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posted by [personal profile] e_underwood at 01:26pm on 01/05/2009
Hello.... is anybody out there?
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posted by [personal profile] e_underwood at 05:04pm on 08/10/2007 under

FYI, I friended a few of you. Now I have to get back to work now because I still haven't found a way to make these stories write themselves.

BTW, welcome to the tribe.

Erin VPX
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posted by [personal profile] e_underwood at 08:35am on 03/10/2007 under , ,
I was reading a few LJ posts this morning and came across Kate Elliott's advice for new writers (pt 1). What she says smacks of common sense through and through. However, it's so easy to forget that if you want to be a good writer, you need to keep writing in order to improve.

Kate's post has started the wheeling turning in my head (which is always a scary things!), and I decided to write down a few of the biggest challenges that I have faced as a new writer.

Below continues a few of my biggest obstacles as a new writer. )
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posted by [personal profile] e_underwood at 08:53am on 26/09/2007
So, I'm thinking that I must be slowly going mad. Last night I had a dream that I was dying. It was the final seconds of my life and I was lying on the ground looking up at an unpainted beadboard ceiling. That's all I could see no matter where I looked. In the background, playing through some unseen speakers was the song "Time Warp".

I'm lying there, knowing this is my final moment of life. The end isn't only near, it has come! And the last song I hear is "Time Warp"? What the heck!@!*#&#(@!

Now I have the song booming through my head:

It's just a jump to the left
And then a step to the right
With your hands on your hips
You bring your knees in tight
But it's the pelvic thrust that really drives you insane,
Let's do the Time Warp again!

I want a do-over on my dream!
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My first semester at Stonecoast is about halfway over. The last few months have been pretty difficult, but I wouldn't trade them for anything. I have read more books than ever because I've switched to commuting to work by train. What a difference that has made on my study time!

I've also submitted several annotations and two stories to my mentor, and I've just received his comments on my September packet. Clearly, I still have things to work on (which is why I'm here), but I see a shift in his comments. He's no longer focusing on the predictability of my characters and the flatness of my stories. There is improvement! Yeah!

The feedback that I received this month was much more engaging than what I received on my previous stories. My mentor was able to comment on the complexity of the characters and layers of the plot rather than just focusing on story mechanics. As a result of his evolving feedback, I'm struck by the notion that the best way to see your improvement is through the criticism that you receive, and I'm definitely starting to see a change in the type of comments that I receive on my work. This is very exciting stuff! This is exactly why I enrolled in the Stonecoast MFA program.

The month of October is going to be a killer with 3 stories due in early November. I'm really going to have to kick into high gear to get my pieces ready, but I have this nagging fear that I'm going to be submitting 1st or 2nd draft work for the January workshop.

This raises the question of how polished do you make your work before sending it to a workshop? If you polish a story to the point of gleaming, is it worth workshopping? Is it better to workshop a story that has problems so that you get some new perspectives on potential fixes? I'm not sure what the best solution is on this front. Does it really matter as long as the prose is readable and your critiquers won't be distracted by annoying line editing issues. What do you think?
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So, instead of writing like I should have today (please don't tell Jim Kelly), I spent the day making my first ever fan video for the tv show Doctor Who. Here's the URL if you want to check it out.

Not only is this my first ever fan video, it's also my first ever video. I put it together with some clips from the
Doctor Who TV show, and set it to the music of Doctor My Eyes by Jackson Brown. It's a little rough in spots and I think I could have done something different with the compression of the video to make it runs a little
smoother. But hey! I'm just learning, right?

I hope you enjoy it even if you don't know who Doctor Who.
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There's a fairly new site on the Web called BookTour.com. I've just spent some time checking out the site, and it looks like a really great tool for bringing authors and readers together.

Basically, this site serves as a central warehouse of dates and times for author appearances and book tours. It uses a simple to navigate interface for people to find your events anywhere in the US, UK, Australia, and Canada. If you're doing a national tour, this could be a useful site for promotional purposes.

The only caveat is that you actually need to go to the site and input your travel schedule manually. However, in the big scheme of things, it's only a little extra work that could payoff by bringing people to your appearances.

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posted by [personal profile] e_underwood at 08:50am on 13/09/2007
During the Miss Teen USA contest, Miss Teen South Carolina was asked why 1/5 of Americans weren't able to identify the US on a world map. Granted the question itself is pretty damned scary, but the answer is worse. In fact, I think her response really says all that needs saying on the matter. Check out Miss Teen South Carolina's response and let me know what you think.

I've never been a strong supporter of beauty pageants since many people look at these women as ideals for us to follow. Now, I know that's not true of everyone, but these women are role models and there should be standards that span from beauty to intelligence (and more) to get into these pageants. Is this really the best that South Carolina has to offer? Is this really the best the US has to offer?

It's been clear for many years that the US isn't investing well enough into our educational system. Sadly, Miss Teen South Carolina has been made a very public example of the educational deficiencies without our country and she's going to have to bear the very public scars caused by her lacking education.

------- update -------

Here's a video follow up from the Today Show. I think it helps to explain what she was going through up on that stage.
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posted by [personal profile] e_underwood at 03:43pm on 12/09/2007 under
I liked this Doctor Who skit so much that I had to share it with you. It's a skit with David Tennant and Catherine Tate.

Doctor Who Skit

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posted by [personal profile] e_underwood at 12:33pm on 10/09/2007 under , , , , ,
In the spirit of using Sherwood's idea of using LJ to network, I thought I'd put this request out for everyone's review......

For my 3rd Semester Project at Stonecoast I am going to be adapting a screenplay from an 18th Century lyric poem (which I don't want to name here). In addition to writing a full-length screenplay, I'll also be writing a paper on the adaptation process. As part of my research paper, my program director also wants me to do research on other screenplays that have been adapted from poems.

As part of my research, I would love to interview a couple of writers who have adapted screenplays from poems, short stories, and novels. I'd also like to interview authors who have had their work adapted into a screenplay by someone else. If you have done this and would like to be interviewed by me or if you know of another writer who would like to be interviewed, please send me an email at: erin_underwood at hotmail dot com

I'm still in the developmental phase of my research, but I'd like to get a few interviews lined up for the near future. Realistically, I'll want to start interviewing people between November 2007 and March 2008. I'm happy to work with your schedule and to do it in the most convenient way possible for you, including email or phone.

..... Ok here's the crazy part of the request .....

I would really value being able to interview Neil Gaiman since he has not only adapted screenplays from novels, but he's also adapted the new Beowulf film from the poem. Since I don't know Mr. Gaiman, I thought I'd throw this request to the wind and see if there really is magic in the world.


Thank you for your time and consideration. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Erin M. Underwood
Stonecoast MFA Program, Popular Fiction S'09


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