The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Wayang -er- Washington Irving

I was almost going to let Halloween go by without an appropriately thematic post, and then an old classmate shares something he’s narrated — and sharing is scaring!

“Leveling Up” your Writing Prior to NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo is almost upon us, so I’ve been posting articles for what many writers call National Novel Prep Month.

(I’m mainly going to hype my writing in an anthology this month… and also work on some scriptwriting).

In this installment, Shannon Valenzuela goes into some actions you can take to make the most of your prep.

Real Secret Societies You May Not Know

What with the casting I’m working on for our show, Quorum, I’ve been thinking about actual secret societies, and how secret they actually are.

Enter Jackie Mansky writing for Smithsonian magazine. Per the article, actual secret societies are often centered around good causes (certainly as far as the members are concerned). Not only that, but these days, they’re aren’t not too secret. Indeed, their existence is often in plain sight even if their purposes might seem mysterious.

Yeah, a traditional secret society in Quorum would totally be a front organization designed to throw people off track.

Or is that what the actual secret societies are doing? </dramatic-chord>

Cleaning Up Personal Data Online

Firmly in the “getting around to it” folder is this NPR article about changes with Google’s tools to take personal information out of searches from earlier this year.

More later this week. Right now, I’m in the midst of a sizeable casting for Jabberwocky Audio.

9 Steps to Build a Strong Plot (NaNoWriMo Prep)

NaNoWriMo will be upon us next month, and so for a lot of people, October is National Novel Prep Month.

(I’m mainly going to hype my writing in an anthology this month… and also work on some scriptwriting).

Now, if you read last week’s post and decided that you are more of a plotter, writer Derek Murphy has a 9 step “plot dot” for you. For some, you’ll quickly pick up on the fact that this is quite in line with the “hero’s journey,” which may not fit with the novel you’re trying to write. However, for many species of novel and feature film, there’s a key conceit that this story is a chronicle of something that happened that was quite extraordinary, even on the personal level of a single level. Implicitly, we, the readers or audience want to know “why is this night is different from all other nights?” as it were. So whatever your story’s goals are, you gotta deliver.

R.I.P. Angela Lansbury: A Grand Dame for the Ages

Dame Angela Brigid Lansbury has died at the age of 96.

You can read obituaries and appreciations of her career in:

And if you want to celebrate her many parts singing memorable songs, Playbill has a wonderful video compilation. Amazing that she simply termed her voice “serviceable.”

Angela Lansbury’s career spanned over 70 years… and not just as a friendly matriarch

Indeed, if you find many folks feeling blue, it’s not only the longevity of her career resulted in so many memorable roles, but the fact that she was an icon, role model, and graceful force to be reckoned with in film, on stage, and on television.

Lansbury as the petulant and lethal Princess Gwendolyn in The Court Jester

I know many of the remembrances point to her amazing performance in The Manchurian Candidate. If you haven’t seen the film, its worth seeing for her alone (I picture Lady Macbeth seeing Lansbury’s machinations and saying, “No notes.”). However, my favorite villain role for her is probably 1955’s The Court Jester, where her petulance as a pampered princess is only matched by the peril she poses.

Lansbury having an American meat pie -er- hamburger with co-star Basil Rathbone in the Paramount Studio commissary

Of course, there’s also the wonderfully caring yet callous (and, at least for quality control, cannibalistic) Mrs. Lovett from Sweeney Todd.

All this before she was Mrs. Potts or Jessica Fletcher.

So 96 years is a damn fine run, especially because she spent so many of them working, but it’s sad to see her go. What a Dame.

May her memory (and balloons) be a blessing.

Are You a Pantser or Plotter? (NaNoWriMo Prep)

NaNoWriMo will be upon us next month, and so for a lot of people, October is National Novel Prep Month.

(I’m mainly going to hype my writing in an anthology this month… and also work on some scriptwriting).

This Monday’s entry is important, as we’ll be midway through this prep month before you know it and you need to ask yourself: am I pantser or a plotter? Will Soulsby-McCreath walks you through some thought exercises to narrow down your preference.

I really enjoy the questions — and remember, you can use some combination. That’s essentially what I do, though my method is likely worth its own post at another time.

Oh Yeah: Columbus Day

I mean, if I’m going to post for the vikings yesterday, I might as well do this today:

Yes, there’s way more nuance to be had in the historical record. For now, enjoy the snark.

Vikings in Myth and Movies

I fell down a YouTube rabbit hole earlier this year, going through the various “experts in [X] talk about the treatment of [X] in movies.” When I saw this one, I knew it had to be this year’s Leif Erikson Day post. (Because of course I have to have a Leif Erikson post. Have you seen my name?).

Sci Fi versus Fantasy

A meme tickled Twitter users’ fancy late last month and for good reason: it was a pair of pithy comments contrasting science fiction and fantasy and skewering the related tropes for both.

Mignon Fogarty has a good collection over at the Grammar Girl, but be warned! You’ll start wanting to do your own.

To whit: Sci Fi is this blog on an encrypted server you’ll need some cyberpunk hacker to access. Fantasy is this blog on ancient parchment written in a language few alive still speak.