Thursday, May 31, 2007

Off to the Big Apple

Okay everyone, I am leaving today on a jet plane for New York NY to engage in all activities BEA (Book Expo of America). Of course I go with the lovely Lesley who is fast becoming my NY buddy. Should be a good time (fingers crossed etc). We begin the itinerary with the Backspace Banquet (Backspace is a writing forum on zee net and is also having their writing conference . . . well I guess as I write this) tonight. Tomorrow we do lunch with Lesley's agent and we go to the party my publishers, Weinstein Books, are hosting in the evening. Then on Saturday I go to the expo itself and hang out a booth 3770 from 2 - 3pm signing galleys and stuff, so if anyone is in the neighbourhood . . . please stop by!

Incredibly, almost painfully, detailed report to follow on my return on Sunday.

Until then, have a lovely weekend everyone! Big wet sloppy kisses to you all! Except you. No not you, I love you, I meant you, the one standing next to . . . yes! You! You may go now.

(oh how can I even kid with my fab sexy readers, I just, man, I just love all you guys so much!)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

On My Method

Okay so I've had a look at all the lovely suggestions that people gave me for blog entries (thank you so much for them by the way, and keep 'em coming!), and I guess I'll work my way through them as best I can.

I thought that today I would answer Mahak's question on my method. Just because this question really struck me that I hadn't actually answered it before. It feels like something I should have already shared. But then I thought, maybe the reason I hadn't shared it was because everyone's method is unique to them, and as such is of little help really to others. I mean there is no template or anything. Still, I know I find it interesting to read about the methods of others, so gosh, why shouldn't I share!

First off I would say that I wouldn't exactly classify my writing style as a "method", as something I thought through or anything. It just sort of evolved.

To start at the very fundamentals, I guess the first question is how do I come up with a story. Despite being a huge fan of words and playing with them, I have a very visual sensibility as well. To be honest I think it's 'cause I watch a lot of TV and movies. So, often, I'll see an image and be inspired to write from that. Not just a picture or anything, sometimes it's a situation, actually you know what it's like? It's like those dioramas you had to make in school. I LOVE those diorama thingys. Anyway. Whatever the image is, it usually gives me butterflies and I get all excited and I immediately start a little fantasy in my head.

For example, with my play I am directing for Summerworks, I had an image in my head (based on those drawing room comedies) of seven friends lounging in an open space concept living room of a swanky cottage. From that I then had to answer a lot of questions. Who were these people, how did they relate to each other, why are they there . . . and then suddenly the ball just got rolling.

Usually the images I use are pretty stock. But what made Alex and the Ironic Gentleman unique for me was for the first time I just decided to use every single "image" I liked, however stereotyped or typically "Adrienne" (I am pretty easy to pinpoint. If I were a room, for example, I would be a two story library with a large fire place, dark red walls and worn leather arm chairs, but I digress).

So what this meant was that I decided to write an "everything I like" kind of book and just put them all in the same universe. So you have art deco party trains with tall ships, pirates and behind the scenes on a movie set.

The actual writing process. I tend to write chronologically. Start with chapter one, end with the last chapter. But occasionally when I am stuck, or I can tell my brain just wants to go to the next good bit, I jump and then go back to fill in the blanks.

The reason though I typically work from beginning to end, is I don't really outline. I need to have a general knowledge of what will happen, and the points along the way, but I don't really know from the off who my characters will be and how they will interact (I write about lots and lots of characters, so I mean those ones just pop up. My main characters I always know from the start). Therefore one scene informs the next, and without any doubt when I reach the end of the book, somehow everything will work out in a spectacular fashion, more so than I could have even expected. In Alex, I knew exactly how it was going to end and yet as I was writing the ending, a true moment of inspiration hit me, and something that had happened at the very beginning of the story came full circle there at the end. And I was like, woah, I totally did not expect that to happen. But it does. Happened in both of my plays too . . . I don't know how, it's a mystery.

