Goodreads vs. Stop the GR Bullies

Sigh. I don’t even know where to begin on this one. 

Actually I do. I only joined good reads a few days ago and so far I think it’s a pretty cool place. That being said I just like having a visual list of what I’ve read so far and what I’m planning to read all in one nice place with the covers and whatnot so I’m not really paying attention to what anyone else is doing. 

Now let’s flip over to STGRB. I spotted a post yesterday in the freshly pressed section which led me to this gem. Having never really heard of any of this stuff before, I read the articles and then found myself scanning the STGRB’s page as well as some of the accused bullies. 

Sigh. 

I don’t know how many other people were aware of this little section of drama on the internet and while I kind of want to suggest that everyone educate themselves about, I can’t do that in good faith. And why, you may ask?

Well, because I’m an adult, who didn’t appreciate grade school or high school and was both bullied and did some bullying of my own and all I can do at this whole situation is shake my head and wonder why this is important to people. Why is making other people’s lives miserable worthwhile. Couldn’t you spend that time reading more books, or writing some perhaps? 

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and yes those debates can get heated but I personally wish everyone could take a deep breath and step back, walk away and go do something useful. Preferably creative. 

Imagine how many new wonderful books could come out into the world, how many beautiful paintings, enchanting songs, if everyone just sat down and relaxed, drank some tea, and produced something. Put their energy into sending something thoughtful off into the world. 

Not everyone has to like what say or do or make, and it would be a painfully boring world if they did. But it doesn’t mean that we should waste what time we’re given tearing others down.

 

That’s my peace. 

 

Please have a lovely day and try not to let the ridiculous of the world get you down. 

 

 

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Writer’s Block – Fact or Fiction?

Ok. This is a thing. I tried making excuses for it, but I’m really enjoying these posts, so this is a thing. Embrace it.

I’ll make a separate category for these posts later, but for now I would like to draw your attention to this post which caught my eye earlier. Writer’s Block: Imaginary Affliction or Tangible Trouble?.

Now this lovely individual very gracefully covered a topic which is apparently controversial in the writing world. I wasn’t aware that there was this epic debate over the validity of writer’s block, but evidently there is. Personally I think that Daniel Koeker did a nice job confronting some of these anti – block sentiments that are floating about the internet.

 

And naturally I’d like to address some of my own beliefs on the topic. Settle in readers. Settle in.

 

Alright, so as I mentioned above, I never realized that there are writer’s who don’t believe in writer’s block but I guess I’m not terribly surprised. For every opinion out there, someone has to oppose it. It’s a rule somewhere.

The things that make perfect sense to us, are the fuel for bloody battles and rude conversations from someone out there, and it doesn’t matter what that thing is.

So you might be one side of the argument or another but I feel as though I’m kind of in the middle on this particular debate. You see, I believe writer’s block exists. I just don’t ever have it.

Someone out there is probably cursing me for that I’m sure.

I’ve been writing fiction both fan fiction and original fiction for the better part of twelve years and while there are times when it’s difficult, I can’t say as I’ve ever experienced writer’s block.

That being said, I’m curious as to the definitions of writer’s block and how mine pairs up with other people’s.

Is writer’s block the time when you stare blankly at a page without knowing what to write? Or is it when you’re too busy with chores or work or life to find time to write? Is it those moments when you’re working on a project and you don’t want to be? Or when you’ve spent ten minutes trying to think of a name for your MC’s, cousin’s dog and a Fido is just not working for you?

 

I guess what I’m saying is who makes up the definition for this phenomenon and how exactly do people react to it?

Perhaps it’s my outlook on the writing process that leads me never to feel like I’ve experienced writer’s block?

I am never at a loss to write something. Seriously, I think you’ve all caught on by now that I could just talk forever and it’s no different when I’m writing. I am never lacking a project wishing to be started in my mind. In fact I wonder if I’ll have enough time before I die to see all my projects through to the end.

I guess by some peoples calculations this means I’ve never had writer’s block. But I’m sure someone out there is saying, “Well, what about when you’re sitting at you computer and can’t think of something to write?”

Doesn’t happen.

I’m one of those people who whole heartedly takes the NANOWRIMO approach of write now ask questions later. If I don’t know what my characters should be doing, I let them wander around aimlessly until I figure it out again. I don’t stop and wonder how to make it all perfect. At the same time I spend a ridiculous amount of time planning, and world building and asking my character’s questions  and crafting all my subplots or ideas in one place so that I am rarely at a loss as to where the story is going or at the very least, I write myself a list of options.

If I’m planning and I don’t know where a story is going to go from a certain point on I write my outline until that point and then give myself a logical list of options for where to go from there. When I get to the scene I take the path that feels the most right at the time and when that scene is over I go back to the outline and plan ahead until I hit another option. But I don’t stop writing for hours or day or weeks at a time.

Which is another thing entirely. If I’m not writing because my life is too full, then that’s the reason. Not because I can’t think of anything. When I am not writing, even if I’ve written for two or three hours, when I stop for the day, scenes and options are always being worked out in the back of my head.

I feel like if I can’t go further on a particular story, it’s because I haven’t spent enough time plotting or figuring out my options. And let’s face it, you have all the options you want to have. You’re the writer and basically the God of whatever you’re working on. So then I work on what I know and the juices flow and eventually I can get back to the actual writing. But to me, plotting and world building is just as important as getting the chapters written. The world and plot are the skeleton and the chapters the meat so I never feel properly prepared if I don’t have any info ahead of time.

