Posts Tagged ‘women’s writing’

Improv Storytelling & Creative Writing Workshop in Santa Fe

Friday, February 21st, 2014
My Saturday Improv Storytelling & Creative Writing Workshop in Santa Fe has filled up!
 
Now we are adding a Sunday workshop 3/16/2014- who is game? Contact me at b mayfield media at gmail dot com and I will send you the PDF with all details. Space is limited. Hope to see you in Santa Fe soon for this epic adventure.
 
And Peggy Pfeiffer of BadDog Design has 3 excellent social media workshops coming up. I’ve taken them. They are great.
Here is the link:
http://e2.ma/webview/qy7xh/95de554579c92f665f71f8de9183b629
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Author Blog Hop – “Your Next Big Thing”

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013
From one of my new paintings - write a story that has a magical blue bird in it.

From one of my new paintings – write a story that has a magical blue bird in it.


Barbara Mayfield here. Thanks to author NancyKay Wessman for the invitation to join the Author Blog Hop: “What Is Your Next Big Thing?” interview series.

Who will play Mrs. Iptweet in the film????

The question is answered in my post today on my blog.

 

With links to all the author blog hoppers, and to the stars I intend to book for the movie….

Here’s a wonderful article about Mrs. Iptweet on Children’s Retail today.

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Barbara’s Path to Authorhood, Part 2 – Improv Storytelling

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012
Writing prompts are everywhere.

Writing prompts are everywhere.

The house where the improvisational storytellers meet is built into the side of a mountain, eight slow minutes from the Santa Fe plaza, down a washboard dirt road.

At 3 p.m. on my first Wednesday, eight normal-looking, mature women showed up. Snacky food was set out. We each took a seat around the coffee table in the cozy, rustic living room. I was introduced. Welcomed with reserve. The process was explained to me and we began.

Here are the Rules and Guidelines for Improvisational Storytelling:

  1. The Designated Prompter reveals what she has brought as prompts for the day. (Photos, oddball toys, stones, rocks, sticks, seashells, the contents of a junk drawer, empty candy wrappers…)
  2. Everyone has 30 seconds to choose an object with which to jump into the abyss.
  3. The group splits into partners. Two by two, move through the house to find a quiet place and sit opposite each other.
  4. Set the oven timer for three minutes. It’s loud enough to be heard in every room.
  5. The first teller begins a tale inspired by some aspect of the prompt she chose. There is no “figuring it out”. Allow the first few words to fall out of your mouth and watch as a story is born on the spot. OMG!!!
  6. When the timer sounds, the listener has one minute to praise what she liked about the newborn story: any detail, name, fragment that held her attention.
  7. Reset the timer and switch. The listener allows her story to happen out loud for three minutes, and her partner then offers her appreciations.
  8. Everyone returns to the circle and it’s time to tell the stories again. One by one each story is retold to the group. Something happens between the first and second telling. I can’t explain it. Just go with it.
  9. Sit there and listen. Be amazed, enthralled and enchanted.
  10. Come back in a week and do it all again.

On the day when I told my first story out of thin air, I was hooked and have stayed hooked. I don’t remember my first prompt or the story I told, but I do remember sitting in a straight-backed chair feeling like I was sky-diving.

That day I heard one lovely, gutsy, outrageous, untidy tale after another. Stories I didn’t want to end. And after each story, the praising comments were made. I liked that newborn creations were not hit with bats in this group; newborns were encouraged to grow.

At the end of the meeting, the leader shared a bit about how the group was started, and about how stories are upstream from everything, and about their motto: Tell Me a Story I Won’t Forget.

After several years of listening and telling in the sacred space of the group, stories in the voice of a little girl started happening for me. I liked these stories so much I did the unthinkable in an improv group: before driving back out of the canyon, I sat in my car and wrote the stories down.

Later, I had the dream where Mrs. Iptweet came to me in a bus and spelled her name.  And so those first-person stories in the voice of a nine-year-old became The Magical Mrs. Iptweet and Me and I added Author to my list of life adventures.

Ursula and I still meet regularly and do improv storytelling together.

Thank you, Ursula.

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First Day at Writing Group

Monday, January 2nd, 2012
Writing desk

My desk, given to me by Kate Van Roeken, the first "Mrs. Iptweet" I'd ever met.

I wandered into the Writing Group about 13 years ago, when it  was a children’s book writing class held in the home of author Jennifer Owings Dewey. I’d brought five very short stories with me. My first five ever. Long-story-short: Jennifer and Deb and Catherine and Nadine and Janie welcomed me. They liked the stories a lot. I thought that meant the stories were perfect and complete and I was a genius. Wow, writing is easy.

I know now that the kindness was a ploy! After that first day, I was gently but thoroughly whipped into shape. I had sloppy habits from writing for the stage. As a comedienne, I needed only the barest written outline of my routines. Who needed specifics? My hands, voice, body, and especially my eyebrows, would fill in the gaps on stage. And I left myself lots of room for improvisation.

In class, I was made aware of my “habit” words and phrases. I was taught the golden rule of writing: SHOW-DON’T-TELL. It was explained that DETAILS ARE EVERYTHING. And five million other very important writing tools. What a workout.

 Those first five stories became The Magical Mrs. Iptweet and Me, my first book.

Mrs. Iptweet is a middle-grade novel, the first in a series. Azro Press published it in 2009. It has won three awards. It would not exist but for the love, encouragement, badgering and unrelenting honesty of my writing group.

I’m working on formatting the manuscript for an e-book now, as well as writing the next books in the Iptweet series. More about that another time.

MY CREATIVE PROCESS

I like to stall, procrastinate and delay my writing as long as possible. I am not sure why. Once I am in the flow, nothing feels better. Sometimes I think stalling is just part of the process and I can relax already and mark down some writing times onto my calendar and it’s okay if something comes up and I move it to the next day or week. It’s okay if I am busy over the holidays, or don’t feel like writing.

Other times I think I am tragically flawed and will never amount to anything. I work myself up into a lather. This is good because lathers drive me to look at what I’m doing and see the avoidance and fear. Oh, an entire blog could be written about the fears. For me, now, it boils down to….

  1. Maybe all my best stories are already written, and
  2. How can I top Book One?

My way of getting past this crap is to take Drastic Action. I call a writer friend and say let’s do a two-week experiment. Let’s meet everyday for two hours at a cafe and write. And we do and I get so much writing done. Stories show up on the page even on days when I feel restless, bored or uninspired. I have had to face it: I need the company. I need another person to sit with for a while – about two weeks. Then I can write at the old home desk again, on my own. I’m back in the Inspired Flow…. until I’m not again, and more Drastic Action is required. Hey, whatever it takes.

The other thing I notice is that when I show up for the Flow of Stories, every other part of my life gets better, too. The Flow of Stories somehow flips on the Flow of Life switch. It’s pretty wild.

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