The Power of Perseverance


[pur-suhveeruh ns]

1. steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.

Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained. — Marie Curie

Photo credit: tricky (rick harrison) / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Photo credit: tricky (rick harrison) / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Yesterday I received some wonderful news about one of my close friends from my college / theatre days. Joe Calarco was hired as a resident director and director of new works at the Tony-winning Signature Theatre in Washington DC. I realize most people who follow this blog are readers and writers, so let me emphasize that this type of position at this theatre is HUGE. This announcement moved me on many levels. The first being pure joy for my old friend. He has put in his time as a freelance director-playwright having directed his first musical with Signature back in 1998, plus countless other productions across the country and abroad. Prior to that I remember the days when he was writing, adapting, and doing whatever it took to find venues for his own work. Nothing would stop him. It is a lesson in perseverance I greatly admire, one I’m sure came with many sacrifices along the way. As stated in the article, this will be Joe’s first full time job since high school. All those years of sowing the seeds, working constantly in a freelance capacity, earned him a reputation of excellence in his field which brought about this hard earned opportunity.

It made me think of not just my theatre friends, many of whom are still out there, pounding the pavement, knocking on doors and WORKING in a relentless field, but my writing friends as well. It is hard to work in a field where rejection is paramount such as the theatre and publishing. We have to develop thick skin as writers. Back when I received my first publishing contract one of my writing friends said, “I always knew you’d be published. You never gave up on your goal.”

Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other. —Walter Elliot

In many ways now that all three Brothers of Audubon Springs books are out, I feel like I’m back to a place where I’m starting all over on my path to publication. I have my list of lessons learned from my publishing experience, and three new series I am actively writing at the moment. While working on all these projects at once makes me feel like I have writers ADD, until I decide on the absolute best route and project for my future, I’m not willing to let any of them go. Just as I’m feeling overwhelmed about the RoseAnn DeFranco, Author 2.0 path, and questioning “Do I have the energy to do all this?” I’m reminded of Joe’s success, as well as the success of many of my author friends. None of it would have been achieved were it not for the power of perseverance.

What are the things that keep you charging onward in the face of a long uphill climb? Do the successes of others inspire you as they do me? Is it the support of family, your writing circle? What gets you through…other than chocolate, a writer’s best friend, of course!

Say It Again, Sam: A Theatre Gal’s Approach to Dialogue

Photo credit: Rennett Stowe / / CC BY-NC

Photo credit: Rennett Stowe / / CC BY-NC

BOO, and Happy Halloween!  Does writing dialogue scare you enough to make your hair stand on end like this guy on Halloween? Fear not!

At nearly every stage of my writing journey from fledgling to now, I’ve been paid compliments on my dialogue.  Dialogue is one of my favorite aspects of writing, especially during that darn first draft.  If I could, I’d write the whole thing in dialogue.  I think this stems from my music and theatre background because I tend to hear a story first through dialogue. I like to get up out of my writing chair and act out scenes, practicing inflections.  Fun times for sure when my hubs or my little walks in while I’m in the throes of drama.  Honestly, I’ve done some of my best work in my office.  My acting coaches would be so proud!

There are the obvious dos and don’ts to writing dialogue that we as writers are taught.  I promise I’ll get to a few of my fan favorites – there’s too many for me to cover them all.  First I want to share some things I learned in my theatre background that I believe carried over into my work as it relates to dialogue.

What is said ABOUT a character is more revealing than what a character says

I remember this ah-ha moment in Scene Study Class back at my Alma Mater, Ithaca College.  I’d been having a hard time fully developing a character because I had very little in the way of dialogue in the scene.  Once I opened my ears to what other characters had to say about mine, the scene and character came alive.  As a writer, a little insight from a secondary character about the Hero or Heroine through dialogue can carry a lot of weight with the reader, especially if that secondary character has been presented as knowledgeable or trustworthy.

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