Tag Archives: basic writing tips

I’m Not Weird Like You. I’m Weird Like Me.

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alien-looking-insects04 with copyright info. use this bug

I like staring at a blank computer screen. Yup. Blank. I let each chapter unfold inside my head before typing a single word. At times, the imaginary film production crew makes too much racket, discombobulating my thoughts, and it becomes necessary to let them break early for lunch.

Gertrude Stein sat in her car and wrote on scraps of paper. Thomas Wolf composed his masterpieces standing up. John Cheever, master of short stories, wrote in his underwear. Flannery O’Connor created her greatest novels facing a wooden dresser to avoid distractions. I concur with Flannery O’Connor’s method of writing. Three windows surround my roll-top desk. I keep the shutters closed and type with my eyes shut. Occasionally, Ralph, a male resident of the nursing home down the hill interrupts me. He knocks on the door, says I have a lovely house, and asks to rest in my parlor.

“Is that why my friend,Gail, in The Taste of Orange had Alzheimer’s?” Clancy asks.

“I was wondering when you’d enter my thoughts.”

“You need more real friends,” Clancy says.

“I need more coffee,” I say, opening my eyes. “No, I wasn’t thinking about Ralph when I created, Gail. I needed a character to befriend you that would accept your quirks. Someone you would be yourself with.”

“You mean someone that wouldn’t judge me? You act as if I embarrass you. You’re the one that made me up inside your head,” Clancy says.

“I fell in love with you the minute you told me your name.”

“And you think I have quirks.”

“It was surreal how everything came together. I knew that the main character in The Taste of Orange was a thirty-two-year-old female of Irish descent, employed as a housekeeper, lived on a farm, and viewed life from the eyes of an outsider. What she didn’t have was a name.”

“Oh, so that’s why you acted like a crazy person, screaming at the blank computer screen. What’s your name? What’s your name?”

“It worked didn’t it? You whispered the name, Clancy, inside my head.”

“Tada,” Clancy says. “And then you googled my name.”

“That’s when the chills came. Clancy is an Irish surname and forty-two percent are farmers. The name was perfect.”

“What’d you expect? I chose my name.”

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Some of My Best Friends Are Fictional

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Clancy entered my life three years ago and instantly became my favorite imaginary friend.  Oh, sure, we had plenty of heated discussions while collaborating on my third manuscript The Taste of Orange.  I’ll be the first one to admit that we don’t have a lot in common.  Clancy’s a scrappy thirty-two-year-old housekeeper with a peculiar interest in her five senses, and I’m a retired, straightforward, motherly figure.  Clancy has bizarre quirks and shares them with whoever will listen.  I prefer to keep my life private.  And don’t get me started on my addiction to NyQuil because she’d wake me three to four times a night with frugal cleaning tips, unique ways to torture her antagonist, ideas for a plot twist, or her incessant need to create new characters to befriend.  Follow our Taste of Orange Journey as we retell our mistakes and triumphs in an industry where only 2% of submitted manuscripts end up on the bookshelves.

Clancy goes on vacation when I experience writer’s block.  That’s when you’ll find a new post in Mitzi’s Muses.

Coming soon . . . how Clancy magically appeared and then refused to leave.

Dang.  As I reach to turn off the computer, Clancy comes to life.   Presto.  Alakaboom.

“You promised we’d work on the blog together.  Two minds are better than one,” CIancy says.  “The first paragraph makes me seem irrational.  And what’s with the last line and my refusing to leave statement?  It’s a tad snide.”

“Get out of my head.  We can make changes tomorrow,” I say, staring at the computer monitor with dry eyes.

“Why are you putting two spaces after your punctuation marks?  I thought editors prefered one.”

“Habit.  And you have no right to complain since I do all the typing.” 

If I switch the radio station to rap it will silence Clancy.  But then again, she’s right about this blog belonging to both of us. 

“Fine.  It’s a quick edit.”

Coming soon . . . how Clancy and Mitzi bonded like sisters.

Clancy tweets @JustClancy