Thursday, February 24, 2011


Writing poetry was a great way to find out about poets. I get inspired by reading other works and I think I learn that way too. Right now I'm trying to write a play and I'm finding some excellent playwrights and plays. I loved Mamet and rereading and reading new stuff by him. Martin Mcdonagh is fantastic and so is Tracy Letts.

I am finding some common themes in plays. Madness seem to be a good item to toss into a play. An unlike film, a downbeat ending appears to be the way to go.

Monday, February 14, 2011


I did it. There was an article the other day in USA Today about self-publishing. I have a strange, hybrid book called Fake Quotes, Falsely Attributed that is humorous. I made up quotes for well-known people and put some of them in poetic form or forms of speech that are not typical of the speaker. I received some pretty good feedback from publishers, but no acceptances. I had submissions pending, but they are taking forever to get back to me so I decided just to go ahead.

I did it with Kindle and I had some formatting issues. Hopefully, they will get back to me and help me out. There is only a quote a page and 98 pages so the layout is a bit different. I had to try it at least once and see what happens.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


I mentioned before that I have two subscriptions to literary journals that were given to me as a Christmas present. Zoetrope has really great stories in it, but unfortunately no poetry. The other journal is fairly prestigious and I can't read it. Its like someone assigned you Henry James, Scarlet Letter, Sound and the Fury, War and Peace or Finnegan's Wake. Reading that is good for you, but I don't want to read. I can go home and eat a bowl of oat bran while listening to Brahms and then later watch reruns of masterpiece theatre, but I will pass 99 times out of 100. That's my rant.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

on line critiques

For some reason I was reluctant to post the names of the critique sites I am using. The original one I used was Critique Circle and I would like to use again if I can get my password from them. I have been using Scribophile for a month or two. It seems like a good site, but a reluctance to critque longer pieces of 3000 words or more or could be my writing. Though, I did get a good critique this morning. I signed up a couple of days ago for Zoetrope. I was given a subscription for Zoetrope magazine for Christmas and I really like the content. Apparently, if one receives enough good reviews you can win prizes or get published in the magazine, which would be great. I'm going with the play version of my story which is what it is supposed to be instead of short stories like on Scribophile, because Zoetrope takes screenplays and plays for publication which is unique. Scribophiles will critique plays, but I want to submit the short stories for publication. I think the play version is much stronger than the short story form, since that's what it is intended to be. Let's see how it goes.

Friday, February 11, 2011

On-line critiques

I have used on-line critiques in the past and they have been very useful. I had a memoir piece placed in a journal that accepted a very low percentage of admisssions after going through the critiquing process. Recently I joint another on-line critique site and it was good for the first piece I submitted, but the second one is longer and it is hard to get anyone to read it. You gain points for your critiques and noone wants to spend forever on a long piece. So I found another site and posted part of a play there, that I think can stand by itself. Before I can read any of critiques of my play I have to critique other submissions. I will see how it goes.

BTW, the first critique site I used, I forgot my password and when I request that it is sent to me I don't get a response. Either their system is messed up or I pissed someone off with a harsh critique. I don't think its the second, because I only submitted one piece and I was apprehensive about getting shredded.

Writing Group

I went to the inaugural meeting of the writing group I joined. We decided times to meet and agenda. The meetings seem like they are mostly about writing. I mean sitting there and writing, which is good, since it is hard to find the time. My Mom gave me a subscription to a couple of literary journals for Christmas and I left them out for anyone to take. I will talk about literary journals another time. Some interesting people. One guy has about 50 publications and runs his own writers group and so there may be some cross-pollination there.-Meaning we might hit some of his meetings too. Anyway some people there seem to be good resources and I just want to be around people talking books. They want to meet on wkened which stinks. But, oh well.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Writing Group

I have joined a writing group. has about every group that you can think of and a new writing group if forming fairly close to me. The first meeting is next week and an agenda will have to be established. I was in a poetry group before and another writing group before that. Burkowski used to mock writing groups and readings as just another way to fuck off and not do any actual writing, but feel good about yourself that you are doing something. There is also at close to the worst level of a group, that the group really doesn't do any work and just hangs out. But, I like to be able to talk to people that have the same interest that I do and hear what they are doing.

There is everything in between. I have submitted hundreds of poems and been rejected thousands of times so I like to think that my skin is a little thicker and I can handle critcism. However its natural to want to hear good things about your work and to set up a nice critique one has to supply nice critiques to others. Of course you don't want to hurt others feelings either. The middle course often seems to be the answer. "You know what I really like...., but perhaps you could work on this."

Friday, February 4, 2011

play to short story

I am enjoying writing dialogue for my new play that is set in an immigration office. I used to work in immigration so I have many experiences to draw upon. Apparently I have a problem shifting tenses in my play and the converted short stories from the play. I'm not sure where to learn more about my grammar issues. I have taken grammar quizzes on-line and studied from books, but I have a long way to go. In school I could always count on what sounded right and I never learned the nuts and bolts.

I have place my writing on critique sights and I get a lot of help there and from friends and family that proofread, but I need to learn. Any suggestions?