Thursday, October 29, 2009


so... has anyone given any thought to spring semester? i was just curious who was interested in taking what. its sort of hard to believe it's that time already. i'm just starting to get settled into the semester. i guess that's how school goes, though. as soon as you get comfortable, things start changing again.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Bennett's Curse

We had a great time at Bennett's Curse last night—mostly the conversation before and after, though, because the haunted house was kind of lame in terms of scariness. But there were some cool setups/props.

After the haunted house, we went to DuClaw's (brewery/bar) to talk for a while, drink a little, and eat. It was a good time.

I tried to take a candid picture with my iPhone, but someone noticed, so everyone started moving around, I guess trying to pose. The result is kind of funny, so I kept it. In the spirit of Bennett's Curse and Halloween, Danielle looks like a ghost. ;-) And Lori...I don't know what Lori is doing. Kari is confused, Mike doesn't notice, and Wendy just smiles. I wonder what I would have been doing if I had been in the picture. Hmm...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Haunted House Trip - This Saturday!

Prepare to be scared! 
Saturday October 24
Meet @ 8pm
Bennet's Curse
7684 Arundel Mills Blvd
Hanover, MD 21076-1385

This was rated the best haunted house in the area by several websites. The tickets are $20 for two haunted houses. You have to pay in cash at the gate or you can go to the website and preorder the tickets with a credit card.

In keeping with the halloween tradition, we'll be grabbing some spirits (a.k.a. drinks) after the haunted house tours at a nearby bar establishment. Feel free to join in either or both festivities. Significant others are welcome!

Hope to see you there!
Wendy and Lori

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A local habitation, and a name

I thought it might be interesting to share one of my favorite methods for passing time on long car trips: making up stories about characters named after towns and villages on the road map.

This works best in England, I've found, because where else are you going to come across Rushton Spencer, Fenny Bentley, Dole's Ash, Dead Maids, Kidderminster, Shepton Mallet, or Bury St. Edmunds? (Hands off Rushton Spencer, by the way, I've got dibs on him. He's the sort of ACTOR who wears dressing-gowns to dinner and pours unsatisfactory port over the sommelier's head.)

The trick to this game is not to look for funky names, but just let yourself enjoy the wonderful richness and weirdness of local naming conventions. In England you'll find a whole series of villages along and named for the same river (Winterborne Whitechurch, Winterborne Stickland, and Winterborne Kingston, for example, or the Deverills); over here you can find the classic Intercourse, Mud, and Bird in Hand, but if you look closer there are old names still hanging around even in this city that could offer some creative inspiration. Eudowood, for example. There was once a TB hospital called Eudowood; there's Ladew, and Oella, and Linthicum, which sounds like something you rub on to ward off colds, and the euphonious Padonia, and so on and so forth. There are names everywhere out there, and it's way more fun than it sounds to make up characters to fit them. Some of the characters stick around.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Whose Point of View is it Anyway?

Our fiction class discussion focused on point of view and psychic distance this past week. While I think we all are familiar with First and Third person narration, many of us were astounded by the number of different POVs. Being comfortable in third person limited, I rarely leap out of this POV so this was such an eye-opening discussion for me. Yet, now that I'm aware, I will purposely play with the other roles.

1) Observer narrator (first person)
2) Observer narrator (third person)
3) Detached Author (observant third person)
4) Involved Author (limited third person)
5) First Person Narrative
6) Let's add to this list: Second person "you"

My question is what is your favorite POV to write in and why?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Roll credits.

I collect character names by paying attention to movie credits. Older movies place the credits up front for easy reading, but anytime you watch a movie, just grab as many names as you can and write them down in your moleskin.

prefer to take the first name from one person and mate it with the surname on the next, so I don't upset any Key Grips or Caterers. Screw actors, their names are made up anyway.

It's a good idea to start off with the etymology of the name. I see the visual of the character first in my mind's eye . Sometimes they are in action, sometimes they are sitting around, but once I see them, then I can guess at their name.

Trying asking the character what name they like, imagine them saying no, then listen to their voice. Can they say their own name correctly? Does it sound right when they say it? The Character ethnic background and local help me pick their name. Example, if he is an irish sailor, Finnegan Murphy. Murphy meaning : Seafarer, or Sea warrior, just off the top of my head.

I dig the rare vintage and/or names that can be shortened, and order to have a formal name like Jonathan,which can be annouced by a bulter, but also a short name, for friends, family or to screamed from a moving vehicle. "JON!" I also like family names, passed down from generation to generation.

Crossing ethnicity is great and can be useful in breaking down racial boundaries without preaching, but nicknames have stories of their own to add depth to the character and will draw sympathy out of the reader. Did you know "John Waynes" real name was Marion?

Write on, dude.


This is the result of a writing exercise from What If?

I just had to start a story from a far psychic distance, and then zoom in to get close to the character without actually slipping into first-person. that I think about it, the last line probably fuggs it up. Oh well. I had to keep it under 200 words (and failed, actually; it's 205), so I couldn't make the last line "close" to her.

Anyway, I'm calling it "Red," and I will probably do more work on it, even if I can't really use it for workshop because it's so short. I guess it'll end up being a flash fiction story. Well, unless I come up with something I feel I should add, but I think it could exist as flash. :-)


The girl was removing her rouge and singing jazz classics when the wolves finally came. She’d heard them crying, and was frightened, of course, but she’d never let fear run her life. She didn’t care for that kind of thing.

“Sarah Harper,” she told herself, “don’t you be a ‘fraidy cat!” Sarah continued rubbing cleanser on her face—firmly, but not so hard that she’d go raw and be mistaken for a burn victim the next morning and rushed to the hospital or something.

When they scratched the door and pretended they had knocked and said, “Let us in, let us in,” she looked at the doorknob suspiciously. She thought she’d heard a scratch, but maybe it was a knock. She put down her cleansing pad and went to the door to let in chaos.

The wolves leaped, scratched, clawed, dug. In a rage, they tore her pretty face open like a hunter gutted deer. They fooled and embarrassed her, shamed and disfigured her. They made her bruised and swollen and ugly. And red. So much red. She abhored the red—the blood and the raw, puffy, mangled mess that now masqueraded as a feminine face.

Sarah woke up the next morning in the hospital.