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I was tagged in the ‘Elevens Tag’ by Emily Dring at Ficklebrain. So, it looks like I’ve got eleven questions to answer. If I have tagged you, you’re next! Look to the end of this post for my new eleven questions and get typing away…

How to play Elevens Tag:

  1. Post these rules.
  2. Post a photo of yourself (if you want to) and/or eleven random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the questions given to you in the tagger’s post.
  4. Create eleven new questions and tag new people to answer them.
  5. Go to their blog/twitter and let them know they have been tagged.

Mary Ann Manga Face

1) Is there anything that you like that most people don’t, or that you don’t like that most people do? Getting up in the morning and having to interact with other people. I like to start my day very slowly and quietly, puttering, drinking tea, hugging my cats, and not talking and rushing around. It’s one of the reasons I don’t like the idea of a regular office job. I’m a night owl through and through, and the world is always getting in the way.

MA&ZU

2) Can you name one funny thing that you believed to be true when you were younger (which isn’t true)? That it’s frivolous, irresponsible or foolish to be an artist. That art is a nice hobby, but you have to do something sensible and practical to survive. Now I know that if you are called to be an artist, in any medium, then that’s what you need to do. Follow that passion. Use your talent and vision. I regret not following my instincts when I was younger. I was always trying to be sensible, please others and make them proud. Now, I’m trying to make up for lost time. Trying to get closer to the real me.

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3) Which fictional character do you relate to the most and why? Jo March, because she knows what she wants, she is determined to get it, she just doesn’t fit in, and she is willing to give up the love of a good man and the good life he can provide her to pursue her dream of becoming a writer. And Elizabeth Bennett, because she’s idealistic and a bit naïve, an introvert, and believes in true love.

4651808861_7ae17b432c_z4) Can you name three places in the world that you would like to visit but have not yet had the opportunity to? Thailand, Greece, Eastern Europe (Prague/Warsaw/Kiev)

5) What has been your proudest achievement so far in life? Completing three novels. No, having my son. No, completing my novels. No, wait… Having my son taught me about commitment and discipline and patience and integrity, and that made it possible for me to write my novels.

my son when he was small

6) How do you think we can tell ‘good’ writing from ‘bad’ writing? Good writing doesn’t get in the way of the story, either by being too awful or too spectacular. It’s pleasurable to read beautiful writing, but I don’t like to be distracted from a well-structured, creative, deep and entertaining tale about interesting, believable characters. That’s the main thing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA7) If you could only drink one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Probably tea. But I’d miss white wine.

Elizabeth_II_greets_NASA_GSFC_employees,_May_8,_2007_edit8) If you were the Queen of England for a day, what would you do first?  I think QEII is a pretty strong, incredible woman who has generally been a great monarch for the modern world, under trying and constantly changing circumstances. I admire her. Maybe I would try to get the Royal family to step back out of the spotlight a bit more. Let them find normal. Even though the English people seem to like what they do, and of course there’s the whole noblesse oblige thing. They do live a life of incredible privilege, but at a high price, I think. And the press won’t leave them alone, anyway.

9) What exactly is it that gets you really excited about a book, film, programme or song that you love? … a well-structured, creative, deep and entertaining tale about interesting, believable characters. The character arc.

10) What good quality do you possess that you don’t think gets enough exposure? I’m very tolerant of others’ differences. Very open-minded. But because people are often embedded in who they are and what they believe, and not afraid to express opinions, I find I often bite my tongue, not wishing to offend those with different views to my own. I always figure I’m better off listening and observing anyway, and maybe I’ll learn something that will change my mind on a topic. This has happened many times already. So I don’t hold too many strong opinions. It probably makes me appear weak-minded or dull, but there’s a lot going on upstairs. Sometimes it’s because I just don’t have a position, for spiritual/metaphysical reasons. I’m very apolitical. This makes blogging difficult for me. I can’t abide empty chatter, and I don’t like to lock in too many ideas either. I’m constantly working things out.

S-Tolerance

Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority. The more uncivilized the man, the surer he is that he knows precisely what is right and what is wrong. All human progress, even in morals, has been the work of men who have doubted the current moral values, not of men who have whooped them up and tried to enforce them. The truly civilized man is always skeptical and tolerant, in this field as in all others. His culture is based on “I am not too sure.” -H.L. Mencken, writer, editor, and critic (1880-1956)

11) Why did you start blogging on WordPress? Well it was/is just a web site to begin with.  A place-holder, so that anyone looking for me (the unpublished writer) would find the right me. Then, because I understand writers can’t be eccentric hermits these days (much as I’d like that), and I need to create an author brand, a community, an island in the vast sea of the internet that can be my home. A place to figure out who I am and who I’m talking to, and what I have to offer. I’m still working on that.

There we have it! Eleven questions answered, and now eleven to ask! Even if you weren’t tagged, please feel free to play along. Here are your eleven new questions:

1)   What is your favourite happy meal?

2)   What genre of fiction do you love the most and why?

3)   What belief do you try to convey through your blog, explicitly or implicitly?

4)   What dangerous thing do you dream of doing, if only you had the courage?

5)   If you could live your life over, what one decision would you change, knowing what you know now?

6)   Do you believe there is life in other galaxies?

7)   Who is your favourite comic actor and what do you love about him/her?

8)   Which book have you re-read the most?

9)   If you could learn and master a new skill, what would it be?

10)  Which real historical character do you most admire?

11)   If you could live and work in any city in the world aside from where you are, which one would you choose?

