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March is looking to be a great fun Month with lots of Theater all over the country, appearances in Amherst, MA and, for the first time, New Zealand! But first a quick look at last month: RECAP! What a fun month February was; starting out with a surprise call from the Geisel Committee informing me that Elephant & Piggie's WAITING IS NOT EASY! had garnered a Geisel Honor!  This was a

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APPEARANCES/EVENTS! Lots to do this month.  Hope you can make it to one of these events in Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Amherst. Thursday, Feb. 5, Pasadena, CA 11 am- READING & SIGNING AT VROMAN'S BOOKSTORE   695 E. Colorado Blvd Pasadena, CA 91101 I'll spend the morning reading, answering questions, & signing books in my only LA area appearance for a while.  If you're in the area,

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HAPPY NEW YEAR! Thanks for making 2014 such a great year at Knuffle Manor.  2015 promises to have lots of exciting events, theater performances, books, and more.  Here's a taste of what's scheduled this year as of now. Productions of ELEPHANT & PIGGIE'S WE ARE IN A PLAY! in Nashville, TN; Syracuse, NY; Orlando, FL; and Washington, DC plus a production of Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical

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4. Scoring loss across the multimedia universe

Well known is music’s power to stir emotions; less well known is that the stirring of specific emotions can result from the use of very simple yet still characteristic music. Consider the music that accompanies this sweet, sorrowful conclusion of pop culture’s latest cinematic saga.

When the on-set footage begins, so does some soft music that is rather uncomplicated because, in part, it simply alternates between two chords which last about four seconds each. These two chords are shown on the keyboard below. In classical as well as pop music, these two chords typically do not alternate with one another like this. Although the music for this featurette eventually makes room for other chords, the musical message of the more distinctive opening has clearly been sent, and it apparently worked on this blogger, who admits to shedding a few tears and recommends the viewer have a tissue nearby.


This simple progression has been used to accompany loss-induced sadness in numerous mainstream (mostly Hollywood) cinematic scenes for nearly 30 years. This association is not simply confined to movies, yet inhabits a larger media universe. For example, while the pop song “Comeback Story” by Kings of Leon, which opens this movie’s trailer, helps to convey the genre of the advertised product, the same two-chord progression—let’s call it the “loss gesture”—highlights the establishing narrative: a patriarchal death has brought a mourning family together (for comedic and sentimental results).

Loss gestures can play upon one’s heartstrings less discriminately; they can elicit both tears of joy as well as tears of sadness. Climaxes in Dreamer and Invincible, both underdog-comes-from-behind movies, are punctuated with loss gestures. As demonstrated at 2:06 in the following video, someone employed by the Republican Party appears to be keenly aware of this simple progression’s powerful capacity for moving a viewer (and potential voter).

Within the universe of contemporary media, the loss gesture has been used in radio as well. The interlude music that plays before or after a story on National Public Radio often has some relation to the content of the story. A week after the Sandy Hook school shootings, NPR aired a story by Kirk Siegler entitled “Newtown Copes With Grief, Searches For Answers.” Immediately after the story’s poignant but hopeful ending, the opening of Dustin O’Halloran’s “Opus 14” faded in, musically encapsulating the emotions of the moment.

How the loss gesture works its magic on listeners is a Gordian knot. However, it is undeniable that producers from several different corners of the media world know that the loss gesture works.

The post Scoring loss across the multimedia universe appeared first on OUPblog.

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November is going to be a busy month, with a new book plus appearances in Amherst, MA, Northampton, MA, & Brooklyn, NY. So let's get to it. NEW BOOK! November 4th, 2014 will see the release of Elephant and Piggie's newest adventure, WAITING IS NOT EASY!   Gerald is careful. Piggie is not.Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can.Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have

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UPCOMING! November 4th, 2014 will see the release of Elephant and Piggie's newest adventure, WAITING IS NOT EASY! It sure isn't.  So.... APPEARANCES! Because waiting really, really is not easy, I'll be giving a sneak peek reading and signing of the new Elephant and Piggie adventure 2 days early! DON'T WAIT! Come on by: Sunday, November 2nd at the ERIC CARLE MUSEUM OF PICTURE

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"Two new pieces in your playwriting blog in one day! Must be something really important, Eleanor!"

