Monday, October 31, 2011

The Mist of Stuart Mountain

(a Halloween story just for the fun of it. Took me 1.5 hours to write, and it hasn't been edited; they'll be lots of mistakes but enjoy anyway).

The dog howled, not barked, howled. Then stopped. The noise was preferable to the sudden silence.

Inside the vacation cabin, Thomas held an open book on his lap. It made him look like he was reading. Sue stopped in mid-knit.

“The dog?” she finally questioned her husband.

“I better check on him,” Thomas said, closing the book and putting it on the new end table made to look rustic. “Probably got his foot stuck somewhere.”

Sue rose when her husband did. “Wait. The dog would still be howling if it was only his foot.”

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


National Novel Writing Month is just less than six days away! The suspense is building, like it does when someone says, "On your mark. Get set..." AND GO!

NaNoWriMo is in November and during that time, writing enthusiasts try to write a novel with a minimum of 50,000 words from scratch. The website allows you to track your progress and become friends with other writers. If you're a young writer (17 and under), you get to choose your target word count through the Young Writers Program. It's a chaotic, intense,

Friday, October 14, 2011

Book Away!

My MG Fantasy novel, White Fire, is completed for Round 1 of editing. Phew! 

It's being critiqued by my writer's group, an editor friend, and family members who have an eye for good storytelling. Then comes Round 2 of editing. I already know I left off a couple of chapters...not the whole chapters, just I forgot to put "Chapter 4" and "Chapter 5."

My poor editor friend got my pre-edited version without me realizing it. this good or bad? She liked it before she knew that it was not my edited version. So either she is being a little too gentle or maybe she really liked the story. I'm going with "liked the story" because I sent her the story on Thursday, she finished it

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Typing up the Edits

Besides Christmas and molasses, I don't think there's anything slower than typing up the edits made on my printed out manuscript. The process is thusly:
Look down at the manuscript for scratch outs and additions.
Look up at the computer screen and scroll to that page in the manuscript.
Look down at the paper to verify where you are.
Look up at the manuscript to find the exact spot.
Look down for the changes and memorize what those are.
Look up and highlight the letter, word, sentence or passage.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A How-to Theatre Book Written

Wow, I get to combine theatre and writing in this blog post. 

Finally, after years of plodding along, I finished my theatre book to my satisfaction. It's a how-to-teach-theatre for elementary teachers. Knowing that their time is limited, I wanted to write something that was easy to follow. So the book has sets of 15-minute activities that help develop theatre skills. But why bother? Because kids can use these skills for a lifetime! It helps with how they see and present themselves, how they communicate, and even how they read.

I used to substitute teach and I noticed that when it was time for "art," there was always only one kind--visual art. Not that that's bad but that was the only

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Gadzooks, Look At the Time

Kudos to those parents who let their kids take their time coloring crowns. 
Cwerks had a booth at Riverfront Family Fun Festival today and our hands-on activity was crown-decorating. We cut out crowns for the kids, they would use markers or crayons to decorate them and then we'd fit them to their heads.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Face of Mime

What words do you think of when you hear "mime": White face. Black outfit. Silent. Mocking unaware people. Avoid.

Do you think of the animated tough guy on Rapunzel? How about the caterpillar on the street corner in A Bug's Life? Remember the mime that Dustin Hoffman pushes in Tootsie? (That's a while back, isn't it?). Even Garfield had a mime in one of his cartoon strips.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Return to the Fairy Tales

"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." —Albert Einstein

I love this quote, probably because I love fairy tales. I don't know if what Mr. Einstein said is necessarily true; I don't find myself genius level. But I can be darn creative sometimes. And reading to kids is a brain booster. Anyway...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


And that's what I'm doing. Just thought you should know because that's what it comes down to if you want to be a writer---WRITE!

Just to carry the thought a little further: There are many who think of being a writer. That's a good place to start. Nowwww, it has to move you to action. So, you write. If you've written a handful of stories--literally, one handful of stories--it's time to write more. Keep writing. My husband, then-older-teen son and I were attending a writer's conference. As we hung out in the hotel room after a long day, my son asked me, "How many