My eleven tagged bloggers are:

1) Karalee @ http://5writers5novels5months.com

2) Christine @ http://christine-ashworth.com

3) Gretchen @ http://gretchenkwing.wordpress.com

4) Maggie @ http://maggieamada.com

5) Karen @ http://KarenMcfarland.com

6) Kim @ http://KimCleary.com

7) Lynn @ http://lynnkelleyauthor.wordpress.com

8) Jason @ http://JasonAndrewBond.com

9) Connie @ http://stilettosstoliandscribbles.wordpress.com/

10) Arthur @ http://arthurcrandon.com

11) YOU

 [Are we connected on Twitter yet? If not, why not? Let’s get sharing – find me at @Mary Ann Clarke Scott.]

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6173548853_05969af167I just had to repost this from The Fickle Brain because I agree with it so much. I’ve always been addicted to learning, and can vouch for the fact that the more I learn, the less I feel I know. This has posed a problem when it comes to blogging, by the way, because in the glut of information that we all swim today, how can I possibly have anything worthy to add to the pile? It makes it very difficult to decide what to blog about, and feel that I’m not just taking up space with words that someone else, someone better qualified, could say in a much more erudite manner. Still dealing with that, but at least I’m able to pass along this post from The Fickle Brain

 Real Know-It-Alls.

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Writing is a solitary affair, as many have noted before. And, ironically, filmmaking is a highly collaborative effort, although often screenwriters are excluded from the process once the screenplay has received its final edits. This past weekend I participated in an innovative, collaborative INTENSE workshop for screenwriters that involved a talented group of actors as well. This connection proved to be a unique and fascinating education for all of us. The more we got involved, the more our work resembled play. And when your work feels like play, you know you’re on the right track.

394540090_28fc78726f_zThe workshop, called The Ring Screenwriting Intensive, was developed and taught by Michael St. John Smith of McIlroy & Associates of Vancouver, an experienced actor and screenwriter. The three day workshop covered both the basics and many unique, in depth techniques for screenwriters to learn and hone their craft. Scenes written during the workshop were then cast and read by actors also participating in training workshops. Bringing together these two groups is both innovative and extremely valuable. As I mentioned, they don’t often work together, and yet there is so much to benefit both when they can begin to see how the others think and work, not the least of which is a larger understanding and respect for the skills and discipline of each group. Working face to face with actors and having them bring your written words to life, all in the matter of a couple of days, is at once terrifying, validating, exhilarating and humbling. A writer immediately realizes that locked away in their solitary writing studio, they cannot achieve a completely realized project without a deeper understanding of what others with talent and specialized skills will bring to it once it leaves their hands. One is left with a sense of both renewed confidence and also humility.

Energy levels were very  high all weekend, and although drained by the end, I felt an almost euphoric energy both within myself and in the room as this collection of creative, talented and passionate writers worked through exercises, viewed film clips, shared ideas, sharpened their pencils and immersed themselves in storytelling. It was electrifying. Afterwards, as the workshop wound down, it was clear we were already feeling a sense of withdrawal from the intimate community of minds and personalities that we’d forged in such a short time.

Fortunately, The Ring workshop is new, and so its developers, Michael and Andrew, are very open to input regarding improvements, further developments and platforms to allow this fledgling community of writers to be sustained. Walking away at the end of the weekend, I can say I have a healthy appetite for more of the same, and a strong desire to ensure this community lives on and thrives. There is no excuse for sitting in your writing studio alone and cut off from the world when a community of writers and others can so energize and empower your work. Besides that it’s the most fun I’ve had in a long time. I strongly recommend The Ring workshop for those in the Vancouver area, but regardless go out and find like-minded individuals with whom to share your ideas and passion. There’s nothing better.

Have you had a similarly empowering experience? In the comment section below, tell me about your experiences working with other writers or actors to develop your craft, or a similar experience in a different field.

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See how good I’m being?

I said I was going to write, and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. I’m up to about 88,000 words on my WIP Coming About. I’m smack in the middle of writing my climactic scene, in which… no wait. I can’t tell you that. That would ruin the surprise.

At this rate, I might just complete the first draft of this manuscript by the Surrey International Writer’s Conference on October 20-23. I know, more workshops, but I never miss it, and by then it will be a well- deserved break. I registered for three Master Classes this year, and I’ll be pitching. Probably The Aviary again. Maybe I’ll even sell it this year. But I’d be happy enough to start with agent representation.

Back in May, when I pitched to a couple of editors at the Write On Conference of the RWA-Greater Vancouver Chapter, one of the two asked for a full manuscript (not sent yet) and the other talked about how difficult to define Women’s Fiction is, and how important it is for writers of women’s fiction to work with an agent, who can get to know the work and target it to the editors and publishers most likely to appreciate it.

True, true.

On the subject of women’s fiction, I want to note here how much I appreciate Amy Sue Nathan‘s regular women’s fiction writers blog, in which she interviews… wait for it: women’s fiction writers! I have discovered many terrific new books and authors here, expanding my reading list every week, and I particularly appreciate the stories of their journey to publication. Amy asks each of her guests to define women’s fiction, and although there is overlap, each one is unique in its perspective. This week’s guest, Stacey Ballis, author of Good Enough to Eat and soon to be released Off the Menu, said it thus:


I have always found it interesting that if you are a woman who writes a book with female characters about life and love and relationships and career, it is called Women’s Fiction, and if you are a man who writes a book with female characters about life and love and relationships and career, it is called A Book.”

Hmm. Yeah. Well, nuff said.

In other news, I’m doing my happy dance because– I just got tickets to Sting’s Back to Bass tour in Vancouver December 9th. I haven’t seen him since the Police reunion tour a few years ago. Yay! I’m not really dancing. I’m not much of a dancer. Except in my head. In there, I’m definitely doing my happy dance. ; )

Back to work.

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