Yes it is...could be...maybe...one hopes

Anybody who drops by this blog is familiar with my continuous effort and accompanying angst to write a radio play for the BBC International Playwriting Competition. This year my idea and hope was to turn my "Old Soldiers" story into a radio play and enter it in the competition. However - I abhor that word - my intent wasn't realized in producing dialogue and once again what I thought was the deadline for entries, passed. My problem was coming up with sound effects that would carry the story line. Perhaps, in retrospect, I just wasn't committed enough to make it work. It's always the could-have, would-have and should-have that get you in the end.

In any case, just did a routine check on my Facebook page and something exciting jumped up at me:

"Exciting news! The 2012 International Playwriting Competition will open on May 1st. Plays can be on any topic but must be 53 minutes long. Details of how to enter and more information will soon be available at www.bbcworldservice.com/radioplay It’s time to get writing!"

This is really thrilling news because this means that there is yet another opportunity to submit. Perhaps a good idea would be to write something new from scratch. As the blurb advises - "it's time to get writing!"

Yup it is. As in the past, will be providing progerss reports - hopefully.

"So do you think you"ll have the carry-through to enter this time, Eleanor?" my muse just asked me.

Hope springs eternal. Right?

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8. MO-rning Edition...

Maybe you heard it on your drive to work as I sat down with Morning Edition's Renee Montange to talk about my work.  If not, you can hear it (& read the article) here. Another bit of our conversation ran yesterday at the tail of a piece about what makes a picture book a picture book with Martin Salisbury. You can hear that here. It's great to chat with the folks at NPR.  There is time to

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9. PBS KIDS GO! story contest winners + 'Mo!

I recently joined a group of "celebrity" judges (including pals & neighbors Tony DiTerlizzi and Jarret Kroscoczka) to look at a slew of awesome stories written by kids from across the country for PBS KIDS. It was fun to read what kids come up with, although pretty tough to choose (which is the point and drawback of 'judging'). PBS KIDS has announced the national winners.  You can see the

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10. Radio 4 Gather Stunning Voice-Cast for Adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s ‘Neverwhere’

Well, this is certainly one of the most British things I’ve ever heard. Please whistle the theme tune to The Archers while you read this article.

Yesterday Neil Gaiman announced on his blog that BBC Radio 4 have gathered a stunning collection of actors to record a radio adaptation of his story Neverwhere, which was first seen on television in the 1990s. Co-written by Lenny Henry, the story was sort-of simultaneously adapted into a novel by Gaiman, which was subsequently rewritten and adapted into radio plays and, well, all sorts of stuff happened with it, really.

This adaptation for radio, however, has managed to gather an incredible line-up of actors – several of whom sent this message across to Gaiman, which he shared earlier:

gaiman Radio 4 Gather Stunning Voice Cast for Adaptation of Neil Gaimans Neverwhere

Which sight excites you most? Manly David Harewood? Game of Throne’s Natalie Dormer? James McAvoy? Giles from Buffy? Benedict Crumpetpatch? Hold on tight, because this photo only skims the surface of an utterly incredible cast.

Also appearing will be Andrew Sachs, Sophie Okonedo, Christopher Lee, Don Gilet, Johnny Vegas, Bernard Cribbins, Lucy Cohu and Romola Garai. And that’s still not all! Gaiman also teases that there will be a few other secret cameos and appearances tucked in amongst everything else. Zoinks.

Scheduled for release as a 6-episode series in 2013, Neverwhere will be produced by Dirk Maggs. Okay, you can stop whistling now.

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11. Old Soldiers are calling me again...and again...

A few months ago - seems like longer - I vowed to finish my "Old Soldiers" play, with the intention of entering it (again) in the BBC International Radio Playwriting Competition. The play, based on a short story written a while back, has a magical effect on my psyche and although procrastination has set in, the "gang" is there, calling me.

"So when are you finally going to give us some type of resolution?" one of the characters asks me regularly, just before falling asleep at night."We've been in limbo for years now."

Don't I know it!

The dilemma is deciding upon a plethora of endings and possibilities, and which one would be best suitable for dramatic impact. The characters themselves are well defined and no tinkering is necessary in this area. Then there is the issue of writing for radio.

Radio requires sound effects to propel the story along and although my dialogue is strong (IMHO), not sure whether there is sufficient sound or action. When writing the dialogue, I hear the characters speak and envision their movements but the challenge is how to translate this into audible action.