I don't actually tend to do a lot of drafts, but edit as I go. Not to the point where I never get past page one, sometimes I just write on whatever the quality. Now of course I am not including all the editing and everything I did with my agent and editors. I mean, with them, gosh I can't tell you how many drafts I've been through. But in the initial, finishing the book, I've always had sort of a pretty finished product first time round. Then I go back and tweak that.

When it comes to editing, and editorial suggestions, I consider myself pretty open minded. However when it comes to bigger structural edits, I tend not to do the specific suggestion that is offered. Not that it isn't a good one, and not that I ignore the spirit of the suggestion, but because I usually can figure out a way to achieve the same end, while sort of sticking with the original vision of the scene (though sometimes the scene just has to change, and even I see that).

When my agent asked me to cut 10 000 words, a lot of people started offering suggestions of what scenes to cut etc. But I was determined to cut the words within the scenes, and not any of them in and of themselves. And by gum I did it! From the first draft to the final one, one scene has since been cut (understandably so, a nice scene, but it didn't go anywhere), and another one completely changed (different location etc). Three sections have been re-worked over and over to make them quicker, but their arcs and locations etc have not been altered. And the rest of the book has been tightened, words deleted, changed and so on.

Who knows what kind of adventures I'll have with this other one I am writing now (which was another question: what am I doing now, and I'll answer another time)?

I write quite dramatically. As if I am directing the scene. I place my characters on stage, and move them about, I know where they all are at all times. Sometimes I work inside out, the character's motivations and the conflict they encounter and how that leads to a result. Sometimes outside in, this character needs to be over here so that something else can happen. Um . . . maybe they want to look out the window for some reason . . .?

And it takes effort. A lot of work. Just to get bum in seat and to write several pages, I go through a HUGE emotional roller coaster. Sometimes the parents have to be called. Sometimes the lovely Lesley. There are days when it just flows, and days that each sentence feels like torture, and the weirdest thing, is that on re-reading the work, I honestly can not tell which one of those days I was having at the time. The work, whether inspired or squeezed onto the page, still has quality and merit. So don't ever think that if it isn't inspired, your work won't be any good. It just ain't true.

And yes sometimes I have the TV on in the background. But not a show like Lost or anything. Something mindless that I don't actually listen to. I can't write with music, because music is meant to only be heard, and so is designed to move you through sound. I get very affected by music, and while some authors find it inspirational, I find it distracting. I never really can have one bit of music to inspire a scene as there are usually a lot of different characters who are all in different places and therefore all have their own soundtracks.

But TV was meant to be watched AND heard, so that if I only listen to it, it comes across as white noise. I find it hard to work in utter quiet, so I use it to keep me company. Man I wish I had a dog.

Anyway, that's all I can really think of at the moment. If I have missed some element of writing that you are curious about, please feel free to ask. It's a really interesting question, and one I am not sure I can ever entirely answer.

Friday, May 25, 2007

It's happened to me too!

Yes ladies and gents, we are all rather familiar with the hilariousness that is Patricia Wood's ARC of Lottery being sold many times over on ebay and I am extremely proud to announce that an ARC of the UK version of my book is up on ebay too! So crazy and totally unexpected! And it comes with bonus extras!

Here you can check it out and just have an awesome giggle!

ebay ARC: "Alex and the Wigpowder Treasure"

This is good stuff

In my typical blog tour I found a link at Lit Soup by author Libba Bray. Ms. Bray's post is in response to a blog entry by Joss Whedon (yay the linking of blogs to other blogs to other blogs . . . ).

I am blown away by this post of hers because it is something I so easily could have written, and, wait a minute, actually have written. I was once given an assignment to write about something I was passionate about for a drama class. So I chose the F word. Feminism. How it has become a dirty word and affiliated with extreme actions, when really the meaning is very simple, equality for women (I cringe when some woman says, "I'm not a feminist, I'm an equalitist." Sigh). Anyway, there is not much point in me going on about it as Ms. Bray has done an excellent job herself, so I direct you now to her blog:

8 Random Things About Me

I have been tagged again, so here are 8 random things about me.

