Monday, November 1, 2010

Monday and Seven Tools

November 1st didn’t start too well for me. I needed to change my blog template today. When I installed the Breast Cancer Awareness pink one on September 30, I had absolutely no problems, so I was hoping for an encore.

Alas, it was not to be.

After trying to switch the old template (which I’d carefully saved), I kept getting numerous error messages. I finally found a note on a Google search, which indicated I needed to unzip the file. I downloaded the suggested free program which included other features I didn’t want, but had to get, and still couldn’t get the template to work.

After hours of wrestling, I finally resorted to purchasing another template.

Then I took Lucy the puppy for a walk. However, I forgot the county changed our trash day to Monday. The wrestling had only begun.

Note to self: Never take Lucy for a walk on trash day.

"Lucy, come on. Lucy, get away from there."

There’s way too many good smells wafting out of those trash receptacles, which have been pushed to the curb. It was walk—stop—smell—walk—stop—smell all the way.

Tired, and feeling like my arm might drop out of the socket from all those tugs on the leash, I decided to sit down at last with my November issue of Writer’s Digest. It’d been languishing on my desk for a couple of days, and I hadn’t had a moment to crack it open.

When I zeroed in on an article by James Scott Bell, I knew Monday was turning around. My first encounter with James Scott Bell was at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer’s Conference where he was on faculty one year. An actor at one point in his life, he’s an entertaining speaker.

I took pages and pages of notes from his class, and when I started writing screenplays, I remembered he’d been a screenwriter prior to becoming a novelist. His cinematic way of thinking is one of the reasons I believe he’s such a successful novelist. So I returned to my notes, which I've read and reread. His book, Plot and Structure, is a must for every fiction writer. I’ve since heard him speak several times at other conferences.

One of the things punctuating my memory from the first time I met him is that we both wound up in the conference lunch line at the same time on more than one occasion. It made me nervous, because at that point, I’d never read one of his legal thrillers or suspense volumes. I tend to read more along the lines of what I write. Embarrassed to admit to him that I hadn’t read his work, I need not have worried. He was so gracious about it. We both agreed it didn’t matter what genre I read or wrote. His teaching is so basic to the fundamentals of fiction that writers of any genre would benefit.

Though James Scott Bell is a former lawyer, because I’ve heard him speak so many times I know “…his delight is in the law of the Lord…” Psalm 1:2 When I think of him, the words faith and integrity come to mind.

His piece in Writer’s Digest this month on dialogue is called “Master These Seven tools for Talk” and includes many great suggestions that I can’t wait to try.

So, Monday turned out pretty well, after all.

Now, if I could just find articles on “Seven Tools for Template Changing” and “Seven Tools to Train Your Wild Puppy Lucy,” I’d be in great shape.

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