In any case and for no other reason than to force myself to make a decision, I've decided to choose the ending, good or bad. Since the next deadline would be next April (2013), there is time to work out the details.

The angst of indecision!

Will provide regular updates as to my progress. Where have you read that before?

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12. podcast: the makings of nelson

Thanks, Resonance FM and its Panel Borders host Alex Fitch for featuring a panel of us talking about our fabulous collaborative 252-page comic book, NELSON, published by Blank Slate Books.

If you missed hearing it on the radio last night, never fear! You can listen to the podcast here. I think my favourite bit is around the 30-minute mark, when one of our co-editors, Rob Davis, is talking about what he did when he had disagreements with the other editor, Woodrow Phoenix. "It's like a marriage, isn't it..."

You can follow Alex on Twitter at @panelborders.

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13. I'm off!

I'm off for a quick visit to NYC, LA, & SF. I hope you'll drop by one of the events if you're in the neighborhood!  And don't forget to Tune into West Coast Live on Saturday Feb. 9th (or come by the show in San Francisco and see it live).  I'll be talking about the comedy show and mo'. Pal, Dave Barry will also be doing his thing.  It should be fun. (Note the San Francisco Sketchfest show,

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14. I'm back.

I'm back from a great trip, digging out (literally & email-i-ally) from the avalance of stuff that I need to attend to. So, quickly: Thanks to everyone who came out to MoMA, SCBWI, The Grove in LA, & Sketchfest in SF.  Every appearance was great fun and very different, Here's an image of the DON'T LET THE COMEDIANS DO STORYTIME! class picture.  As you can see Patton was upset he didn't get to

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15. Great news for Goldi!

Turns out that GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE DINOSAURS has been awarded the Sid Fleischman Award for Humor by SCBWI! What a great thing for there to even be an award for humor and what a greater thing that it be named after humorist Sid Fleischman and what an even greater thing that, somehow, Goldilocks managed to be recognized. Some past winners have been pal's books, all have been funny,

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16. Re-thinking and re-writing. "The Lemon" could be sweet

Go figure. Here I was under the impression that the BBC International Playwriting Competition was on hold or cancelled altogether. Much to my surprise, read on Facebook to stand by since they are about to announce the details of this year's competition.

While this is great news and under the assumption that the competition was cancelled, I've been re-thinking entering "Old Soldiers" as my entry.

"After all that waiting - you're going to abandon us?" Joe would probably ask. The issue is whether or not 'soldiers would be radio-friendly due to the necessity of sound effects.

A while back, I wrote a short play entitled, "The Lemon" focusing on the trials and tribulatiion of a female owning and trying to unload her car, which as the title infers, is a "lemon." A comedy, it's a fun story line and the characters would lend themselves to radio. At present it would run about 20-30 minutes but it wouldn't be difficult to add to the story.

This week I'm going to re-examine The Lemon with a critical eye to see if and how the story can be expanded. Meanwhile, I'm waiting for the announcement of the new deadline. Progress reports to come.

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17. The Kim Pagano Show Radio Interview

The Kim Pagano Show Radio Interview

What a great pleasure it was to be on The Kim Pagano Show where I was interviewed about my book, Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore.  If you are interested in hearing the interview, scroll down to the PM Show and listen to the whole show, or if you are pressed for time, move up to the 36 minute mark where my interview begins.  Thanks Kim! It was fun being on again!

Tonia Allen Gould

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COMIX! One of the real fun things about my last year in Paris was being able to share sketches, gags, and photos from the trip on uclick as a comic strip called PARIS DOODLES. In fact, it was so fun, I've decided to keep sharing drawings and ideas on uclick with a new strip called FROM THE MO WILLEMS SKETCHBOOK.   I'll be sharing drawings from my sketchbook, dining room dinner doodles,

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Last night having watched the 25th anniversary show of "Les Mis", again, for the umpteenth time on PBS, it inspired me to tackle my current re-write of "Old Soldiers". As mentioned previously, I'm planning to enter it as a radio play in the BBC International Radio Playwriting Competition, all being well. As it reads now it's a short story inspired by an interview I did with an army veteran/old soldier as a columnist for the Remembrance Day edition. In spite of the dour subject, it's one of my favorite stories.

