So, what you gonna do with that knife, Mamet?

10 Structuring the Plot (Cont’d)

“So, What’s my objective? Aristotle says that is the only thing that matters. What is the objective of the hero, to get from point A to point B; the scenes are the incidents and each indents builds up into a three-act structure. Okay, so the first Act structure is where my ideas run out Act 1. The second Act I don’t remember that- I am to drain the swamp when I am up to my toosh in alligators. ……”

…act I act 2 act 3 Its all about a knife,….same knife but the knife has a different weight in each act…

I watched this lesson three times. I am enjoying David Mamet’s enthusiasm as he teaches about plotting.

Today is the last day in January. I posted something each day so my GOAL has been completed…Hmmm,  on to February, 2018 and a new twenty-eight-day GOAL.

Have you seen Lesson 9 David Mamet Structuring the Plot

Screen shot

“I am covered in tats and my left arm is Admire Dewey at the Battle of Manila Bay, 1895. And my right arm, and I think I am the only guy who has this, you tell me, is the final scene from Kramer vs. Kramer. And on my chest is the first chapter of Fifty Shades of Grey. But it’s reversed so, I can read it when I m shaving. And on my back, it’s good night moon..”

I listened to this video three times, and I will listen again. I love how David Mamet talks. He starts out talking about how he normally dresses and his tats. I have a tattoo on my right arm, ‘This Living Hand’ by John Keats. I had asked for it to be put on upside down so I could read it.  I was talked out of that placement…Hmmm, maybe  next tat.

Back to David Mamet and Lesson 9.

He tells us:  he uses corkboards and tacks on index cards or butcher paper and draws out where the story is supposed to go. He will easily ‘see’ if his story is working out.  He will be able to see if the progression makes sense: from  scene 1, to scene 2, to scene 3, By laying them out he can see if the progression makes sense.

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This will reduce his story to an incident. Example:  I walk up the stairs. Or I sat down at a table;  put that on the board.  You can see if your story is staying in line with where it is supposed to go.

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Screen shot

Need more information on David Mamet’s Masterclass dot com. Click on his name, in the top left sidebar.

Sound Poetry Monday

What?  Nothing

By Gerardine Baugh

Computer-ease a sound that comes out

Mute-mute-mute-id -ed

Chopped up pieces for your ideas

Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels

Their ideas, part of my ideas yet not really philosophies-ease

I click on, on, on to see, see, seen  what is not there

Yet, I never notice the absent-ness

In the words a byte at a time


Void of reality

Just a follow-ing  of ants

A step across my keys, in an attempt to find out,

Nothing. Comes of it-it-it

I wonder how can something come from nothing?

Write, write, written later read, without reading

Seeing red, in lines, read


Why am I not seeing past worlds, wordily, words  that lack depth,

an- an acumen

That- tat ran-ran  around chasing  tails as an end

of a long line of nihility -ness

Plotting your story is hard work

Lesson 8 David Mamet Plot

“Plot is all that there is. And that’s all that there is. And I say the perfect example is the joke. Right! There’s nothing in the joke that doesn’t not tend towards the punch line. Anything in the joke that does not tend toward the punchline kills the joke. And if you talk to comedy writers in LA, they have a saying among themselves what do you do all week? They are shaving syllables. They are taking out extra syllables “


“Everything in the joke tends towards the punch line. That’s what a plot is if it doesn’t tend towards the punchline take it out”

Listening to David Mamet on plotting is what makes these  MasterClasses worth their salt.

He tells us that plotting is something you learn, by creating plotlines.  And that each new piece, screenplay,  story, will need a new plotline.

Nothing generic here.  Over the years I have searched out, ‘how to write a plotline’ and found so many different answers.  David Mamet is right up front telling us that plotting is hard.  And you need a new one to fit each new project. So, shortcuts are out the window.

When you start listing out your plot, if there is anything that you wrote down, ‘that doesn’t take your original goal to the end’ then take it out.

Listening to David Mamet is worth the price of this course. I am only on video eight (8)   of twenty-six (26) and I have learned something from each of the  (8) classes.  If you would like to check out the site: click on his name in the top left sidebar.

Or just read my other posts on David Mamet classes.

