Daily Archives: August 4, 2014

Writers – Listen To What You Are Really Saying…

Keep Calm and Shut The Hell Up!

I get asked an awful lot of questions.

Questions like – how can I build abs of steel like that six-pack that you have cleverly concealed beneath your size 42 waistline?

Questions like – how can I sing so I sound as good as you think you sound when you are singing in the shower and nobody is listening?

But mostly I get asked about writing.

Mind you, I would not call myself an expert by any means – but I have about 40 years of experience in the profession and I have learned a few tricks along the way.

Just the other day somebody asked me if I had any advice about word tenses? The person who asked me was having problems switching from present to past tense and found it hard to know if  they were doing it right or wrong.

First off, I told them to find themselves a good editor.

No, I cannot recommend one – nor even afford one myself – but a writer – especially an indie writer – should DEFINITELY get someone else to go over their work for them.

I constantly run into this tense problem myself – partly because I am often writing a manuscript in short and varied writing sessions – and partly because I have a very free and casual kind of relationship with the English language.

That’s right.

I said it.

Me and the English language have a kind of OPEN relationship.

English understands how it is for me.

Nobody else can understand me – but English sure seems to – or at least that’s how I tell the story.

But what about if you CAN’T afford an editor and none of your friends are smart enough to do the job for you.

That’s not to say that you have dumb friends – but who in their right mind would ever want a writer for a friend anyway? The bastards never talk to you, they are always making things up behind your back and chances are they don’t have two cents to rub together.

(mind you, I’m from Canada – and we gave up our cents some time ago)

To all those writers who are broke like me – just try sitting down and reading your work aloud! Right out loud – and make it a point to LISTEN to yourself as you read. You will catch more goofs that way than through any other technique I can think of.

I absolutely LOVE this technique.

In fact my wife often tells me that I most likely invented this technique because I NEVER get tired of hearing myself talk.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

How To Grin In The Rain

It is raining out today.

This is Natal Day here in Halifax and a lot of folks are planning outdoor activities. Me, I’m a bit of a house cat and I have already had a pretty long week of it. My wife got back last night from babysitting and house-sitting for my sister-in-law and she is ready to park her feet as well. So we are looking at a quiet day with maybe some Kentucky Fried Chicken – which I like to call Unlucky Fried Kittens but don’t hold that against me.

I wanted to write something just a little more preachy than usual and I apologize for that soapbox I have got stapled into the soles of my feet – but I wanted to talk a little bit more about my philosophy of grinning.

Dancing In The Rain

Let me lay down the law of prune juice and bran on you folks.

That is to say – shit happens.

You out there reading this blog – I bet you that shit has happened to you, at least one time in your life. Maybe even twice.

What’s that you say?

More than twice?

All right – so who is counting?

We all have our sob stories to share amongst ourselves. There is nothing wrong with that at all. Sorrow is a part of the human condition.

The facts are simple.

Sometimes our lives are sunny and sometimes it rains.

When it DOES rain, do your darnedest to remind yourself that this sort of thing happens to everyone. You AREN’T the only person to have your heart broken, to lose a job, to lose a battle. to lose a whole goddamn war.

Shit happens.

Tears are nothing more but the raining of the soul and NO, this isn’t going to go on forever.

If you are feeling down today for whatever reason – this is going to pass.

If you are blocked on a manuscript – this is going to pass.

If your husband just decided that his destiny lies at about ninety degrees north of your existence and he has walked away and is never coming back – this is going to pass.

Sometimes it rains and sometimes the sun shines.

Try and grin.

umbrella smile

I am NOT saying that every single problem in life can be solved with a positive outlook and a happy-go-lucky grin.

I am not a freaking Pollyanna.

What I am saying is that the very healthiest way that you can approach ANY problem is to try and look at the sunny side of the situation and grin a little.

Remember – Gene Kelly had a fever of over 101 when he performed this little ad-lib dance number that took one cut – which you can see as he performed it on the film today.

If it is raining in your life you can stand there and take it. You can lie down in a mud puddle and wallow in it. You can moan and groan and and beat your breast and gnash your teeth and add your tears and your dribbled-down snot to the whole entire mess.

Or else you can do your best to grin.

maxine-smile-as-your-umbrellayours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon