[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
What if you had a tie-breaker, and people gave you another tie?

The instinct is to keep at it until the tie (or someone) breaks.

But instead, I'm advancing both [livejournal.com profile] kbr_shorts and [livejournal.com profile] shanns_ljidol to Week 6, with a caveat: that they are doing so in a tribe of two.

So go forth and write - http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/971359.html you will be seeing each other again soon!

(You, somehow, manage to survive another head-to-head? Third times the charm. There's something special at the end of that rainbow)
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
A few words from [livejournal.com profile] clauderainsrm:

They had 24 hours to write, in order to stay alive in the competition.

Week 5 had ended in a 3-way tie, and the only way to settle it was with the blood of innocents pistols at dawn a good ol’ fashioned Write Off!

Unfortunately, one of them did not make it to the starting line. Which means they are automatically eliminated. Goodbye to [livejournal.com profile] thepheenixeyri. Really sorry to be losing you like this.

Thank you for coming out for the season, and I hope we will see you mount a comeback in Second Chances.

As for the two remaining contestants - there is only one spot and two writers who want it!

Which means it comes down to the will of the voters.

Read the entries. Comment. Vote for your favorite(s)!

They wrote these in dire circumstances, and deserve your attention and affection. So go show them some love!

You have until Friday, Jan 20th at 10pm EST to cast your votes and decide who will be staying, and who will be joining the Home Game.

Good luck to both of you!

[Poll #2061556]
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
The axe has fallen once again - and again, it was really close.

A single vote separated people from going and it being a 6-way tie.

Two votes? That could have created a 7 way tie. (or a 10 way if those 1 vote up also received a vote)

Anyway, what I'm trying to get across here is that *every single vote matters*. If you haven't picked up on that yet, now is a good of time as any to learn that lesson!

As is... we have two people being eliminated, and it's a 3 WAY tie! (AKA, that axe fell *most* of the way, but not *all* the way)

What this means is it's another Sudden Death Write-Off between

[livejournal.com profile] kbr_shorts
[livejournal.com profile] shanns_ljidol
[livejournal.com profile] thepheenixeyri

It's an Open Topic. Which means you can literally write anything you want. Bring it!

2 of you will be eliminated, and 1 will move forward to Week 6.

I'll be posting a thread below for you to link at. The deadline to link your entries back to that thread is tomorrow. Thursday, Jan 19th at 10pm EST

Have fun!
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
Good morning and welcome the LAST Day to vote!http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/969972.html

So make sure to get out there and support your favorites!


What massive conspiracy is distracting you from the *truly important* things you should be concentrating on today?
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
Make sure to take the time to read, comment and vote for your favorites! http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/969972.html and then spread the word, because the only way these people are going to get the love they deserve is if you do that - and the only way *you* will get the love *you* deserve is other people repaying that favor!

As writers, we need each other. This is no different. So get out there and give support to the work you enjoy seeing!


Speaking of, I've only watched the first two episodes - but I'm finding the show Fleabag. It's on the BBC, but is being shown on Amazon. (I'm not watching it on either of those. :D)

Every episode of the Nerdist Writers Podcast ends with asking "what are you enjoying", and it was mentioned on a recent show, talking about how they thought the combination of effectively breaking the fourth wall, combined with a rare "unlikable female lead" made it interesting. I'm enjoying it so far. I'm enjoying the interplay between characters and seeing the backstory develop.

What are YOU enjoying, that you haven't seen (many) other people talking about?
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
The poll is up http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/969972.html

and it's MLK Day.

I remember being in Virginia years ago and hearing that they had combined it into "MLK/Robert E Lee" day and thinking that someone *really* missed the point... or more likely, wanted to make a point of their own.
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
A few words from [livejournal.com profile] clauderainsrm:

I love LJ Idol.

It’s not just something I do to pass the time. It’s a passion for me. That’s what keeps me coming back week after week, season after season.

I hope that that love can translate through the series of tubes that make up the intrawebz and infect the rest of you as well.

Because what is happening here is something special, and I hope you are able to see that.

I also have fears though, fears that things won’t go well. Fears that this thing withering and dying.

Why am I mentioning this? Because the topic this week is “Fear is the Heart of Love” and I just mentioned “fear” and “love”, as well as tying it to LJ Idol, which owns a piece of my heart!

Now is the time that you get to take that piece of my heart and decide what is going to happen to it for a week.

It’s voting time, which means that everyone can come in and decide what is going to happen next. Use that power wisely.

Before we get to that though, we have the sad news of the people who have “byed-out”/missed the deadline without having a bye left. There are some newbies, but also some Idol favorites.

Goodbye to [livejournal.com profile] anastoff, [livejournal.com profile] barrelofrain, [livejournal.com profile] belgatherial, [livejournal.com profile] cheapxdate, [livejournal.com profile] cloworora, [livejournal.com profile] diaryofa_mom, [livejournal.com profile] fabrisse, [livejournal.com profile] feritatum, [livejournal.com profile] fourzoas, [livejournal.com profile] harmony83, [livejournal.com profile] l0retta, [livejournal.com profile] opal_owl and [livejournal.com profile] yuniebaby

Thank you for coming out this season, and I hope you are able to take part in Second Chances in the near future!

The two contestants with the fewest votes in Tribe 1 will be eliminated.

The poll closes Wednesday, Jan 18th at 9pm EST.

Good luck to everyone!

Click here to Vote! )
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
How is your Triskaidekaphobia doing today? Your Paraskevidekatriaphobia? Friggatriskaidekaphobia?

How is your Idoldeadlinephobia? Because that is coming up on Sunday. http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/968050.html

If you still need some help and guidance, stop in the Work Room and our special guest Mentor will be glad to help you out!


It's funny - because I remember as a kid and well into my teens I *loved* Friday the 13th. It was my favorite day.

Then it stopped being anything at all.

At some point I realized that I had taken on the cultural "Oh no - bad luck!" without really *meaning it*. It was like it had just seeped into my head "that's what you say about it".

That's the danger of just letting these things slide passed you without thinking too hard about them. Even completely ridiculous things like having an opinion about a day of the year. Because "mainstream culture" has a way of just sliding in and making no sense whatsoever - and if you're not going to make any sense, it should be YOUR version of "not making sense"! :)
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
Good morning.

There was a Write-off that happened last night, sort of - http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/968834.html

(at any rate, a tie was broken)

Your topic for the week - http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/968050.html
and there are some great conversations happening with this week's Mentor in the Work Room: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/968415.html She's a fantastic resource! I'd highly recommend picking her brain!


Yesterday, at work, I was reminded about intention and how little it matters. What matters is how people *interpret* actions. Even if those interpretations are completely from left field.

People often mentally compose their version of reality from these mistaken interpretations - which form their view of you, and often, the world itself.

Which makes life interesting - because I (or the universal "you" in this case) are most likely doing the same damn thing. And people wonder why they have so much trouble communicating with each other...
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
Write what scares you.
Write what gets you excited.
Write about Who you are.

That's what needs to be at the heart of everything you do. If it's not - then no one is going to care if you wrote a clever bit of dialogue. Because people want something *true*, an authenticity that they can feel in your words.

We live in a time when it's a click away to get somewhere else. The question people should always ask themselves is "Why should someone take the time to read what *I* have to say?" You should be leaving bits of yourself on the page, a trail of truths that people can follow back to something that will be more than "that was OK - what's next?"


Things on my mind at the moment (in the spirit of "talking about the things that scare us"):

I'm worried about my niece. She's transitioned into "the real world" and doesn't seem to be handling it well. I know that most of us went through a period of trying to figure stuff out, and stumbling around. But hers seems far more pronounced. I've tried reaching out numerous times, but she says she wants to talk about it in person and then cancels every time we're supposed to get together. I hope she does have some good people that she *can* talk to - but I know at least some of them have been giving her some really bad advice.

^ Is part of what I was talking about a few days back about having the "Dad brain". Discovering that I was worrying far more about someone else's future than I was my own. Which, in turn, is also a worry - because am I just assuming that I'm at "where I'm going" and the biggest change to come is eventual death? That's a terrifying notion.

Speaking of death - I went to a funeral on Sunday. Full confession: I didn't really care for the person who died. But she was important to people I *do* care about. She always seemed so "blah". Not really interesting at all.

But listening to the people talking at the service - there just seemed to be so much more. Stuff I had no idea about.

Everyone has those. Every single person you encounter. Everyone you pass. You are a minor player in *their* story as much as they are in yours. That's not only important for writers to remember, it's important for *people*. I had momentarily forgotten. Which is normal. We don't tend to keep that in the front of our thoughts. But that service really brought it home.

I wonder what people are going to say about me? I wonder how many people are actually going to show up?


In the worst transition ever - "speaking of showing up" - if you didn't show up last night, here's what you missed:

We have a new member of the 100 Weeks Club: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/967458.html

Week 4 Results: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/967722.html (There will be a Sudden Death Write-Off Tonight!)

There's a new Topic: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/968050.html

and a Work Room: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/968415.html

There's nothing to fear there.

But what IS keeping you up at night?
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
The results are up: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/967722.html
There is another member of our 100 Week Club: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/967458.html

and a new topic: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/968050.html

I also brought you a special treat - one of the most iconic members of the 100 Club, and definitely a bit of a legend in Idol circles.