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Part of good theater etiquette is laughing! Seriously, it's laughing in the funny parts. Audiences seem to have forgotten this. Or people are too scared to be the first to laugh out loud. Don't be afraid to laugh--enjoy yourself! A friend was part of a theater group for years and sometimes audiences just didn't respond. The cast thought they had blown it but after the show was over, they heard many comments to the effect of "it was so funny, I could hardly contain myself." Well, don't contain yourself, laugh! Several director friends like me to attend their plays because I "seed" the audience--I laugh out loud and the rest of the audience takes permission from that and they start to laugh, too. Laughter is contagious and fun. It's energizing to performers. It just darn well feels good. So laugh! (and you don't have to wait until you're in an audience to laugh; you can also laugh at your--for instance--husband's dumb jokes :D )

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Guess Who

Our writer's critique group had fun the other day. We each wrote a 1000 word story based on the setting of "beach" that we printed out with no name and no title on it. When we arrived for the meeting, each manuscript went face down in a pile. A neutral observer (my daughter) mixed them up and handed them out. We labeled the manuscripts A through E and read them aloud one at a time.

We were not allowed to look at the manuscripts or hear any part re-read, except for the one we read out loud. We just had to guess who wrote it and

Saturday, July 2, 2011

How Do I Feel About Editing?

Daunting! Overwhelming! Frightening!
A bit exciting when one discovers one's story isn't as bad as one thinks.
A writer friend likes the editing process. As this is my first novel (my focus has been picture books and scripts), I guess I'll find out if I like editing.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Being Loud is One Thing But...

...being loud enough is another. It all depends on your audience--who they are, how many, how far away the person farthest away is, and where they are.

There have been many times that I've been in a large group of people and the microphone that was being used suddenly doesn't work right (TDO=technical difficulties occur). Rather than wait for the microphone to click back to life, a person says, "I don't need a microphone; I'm loud." Unfortunately, there's more to being heard than being loud. In theatre, it's

Friday, June 17, 2011

Let Your Kids Give It a Try

Thursday, a couple of kids I've been coaching performed a short Tortoise and the Hare skit for the local library's preschool storytime. I'd say the show lasted all of four minutes. The script was one of mine, written for a couple of kids to perform. This script is not to be confused with the two-person script of the same name that runs for 45-minutes and is meant to be interactive with a large audience. This is one of two scripts written so a couple of young friends or siblings can perform for mom and dad or grandma and grandpa. Or in this case,

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Books on My Shelves That are Falling Apart

You know the Velveteen Rabbit story, right? The stuffed animal is so loved through the years that his fur starts to fall off. Well, I have books that are like that--falling apart, I mean, not with fur falling off. So they must be the books I really LOVE. And here they are:

Monday, May 2, 2011

Pirate Guns, Sound Effects and Jokes

We performed Captain Bobella of the Beast last week. It's an original pirate story of a cruel pirate captain (me) and Lagee (Chris), a sea-loving pirate. Captain Bobella is yelling at everyone to swab the deck or practice knot-tying, and Lagee brings in her hat. But he's smiling, so Captain Bobella yells some more and gives Lagee a long list of chores. Then she exits to go inspect the galley. Well, Lagee loves the sea so much he starts telling pirate jokes* and laughing. Captain Bobella enters on the run with gun (bought from

Monday, April 25, 2011

More Reading or Is It Time for Action?

Some of the writing books on my bookshelves are Writer Mama by Christina Katz; Steering the Craft by Ursula K. Le Guin; and The Writer's Digest Guide to Query Letters by Wendy Burt-Thomas. Now remember, these are just some of the books on my shelf (and all good, by the way).

Next to my desk, I have notes from writer's conferences I've attended for many years. On my computer, I have bookmarked

Friday, April 22, 2011

VICTORY OVER THE MICROPHONE, or How to Use a Microphone to Your Advantage

If you have to use a microphone
Something you abhor.
If you have to use a microphone
But feel like running out the door.
If you have to use a microphone
And you find a mentor.
Maybe that microphone won't scare you anymore.
(based on Shel Silverstein's If You Have to Dry the Dishes)

May I be your quick tutor on microphone usage? It's not too hard to use a microphone properly but on the other hand it's not hard to use it improperly either. So...

Monday, April 18, 2011

An Oral Report? Don't Let Your Child Shake in Their Boots

Just because a student has the words down on paper doesn't mean that he or she's ready for that oral report. Reading what's on the page--even if your child is a good reader--still doesn't make giving the report easy. Work with your child to prepare and improve in these five ways:

Monday, April 11, 2011

Creatively Ruin Something!

