Category Archives: Archives 2011

Marcantonio play debuts

“Tears for Llorona,” a new play written by Patricia Santos Marcantonio, debuted on the stage of the Twin Falls Center for the Arts on Nov. 4 and 5.
The play is a first for Marcantonio and is based on one of Marcantonio’s short stories that is included in “Voices From the Snake River Plain.” The play is a retelling of an old Mexican ghost story but with a new twist.

It was produced by Carolyn White and the Magic Valley Arts Council, and was directed by James Haycock. The play also featured an all-Latino cast.

Poster

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Filed under announcements, Archives 2011

Does doubt keep you from writing?

My friend and I have been writing for more than ten years. In that time I have published two books, many stories and several articles. My friend has published nothing. Her problem, I think, is that she is afraid of success.

Just last week we had a conversation about a short story she wants to submit. She has been working on this story for several months now. She has even taken this story to her critique partners for feedback. Now that the time is nearing for her to submit, she is second-guessing her story. “Did I put in too much?” she asked me. “Is it going to be good enough?” she worried.

“Don’t talk yourself out of submitting,” I warned. “Send it out and get on with your novel.”

The self-doubt my friend is experiencing is normal. Many writers wade through doubts every day. Faced with a blank page, they often freeze. They ask themselves, “What do I have to say that’s important? What do I have to say that hasn’t already been said a thousand times?”

Carleen Brice, author of the novel Orange Mint and Honey, (which inspired The Lifetime Movie Sins of the Mother), recently said that as a writer she has doubts every day. “I’m working on a rewrite of my third novel, which sometimes fills me with so much anxiety I want to crawl not just under the covers, but under the bed,” she writes in a guest blog.

I know the feeling. I, too,  battle self-doubt. Instead of hiding under the bed, I turn on spider solitaire and eat up all my writing time matching suits in digital decks of cards. Why do I do this?

Audrey Marlene, in her article, “Self-Doubt – An Illogical Perspective”, says doubt can be caused by many things, including

• Feelings of inferiority
• Low self-esteem
• Feeling a lack of control over your life
• Believing you are not good enough or smart enough
• Anticipating failure even before you begin
• Rejection
• Believing that your emotional security depends on someone or something

It all boils down to fear. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of losing control. Fear prompts me to focus on what I cannot do rather than what I can do, or on what I desire. Marlene claims the best way to let go of self-doubt is to build self-confidence.

I want to be a writer, and I know that I have to push self-doubt away if I want to be successful. To help banish my self-doubt, I continue to hone my craft, and, if I’m feeling particularly negative, I’ll call a writing buddy to help get back on track. I submit. If my work is rejected, I submit again.

I’ve been writing long enough to know that every word I write isn’t golden. I’ve come to accept, even anticipate, rejection because I know that writing is subjective. I’ve learned that if someone says it isn’t good enough, I can rework the story or throw it in the garbage, where it might possibly belong.

William Shakespeare once wrote, “Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.”

Conquering fear isn’t easy, but it gets better with practice and positive self-talk. I will remind my friend of this the next time she claims her story isn’t good enough.

Are your doubts traitors? How do you push through them to achieve your writing goals?

-Bonnie Dodge

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Filed under Archives 2011, Question of the Month

Standing room to hear paranormal investigator

A Ghostly Affair drew almost 50 people to the Twin Falls Co. Historical Museum.

It was standing room only to hear paranormal investigator Marie Cuff

Marie Cuff discussing paranormal investigation

Almost 50 people turned out Oct. 15 to hear Marie Cuff of Boise, executive director of the International Paranormal Reporting Group, discuss paranormal activity in Idaho.
The International Paranormal Reporting Group has been serving Idaho and Oregon since 2000 and is a member of the TAPS organization.
The event, held at the Twin Falls County Historical Museum, was sponsored to kick off submissions for its upcoming book, “Hauntings from the Snake River Plain.”
Cuff discussed the mission of the group, talked about different types of hauntings and shared audio and video clips from the group’s investigations.
Check out a news story on KMVT-TV about the event.

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Filed under announcements, Archives 2011

Talking with Connie and putting memories down on paper

Concepcion Santos


Recently, I returned home from visiting my mom, Concepcion Santos or Connie to her family and friends. At age 86, she is fragile yes, and a little forgetful, but still funny and full of memories.
Sitting in her room or taking a drive, we talked about those memories.
She talked about how she and my late father eloped to Raton, New Mexico. They met at a dance, where he played guitar.
About her days as a cook at the Colorado State Hospital. She didn’t drive so we took turns picking her up from work. I remember my father turning off the engine and we’d hear to the screams from the inmates.
She talked about how her grandmother, who had lighter skin, used to powder her up so she would not appear too dark.
When we passed by an old railroad station, she recalled working at a nearby laundry as a young woman during World War II. She and other female workers would run to the station and wave at the soldiers passing on the trains.
My mom, who admits she is very nosy, told the story of hiding behind the hedges in our front yard to check on a wild party going on across the street. The next day a neighbor and she chatted about the party. The neighbor said it was wild because someone was crawling around in our front yard.
She talked a lot about my father and with such joy that I half expected him to walk in the door carrying his big smile and lunchpail.
With pride, she talked about how my grandfather used to write plays, although he had to make his living working in a steel mill.
In stories and books, I have written several memories told to me by my mom and dad. I only wished I could have written more before my dad died. The stories become the makeup of my characters, and give me inspiration for other stories.
As writers, we probably seek writing ideas all around us. But I suggest you also look back home to the people who have lived a full life.
They have beautiful, sad, poignant and joyous stories to tell. We just have to listen.