1. My grandparents on my dad's side escaped from Denmark to Sweden in a fishing boat during WWII when the Nazis were attempting a mass round up of Jews on the Jewish new year.

2. For large family celebrations on my mom's side, my four cousins and I find ourselves somehow roped into creating and singing parody songs for the occasion. Very Von Trapp (and all of us can more than carry a tune for some reason).

3. I played a duster in a three person version of Beauty and the Beast. This is what I looked like. I defy to you figure out how on earth I look like a duster in this costume.

4. I have become so obsessed with Lost that each time after I watch an episode I have the craziest Lost dreams. And I think season three was the best (heresy I know).

5. I am a terrible speller. I blame this on taking French Immersion from the ages of 5 - 10.

6. I was in French Immersion from the ages of 5 - 10.

7. I have movie traditions. ie: if the film is a trilogy I need to see each one with the same people. Some may call it OCD, I like to call it loyalty.

8. I have created the ultimate dessert. Plain apple sauce with honey, put into the microwave for a minute thirty, add cinnamon. Tastes just like the inside of an apple crumble thing, but without the stuff that causes badness to my digestive system (that could be number 9, I have a really bad digestive system).

And there you go! I hope you are all feeling much more enlightened now! Of course most everyone I can think of to tag already has been, so I will tag the lovely Lesley who has been very remiss in her blogging of late anyway!

(oh and I have the Internet at home again!! It's soooooooooooooo exciting!)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


So my internet is down and I have limited access, and I just wanted to say this because I may not be blogging that much in the next 2 weeks, and I am very sorry. And I have one or two things I want to chat about too. Sigh.

But I was also wondering if maybe my fabulous, loyal, and sexy readers would mind offering up some suggestions, or questions, for me to blog about. Any pressing concerns? Inquiries? I thought it could be cool to ask what kind of entries you guys like reading from me.

And before you all ask, yes this is because I am lazy and I want you to do my work for me.

Seriously, though, anything?

Friday, May 18, 2007

My UK Cover!

Yes, yes I know, you've all been waiting oh so impatiently, and so now here I would like to introduce you to my UK cover!

Isn't it just so cool how different covers can be?! Okay and before anyone asks me the inevitable, "Which one do you like more?" can I just get it out of the way by annoying you all so completely by telling you: I love them both.

I'm sorry if it sounds wishy washy, but it is simply the truth. They are completely different from each other and they each highlight completely different things. I love the colourfulness of the UK one, the sort of crazy silliness it represents (which is what is inside the book as well). The sketches of the characters are awesome, and I am just thrilled that Mr. Underwood and Alex's Uncle get to make an appearance. But my absolute favouritist bit?

I love, LOVE, the little sketches around the border! With just a few simple lines the artist, Paul Bommer, has managed to capture the essence of so many characters (but I love the sketch of Port Cullis best!). It's also kind of retro feeling, a la "Catch Me If You Can" title sequence (the Steven Spielberg movie? With Leo DiCaprio? Tom Hanks?).

Anyway, I am so excited that I can finally share it with you! Man, I mean seriously! Just so totally awesome!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


There's a theatre festival here in Toronto that happens about a month after our big Fringe festival called SummerWorks. It is an opportunity for theatre artists to have access to some of the theatres in Toronto and showcase their work. The shows are chosen by jury, and each play/performance gets publicity and technical support. It's cool.

And I am pleased to announce that my play "A Weekend in the Country" was accepted. I will be directing it as well, and since I suck at directing myself I will not be acting in it. Besides it may be a bit overwhelming considering at this moment I am the director, writer, producer and stage manager (hopefully I'll acquire a SM soon). We'll be performing at the Factory Mainspace, and I am very excited about the whole thing!

