The One About… Jumping in

I have spent the better part of the last three months split between adjusting to a new life in Orlando with my fiancee and editing The Agency novelization for Think Alike Productions. Put aside during that span were any original words. The Hex manuscript has been in a drawer, the files for The Registry untouched despite world events bringing a new sense of immediacy to that concept. Everything on hold.

Something had to give. Finally, I got my push, in the form of an e-mail from the folks at the Office of Lights and Letters. This is the group that conducts the annual National Novel Writing Month in November, the event that launched my writing career.

Would I be participating in Camp Nanowrimo?

It seems that twice a year, in April and July, they conduct a “mini” Wri-Mo,  again designed to stimulate (or goad) the creative juices. Only, unlike the November event, this had a broader reach. You set your own word goal, or you could instead choose to do poetry, or art, etc. In addition, you could choose to be in a cabin, with other writers, to share ideas, ask questions, etc. The whole summer camp theme, just without the lanyard making and smores.

I needed the creative boost. This came at just the right time. So on an impulse, I joined.

Two days before the start (April 1).

CampNano2018So now it’s March 30. I have a little less than forty hours to figure out what to write.

I’ve never gone into a Wrimo blind. I always have some sort of outline, characters defined, a purpose, something. This time I had a blank screen.

Over my shoulder, Maya from Hex wandered in and looked at it. “That’s quite a pickle you’ve got there.”

“You’re telling me.”

I could feel her smile grow behind me. “I think that’s your job. By Bishop’s beard, why are you making this so hard on yourself?”

I turned around to look back. “I’m not–”

She wasn’t there. But something was.

By Bishop’s beard.

Throughout Hex I used the name of this guy Bishop as an exclamation like it was some holy writ. But it never gets explained where it came from.

I don’t necessarily need the story for the real world. But Hex is planned as a series. Knowing who Bishop is, and how his story ties to this world will help me write it going forward.

So now I have the idea. How Bishop somehow comes from whatever world he was in to the world of Hex. Still no cast of characters, timeline, or plot. Those will have to be built on the fly. But it’s a start.

Let the games begin.

 

 

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The One About… Paperman…

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The One About… ImprovMania 30

I am doing an improv show in a week. I am going to stand up on a stage with a bunch of incredible people, an MC is going to set out a set of rules and take some suggestions from the audience. There will always – ALWAYS – be a pre-teen jumping up and down in the first or second row, desperate to get the attention of our host so he can make a vulgar suggestion and get a laugh from his companions at our expense. He will be indulged at least once over the course of the show.

Since this is short-form, we will, for ninety minutes, go through a dozen different exercises of varying degrees of difficulty, finding ways to carry threads through from one part to another and build a realistic yet entertaining narrative. If it had been a long-form performance, we would instead go through a single narrative, but use different devices to hop around it in multiple ways. In the end, we hope there will be applause.

The group I am doing this with, I Am 50 Million, uses improv as part of its social outreach and personal development programs. It’s an interesting concept, one the founder, Paul Ortigoni had championed for a half-decade. I was invited to join in when I returned to the Orlando area last fall. I had so much fun I’m back. Yes, the retired performer is out of the chair and back onstage once more.

Improvmania-main

Improvmania 30 will be next Saturday, March 10, at Winter Springs Performing Arts on Tuskawilla Road in Winter Springs. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10, but there is a BOGO sale available online through Wednesday, March 7. Check the website for details.

The thing about improv is, we all do it. Every day, all the time, you and I are improvising our way through life. But that’s okay. It just makes what’s happening natural.

I hope you are there, and maybe you see a little bit of yourself in our performances. Until then, be well.

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