LRK’s high-wire act

For those of you who don’t–or didn’t–get the newsletter earlier this month, I’ll let you know some of what the comments posts were talking about, in this excerpt:

And now, your attention, please, as I introduce the death-defying trick we call Writer’e2’80’99s Improv, in which Laurie R. King will walk the literary high-wire.

I have been named Santa Cruz County Artist of the Year for 2006 (Pause for tumultuous ovation, whistles, and the throwing of confetti and streamers. Thank you.) This is a great honor, considering the richness of artistry in my home county’e2’80’94previous winners include poet Adrienne Rich, photographer Frans Lanting, dancer Tandy Beale, and writer James Houston.

The sponsor, the county’e2’80’99s Parks and Recreation department, has asked me to take part in their celebration of the book on May 20, 2006, and in the process of thinking about what I could do by way of artist’e2’80’99s performance, I decided that the most appropriate demonstration of a writer’e2’80’99s craft is not to talk about writing, but to do it.

So, in the morning (Pacific Standard time) of May 20, Muse willing and the electronic gods cooperating, I will be shut into a room with my trusty laptop and, with the words in full view of the book-loving public, set off to write a short story.

It’e2’80’99s, well, Writer’e2’80’99s Improv. The people in charge of the event will collect an assortment of prompts, around which I will shape the story. On the morning of the event, I’e2’80’99ll be given a selection of those prompts. I’e2’80’99ll let the ideas rattle around my brain for a few hours, then sit down in a quiet room at the school where the event is being held, plug into various cords and wires, and write. It will be a first draft, therefore pretty rough, and I probably won’e2’80’99t come anywhere near to finishing the story then and there (unless it turns out to be flash fiction) but the process will go onto a screen in the venue’e2’80’94AND online.

You read that right: Thanks to the miracle of modern technology (which I’e2’80’99m NOT in charge of, thank goodness) those of you interested in the writing process can log in and watch an actual, live and living writer plug away at her craft for a couple of hours. When I eventually finish the story, I’e2’80’99ll post that online, too’e2’80’94there may be a small download fee going to one of the organizations involved in the event’e2’80’94AND if the finished story turns out any good, I’e2’80’99ll be giving it to Dana Stabenow for her upcoming short story collection, Powers of Detection II. The before and after versions will remain posted on my web site, as a teaching tool and to cause more sensible writers to shake their heads in wonder.

Insane? Sure.

Fun? I hope so’e2’80’94this is all in the planning stage and something may come along and knock it off the air, but I’e2’80’99m going to try. Stay tuned for more information, and put May 20th on your calendar now.

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  1. Vicki Larson on March 9, 2006 at 4:55 pm

    Where on line can we plug in? On your blog or your web site.. where? I am most excited.

  2. CarenP on March 10, 2006 at 12:13 am

    Wow, what a blast! I’ll certainly have it on my calendar!
    A question about the newsletter – I’ve checekd several times that I am signed up, but have never received it… Am I doing something wrong?


  3. Marianne McA on March 10, 2006 at 6:17 pm

    Caren, this happens to me as well. Just out of curiosity, are you on AOL?
    I asked about it, and Laurie’s answer is towards the bottom of the 3rd March blogging.

  4. Bonnie Z on March 10, 2006 at 6:51 pm

    I would like to know if there is a chance Leigh Richards will have another offering any time soon. I so loved Califia’s Daughters.

  5. Anonymous on March 11, 2006 at 2:55 pm

    Alas, it’s been almost a decade since “Mrs. Hudson’s Case.” Is there any hope the high-wire act will fill in a missing episode in the Holmes/Russell saga…… ???


  6. Kate on March 13, 2006 at 1:51 am

    Thank you for being candid. I’ve just finished Locked Rooms and found it very fulfilling. I can’t quite feel the energies of the earlier Russell-Holmes stories, but I attribute that to the fact that I don’t have the same awe toward San Francisco,even with earthquake and mayhem, as I do for gypsies and lost Biblical manuscripts and the like. Perhaps readers across the Atlantic feel entralled by tales in an American setting; I cannot say. I am curious, however, about the use of names in the historical sense. Hammett was certainly real; but what about Ricky Garcia? There seemed to be so many honest connections, I felt as if there must be something to his name being chosen. So far, I’ve found artist and musician..but all are too contemporary. Thanks for such detailed writing; it serves as a guide for all of us dabblers.

  7. myninki on March 23, 2006 at 2:25 pm

    I was wondering, how about the small fee and those that do not have a bank account, haven’e2’80’99t own a credit card and never signed a check?, any ideas?
    I’e2’80’99m saving hours to try and follow the ‘e2’80’9cwire-act’e2’80’9d online however, lets see if my connection holds, its quite temperamental.
    Good luck

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