Lesson 6

Masterclass dot com Lesson 7 Character, David Mamet

“All there is- is the things that people say. Why do they say them? To get something from each other.  Guy A wants to get something from girl B.   Girl B wants to get something from guy A.   That’s why they talk. The rhythm of their speeches is a certain kind of poetry, which structured so if each one of them is pursuing a specific goal, you might even call it a play.” 


Have your character use the jargon of his or her profession.




This lesson had me a little confused with ‘not’ manipulating change in the character, it could be because I was multitasking; listening to the video, petting my cat, trying to remove the cat hair off my computer and watching  Captain Kirk.  My thoughts, I may be wrong, but what I got was -let your character evolve don’t force it.

At one point he said,( And I am paraphrasing here)  that when you create your characters, create a man or woman, don’t  color them in. You want your readers to imagine themselves as that character. You will lose that connection if you become too specific at the beginning.

are you a plotter or a pantser?

I have been working on a short story. I am not sure, yet, if I want it to be part of a linked series, or to stand on its own.

When I start writing I need to have an idea in place. I don’t write out a plotline, I just scribble down an idea, a character or a place where the character lives. Then adding what he or she looks like later.  In that first scribbled-off-draft  I am focusing on what they want.

Hmm, I can’t say I am a pantser. A pantser is a person who lets her character runs ahead and then writes whatever they tell her too write.

But, I can’t say I am a plotter either. A plotter is a writer who knows their story and has set up the action and path ahead of time.

Me…I’m a thinker, and imaginer, a daydreamer with an idea that wants to be written; But with no idea where it will take me until I think about it a lot, every waking and sleeping moment. If my characters start talking to me I tell them to ‘shut up I’m thinking.’

If you have been following my Blog this month, you would have seen me writing about David Mamet’s course. He said that a plot is as simple as getting from point A to point B.

Example: I need to go to the store. I need bacon and eggs. To get to the store I need to do a few things before I leave the house, getting dressed, finding the keys, locking the doors…etc. I could just drive there with no trouble, but…what kind of story is that.

The story needs conflict/drama. Just driving into town and grabbing bread and eggs and coming home is boring.

The drama/conflict will happen once I turn on my car. Something will happen to stop my character from making this an easy trip. The story will be about her trying to get to the store. She can’t change direction or it will be a different confusing story. She needs to keep on track no matter what is thrown in front of her. This character needs to get to the store

To make sure my character doesn’t walk back in the house and have a bowl of cereal. I need to get her in the car and drive away from the house and have car trouble at the halfway point.  She will make a  decision to keep heading to the store. She can stop at the local auto shop and they can come get her car.

My character’s internal goal is hunger. Her external goal is that she needs food in the house.

I may change up the story by having her get something to eat at a local restaurant, while she waits for her car. But… She will not give up that goal of getting eggs and bread. She still needs to eat tomorrow.

Photo #14354
Taken by Krzysztof Puszczyński Tookapic.comdrama

This is the bones of the story. So much can happen, I can’t  change what my character wants; food, in her belly and in her fridge.

I tend to rehash ideas over and over; turning them upside down and inside out, until they click.

Time to go back to my story. I left my character sitting in a hot car.

Lesson 6 David Mamet’s Story Ideas


David Mamet lesson #6 Story Ideas

David Mamet’s

“I always used to tell my kids- they’d say -‘ dad where’d you get your ideas,  ‘I’d say, there’s this little Mexican guy in Encino, Ok and he drives in on weekends and sells them off the back of a truck’ we all have ideas all the time. Our minds, Swinburne, I believe said, is a raging fire. We have all these ideas all the time. What if that person turned around and said I love you…? what if we got a thing in the mail that said, he’s not your real father..”

David Mamet’s

David Mamet used his life in Chicago. What can you use from your life? Your life is different, unique with your own experiences.   

David Mamet’s

He admits he ‘wrote about the ‘underbelly’ of life’. His life in Chicago.


David Mamet’s


He isn’t interested in themes.  He is interested in telling a story. He said,  “no one ever left a great play humming a theme”

He said, “a good writer kept what a bad writer threw out”

“If it doesn’t make sense- work it though,-and see where it leads you”

He said that writing is like a dream, pick out in that dream what doesn’t belong. Then,  focus on that thing that wasn’t supposed to be there.

I found this interesting PDF : Notes from a David Mamet workshop

If you are interested in David Mamet’s Masterclass click here.

