Sunday, July 13, 2008

Welcome to my blog; why the title, dawg?

As one who has, for years, mocked blogs for their endless blather
about insipid minutia, I am proud to announce that I, Jill Dearman,
have become part of the problem! Archive this post, under "If You
Can't Beat 'Em, Join "em." So let the games begin! (Speaking of which,
I am also part of the brand new Creativity Central Super Blog, care of
colleague: My blog is called The Game
of Writing). Now that, I've landed on the former side of the question
"to blog or not to blog", it seems that I can't stop! Ariana
Huffington, watch out! (And by the way, I greatly admire your
fabulosity, darling).

So, my dears, a few words about the title of this blog, a few letters
really. The "BANG" in Bang the Keys! is an anagram for a four step
writing process I have used with great success, as a writing coach,
and as a published writer myself. Here's the story, clean not whore-y:

I once attended a Torah lecture in which the creative process
(according to ancient Jewish mystics) was likened to the process God
used to create the universe. I have adapted what was first
communicated to me in an esoteric way, into an accessible method,
using four easy to remember steps that form the anagram, BANG!

The progression of steps in the creation of the universe, the rabbi
said, was very much like steps in the creative process. Each step was
aligned with a letter in the Hebrew alphabet. Each letter, he
explained, contains deep primordial meaning: Yud, Hei, Vav, Hei.

Yud, the spark that began the universe is now the "B" for "Begin", for
the only way to begin is simply to begin; Hei, the form the world
takes, is now "A" for the arrangement of your ideas into a concrete
shape (whether novel or nonfiction book, screenplay or sitcom script);
Vav, which means "connection" is now "N" for the nurturance needed to
nourish the creation, because if you don't love your work who will?;
and the final Hei is now "G" for go, the final letting go that will
allow the work to live on in the real world.

Step 1: BEGIN with your strongest idea.
Step 2: ARRANGE your work into a concrete shape.
Step 3: NURTURE your project with love so that others can love it too.
Step 4: GO! Finish and let it go so it may live independently in the world.

Since this is the first Bang the Keys! blog, let us begin with a few
exercises that revolve around beginnings:

Exercise #1: Setting the tone and finding the voice or your piece is
often the hardest part. Write one (substantial) paragraph in which you
answer this question: What is the mood or feeling you want to induce
in your reader/audience? Find ONE word that captures your answer and
then riff off that word. Think of the mood you induce when you walk
into a room. Be just as aware of the mood you are setting for your
piece, in this single paragraph. (And no, you can't just cue the

Exercise #2: Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace may have sucked
(Jar Jar Binks, we hardly knew ye) but Batman Begins rocked (and I
can't wait to see The Dark Knight!) but there is something enticing
about a prequel, isn't there? Write one page, not of backstory, but of
stand-alone story that could serve as the scene that comes BEFORE the
opening to your piece.

Let me know how it goes and please, come again!


lorettafeeney said...

Well this is very cool. I hit a button and now your feed is on my Yahoo home page.
I look forward to all your posts.
L Feeney

Shotmonster said...

Like all media, some blogs are useless blather, some are actually helpful and entertaining. Fortunately, this falls into the latter camp. Keep on trucking.

Jill Dearman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jill Dearman said...

Thanks! And shotmonster thank for turning me on to Lajos Egri. "The Art of Dramatic Writing" truly rocks.

Zoola said...

Love the "Jar-Jar Binks" exercise! This is really helpful in terms of getting a good grounding so that the story isn't happening in a vacuum. A great idea, and much more fun that simply writing "back story notes."

Noa Jones said...

Hi Jill - I just happened to check in on you yesterday during the web browsing portion of my advanced creativity avoidance technique and I came across this. To my delight! As always a few words from you inspire pages of work. - noa

Laura Esther Wolfson said...

Jill, thanks for your generosity and for making it your mission to inspire every damn scribe who happens your way. Your warmth pours off of my computer screen in waves. I loved the "Bang the keys!" tagline even before I knew the Hebe backstory.

Laura Esther Wolfson
aka The Loup

AlexTwersky said...

i'm definitely on a quest to improve my writing and find my voice. anyone who can as deftly weave the torah and star wars into her inspirational and useful writing tips is worth their creative salt. i am going to pay close attention to what you've got to say as i try to figure out how to make all these keyboard buttons sing in harmony...

Deborah said...

I love the BANG concept - it's so active, and so encouraging to all us poor scribes who spend so much time mired in procrastination. If you keep writing, I'll keep reading!

splonkt said...

Can't wait for more! Hm... deletions and blank spaces always make me wonder- what the hell did they say? But online community can bring out the very worst in people. Looking forward to your next post!

cml said...

yo jillyd -
Blog on! (sure to very soon replace "rock on!" as the interjection of millions). the website looks great, and I think it's great that you're here interacting with the hoi polloi (that would be moi). I'm writing science constantly these past two months, so it's interesting to see writing about writing. There are elements of similarity, but I gotta say the commissioned for money not love medical/science writing gig is a different animal from straight up creating. But one must always Begin, indeed, and that is always the hard part... . I'll check back sometime to see what's what.

Jill Dearman said...

blogging for fun vs. prophet, eh?
oh and fyi - I deleted my own comment (loss of brain cells -- posted same comment twice by mistake!)

Daleth Carey Hall said...

Oh, it's just uncanny. I read the post, did exercise #1 (with my next story in mind), and then I clicked on the link to "The Game of Writing"--and there's a sentence that fits the mood I wrote about for exercise #1: feeling, as you put it, "like I was traversing a series of opposite universes: the living and the dead.... At once I was inside of all of them, and my vantage point was clear and clean; I could see through each lens, with no overlap, no confusion." That's where my main character ends up in this next story--after shifting between present and past, living and dead, she ends up, as you put it, "inside all of them, [her] vantage point clear and clean..."


grey cape said...

Thanks for all your great help and advice today Jill.
Really feeling excited about the progress.