Anyway I thought that in honour of the event, it might be interesting to those of you who are not in the theatre business to get a sense of what a rehearsal schedule for a play is like. As with everything I write here, there are different ways to do everything, and exceptions to every rule. This model I am giving you is used typically for already existing plays, not workshopping or experimental works. Oh and I am not getting into all the work the techies are doing at the same time as the play is being put together. I think if I did that this would be the biggest blog entry ever (having been a techie for a repertory company for 6 years, I can tell you, it's a lot of work).

- first read through
- full cast, director, with stage manager reading the stage directions, usually around a table and quite casual and relaxed

- rehearsals
- the longest period in the process where the play comes together. Often unfortunately most plays are churned out as quickly as possible, over perhaps the course of two to three weeks (obviously there are longer rehearsal periods as well if you are lucky and have the money for it). It makes it easier if the actors learn their lines as soon as possible. Some actors even learn their lines before the first read through. This makes blocking out the staging much easier, and allows for the actor to get into their character more deeply without having to worry about carrying a script everywhere with them. In this period, dances are choreographed, fights are staged, and actors become totally fabulous in their characters.

- levels
- towards the end of the rehearsal process the director, stage manager and lighting/sound technicians all get together for an extremely long night to set levels for the show. This means going through the script facing the empty stage and setting what the lights will look like for each scene, how loud the music will be and any other "effects" that will be used. Of course this level setting can only happen after all the lights have been put up and focused previously by the technicians. Nonetheless often during a level setting lights will have to be adjusted, and usually there are one or two crew members who have the oh so glamorous job of walking the stage. This means the crew person stands where the director wants the scene and actor in it to be lit, and the director et al make sure that the scene is lit correctly. It is a very tedious job being that person (I know, I've done it). You have to sit around for a long time, and then be ready to jump up and be right on the ball.

- cue to cue
- possibly the other longest night ever for the gang, this time the actors are a part of the fun. In this case the director, stage manager and technicians run through the cues of the show practising the timing and placement of each cue, with the actors going through their first and last lines of every scene between cues. So you have scene one where the lights fade up slowly and some piano music plays softly. Then you skip to the end of the scene where one of the actors cry out, "My word, he has a banana!" and the lights snap out with a crash of thunder etc. If the cue is not called correctly, or something isn't quite right, it will be corrected and then tried again. "My word he has a banana!" Perfect this time. If this is a musical, then there are many cues within a song itself, different colours of lights for different lines of songs . . . it's a very long process. Again the actors can get really restless, and well goofy, and the stage manager, director and technicians furious with the actors. I have been on both sides and I totally appreciate both perspectives.

- tech run
- a run through of the play with all tech and everything. Typically the actors are not in costume yet, though sometimes if a costume is tricky to contend with actors will choose to practice with it. Props, if they haven't already been used during the rehearsal process, will all be introduced at this point.

- dress rehearsal
- all the bells and whistles. Costumes, make-up, tech, props, special effects. If you are lucky you get a few of these rehearsals. More often than not, you don't. These rehearsals are often a mess because this is the very first time everything has come together. As such there is this superstition that if you have a bad dress, opening night will be amazing.

- previews
- rare for a small fringe show, but much more common for the big plays in the big theatres, the previews are a few shows done with all the bells and whistles and also in front of an audience (usually the tickets are cheaper for a preview in order to tempt people to come). They allow for the actors to get comfortable in the play while still technically not being officially opened yet. Reviewers will often come in at this point to review the show, and final adjustments, both technical and artistic (cutting lines, re-directing scenes) will happen here. After the shows the director will give "notes", reminding actors of things that they forgot, or improve on, or just saying, "Bang up job there chaps!", and also "notes" to the technicians, much the same way.

- opening night
- opening night

-the run
- the play gets turned over from the director to the stage manager (who calls the show, ie telling the lighting and sound people and backstage people what to do - giving them their cues which were established at the cue to cue all those many moons ago, as well as giving "notes" now). The director can then go off and direct something else as this show keeps running on.