Cloned Monkey

I was reading the news concerning cloned monkeys. And I got a chill.   Will this open up the ability of labs to test and torture animals because they don’t believe them to be unique? Oh, wait they do that now.

Animals used in research is important and they suffer for us, we need to ensure they are only used after weighing all the information.

I read that cloning will help with the testing of cancer and Alzheimer’s. I don’t see how.  It will take years and then what?

“This would enable scientists to tweak genes the monkeys have that are linked to human disease, and then monitor how this alters the animals’ biology, comparing it against animals that are genetically identical except for the alterations. It could accelerate the hunt for genes and processes that go wrong in these diseases, and ways to correct them, the team says.”~   

Screen shot of youtube video

Ethical questions

But….Will we be back to blinding rabbits because they can be cloned and will be considered disposable for profit?

University of Wisconsin-Madison was running tests on cats, drilling holes in their heads to improve human hearing, that testing was shut down in 2015.

“UW has used domestic cats in such experiments for more than 30 years.”

“…the agriculture department fined the university $35,000 last year (2014) for seven separate violations of the Animal Welfare Act, citing instances of animal negligence.”


Money, Money, Money makes the profit outweigh life. All and every life has a dollar sign next to it. I don’t see these animals being protected. They will be hidden behind closed doors.

I don’t believe anyone, who will be on the receiving end of accolades and profit; now or later, will stop the unethical treatment of any living creature, if they can gain something from it.

I can only hope these living test tube monkeys will be treated well and not live their lives out in a lab and worse.

I am not sure about that…

Right now, me, you,  all of us put our lives; our families, mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters in the hands of a health industry that profits if we stay us sick….Just saying.

Birthday cake and animal tracks in the snow

Raspberry chocolate Torte

This morning, the first thing I saw out my window was a line of animal tracks on the deck.

Animal tracks in the snow

A Raccoon or a Possum had walked up the steps. The animal had stayed near the railing until it reached the top of the stairs, from there it moved to its right; which brought it to the door leading into my bedroom.

possum or raccoon tracks

This past summer a Raccoon had tried to rip off that door by sticking its claws into the wood around the glass. I  taped it back in place and had been meaning to fix it with caulking. But I never got around to it. (Bad me)

After today’s  animal peeked into the window, he turned back the way he came and strolled to the other end of the deck. Yesterday afternoon I had put out some stale bread for the birds. The animal had a snack, then he wandered off the deck using the same path he used to come onto the deck.

Vistor on Deck

I just missed meeting him.

By the time I grabbed my camera the tracks had already started to fill in. The winds were blowing snow off the roof, which mixed with flurries that were adding even more snow to the deck as I tried to photograph the tracks.

I went back inside, warmed up my toes and had a cup of coffee, while my husband surprised me with a birthday cake.

Raspberry Chocolate Torte

We don’t have a local bakery so the cakes are from Swiss Maid Bakery in Harvard, Illinois and our little store in town keeps them frozen.  So, my cake was frozen and …well, I was impatient and the knife got stuck.  It eventually defrosted.

My Birthday Cake

When the rain comes down in January

Day 22:

“Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.” ~Bob Marley

My head is stuffed. I have a cold coming on, or I am reacting to the ‘interesting ‘ weather pattern. I heard on the ‘news’ that the temps had hit 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 °C)

Um! Hey guys. It’s January. What up!  

Right now, rains are pounding my roof. I heard that the weather would be turning colder – hitting the freezing mark tomorrow. And snow is rolling towards us from the west. &

I guess we are lucky, so far, that all this rain could be snow.

On the other hand, this is January and the ground in January is frozen solid to a depth of 3 feet or more.

So not so lucky.

All that rain coming down ‘will not’ be absorbed by the ground; instead, it will move along the surface causing a lot of flooding.

What will happen is in the middle of the night waters will rush over the farm fields from the west toward the east, until they hit the road, once there, they will blast past me along the north edge where the water will collect along the wetlands area.

Man the boats! But wait…

With the temps dropping all that water will freeze on the roads, in the fields,- ice rinks in the making.

So if you live in the mid-west, be careful driving and walking.


And yes! A Blah! Blah! Day.

Today I am reading: The Practice of Poetry: Writing Exercises From Poets Who Teach by Robin Behn & Chas Twichell