Rather than let it atrophy as a computer byte, I'm attempting to re-work it as a radio play. Dialogue has never been a problem for me but the addition of sound is something else. Situations have to be created whereby sound effects help carry the story line. My problem is that the story is flowing but the sound effects are limited. The deadline is April 2012 so there's still time to overcome this barrier and it is a barrier for me.

Last night I actually wrote, as took pen in hand, a few pages that really don't fit in the story line, yet, but it will one hopes. Sometimes a stretch of dialogue jumps into my head and the story moves in a different direction than expected. My philosophy is go with the flow. Maybe it will work and maybe it won't but we'll have to see down the line. It's a good omen since it happened twice before and resulted in the completion of my two full plays.

Meanwhile, I'm thinking about submitting one of my short plays, "For the Birds" to a competition. It's a good play and was actually a finalist in a short screenwriting competition, but after a long period of not having read it, looking forward to seeing how it reads and "feels." Hopefully, my muse will co-operate.

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20. Getting On The Air

I am involved with a new Christian radio station preparing to go on the air in Central Florida. As this is a non-profit, it will rely heavily on volunteers and pledges.

WTYG 91.5 FM will broadcast out of Sparr, FL, but we still need a little help. Maybe you've heard of Kickstarter? It's a great website for fundraisers of all sorts. Well, we started a campaign and you can get to it at this link: 

Besides the satisfaction of helping spread a good message, I wanted to give you an extra incentive. We all know money is tight these days, but if you can spare a little for a good cause, then I want to share my writing with you.

For anybody that donates $5 or more, I will send you not one, not two, but three eBooks! 

Once you make a pledge, send me an email to Mark@MillerWords.com or Mark@WTYGFM.com and I will send you all three stories:

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21. See ya in Manhattan (NEW EVENT) + Red Elephant Redux...

A quick note about a public appearance that has just been rescheduled.  I'll be making a special appearance at Manhattan Upper West Side's Apple Store [1981 Broadway New York City, NY 10023 (212) 209-3400] on Saturday October 29th at 10am.     Speaking of past appearances,  The Red Elephant has been hanging out at the Eric Carle Museum for a few

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22. Interview with Stacy Harp - Fiction Friday on Active Christian Media

Listen to internet radio with acmedia on Blog Talk Radio

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23. MO at UCB for FMU in NYC

I'll be taking a quick trip to NYC next week for work, including a stop at the UCB Theater on Wed. Feb. 8 at 6pm for the comedy/interview radio/live stage show Seven Second Delay. A bunch of old pals have done this show (including David Wain, Michael Showalter, and Bill Plympton) and reports indicate it's great fun. You can check out this not for the kiddies show either by coming to the

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24. More than a 7 Second Delay...

Over at the WFMU site, you can hear the broadcast of last week's Seven Second Delay show.  And even though for part of the show I was interviewed by children, this is not a show for children. (Mo' pictures here) If that's not enough interview-y-ness, then pop on over to my FAQ site,  where I've posted my favorite interviews/features over the last 10 years or so.   Perfect if you're

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25. Arkansas Authors on TV and Radio

Carla McClafferty on C-Span 2/Book TV

“The Many Faces of George Washington”
Author Carla McClafferty talks at a Comcast/C-SPAN welcoming event in Little Rock about her book – which follows the process Mt. Vernon used to create life models of George Washington as a young man, commander of American forces in the revolution, and as our nation’s first President.

Airtimes: in central Arkansas–Central Standard Time:

  • Saturday, March 31st 11am
  • Saturday, March 31st 8:15pm
  • Sunday, April 1st 10:15pm

Darcy Pattison on Color Your Life Happy BlogTalk Radio Show

Why Revision is Critical to Your Success.
Writers have two challenges. First, they must resist the tremendous urge to edit while creating the rough draft. Second, they must develop the patience to edit, revise, and polish the rough draft once it’s finished.

Upon recognizing the important role of revision, James Michener said, “I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.”

Join host Flora Brown and guest, Darcy Pattison, author and writing teacher, when she reveals why revision of your book is a critical part of your writing success. She will share how revision allows for distance, reflection and vital feedback and eventually the discovery of your voice and the story you were meant to tell.

Monday, April 2, 2012 at 1 pm CDST.
(There’s a nifty reminder that you can set up at the site, by clicking the clock by the time.)
Call in to speak with the host at (347) 539-5700

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