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Monthly Archives: August 2011

It goes like this… wait, no, let me try that again…

Brownies are fantastic motivators. 😀

As a writer, how many times have you felt like that guy from the new movie Limitless, pre-special medication?

“I’m working on a book, um, ah, um… well, it’s about… it starts off… what I really want to convey is this- this, uh… well it’s really a work in progress at the moment, but I’m…”

I stumble over my words all the time, and that is part of the reason why I now don’t talk about what I’m working on until I’ve at least finished the first draft. I could be asked to describe a bestselling Stephen King novel and I’d somehow manage to screw it up and make the synopsis fall flat. I’m not always like that, to be honest, but sometimes things sound better in my head or on paper than they do when I finally try to voice them. Somewhere between organizing my thoughts and speaking them, my words play leap frog and ring-around-the-rosies.

“What is going on?” I ask myself while my lips keep moving, spewing information that only mildly makes sense to me. I had it all there, in order, making sense only minutes ago and then… wham.

As an individual who wishes to make her living as a writer, this issue concerns me because while I might like to delude myself into thinking that I never have to publicly explain my stories, it’s not going to happen if I want more people to read them. If I wind up tripping over my descriptions and flustering when someone asks me a question about a character, I’m going to risk being seen as a poor writer that no one would bother reading.

I’ve decided that I’m going to have to change that — I’m half wishing I could have special, clear pills to pop. I’m going to have to dig deep and find my inner storyteller, ’cause I know she’s there somewhere hidden under the socially awkward, quiet as a cricket woman that I am. If I can manage that, publicity might not be so difficult.

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Posted by on August 17, 2011 in Books, Life, Writing

 

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The Bribes Continue

I’ve just made a batch of chewy, yummy brownies and while I might typically cut out a piece immediately and risk burning my mouth, I’m going to wait and write. So, while the aroma of chocolate fills the air, I’m going to just sit here and — with the aid of Write or Die — type. 500 words until I can have a brownie. *Drools*

I’ll have more to post later, once I’ve finished my writing for the day and pulled myself out of the chocolate coma that I will soon have. 😀

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Have your cookie, and eat it too

I ate my cookie. 🙂

Well, I ate it a while ago. If I wasn’t able to eat it until now I think I would have gone crazy. I probably would have torn it open with my teeth before now. But, I got to the 6,000 mark and then — with the lack of a cookie to bribe me — I started to wind down. What could I bribe myself with now?

Another cookie? Probably not the healthiest choice.

A movie? I wound up watching it even though I didn’t meet the challenge for that one.

Then, someone mentioned WriteOrDie.com. Yes, I thought. I’ve heard of that! So, I tried it today and have already cranked out over a thousand words since starting my writing session about an hour ago. Sitting like that without the distraction of web surfing and online games — whew — was one of the greatest feats of my life. The threat of my words being deleted, however, was the greatest motivation ever. I’d pause occasionally as I tried to think of a word that was eluding me and then the screen would turn pink, then red. I didn’t dare let it get to the final stage and start killing my story.

I suggest that if you’re having trouble concentrating, that you should give it a try. I suggest setting it to one of the more lethal settings, otherwise you might try to weasel your way out of focusing on writing your story. I know that I’ve spent many days staring out the window rather than getting something down on the page. Those moments are good, but they are like dreaming without action.

Now, with Write Or Die on my side I’m challenging myself to write 2,000 more words before the day is over. It’s time to catch up because I’m kind of — okay, try extremely — behind!

Write. Write. And Just Write!

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2011 in Writing

 

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I’m a typing fiend, sort of…

I’m feeling accomplished today.

I had a movie day with my mother and though that could have distracted me from writing it surprisingly didn’t. We were interrupted during one of the movies by a phone call, and while my mom was on the phone I managed to crank out 200+ words. I just went into the back room, sat down at my desk and started typing.