- closing night
- closing night

- strike
- where the set is taken apart, costumes and props put away, and technical equipment brought down. In a professional house, this will be done by the crew and costume/makeup/prop people. If however you are doing a smaller show, everyone involved will take part.

-cast party
- what happens at the cast party, stays at the cast party

And there you have it! Again, very basic version of what goes on, told from the perspective of a small theatre show. In the big theatres everyone has their job to do, and you bet your booty that the unions will see to it that the right person is doing the right job. But when it is a smaller show with smaller funds and smaller casts, then it becomes a big team effort. And the best casts are the ones who embrace that. And then it becomes a really special thing.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Tap Dancing

Hey all! Time for some tap dancing!

What is this you ask? Well the fab J M McDermott tapped my blog as a "thinking blog" which I just thought was very lovely of him to do, and now as the rules dictate (and just because it is the nice thing to do) I would like to tap others in turn.

The rules dictate 5 blogs, but I am having a hard time finding that many, not because the content out there doesn't exist, but because the ones I happen to frequent have all already been given the award. So I have three instead.

The first person I am choosing is John Connolly, the prolific bestselling Irish thriller author who's recent novel, "The Book of Lost Things" was a bit of a departure for him. He updates his blog, when he is not busy book touring etc., around once a week, and I've always found his posts incredibly insightful and well written (even if they are simply about the day to day mechanics of his life, which are always my favourite posts). He really let's you experience the world of writing through his eyes, and I just think everyone should head over right now to have a read through some of his archives.

So Mr. Connolly - I TAP THEE!

The next tap goes to a now defunct blog that is still worth reading. It is the journal entries by yet another prolific author, Guy Gavriel Kay that relate the details of the run up to the publication of his book "Ysabel". Yet another very interesting read about the business, and well worth reading despite the fact that the journey is over, and also again, very well written.

So Mr. Kay - I TAP THEE!

And finally, I must tap my lovely writing/acting buddy Lesley, not just because she is my lovely writing/acting buddy Lesley, but because her entries are remarkably astute (that is when she has time to post). Sometimes observational, sometimes almost poetic (check out her rant about April), this blond bombshell deserves a nice tap I think.

And so Ms. Livingston - I TAP THEE!

For an explanation as to what the heck this whole tapping thing is, check out:

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

This guy amuses me . . .

And as such I thought I would share with you one of his many comics:

Don't ask me why this one gets to me so much. But I just could not stop laughing when I read this!

You guys (and especially the writers amongst you) should really check out his other stuff here: Keith Cronin

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A Spoiler Free "Lottery" Review

Yes ladies and gents, I have finally finished the fabulous Lottery by our lovely Orion [aka Patricia Wood] (and by finally I don't mean, thank goodness it's all over, but simply that what with real life getting in the way and everything and all I really want to do is read the book, I have finally got the opportunity to). Now fear not. There shall be no spoilers. But just for fun, since I've always wanted to do it, I will make you highlight to read this next bit:

I have nothing really important to say here but thank you very much for indulging me. You are a fabulous person, and may I just add, look rather fetching today as well!

You may have heard, or may not, that Lottery is a pretty popular book already. There is tons of buzz on the Internet and in the book world about it (and I feel honoured to be contributing to the hype) and it isn't even out until August. And you may have already read one or two reviews on the subject. So you may be a little tired of all the accolades being handed Pat's way. And if you are you may not want to read any further. Because, well, because I am going to add to them.

First here's the little blurb about the book from Putnam:

Perry’s IQ is only 76, but he’s not stupid. His grandmother taught him everything he needs to know to survive: She taught him to write things down so he won’t forget them. She taught him to play the lottery every week. And most important, she taught him who to trust. When Gram dies, Perry is left orphaned and bereft at the age of 31. Then his weekly Washington State Lottery tickets wins him 12 million dollars, and he finds he has more family than he knows what to do with. Peopled with characters both wicked and heroic who leap off the pages, LOTTERY is a deeply satisfying, gorgeously rendered novel about trust, loyalty, and what distinguishes us as capable.

