Monday, April 30, 2012

Fun with Hamlet & His Friends

Sarah Bernhardt as Hamlet.
Photo by James Lafayette. Public domain.

My mom had an old mimeograph copy of this Hamlet spoof when I was a kid and thanks to the wonders of the internet, I tracked down a copy of the anonymously written parody in Time Magazine. Time claims the spoof itself first appeared at the 1962 National Education Association convention, but whatever the story behind it, it's just as funny now as it was when I was a kid.

So next time you want to beat yourself up for using too many adverbs or adjectives or you worry your story is too passive, remember you can go to far the other way too!


Fun with Hamlet & His Friends
By Anonymous

See Hamlet run. Run, Hamlet, Run. He is going to his mother's room. 

"I have something to tell you, mother," says Hamlet. "Uncle Claudius is bad. He gave my father poison. Poison is not good. I do not like poison. Do you like poison?"

"Oh, no, indeed!" says his mother. "I do not like poison." 

"Oh, there is Uncle Claudius," says Hamlet. "He is hiding behind the curtain. Why is he hiding behind the curtain? Shall I stab him? What fun it would be to stab him through the curtain." 

See Hamlet draw his sword. See Hamlet stab. 

Stab, Hamlet, Stab. See Uncle Claudius' blood. See Uncle Claudius' blood gushing. Gush, Blood, Gush. See Uncle Claudius fall. How funny he looks, stabbed. Ha, ha, ha. 

But it is not Uncle Claudius. It is Polonius. Polonius is Ophelia's father. 

"You are naughty, Hamlet," says Hamlet's mother. "You have stabbed Polonius." 

But Hamlet's mother is not cross. She is a good mother. Hamlet loves his mother very much. Hamlet loves his mother very, very much. Does Hamlet love his mother a little too much? Perhaps. 

See Hamlet run. Run, Hamlet, Run. 

"I am on my way to find Uncle Claudius," Hamlet says. 

On the way he meets a man. "I am Laertes," says the man. "Let us draw our swords. Let us duel." 

See Hamlet and Laertes duel. See Laertes stab Hamlet. See Hamlet stab Laertes.

See Hamlet's mother drink poison. See Hamlet stab King Claudius. 

See everybody wounded and bleeding and dying and dead. 

What fun they are having! 

Wouldn't you like to have fun like that?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Do You Pin?

When I first heard of Pinterest, my first thought was "not another social networking site," followed by "what a time suck." I still (sort of) stand by both. But after cluttering up my hard drive with random bits of inspiration for far too long, I took the plunge and requested an invite. I actually don't use it that often and seldom spend time just browsing, but it's a great way for me to bookmark things that inspire my stories or specific visuals I need for accuracy. It a lot of fun to see all these random bits form a cohesive board, like a visual outline of my stories. Like any tool, in can be used for evil or for good. But thus far, I'm a fan.

How about you? Do you pin? Or are you annoyed by the name like me? If you're on, check out my boards: If you're not and want to be, hit me up for an invite (assuming I can figure out how)!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Who Do You Write For?

Teach Me How to Fly by fhrankee on deviantART

I know, I know. We're supposed to write for ourselves. And I do. But it's more complicated than that, isn't it? I mean, as artists, we're all supposed to create art for the sake of art, not caring who sees it. For me, there's a lot more to it.

I write because I believe stories are important. I write because I believe books can change lives. I write because I think my stories and my books are important. Maybe they won't change lives, but maybe they'll let someone escape for a few hours, to live in a place of beauty for a moment.

I write for all the girls like me who curled up with books instead of boys, dreaming of first kisses. I write for my little sister, who has yet to find a boy who lives up to the heros in her books. I write for everyone who longs for adventure in their everyday lives.

And I write for me. Because I love my stories and I love my characters. And you know what? I want other people to love them too.

Who do you write (or create whatever kind of art you create) for? When you type out your book dedication or Academy Award acceptance speech, who will you say inspired you? Pushed you to create? 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Lucky 7 Meme Part 2: My WiP

I got tagged for the Lucky 7 Meme again! (Thanks, Megan!) This time I'm actually past 77 pages on my work in progress, so even though I have no idea where this will land once the first draft is finished, here's a (rough, unedited, unbetaed or CP'd) scene from The Last Lightning Prince.

In case you forgot, here are the rules for the Lucky 7 Meme:

Go to page 77 in your current MS/WIP
Go to line 7
Copy down the next 7 lines--sentences or paragraphs--and post them as they're written. No cheating.
Tag 7 authors.
Let them know.

Once again, consider yourself tagged if you haven't been already & link back to my comments so I can come find you!

Without further ado...


Cambria slid across the back seat, not bothering with a seat belt before Ben laid Raiden down across her lap. She brushed the hair from his eyes, still sealed tight, and kissed his clammy forehead.

Every bump along the field jarred Raiden’s body, his face contracting with pain each time the Bronco lurched.

“Hold tight,” Cambria whispered. “Almost there.”

The cabin came into view, still standing firm despite the storms.

Cambria settled Raiden into the bed, giving him the last of the Flowering Ash stashed in the cabin. She turned to see Ben starting a fire in the hearth.


There you go! Not the best transition I've ever written, but what do I expect from a first draft?

Monday, April 2, 2012

My (not-so-) Secret Love of Accounting

Portrait of an Accountant by ~Spanishalex on deviantART

Growing up, I was an art kid. The kind that doodled on everything and carried a sketchbook everywhere. Somewhere along the way I picked up the idea that art kids don't like math - aren't good at math. Creativity and structure don't go together (silly, right?), so why even bother?

Then my junior year of high school, I had Mr. Long for Algebra 2. Mr. Long didn't smile, he didn't crack jokes, he glared at the classroom like he wanted to eat us all for breakfast. At least for a couple months. After midterms, he knew which students were trying and which students were going to blow off the class. From that point forward, he gave everything he could to those of us who tried, singing songs about logarithms and the quadratic formula. And he did something I never thought possible - he taught me that I could do math, I was good at math and I liked math.

I still do. Neat little numbers in neat little formulas. Plug in the right numbers to the right formula and you get the right answer. It's perfect and infallible and reliable. Art is so subjective. Right for me is wrong for you (and yet how often do we reduce writing to a formula? But that's another post.) Math is either right or wrong.

Unfortunately, I chose a career path that seldom requires more than basic addition and subtraction. Occasionally I get to play with statistics. Those are fun days. But for the most part, my love of numbers remains a fond memory. (Although I did discover that the 5x table is an excellent rhythm for rocking babies to sleep.)

The one exception to this is tax time. Sure, I hate owing taxes as much as anyone, but I LOVE actually doing them. I load up TurboTax and plug in all my numbers and watch it spit out pretty answers. We have a crazy complicated tax situation with a business partnership that needs it's own return, a couple W-2s, a few 1099s, charitable contributions, schedule C, health insurance paid out of pocket. It's madness I say. And it keeps getting worse each year. (*Fingers crossed for just two W-2s next year*)

But with all that insanity, I love the challenge. I love making it work. I love that sense of accomplishment that comes from finishing. And I love that, like Mr. Long taught me long ago, I'm actually good at math.

It's amazing how one person's faith can change you.

What about you? Do you have a secret hobby that doesn't quite mess with your public image? Have you ever had someone's belief in you push you to try something outside your comfort zone?