In February, I posted about glitter glue because I was working on a new costume at the time. It was slightly scary using that glitter glue; I had no idea if it would work out. But I plunged ahead and was pleasantly surprised by the results. And that's when I told myself, I needed to be brave and creatively ruin something everyday. What's funny is I find I still get a little--or a lot--nervous right before I start being creative because I'm pretty sure I'm going to, sure enough, ruin something.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Creativity Take-Over

I started by sketching with pencils...and not the cool drawing pencils; usually, it's a click pencil I have handy in my purse. After I filled a couple of purse-sized sketch books, I grabbed another with the idea that this sketch book had to be filled with color this time. I bought the really fancy/expensive Prismacolor pencils...I've only colored about 5% of the sketches in the book. Nevertheless, once you start being creative,

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Blogspot URL has Changed

Because of the new name of my blog--Encounters in Writing and Theatre--I went ahead and changed the blog spot address:
The other address of "" will no longer work.
Yay...change...can I stand it?
Or will I go crazy?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ed Speak: A Follow Up to Educational Theatre

Thinking about the post on "Educational" Theatre, I decided to practice Ed Speak (the highfalutin words used to take a simple educational act and make it sound like a treatise). It's really quite the writing exercise and can be dang funny when you realize what the words are actually saying. Here goes:

Students will learn teamwork as they create a visually and

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"Educational" Theatre: A Pet Peeve

In the schools, I've performed numerous assembly programs, taught theatre and directed productions. Sometimes it's been through arts-in-education organizations, and other times it's been through my theatre company. What flabbergasts me is the question of "and what will be the educational value for the children?"

Apparently, art--visual or performing--is not educational in and of itself. It's only

Monday, February 21, 2011

Ice Breakers from the Vaults of Theatre Games

A friend asked if I knew of any theater games that would work for ice breakers. (Perhaps you've seen the same ice breakers over and over again?) So here are three ideas:

1. What's Your Name and Your Claim to Fame
     If the group is larger than about 30, then it will need to be split up into more manageable sizes. If it's a rather large group and everyone is sitting around a table of about 10 people, then each table will be it's own group.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Did We Use the Same Thesaurus?

Or do all writers do a lot of "musing"? I was doing a bit of research and came across several writer blogs with the subtitle "Musings of a Writer." So today I couldn't stand it any longer and changed my own subtitle because it used the "m" word. Good clang! We writers/performers/etc. need to stop musing so much and

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Children's Theatre Excitment!

There's one in Seattle this year!
I stumbled across the information as I was googling "theater for young audiences blogs"--you know, to see if there was an article I just had to tell you about. And I find Theatre for Young Audiences, the USA arm of ASSITEJ (it's French:  Association Internationale du Théâtre de l’Enfance et la Jeunesse). And TYA USA is having a conference in Seattle. In Seattle! That's a few hours

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The 9 Everyday Ways People Use Theater Skills

Theater. So unessential. So superfluous in the general scheme of things. Right? Actually, I believe the opposite--theater skills are essential, necessary in day-to-day life. Here are 9 ways theater skills are used on a regular basis:
  1. Oral reports. Usually something just

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Amazing Properties of Glitter Glue!

What a cool invention is glitter glue!
How unique!
How simple!
Yet it just adds something to a project.
e, for instance, a blue formal and silver glitter glue...

Because it's acostume and because I found it at a second-hand shop for only

Saturday, January 22, 2011

And When You Get to the End...

Can you name that quote? It's from Disney's Alice in Wonderland (I have no idea if it's in the actual book). I love the quote! More people ought to use the concept! Including me!

I'll set the stage: It's the tea party with the Mad Hatter and the March Hare. Alice is supposed to tell them her story or problem or something (I haven't watched the movie in awhile; maybe I'll do that later). And Alice "hardly knows where to start." Hare says, "Start at the beginning." Mad Hatter adds, "And when you get to the end...

Monday, January 17, 2011

What a Lot of Hams!

There are a lot of normal people out there who are so not-normal; they are hilarious! I need to hire them. The other day, we were out doing a clowning gig and part of the schtick was to bring a few props and costume pieces so the birthday child could act out Jack and the Beanstalk with the guests. I'm afraid the clowns made Birthday Child a little too nervous but the whole family--along with the guests--pitched in with the show (and I'm talking the

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Do I Really Like Writing? Or Is the Grass Always Greener...?

On my to do list: finish landscape cross stitch; start dragon cross stitch; 1/2 done quilt; just started quilt blocks, two quilt kits waiting in the wings; cool outfit sewing project; restore treadle machine; paint kitchen; volunteer somewhere in my community; crochet a scarf; remove blackberries; de-clutter; read more books; decide what's truly