Posts Tagged ‘Johnny Depp’

Whether You Already Have an Angle or Not

March 8, 2012 8 comments


Starting any project can be daunting or exhilarating. If you’re interested in a topic, go for it. Do an article or a story.

Research must be done for either direction. If a story is in the offing, the research might be as simple as researching the type of setting planned for your character’s use. Locale is important and you want to get it right the first time around.

Before you put away that interest in locale, look at the broader picture of that real-world setting. Does the town have unique properties to boast? Are there any gripping crimes in its past. How about outlaws? What about famous people from the locale? Hundreds of questions could be asked about the place, each of which could give answers that could spark more new projects for your delight.

How so? Let me give you some examples pulled from the news. Remember, the audience defines the angle as much as the subject’s facts.

Each of the following headlines was found on Yahoo! News this morning. Each has the potential to provide several articles/stories for the writer who has learned to change angles when presented with a small bit of information. Addition research might be necessary, but it doesn’t have to arduous. Few common articles require in-depth digging.

     1.  “Biggest solar storm in years hits, so far so good”–This headline could lead a writer into many directions.

Article for children—how solar activity affects weather and communications on Earth.

Science Article for adults/children (depending on language and depth of information)—Explanation of how the balance of Earth’s magnetic field is affected by solar flares and storms.

Article for communications mag—what is the exact culprit within a solar storm that disrupts communication satellites?

Article for electronics mag—what steps can be taken with today’s technology to safeguard sensitive electronic equipment?

Article for news mag—how vulnerable is military electronics systems and communications to extreme solar activity and what is the likelihood of future disaster?

Science Fiction Urban Fantasy/other world stories using the scientific data about how solar flares work and what they can mean to a planet/population.

     2.  Johnny Depp’s Cool New Tonto in ‘The Lone Ranger”—this is one to have fun with.

Article for entertainment mag about Depp’s past forays into character development.

Article for teens/adults about Tonto as an icon and how it’s remembered by an entire generation of Americans

Article about the constant revising, retelling, refilming of old movies and TV shows rather than developing unique, fresh material/stories.

Use the premise of the Lone Ranger story to create a new story for children/adults. Star Wars did very well, if you’ll remember. Luke was the Lone Ranger, after all.

     3. “Can I Afford a Baby?”—This is an important consideration in today’s world, with lots of angles.

Article for parenting mag—How-to research a couple’s ability to financially survive an additional baby.

Article for pregnancy mag—How-to use current resources to ensure that planned baby gets all that it deserves after entering the world.

Article/story for children—How-to get excited about having a new baby in the house.

Article/story for children—Why family dynamics change with a new baby in the family.

YA article—the complete cost for the teen parents of a new baby.


Once the writer has basic information, she decides which market to try for. The angle of approach used for information delivery depends on the market of interest.

Finding Markets

Several lists of potential markets exist and are free most of the time online.

These are just a sampling of resources available to get a writer started in the hunt of a lifetime.

Whether the writer chooses to move outside her comfort zone depends on how much interest she has in a subject and how willing she is to take a risk. If she likes learning new things, the risk factor becomes less important. As a consequence of learning, the comfort zone begins to expand.

By shifting a subject’s emphasis, writers create angle or perspective. By deciding which aspect of a topic would make for an interesting challenge, writers build new niches for themselves in the writing world. Writing niches have always existed. Today, the niche is the writer’s safe haven.

Writing Havens

When the writer finds a special interest, regardless of subject, she has begun to form a niche. Interest requires learning, which requires more research. Research creates an expertise. Expertise creates the writer’s niche. And the niche is a place where writing can always be done in short form or book length.

Whether you start with a specific angle or not, you can learn to spread a subject over a large bit of territory. Non-fiction can become the fun place to be and one of the most lucrative in today’s publishing world. If a writer’s passion is fiction, she still needs facts to back up her story.