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Filed under Archives 2011, Question of the Month

Read how bad endings can ruin your good story

Check out Patricia Santos Marcantonio’s comments on her website, http://www.patriciamarcantonio.wordpress.com

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Are word counts making you crazy?

This is a wonderful article about sets out loose guidelines for novels, from YA to thrillers.

http://www.guidetoliteraryagents.com/blog/Word+Count+For+Novels+And+Childrens+Books+The+Definitive+Post.aspx

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Red, Michael Corleone, Hannibal Lector — Unforgettable characters all

Charles Foster Kane, Hannibal Lector, Atticus Finch, Red, Ellen Ripley.
You’re probably thinking what do these people have in common. The answer is that they are all unforgettable characters.
They are in movies I can’t pass up when I’m flipping around the channels. They make me stop what I’m doing and watch them. Shawshank Redemption, The Godfather, Silence of the Lamb, Alien, Citizen Kane, To Kill a Mockingbird. The list goes on.
As writers, we have to ask, what makes them unforgettable? What makes them universal? Why do we remember what they say and do? What are their goals, both interior and exterior? Why do we love their strengths and weaknesses? What are their character arcs?
I am fascinated by Michael Corleone’s slide into corruption even as he rises to power. I love how Red in Shawshank Redemption is so strong, but not enough to hope. Ripley’s character in Alien is tough, vulnerable and a survivor rolled into one.
In The Searchers, Ethan Edwards displays an almost psychopathic hatred of Indians, but puts that aside to save his niece. In the end, he remains an outsider.
While brillantly brought to life by wonderful actors, these characters still were born on the page by a writer who forged them out of words. They wrote their dialogue, gave them motivations, strengths and weakness, complexity.
Charles Foster Kane is among the most complex. Enjoying the power of money, but he does not totally understand what money can’t buy. He wants to be loved, but doesn’t know how to give it and may not even love himself.
William ‘Bill the Butcher’ Cutting in Gangs of New York is indeed a butcher of people, but when he blesses the young man who eventually tries to kill him, we feel his vulnerability, fleeting as it is.
My goal as a writer is to create unforgettable characters. One readers will relate to. One they will remember and tell their friends about. A character they wish they knew or one they wouldn’t want to be locked in a room with. One they might quote.
I hope I can accomplish that, and as Andy told Red, “Hope is a good thing.”

For more unforgettable movie characters go to.
http://www.filmsite.org/100characters.html

-Patricia Santos Marcantonio

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Why do you write?

In a recent interview with Amanda Turner, host and producer of The Writers’ Block on Boise Community Public Radio based in Boise, Idaho, I was asked what advice I would give aspiring writers. “Know why you want to write,” I said. Running out of time, I added a few words about best-selling suspense writer Ridley Pearson, and the interview was over.

If I had had more time, I would have elaborated on that answer. I believe every writer should know why he or she wants to write, and here’s why. There are many reasons to be a writer. Not all of them have to do with becoming a published bestselling author. The way you measure success has a lot to do with your goals. For instance, maybe you write because:

  • you are a wordsmith, and like to play with words
  • you like to express yourself in writing
  • you like to tell stories
  • you have something to say
  • you want to make money
  • you want to see your name in print
  • you want to be famous
  • you want to be published

At base level, writing is writing. You sit down and put your thoughts on paper. You rearrange the nouns and verbs until the sentences make sense. For some writers this is enough; their success is seeing their words in written form. For others, success might be writing a story that has been passed down through generations. Others may not consider themselves successful unless they have published one book, two books, or earned a hefty advance.

I use Ridley Pearson to demonstrate what a successful writer looks like not because he’s a bestselling author, but because he knew what he wanted to accomplish as a writer, and did it. Some years ago, I attended one of his workshops at a writer’s conference before he was multipublished, and this is what he told us. He wanted to be a bestselling author before he turned forty. So he studied the industry and took steps to make that happen. He learned the craft of writing, did extensive crime research, targeted a specific market, networked, and queried. If you ask him, he will tell you he didn’t become famous over night. But he had a goal, and took the needed steps to make it happen.

Which leads me back to my advice for writers. Know why you want to write. It could be as simple as writing in your journal every day. It could be as complicated as writing a thousand page epic and getting it published. It could be to simply play with words. We all write for different reasons. Knowing why will help you get to where you are going.

-Bonnie Dodge

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Filed under Archives 2011, Writing

Writing is rewriting….

Yes, we’ve all heard the phrase. But this is a good article about why it is indeed important.

http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/19bb0be3#/19bb0be3/64

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Build your platform if you haven’t already

As writers, we need to do more than just write these days. We need to know how to market our writing. Here is a nice article on the topic.

http://www.writersdigest.com/article/elements-of-a-successful-fiction-platform?et_mid=270113&rid=22058720

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