Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Word Banning in New York Sparks a Writing Prompt for You!


I guess it's official, New York City is now as politically correct as we are out here in California. Oh please! Did you read this? NYC Bans Halloween, Birthday, Aliens and More on school tests. So, now there can be no mention of things such as "homes with swimming pools" (There go the math questions about volume and gallons), "slavery" (history, Oops! Can't study the Civil War), and "children dealing with serious illnesses" (biology- no more discussions about life prior to the polio vaccine).

No, I haven't turned Fortnight of Mustard into a political rant blog. But we talk words here and censorship. It's interesting how one bit of language censorship just may have ramifications nobody thought of.

Writing prompt time! World build a place where they don't allow certain words to be spoken. How does that effect the culture over time?

In college, we studied the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, which theorizes that language effects how you view the world. I don't know if I completely buy into that, but you can use it while doing your writing prompt. :)

Anyhow, here is thelist of banned words they came up with in NYC. Your fictitious culture may have its own list. Probably should have its own because it's a totally different culture than New York. I think mine will outlaw the use of the words "hunger" and "games." LOL  Just kidding
  • Abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological)
  • Alcohol (beer and liquor), tobacco, or drugs
  • Birthday celebrations (and birthdays)
  • Bodily functions
  • Cancer (and other diseases)
  • Catastrophes/disasters (tsunamis and hurricanes)
  • Celebrities
  • Children dealing with serious issues
  • Cigarettes (and other smoking paraphernalia)
  • Computers in the home (acceptable in a school or library setting)
  • Crime
  • Death and disease
  • Divorce
  • Evolution
  • Expensive gifts, vacations, and prizes
  • Gambling involving money
  • Halloween
  • Homelessness
  • Homes with swimming pools
  • Hunting
  • Junk food
  • In-depth discussions of sports that require prior knowledge
  • Loss of employment
  • Nuclear weapons
  • Occult topics (i.e. fortune-telling)
  • Parapsychology
  • Politics
  • Pornography
  • Poverty
  • Rap Music
  • Religion
  • Religious holidays and festivals (including but not limited to Christmas, Yom Kippur, and Ramadan)
  • Rock-and-Roll music
  • Running away
  • Sex
  • Slavery
  • Terrorism
  • Television and video games (excessive use)
  • Traumatic material (including material that may be particularly upsetting such as animal shelters)
  • Vermin (rats and roaches)
  • Violence
  • War and bloodshed
  • Weapons (guns, knives, etc.)
  • Witchcraft, sorcery, etc

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Script Frenzy Is On Its Way: For Adults, Teens, and Even Kids!

Script Frenzy begins April 1st. It's kind of like NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), but for scripts, screenplays, stage plays, web series, TV shows, short films, and graphic novels.

You write 100 pages in 30 days. Whew! I will not be attempting this, however, I want to put the word out because I know that YOU can do it!


It's free to participate, but it's real sweet to donate a little something to them because they have great resources and it's super of them to organize this.

One great resource is the Script Frenzy Young Writer Program for kids and teens. All you teens, homeschooling families, and teachers, you may want to get in on this!

Edited:Okay, I'm adding this explanation, because I had assumed everyone was familiar with the NaNoWriMo idea and therefore didn't need Script Frenzy explained. But, alas, I was wrong. (As I so often am.)

Script Frenzy will NOT own your script. That is YOURS to submit to an agent, film studio, your high school drama teacher, or to give to grandma for christmas, or whatever one does with such things. You just log in your page count, and ta-da! And... um... that's it. Well, if it's like NaNo, maybe they give you a nifty icon thingy to post on your blog.

Plus in the end, you get to feel very groovy that you reached your goal... oh, and you have a script, or graphic novel... if that's what you wrote.  If that's not what you wrote, and you end up with a graphic novel, that would be odd, but kinda cool. But I digress.

They will not give you anything nor take anything from you. But they do have great resources on their site, so check it out. Script Frenzy

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Flying Book Review


Can a teenage boy save his friend's baby brother from being tossed off a cliff?

That's the accurate, yet short on detail, elevator pitch I only just made up for Oliver Neubert's novel, The Wind of Life: The Flyers. Sorry, Mr. Neubert, I'm just practicing writing pitches on everything I get my hands on. :)

Fourteen-year-old Timo is a Flyer, living in a world of other Flyers, and he's an exceptionally gifted Flyer. These are a people with great big beautiful wings on their backs. (By the way, the author's description of wind and flying simply takes you into the air.) Another people, the Wanderers, have no wings. There is great mistrust between the two groups and the law states that Wanderers must die. The Wanderers have a similar law about Flyers.

When Timo's friend, Val's, baby brother is born wingless, he is to be killed. Val asks Timo to help her save the baby. Read The Wind of Life: The Flyers to find out if he saves the baby! 

There are revelations, secret plots, and all of that good stuff as the story zips along nicely. Besides saving the baby, Timo's bigger goal is to unite the two peoples. I enjoyed how Oliver Neubert had this larger problem of the split between the two races, yet brought the story down to a concrete and very tender-hearted story about the baby.

The epic continues in Neubert's following novels: The Wind of Life: The Wanderers, and The Wind of Life: Vita (Coming May 2012). Visit Oliver Neubert at his website.

The Wind of Life books are middle grade fantasy for ages eleven and up. Now that I've finished my copy of The Flyers, I'll be handing it over to my nearly 11 year old twins.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Bottles, Pom-poms, and Rusty Oil Cans, Oh My!

My youngest daughters have a couple collections displayed at a small local museum. We went last weekend to admire their Hello Kitties and pom-poms as well as the other weird, wild, and wonderful collections at the Museum of San Ramon Valley in Danville California. (The Collections exhibit runs until 4/28/12)
Everything was amazing. Some of the photos came out better than others. I thought I'd share some of the best.
Fiona, Nyssa, and Daphne
Fiona's Hello Kitty Collection (Only about 1/3 of it fit in our display area)
Daphne's Pom-Poms
bottles found in a nearby creek, I believe
These are thinks they put on top of power poles, or something like that. People collect anything and everything.
Little Wooden Dolls (They have a name. I should have taken notes at the museum)
antique stereoscope, pocket watch, hat, and spats
oil cans (The tin woodsman would be thrilled!)

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