Lottery is an interesting book. On the surface, it's something that we've seen before. Plot wise: a lottery changes a man's life. Character wise: a not typically intelligent main character making very astute observations on human nature. But whatever, it isn't about what we see on the surface. It's the panache with which Patricia weaves the story together that makes this book unique, and the effortless and fearless way she writes her lovely MC, Perry, that touches your heart.

The plot is simple, a man with an IQ of 76 wins the lottery, and then all this "stuff" happens as a result. Yet the lottery in this book is less of a catalyst for the story, but more of a structure. Perry's life becomes different and yet stays oddly the same.

Perry refers to himself as an auditor, because he listens. As such we are introduced to some fabulously inventive characters, his friends, his boss, and his family, all of whom reveal themselves to the reader through Perry as a filter. The choices that Patricia makes in these characterisations are just wonderful, which make these characters seem more like people she has observed from afar, than creations of her own imagination.

The story itself, which I really don't want to elaborate on because, well, you should just read it yourself, is handled deftly by the author. In less capable hands it could have quite easily veered off into the sentimental. However with Patricia at the helm we never quite run aground. With Perry she is able to address what one could define as "issues", while still maintaining a slight emotional distance because of the man's own take on people and the world. This isn't to say that the story isn't affecting emotionally. Trust me there are a few tears that are shed for sure. But we feel things because Perry feels them, because we have grown to understand him so completely, and not because we are reading about something that is "sad". You cannot help but empathise with Perry.

I'm sorry I can't say much more. I don't even feel it is right to talk specifics about the secondary characters, whom I really loved, because it is far more fun for them to be revealed to you as you read. Needless to say this is a wonderful book, and well worth reading. Not that I have any doubt it will be a huge success, but don't read it because of that. No bandwagon jumping here. Read it because it's a lovely story that will move you, and make you very happy that you got to be a part of that world.

Anyway, thank you Pat so much for the ARC! I was very flattered to get one! Best of luck (not that you need it)!


As a side note, I had the pleasure to be interviewed in my capacity as an actress by a lovely young lady who calls herself Miss Erin. Do stop by her blog to check it out, and to just read some of her blog in general: Interview at "Backstage Musings"

Thursday, May 03, 2007


I have an ARC!! I do! Or really what I like to call a pre-ARC. I call it a pre-ARC because as my editor explained, these are more like colour photocopies. They are making prettier ones in a few weeks where I will get many more to send off as I please, but right now they are trying to get them out to as many people as possible so they wanted to get the show on the road. Still I mean, it looks very much like other ARCs I've seen out there, like a soft cover book, so I can't imagine what more they are planning on doing with it.

But who cares?! I think it is absolutely gorgeous and I can't really believe I have a book! I mean it looks like a book! Like bound and stuff! My favourite part? The spine! Sounds silly maybe, but think about it, aside from the cover, it's the bit you look at most because when it is shelved next to other books, that's all you see. I love my spine!

Okay now for the story of the pre-ARC. I get a call yesterday morning from my mom to tell me it arrived. But my poor mom! My dad's out for the day so she's all alone, no one to hug or jump up and down with, so she's a teeny bit giddy on the phone. And when she brings it over to my place, she just refuses to leave and sort of just keeps smiling at me. It's very sweet.

Then I spend all day in my apartment doing whatever, and wherever I go I take my pre-ARC with me. A bit like a teddy bear or blanky.

Then I go meet the lovely Lesley for drinks, and I so have to bring my pre-ARC with me. We order and I show her and we get all giddy about it. And then the waitress comes back and I just have to show her. So I do! And then she gets all giddy! We notice how her hair is cut a lot like Alex on my cover. Then she goes off and Lesley reads the first chapter of the book. When the waitress comes back she tells us that she told the bartender who got all excited and that the next round is on them! So sweet and seriously unexpected! We chat more with her, her name is Kerry (and I am spelling this right 'cause we had a long talk about the spelling, how she was named after the County Kerry in Ireland, Lesley pointed out it was a good thing she wasn't named after the County Cork), and she is just as excited as we are.

