Thursday, August 27, 2009

Two October Writing Events Not To Be Missed

     The Poisoned Pen Web Con, the world's first virtual mystery convention, takes place on October 24.  It's not to be missed.  Come visit with your favorite authors (myself included) via panels, presentations, and coffee-shop chats.  Pitch a manuscript to an editor.  Some events will be via video, some by audio, and some, text.  All attendees will receive a goodie bag full of writings by those same favorite authors. 
          When's the last time you could attend a major mystery/crime writing conference for $25, travel and hotel costs included?  For full information, go to

     Warm up for this virtual extravaganza by attending the Field's End presentation, "Refueling the Creative Mind, with creativity coach, Jurgen Wulff.  This takes place on Bainbridge Island, WA, on October 17, just a week before the Poisoned Pen Web Con.  Check out Field's End Fall Event Page,

   Here are the details for the presentation:
Date: Saturday, October 17
Time: Registration: 8:45 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
          Presentation from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
(lunch break from 12:00 noon to 1:30 p.m.)
Location: Bainbridge Pavilion Cinemas
          403 N. Madison, Bainbridge Island
Cost: $65 early registration (August 1 – 31)
         $85 regular registration (after August 31)
         $60 group fee (5 or more people registering together)
In a presentation by this popular writing coach, writers will be led through a series of connected seminars to explore four innovative, right-brained ways they can prepare their creative minds for the acts of writing and revising. The seminars include
I. Alter Ego Strategies
II. Right Brain Visualization
III. The Q Method of Analyzing Text
IV. The Transformation of the Inner Critic
 Writers will be guided through a few brief interactive exercises during the presentation to illuminate these strategies and will be provided with useful handouts for application afterward.
• The goal of Wolff's presentation is to help creative writers to discover fresh, personally meaningful insights into their own creative lives as a way to unlock and engage their strengths.
• This presentation offers benefits not only to writers of all disciplines and genres but also to other creative people for whom storytelling and narrative are important components of expression.
• Come prepared to explore potential breakthroughs in your own creative process! Participants are not required to have a work in progress in order to attend.

Jurgen Wolff has taught creativity techniques and workshops worldwide for more than 15 years. He was also the publisher and editor of Brainstorm: The Creativity Newsletter for ten years (it now continues as an online publication).
His creative writing books include Your Writing Coach (Nicholas Brealey, 2007) and Do Something Different (Virgin Books, 2005; published in 5 languages).
His own work includes a long list of writing credits in the world of entertainment, including feature films, plays, short films, television movies and miniseries, animated films, journalism, short stories, radio scriptwriting and television series. He divides his time between London and California.
Jurgen's website:
Time to Write (blog):

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Wagner's Ring Cycle and Writing Mystery Novels

     I just finished my third viewing of Wagner's Ring Cycle at Seattle Opera. My wife is happy to bask in the glorious music, but I can't help getting involved in the story, and each time I've gone to these performances, I've taken more away.
     At every RHEINGOLD, I've privately urged Wotan to give the cursed ring back to the Rhine Maidens, but this time, it occurred to me that were he to do so, the story would have been very much like the one Tolkien wrote (though Tolkien always swore his books were not based upon Wagner's work, but that's another issue). Chase to the bowels of the earth after the ring, have an adventure recovering it from its evil master, overcome your own greed, return it to its proper owner, all's well that ends well. But Wagner's story and characters are far more complex and interesting. Wotan's failure to do right results in no less than the death of the gods, though his subsequent machinations lead in the end to the redemption of the world. Questions regarding love, honor, power, and destiny hold the viewer long after the operas are over.
     The lesson for a scribbler of crime novels: don't let your characters take the easier choice. Even if they happen to be gods.