Sunday, July 17, 2011

Storywonk Story Generator

Having trouble coming up with a good idea for a new story or book? Try Storywonk's Story Generator

Here are a couple of ideas it gave me tonight: 

He's a psychotic fashion designer with an MBA from Harvard; she's a charismatic geek with an attractive smile. Together, they must learn to use their special powers before midnight. 
 He's a selfish con artist with no sense of humor; she's a respected millionaire with one leg. Together, they must put on a show in the midst of a farce.

Beaucoup entertainment for any writer!

(The site owners do warn: The small print: the StoryWonk Story Generator is not intended for serious use, and the StoryWonk minions are not responsible for any distraction, insomnia, skin rashes or fantastic novels which may result from its use.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

TV or Not TV, That Is the Question

(Sorry to rip off Hamlet's most famous line, but I can't resist corny puns.) 

Today's Topic: Television.

For years I spent little time on TV viewing. I was a Reader. I found most TV shows boring or inane -- to me it was indeed the boob tube.

In recent years, however, I've changed. I spend as much time watching TV as I do reading or online. I've discovered shows in syndicated reruns that I never viewed when they were in active production: Seinfeld, The Office, Boston Legal, Scrubs, NCIS, Criminal Minds. (Yes, I know NCIS and Criminal Minds are still in production, but they both have a long list of past seasons to rerun for my viewing pleasure.)

More than reruns, however, I've found new cable TV series that are thoroughly engrossing--well-written, with great production values and wonderful performances: Deadwood, Game of ThronesJustifiedThe Killing, RubiconTreme, True Blood, The Walking Dead, Boardwalk Empire. These are all cable network productions, and at least half of them from HBO. I have a kind friend who not only subscribes to HBO, but also has a giant TV, so viewing these shows in her living room is a home version of a movie theater experience.

(Ah, with what scorn I used to look down on people who placed such importance on their televisions as to make them the centerpiece of their homes. Now I wish I had a giant TV. Shades of Fahrenheit 451? But no, I still read. I don't get all my information from TV. A lot of it comes from the Internet, and I still subscribe to my hometown newspaper.)

I digress. Anyway, I recommend the series I've mentioned above, all excellent entertainment, and some of them thought-provoking. And good for writers, too, because they're so well-written. You can sink into them purely for pleasure, or you can sit back and analyze them from an authorial point of view, to learn helpful do's and don'ts for the modern writer. (Because, frankly, nowadays readers like things that are written like movies or TV--lots of dialogue and action, low on expository passages and narrative.)

You can get any of them in DVD for past seasons. My Netflix queue grows longer every day.

Friday, July 08, 2011


 I love donuts. There's a new donut shop in New Orleans called Blue Dot that's getting rave reviews. In addition to the usual varieties, it has some exotic flavors on the menu -- Red Velvet, Maple Glazed with Bacon, Key Lime Crumb, Almond Joy -- to name just a few of the fancies. They also sell ice cream in only-in-New-Orleans flavors: Creole Cream Cheese, Bananas Foster, White Chocolate Bread Pudding, Nectar Soda, Chocolate City Chocolate. (The ice cream is produced by New Orleans Ice Cream Co., not by Blue Dot.)
Photo by Rusty Costanza, The Times-Picayune
Blue Dot owners: Brandon Singleton,
Dennis Gibliant, Ronald Laporte

The part that really tickles me is that it's owned by ... wait for it ... COPS

Plus it's in my old stompin' grounds, Mid-City -- Canal Street at North Hennessey. I gotta try it soon. Next time I eat at Mandina's, I'll stop at Blue Dot for dessert!