And then I go home and read some of my book on the subway. I was hoping someone would come up and ask, "Ooh interesting looking book, what's it about?" so I could say, "Oh, you know, pirates. And see this? That's my name, I wrote it!" But alas no one did.

Finally I go to bed, and pick up Lottery to read more (which is so awesome and you will get a full review anon), but my book is right next to me in bed still.

And now it is here, looking up at me from my desk as I write this. My happy little pre-ARC. I think I'll call him Ted.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

That is the Question

Okay before I start this blog post, I just wanted to say, yes I changed the picture. And yes Lesley it was procrastination, but you were the inspiration, I noticed on your blog that big pretty picture of you and I wanted one for me too! I'm not sure if I'll stick with this picture, may want a happy smiling one really, but I suck at making decisions so maybe I'll play around a bit, and people can tell me which they prefer. I dunno.

Now for today's post on questions.

First of all let me say that there are no stupid questions. I come from teaching royalty, as most of you know, and as such learned this at a very young age. Every question has value, and you can learn from every answer. Never be afraid to ask.

That being said, there comes a time when the act of asking can detract slightly too much from the act of doing. That a desire to be validated, can hinder a chance to express yourself.

When it comes to writing there are certain questions that I think one should ask. "What is the proper way to use an apostrophe?" for example, a question which is oddly not asked enough quite frankly. These questions are quick, there is a definitive answer depending on the country you live in (as we know grammar and spelling rules vary from place to place), and one can move on.

However then there are the questions like: "Can one write a book about a bear who misses his mother so much that he becomes ill and only a small rabbit can save him by going on a quest to the big city?" There are questions like, "Should I write in first person or third?" And still others, "Is it okay that my main character is very unlikable?"

Now these questions aren't stupid, as I said there is no such thing. These questions can inspire debate, and philosophical questions about the nature of stories with bears, or which is easier to write, first or third person, or a discussion on the long lineage of anti-heroes out there.

But as an actual question to be answered? "Am I allowed to do this?" questions become far more problematic.

Because, you see, the real answer to any of those questions is: "Well write it and see."

And this is my concern now with all the writing forums, and the classes, and critique groups out there (and please believe me that I do think these all serve important functions - I am a member of many writing forums, have taken many a creative writing class and have a circle of friends with whom I share my work, and they theirs with me. I am simply commenting on the negative right now, as an olive branch I promise to write an entry on the positives as well later this week).

There seems to be a huge concern with writing in the "right" way. Of what is the 'correct' method of doing things. And that the thrill of discovery, of play, of, dare I say it, making a mistake, has been rather white washed.

The amazing thing to me about anything creative (this goes for acting as well) is that you really can go wild with your imagination. Go anywhere, do anything. What you come up with may not work, but there is nothing stopping you from giving it a try. And you know what, making a mistake, getting it wrong? It isn't the worst thing in the world. So it doesn't work out. Big deal. Try something different. At least you've learned something in the process.

You see the more we self edit, before we've even put pen to paper as it were, the less likely we are to get the job done. To constantly question, "Am I doing this right?" especially in such a creative field, is to narrow your line of vision. I was always told that the first draft of writing was the vomit on the page. You're just getting it out there. It's when you finish that that you go back and question, and edit, and fix up everything.

Anyway, this post doesn't go out to anyone in particular. We have all, in our own ways, sought out validation for our choices, asked leading questions in the hopes of overwhelming approval of our ideas. Okay, well maybe just I have. But I say in general, and to me too, really I need to hear this, the next time you start out writing, when the instinct comes up asking, "But can one do this?" or "Is this any good?", let's suppress the urge to ask, and just do. And just see what happens. It could be crap. No, it really could.

Or, you know, it could be brilliant.