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For those who follow blogs I frequent, you know I attended the DFW Writers Workshop (aka DFW Con) this month.

For those who follow my glob, but not the sites I visit? News Flash!

I attended the DFW Writers Workshop (aka DFW Con) this month.

The rationale for failure to take advantage of this in-my-back-yard conference is as illusive to me as what my brain-to-fingers synapse will produce for my next sentence.

What dipwad marketing genius thought it was a swell idea to name a sandwich shop Blimpies®?

[That “next sentence” is something that’s been noodling in my noggin since I drove by one today. It demonstrates what happens when I free write, fast draft, or answer the telephone while half asleep.]

I rest my case for my think, write, edit writing paradigm.

Okay. So!

In order of presentation in the title:


I loved the session on Improv conducted by Brad Newton at DFWCon. Brad opened the session with a challenge to play, “and, then..”

His point?

Beats the hell out of me.

Following an “and, then” improvisation is useful to writers at a sticking point, or while plodding plotting. This same theory holds true for all real, imaginary, and miscellaneous conundrums in life.

Will all thought trains lead to logical resolution?

Not if you’re me always.

And, then (!) guess what you get to do if the And, then train leads to the world’s largest ball of twine in Cawker City, Kansas? Well, you can:

  • Change the setting for your story to Cawker City (if you’re applying this to a writing problem),
  • Visit Cawker City, Kansas for medication meditation to resolve your conundrum,
  • Take this as evidence that your brain needs Retail Therapy, or (in the event of Retail Therapy Budget Constraint Complex),
  • You could hop back to Sticking Point Station And Then climb on a new And Then train.


What does this have to do with boogers?

Throughout this session, Brad Newton asked for volunteers from the audience to participate in Improv Challenges. He was on the second round of an exercise designed to demonstrate The Stroop Effect.

The Stroop effect is a demonstration of the phenomenon that the brain’s reaction time slows down when it has to deal with conflicting information.

For each round, two audience volunteers were directed to repeatedly challenge each other with the question, “What ‘cha doing?”  The person asked would say something quite different from the action they were pantomiming.

Nigel Blackwell had the mis good fortune to sit beside me at this session. Nigel and I volunteered for one of these rounds.

I got to go first, and chose to pantomime brushing my teeth.

Nigel:   “What ‘cha doing?”

Gloria: “Picking my nose.”

[Had Nigel had a booger dangling from non-existent nose hairs, this would have demonstrated a Random Act of Kindness.]

Nigel pantomimes picking his nose.

Gloria: “What ‘cha doing?”

Nigel: “Milking a cow.”

I squat and begin to move my hands as if fondling cow udders. [Which sounds kind of kinky when I let my imagination wander to other species, places, and things. Just sayin…]

Nigel: “What ‘cha doing?”

Silence. Nigel continues to dig for booger gold in the mineshaft of his nostrils.

Repeats, “What ‘cha doing?”


My brain panic-scans for Nigel’s next task–-rejecting all options not defined as embarrassing. My thighs scream for relief from that squat position.

Nigel continues to pick his nose awaiting a new directive. I was too busy tugging on imaginary cow udders to notice whether or not he had his finger up his nasal passage.

If he did, his brain was getting direct stimulation by the time I grudgingly gave him something sane to pantomime.


I don’t recall what my ultimate answer was, but within minutes of exiting stage right, I thought, “Dagnabbit! Dislodging a wedgie.”

The point to this exercise was that we can learn to stretch our minds, seek answers outside the obvious, and defy what we perceive to be established plot or character essentials.

The answer to life and writing conundrums may lie in giving the issue a body part brain stimulating wedgie, and attempting to dislodge it before your And Then train redirects to Cawker City, Kansas.


images (2)Unauthorized and not-prior-approved  pimp love for Nigel Blackwell is the least I can do for inducing public nose picking, so (naturally) that’s all I plan to do.

Nigel, recently published (!) his debut novel, Paris Love Match. Click here if you want a chance at winning one of three autographed copies of Paris Love Match.

I bought the ePub version of the book because I was too impatient for the contest to end.

Here’s what I said for my comment overview of a review crafted while in Cawker City The Amazon.

Masterful Dialog Runs; Page-turner; Brilliant debut novel.

Spring some Ka-Ching and purchase a copy of Paris Love Match in The Amazon.



parislovematch-bn-koboParis Love Match is a caper in the style of the accidental tourist, which all occurs in a single day in Paris.

The hero is Piers Chapman, an engineering geek whose jeans are too short, whose mother phones him too often, and who is in Paris to update the software in one of his company’s cranes.

The heroine is Sidney Roux, a worldly-wise, drop-dead beauty who is tired of falling for good-looking men who treat her badly. Mind you, she carries a little bit of an attitude and something of a secret, but she’s lived in a world that never gave her anything, and she’s learned to look after herself first.

When the sale of a painting between a ruthless dictator and a murderous mobster turns into a raging gun battle with the police in tow, Piers and Sidney get caught up and wanted by all sides.

If they’re going to stay alive, they’re going to have to put aside their fears and prejudices, and work together. It’s not an easy thing for either of them to do.

But if they can, they might just find more than stolen goods …


It’s your turn now. You know I do my best work in hot, steamy scene writing comments.

Have you ever taken a Stroop Effect cognitive test? Tried Improvisation? Willingly and with insidious glee placed a friend in an embarrassing position? <=== I almost changed that last word to situation, but chose not to.

Just because.

Talk! I will comment back atcha’ from wherever in the world my And Then train stopped.