She is one of those people who I have seen grow as a writer over the years. Which has been awesome, but even better, I've been able to see her life transform. That's one of my favorite things, ever. (and she is one of them as well)

Welcome to your Mentor for this week - the one and only [livejournal.com profile] gratefuladdict!


Hello, Idolers!! Thanks for having me this week. Let's talk about setting the mood!

The ability to create and sustain mood and tone is integral to great writing. This encompasses everything from the chill that permeates a horror story to the impish decadence of pillow talk, from the impassioned persuasive essay to the upbeat, friendly and professional tone of corporate email. It's a skill that draws your reader in as you build your narrative.

So, how do we do that?

For me, the biggest tool is rhythm. When I want to up the stress level in a piece - for suspense, hysteria, etc. - I create disjointed sentences that don't flow well. I'll do several short, staccato sentences in a row, and occasionally throw in a long, run-on sentence, so your reading pace starts to raise your blood pressure a bit.

If you want to see how a master does that, read The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe. If your heart isn't racing by the end, you have nerves of steel!

You can apply that same technique to create other moods. If you're going for surreal disjointed dream state (my personal guilty pleasure), you can write long, stream-of-conscious sentences that observe more than they judge or act. If you're making an argument about human rights or the culinary merit of sweet potato fries, start slow and measured, then build up to a crescendo of impassioned personal statements.

The key is to read it aloud, or have a friend read it to you. Make sure their voice changes where it should. Make sure they speed up or slow down in sync with the piece. If they don't, you might want to look at your sentence flow again. Shift things until your writing evokes that mood from them.

Another big piece is word choice.

If you are writing that a woman is good-looking, for example, there are a lot of words you could choose from. Is she beautiful, pretty, gorgeous, good-looking, handsome?

Take a step back and think about connotation, rather than just the denotation (literal meaning) of the word. For example, when a woman is described as "handsome," most of us tend to imagine someone whose features or dress are not particularly delicate or feminine. I imagine this woman to be someone who sees wardrobe as serviceable, but is neat and well groomed.

Conversely, if you describe her as "beautiful," I get something really different.* I imagine someone with striking feminine features - probably long hair, big eyes, and a curvy shape. I also infer something about the speaker's perspective - calling someone beautiful could suggest that person has "stars in the eyes" and is awed by her beauty.

And it's not only the connotation to consider here. Say your choices aloud, alone and embedded in a sentence, and see how the words feel in your mouth. They become part of that rhythm as well.

One last thought to consider! Don't underestimate the role that empathy plays in creating strong moods in your writing. If you're writing a personal essay, you might be doing this without realizing it! If you're writing fiction, it takes a bit more work. But if you can immerse yourself emotionally in the moment you are describing, a lot of that mood will come through naturally.

That's enough out of me! How do YOU create mood and tone in your pieces? Are there certain voices or rhythms that feel natural or more intimidating?

After ten seasons of Idol, have you mastered the ominous "hippie about to be kicked" tone?

*Disclaimer: Bear in mind that different cultures and subcultures can have very different connotations for words! It helps to have others read your draft and let you know if any of your word choices feel off to them.
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
Once again, I was going back and forth between a couple potential topics on my list - and Cynthia broke the tie.

So what did she pick? Not this one. I'm actually going the other direction, because the more I looked at it, the more it spoke to me as "Week 5". :) The other? Will probably be Week 6 or 7. :)

For now though, your topic is

Fear is the heart of love

You have until Sunday, Jan 15th at 6pm EST to link your entries back to this thread.
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
When I announced that there were 4 people leaving this week, what no one else knew was that 2 of them were going to be sacrifices.

Or at least that was the plan.

But the week kept changing and the 2 sacrifices were withdrawn, and another was offered.

So instead of 2 sacrifices that I knew about, we have 1 that I had no clue would be coming.

Sacrificing this week, from the Rivals group is [livejournal.com profile] zhent.

Also leaving us this week, from the Rivals are: [livejournal.com profile] poppetawoppet and [livejournal.com profile] tjoel2.

From the Friends, by an average of less than 1 vote, from Team Raspberry Pi : [livejournal.com profile] grail76

That's 4 really talented folks who I personally enjoy having around. So I certainly hope that they will find a way to get back into the game when the time comes!

Until then, I hope they Home Game!
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
In the weeks approaching today, I had all these things in mind for what I was going to do with my day off.

I accomplished absolutely none of them.

The one thing that is on *your* agenda for today is making sure that you finish reading, commenting and voting for your favorites: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/883570.html because the poll closes tonight.
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
I heard "Money for Nothing" by Dire Straits (regarded by many as an 80s classic) on the radio a week or so ago, and noticed that there seemed to be an entire verse missing from the song. Granted, I hadn't heard it in awhile and I don't tend to listen to a lot of commercial radio so perhaps I missed something.