Do you have a niche? Do you have specific interests that can help create a niche for you? What are you waiting for?

Let the hunt begin!

Sibling Rivalry—Not

February 24, 2012 1 comment


My little brother isn’t so little. He stands 6’4”, though lean with long fingers extended from bony hands; pianist’s fingers. I tended to envy him his hands, and his leanness.

Nearly three years younger, he had the same training as I, the same family, and the same mental abilities. He was the one who followed in Dad’s footsteps. He was the one who accidentally tried to kill me.

Oh, yes, he did. I sat on the floor in front of the TV. The Lone Ranger was flickering across the screen, struggling to subdue the bad guy, when my sweet little brother brought his pearl-handled pistola butt down onto the crown of my head with all the force his scrawny three-year-old body could muster. Back then these toy guns were made of metal, not plastic. They were heavy. Excitement at what was happening on-screen had temporarily relieved him of any sense of reality. I was knocked out completely.

I know what you’re thinking. He was just a baby. I’m sure I heard that argument when I came to and tried to throttle him. I know that I heard that argument throughout the years afterwards when the subject and memory came up.

Of course, he did make up for it several years later when he kept me from becoming sow chow. The sow took objection to my being in the stall with her piglets and rushed me when my back was turned. I almost didn’t make the age of nine. Brother dear, who wasn’t supposed to be at the barn, shouted a warning and got me out the gate before sow connected with my backside.

Yep, I did him a favor later. I encouraged his strength training by having him pull me in his little red wagon, between the rows in the corn field, while we were picking up dropped ears after the picker when through. All that loose corn would help fatten up those piglets. My mother wasn’t pleased with my interpretation of a self-improvement course for him. I got punished, I think, for working him too hard. I never knew if my dad knew about that little episode.

As a sidebar, I got to be the one who went to the top of the tulip poplar tree one summer afternoon to bring his happy self down to earth. Mom was not pleased with his antics. For once, I wasn’t the bad guy in the scenario. Dad did find out about that one.

When I learned to swim the summer of my 13th year, I proved that I could retain lessons and excel at trajectory in the water. Mom had us down at one of the local creeks, along with her sister and at least one of my cousins. Brother ran a ways ahead against Mom’s admonition to stay close.

Before anyone could prevent it, he ran into real trouble. Creeks carve out deep holes in bends of the watercourse. He’d run himself off into one of those holes and promptly commenced to drowning.

Mom shouted for me to go save him. ME!? I was a dozen yards behind her and the rest and he was that far or more ahead of her.

Until that day, I didn’t know that I could sprint while running in ankle to knee-deep water. I kept my eyes on the spot I’d last seen his hand come up and dived when I got there. I found him with no difficulty. Getting him to the surface was the tricky part.

He kept trying to drown me until I finally got myself positioned where I could get my feet into the small of his back and kick him toward the shallows. It might seem unconventional, but it worked.

Brother got solid purchase with his feet and his panic subsided. I took a few more minutes to make it to his new position. By that time Mom and the rest had arrived to check him out. He was fine, of course, though a bit waterlogged and sputtering. For the first time in memory, I actually saw relief wash across someone’s face. Mom wouldn’t bury a child that week.

But that’s how our relationship was. He saved me. I saved him. We got along.

I would take him to the movies with me. He’d loan me his prime condition ’57 Chevy so that I could go cruising in town. We loved each other and weren’t afraid to say so. That love took some interesting paths to expression sometimes, but it remained true.

We’re enough alike, yet enough different, to make good sibs. I can’t see that changing.

We don’t get to see each other very often. Usually when I have the spare time and money to travel back to the Midwest, we spend a bit of time together. It’s never long enough; but we, like most families, make do with what we can have, when we can have it.

Though our interests and lives have separated us, he was one of the first to validate me as a writer. When I visited last winter, he gave me a brand new notebook computer “because every writer deserves to have one while on the road.” He may never fully appreciate what that gesture meant to me.