Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

sometimes (a Rule of 3 poem) May 19, 2013

Filed under: OUTLANDERishness,Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:20 pm
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I look at you

changing the tires on my car,

pushing a mower around my mother’s yard,

pruning (really badly) the trees at home,

and I think my heart will explode.


I listen to you

laughing riotously at a scene on TV,

playing Goldberg Variations on the piano,

snoring (very loudly) in bed at night

and I think my heart will explode


I touch you

entwining arms around you,

stretching onto the tips of my toes

kissing  (quite passionately) whatever my lips reach

and I think my heart will explode.



There you go.  That’s Diana Gabaldon’s Rule of Three happening in a poem! 🙂  What would make my heart finally explode?  If he would only wear his kilt while doing any of the above! lol



how to button your suit. October 15, 2012

Filed under: Commentary — Shawn L. Bird @ 11:57 am
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I didn’t believe it when my husband told me, years ago, that this was the way it is done. However, I’ve just read J. J. Lee’s memoir, and as a tailor’s apprentice and fashion journalist, I bow to his expertise.  Lee says that on a two button suit the rule is,

  • top button ALWAYS buttoned
  • bottom button NEVER buttoned

On a three button suit, the top one is a wild card, dependant on the lie of the lapels and the fit of the man wearing it,

  • top button  SOMETIMES buttoned
  • middle button ALWAYS buttoned
  • bottom button NEVER buttoned

I mentioned this to a student wearing a beautiful pin striped double breasted suit on “Dress up like a gangster” day at school.  He said, “I’m not traditional.”  >>sigh<<  There’s traditional, and then there is just ‘wrong.’  2 plus 2 is traditionally 4, and if you claim it’s 5, you’re just wrong.  I decided to look for some photographic evidence to support this button rule, and I looked back to the days of cool suit wearing, studying photos of the Rat Pack.  They follow the rule.  See?


3 levels of story: Donald Maass workshop June 7, 2012

I am beyond excited to be going to Surrey International Writers’ Conference next fall (in 133 days!).   I attended SIWC in 2009 after I’d written Grace Awakening, and successfully pitched it there.  I was a walk in registration on the Saturday that year.  This year,  I registered and paid on the first day I could for the full conference.  As a result, I have appointments with agent Victoria Marini and with Diana Gabaldon!  I’m so excited I can hardly stand it.

In the midst of my excitement, I’m feeling the pressure to be finishing up book 3, Grace Awakening Myth, and getting back to work on Grace Beguiling.  Beguiling is the book I was in France to research in 2011, and it has already had some help from Diana Gabaldon, as she responded to some historical questions about Roman Catholic practice that I’d posted on the Compuserve Writers’ Forum.   I was poking around the Forum today, looking for some interesting conversations and tips, and I came across links to this blog post that is the notes that L. S. Taylor  took at SIWC in a masters’ class by agent Donald Maass in 2011.    Maass handles some serious talent, and I’ve heard him speak before.  This workshop is so full of fantastic stuff that I thought I’d direct you to the link.   I’m going to be chewing on this for a while.  Taylor records, “Fiction that keeps us enthralled works on three different levels at once: the macroplot, the scene structure, and the line-by-line tension. A throbbing beat that keeps us dancing/reading, enthralled.”

Click here to read Taylor’s notes from Maass’s Master Class: Impossible to Put Down: Mastering the Three Levels of Story.  Thanks Laura for taking these great notes and posting them on your blog for us all!


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