A couple days later, I happened to have on the same station and (of course, because that's what commercial radio does) the song came on again and sure enough, there was an entire verse missing.

So I did a bit of research (note: very little) and saw that Canadian radio had actually banned an uncut version from their radio (or tried to, and now they seem to have some sort of compromise about it.

It's funny because I'm talking about it, but I don't want to actually repost what they cut. Maybe that says more about me than it does about the song though, because there was controversy when it came out (for the same reasons) but everyone, even the critics, understood that it was in the context of a character. The character was saying those words.

Which made me think of those who want to either remove certain "classic novels" from the shelves of libraries due to the words in them. Or put out versions with those offensive words removed.

Is it OK for a period piece - or a piece coming out *during* that period, being that it is speech "of the time" - to have language that would be deemed "not suitable" now?

With songs/books - is it better to remove something entirely than for someone else to come in and change or remove certain words?

With "radio friendly" versions of songs these days the artist is involved with it. Whereas when the push in the 80s (and indeed from what I read from what happened a few years ago with this particular song in Canada) the call was for the government to step in and regulate that sort of thing.

Is there a difference (to you)?

It's interesting for me to see what the next generation of writers will be thinking of as "how things are done" and seeing how those things are developing.
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
A few words from [livejournal.com profile] clauderainsrm:

The television is on in the other room, and a commercial just came on for “Christian Mingle”. Their slogan is “Where good people meet good people”.

Which, of course, made me think of LJ Idol and this week’s worth of entries. LJ Idol: “Where readers meet good entries”.

Or maybe “where messed up people meet messed up people”! ;)

I think both of those are pretty true. Which is what makes this place special. Or perhaps “special”, depending on your view.

It’s another week of voting though, and you have more interesting things to read than my introductions, so let’s get to it!

There were some bye-outs this week:

[livejournal.com profile] spydielives
[livejournal.com profile] uf0s
[livejournal.com profile] voidandblank

Goodbye and thank you for coming out. Except of course for Spydie. *kicks her on her way out*, just because!

I hope that you will take advantage of the opportunity to get back into the game when it comes.

As for the rest of you - I promised that this week was going to be the start of a voting shift, and it will.

There will be 1 person leaving from the Friends group.

and 3 leaving from the Rivals.

So 4 in total will be gone by the end of the week. So make sure to support your favorites: Read, Comment and Vote to keep those you want to live to fight another day!

Now that everyone can finally fit in one post again, the gang is back together! Get out there and enjoy it!

The polls will be closing Monday, Jan 18th at 9pm EST

Good luck to everyone!

Click here to Vote! )
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
One of the things that I've heard from people over the last couple years is that they find it difficult to write without Idol.

Which is, of course, how it should be.

After all, Idol is the source of all that is right and good in this life.

However, I know people often to write other things during the course of their life. I'm not sure why, unless it's something about how awesome LJ Idol is so that they can tell all of their friends about it.

But for those people having difficulty writing without Idol, perhaps I should start up a side business of giving them deadlines for tasks and/or kicking them like the dirty foreign hippies that they are.

Sort of an part "coach" and part cyber bully who would just show up to post daily reminders to them that their time to get things done is rapidly approaching.

Like, for instance, "Hey - the deadline for Week 5 entries is Tonight! http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/882027.html " followed by a series of kicks to remind folks that I care about them. Because nothing says "love and affection" toward people quite like routinely kicking them. Unless you throw in the insulting them and perhaps some laughing and/or pointing.
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
In an effort to keep everyone informed that they have no safety net, the following are out of byes:

[livejournal.com profile] dee_aar2
[livejournal.com profile] dreamsreflected
[livejournal.com profile] ellison
[livejournal.com profile] grail76
[livejournal.com profile] impoetry
[livejournal.com profile] lapis_lazuli615
[livejournal.com profile] misfitmanor
[livejournal.com profile] sinnamongirl
[livejournal.com profile] spydielives
[livejournal.com profile] uf0s
[livejournal.com profile] verseinabottle
[livejournal.com profile] voidandblank
[livejournal.com profile] witchwife
[livejournal.com profile] zhent

Which means that they either need to make sure they write an entry, convince someone to give them a "gift bye", join a team that shares byes, or tag someone else into the game to take their spot.


I've decided to keep doing this as a helpful "poke" to the people on the edge. Most of them probably remember. But just in case they don't... also as a way of outlining their options. (other than just dropping)

Of course, another reason is that I know few people can resist the "why isn't so and so on the list?" which will help me keep my spreadsheet up to date. ;)
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
Do you think Harry was able to get away or was Snape's ultimate sacrifice in vain?


Seriously though - Alan Rickman?


You still have a deadline, and that's tomorrow: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/882027.html

But in the meantime, take care of yourselves and those you love.


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