can be quoted without permission but with attribution.) 3.) Book or author reviews. 4.) Letters to the Editor or Webmaster. 5.) Information on upcoming events, local or not. 6.) Photos of events. 7.) Advertise your classes or private events. 8.) Short fiction 9.) Poetry

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