Later, once I’d noticed that she was off the phone I went back into the front room quite happy. My mother mentioned that she had heard the furious tapping. Yes, that was me. Furiously tapping away at my keyboard. Writing.

On to other things, I’d had this staring at me for most of the evening, begging me to eat it:

happy hippo

It looks so cute and yummy! I have resisted though, and even put it to good use, as you can see from this next picture:

do not open

Reward system 🙂 . Works best with sweets. I’m not eating that cookie — no matter how yummy it looks — until I reach 6,000 words. I’m about a third of the way there!  

Now, as for the story submission from last time, obviously I’m still waiting on that. It’s all about waiting at this point. Maybe they’ll take a look at it tomorrow, maybe they won’t look at it for days or weeks. Some places can take months to get back to you so I am going to simply be patient.

I will share something with you in the mean time. This is my second prose submission attempt for publication. It’s the first for this short story, but I’ve only tried to publish one other short story before this. It was before I really figured out what it was that I wanted to write about.

I’m sure that many of you who have taken creative writing classes in the past have encountered teachers who ask you not to write any genre stories in their class. I once had one say that he didn’t want any “wand waving” or “dragon slaying”. I tried so hard to remove myself from genre writing that I fell into this bland world where nothing made sense. In the end, I wound up writing snippits of things that were, well, decent but weren’t really full stories. They didn’t belong anywhere so they kind of fell short.

I finally broke out of that vicious cycle by the time that I reached my final workshop. The one before helped me along the way, but I grew a little more bold in that last one. I was going to write something unrealistic and fantastical, dang it, and the professor could eat my paper if they didn’t like it.

Fortunately, the teacher liked it. I went from writing about bread in our first story workshop (Honest I did. You wouldn’t believe how many pages I filled up with just talking about what you could eat with bread, it was that insane.) to writing a story about a boy who gets snatched up on the roof of his school. The guys, as typical guys, liked the slight gore of it all. The girls that knew me or who had at least read my bread story (again, wow, bad) were surprised by the transition. Yup, I was finally letting my dark and nerdy side rear its head and it felt good.

So, the lesson is that even when a teacher says they don’t want genre, don’t let that turn your stories bland and lifeless. You don’t have to strip them down to the bone. The story I wrote, wasn’t obviously fantasy in nature until the end. I don’t think many college professors will go for high fantasy or steamy romances in their classrooms, but it doesn’t mean that you have to leave all traces of these genres out of your writing. They just don’t have to rule the story, to paraphrase something one of my professors said.

Well, I hope that may help someone else.

And, I’m off to write 6,000 words and eat that cookie!

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2011 in Education, Life, Writing

 

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Hey, I’m not dead!

I think it’s safe to say that I haven’t been posting for a while. I don’t know if anyone missed me, but I’m back. To be honest, I missed myself. I haven’t been myself for the past few weeks. I’m not sure what it was, but everything felt a little off and I was having difficulty concentrating.

The past few days have almost been like a detox period from that whole poisonous experience. Though I’ve had my down days, I’d never had such a lack of motivation and energy like I did for that time. I didn’t want to do anything, I didn’t want to talk to anyone. It was horrible. It took some inspirational experiences and time to recover, and now… I really hope I never feel that bad ever again.

Now, this is where I bow my head and admit with shame that I did not succeed in Camp NaNo. As it is August now, I’m now on my second attempt at the challenge. They have now included a new feature where you can have fellow “cabin mates” to talk to during the whole challenge for this month. You can choose to be with people in your age range, in your genre, or — as I chose — to be surprised.

I will succeed. I will… This time.

Meanwhile, I submitted a short story today. I kept putting off trying to get it published because I never felt like it was finished, but yesterday and today I worked on it. I then got to a point where I had to stop and tell myself that I was finished, otherwise I’d get too scared to submit. It’s a dark fantasy story, though it’s not high fantasy. I’ve been told that it feels like an urban legend. Anyway, now all I have to do is wait and see if they like it or not. Wish me luck!

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2011 in Books, Life, Writing

 

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