and I'm sure some of you are biting at the bit to get started and others are turning around ideas in your head.
Being in your own head, trying to figure things out, is often a tricky part of the process. Which is where the Work Room comes in, it's a place to bounce around ideas and get tips that will hopefully be useful to you.
We haven't had a Mentor in a bit. That's changing today. I'm sure there are going to be some veterans surprised by this, but one of the things that I tend to hear from newbies and veterans alike, is finding their Voice and learning how to work it into something that stands out from the crowd.
So I went to my tool box of folks that I knew would have something useful to say on the subject, and found just the person.
We may not always agree on things, but I don't think anyone would deny that he's a talent writer, with a lot to say on the subject of not letting yourself get sucked into the mire of the uninspired.
Please welcome your Mentor for the week, hightekvagabond!
When Gary asked me to do this mentoring thing my mind went right to my own experiences in the
contest. I remember going into it thinking I was a pretty decent writer and time after time just being boggled at the posts that that did better than me from week to week. To be honest it was a pretty big blow to my ego but that turned out to be because I wasn't willing to accept that LJ Idol is more than just a writing contest, it's a community and votes are NEVER purely about writing. So, first things first, I say unto you: If you don't get as far as you expect in this contest don't take it as a reflection of your writing ability.
Of course, the next thing I went to was the question of what the heck to put into this intro as to who I was and why I was chosen, I mean really, aren't you sitting there going “Who is this guy and why should I listen to him”... Well.. I could give you Gary's reason's but he did that here.
So, instead I built a small robotic penguin from some pvc pipe, an old palm pilot and some motors I salvaged from a retired VCR because everyone knows that penguins have all the answers.
Unfortunately, I couldn't understand his penguineese so I allowed him to build me a translation
device which turned out to be lost in translation because he instead built an alternate universe, time traveling, transportation device.
During our travels the robot penguin and I had to conform to the first law of thermal dynamics
which caused our mass to be displaced in each of our transportation events which caused a house to fall on an evil dictator in our first location. So, as me and my robot penguin companion stared down at the body of a maniacal little man with a strange mustache we were approached by hoards of very short jewish people singing songs about dead nazies... and I thought “Yes, I should point out to these people that sometimes it's ok to be offensive, because it makes a point and gets attention”
During our second transportation, oh, wait, well, I can't tell you about that, I promised the penguin but let me just say, this stop cleared my pocket of all it's 1 dollar bills.
During our third transportation we landed in a weird little suburb where all the houses looked the same, except the one with the big orange splot on it. I loved the splot, it kept me alive and I was reminded of something else I had experienced in this contest which was the repetitive nature of some of the posts. Because when the prompt is “Airplane” it just doesn't matter how good the writing is you are bored out of your mind when you get to the third post about someone's first ride on an airplane. But, my companion and I quickly escaped before consumed by conformity.
During our fourth transportation we landed in the city of the LookAtMes all of which had some
problem. Now, my penguin friend and I both understood that problems exist in this world, but we found many of the LookAtMes kind of boring because it was ALL they ever talked about.
They couldn't find other subjects and they were so focused on pity that they totally missed the concept of continued communication. We escaped as quickly as we could.
After this last visit I couldn't handle any more so I pleaded with my new friend and he brought us home, but remember that first law of thermal dynamics? Well, it seems that during one of those transportations we were displaced with some sort of slime wielding Tasmanian Devil and my bedroom was wrecked. So, while my journey began well it ended very badly. Which reminded me of the last important note for writing: Open Strong and End Strong... the strong opening will keep them reading, and the strong ending will be what they think back on when they remember the post and are deciding if they are voting for you.
Now, I'm off to clean up this mess but I'm looking forward to chatting with you in comments and helping as best I can.