I don’t know if all this is normal for other’s but I honestly never feel like I’ve got writer’s block. You might disagree with me, but I say Tomato – Tomato.

 

Do you have writer’s block? Are you immune? What techniques do you use to keep the ball rolling? Leave me a comment. I’d love to hear how other’s feel about this topic.

 

Also a bit of shameless plug, I just opened an Etsy store to sell Harry Potter earrings and I’ll be adding other Nerdy charms and such in the near future. So if that sounds at all interesting to you please check it out.

 

Otherwise Happy Scribbling!

Flash Fiction #1

Call me maybe.

That’s all I said. All I could think of as he walked away from me. Perhaps forever. I couldn’t stand the thought.

Didn’t want to contemplate it. This wasn’t happening.

Rain slid down my face, clear as glass, cold as snow. And I stood there unmoving. Unwilling to breath, as my heart broke into a thousand pieces.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. This wasn’t how I’d imagined my junior year. Or us.

And now he’d gone behind my back and it was over.

Forever.

He never turned around. Not once as he walked the long, flat road back to his house, and I watched the whole way. Listened to every whack of his skater shoes on the paved side walk and still, he never looked back. Not once.

I couldn’t breath. Even as my lips parted and I dragged the air into my lungs, I couldn’t fill them enough. Every molecule seemed to little and then, I burst. Fat, hot tears streaked my cheeks, mixing with the rain.

Everything was Gray except the bright red tunnel through which I saw him walk away from us. From me.

Even if he came home, we’d never be the same.

And there was no telling if he’d even come to his senses. It might have already been too late. I wasn’t sure how it all worked, but I couldn’t process anything anyway. Right then my knees gave out and I was left gasping along the side of the road, listening, to those horrid whacks, getting softer in the distance.

What can you do?

What can you do when you’re sixteen and a soldier’s girl?

Just some random flash fiction before bed. I found a prompt online whose instructions were “Write some fiction where the first sentence is <call me maybe>”… and then I did.

I apologize.

At any rate I’ll be back tomorrow with some other kernel of wisdom. Don’t fret and happy scribbling.


Reading Children’s lit as an adult, Yay or Nay?

My mantra is beginning to be, “I didn’t plan to write this but here we are…” I apologize. I’ll be back later today with some flash fiction but for the moment I’d like to briefly comment on this gem, why do grown ups read ‘childrens lit’?. Please follow the link to this lovely individuals blog   for some of their thoughts on the subject.

 

I for one love this question, because it is one that I find myself answering all the time.

While I won’t say that I only read children’s lit, I will say that I head right to it’s section in every library or bookstore I visit. Though I do pick up other books in other genres with more adult themes and topics, I personally am more often than not let down by books made for adults. Part of this is because I prefer fantasy and sci-fi genres and not the realistic non fiction my parent’s and their friends go to, but that isn’t all of it.

Often times, the books made for children or teens have more life in them, at least I cry and laugh and shout when reading those books because of the quirkiness of the characters or their outrageous actions or circumstances, and yet I rarely find myself so moved by adult lit.

I firmly believe that any book which can, even for a moment, distract us from the real horrors of the world and our lives is a good thing. More than that though, I love that more often than not children’s lit expresses those same horrors in disguise. It’s Voldemort, not Hitler after all.

The ability of children’s lit authors to take the horrors of the world and make them understandable and real to children, introducing kids to topics and ideas that they won’t see for years in school, is a wonderful thing. No parent is going to give their 10 year old a documentary of how dictators can ruin countries or oppress and torture their people, yet you can hand your child the Hunger Games and do the same thing.

Yes these worlds are fantasy and yes there are things within that cannot mesh with reality, but the fact that children’s stories are able to focus on the worst and best things about human life and add life lessons and morals too, is something you won’t get from a history book. It’s easy to point fingers and say that one side of any argument is right or wrong, but in fiction we find that often the bad guy had good intentions, or a bad childhood, or was simply misguided, but at least we get the opportunity to decide for ourselves.

Too often the news and textbooks paint the facts in one light or another and it takes time to decipher the truth. But in a children’s book, we are given the opportunity to see the whole story and are shown that even the worst people can do good, and even the hero has his faults.

Maybe it isn’t a grown up decision to pick up Percy Jackson and the Olympians instead of the Iliad, but guess what? I’m an adult and I don’t have to act like one. Thanks for teaching me that one Peter… Pan.

 

As written from behind my desk while sipping cream soda and wearing dinosaur footy pajamas… Adult size!

 

Are you an adult who likes to read children’s lit? What are your favorites? Has anyone ever given you hell for it? Let me know in the comments.

Writing what you know – the pros and cons

I stumbled on this lovely post, Write About What You Know by Cristian Mihai and I think it covered some important topics for us as writers. While I wasn’t planning to post on this topic today, it got me thinking and before I knew it, I had a neat little note card of things to say and well, here we are.

Firstly I’d just like to say that some of what I’m about to write is a reiteration of what Cristian said, however I’d like to focus on some of the more personal outcomes of following the advice -Write what you know.

I can’t remember when I first started writing stories. Though I imagine I wrote plenty of terribly crafted-half  thought out ones as a child, the earliest ones that I remember began when I was eight. That being said, I don’t remember creating anything but flash fiction and nonsensical fairy tales until after ten. My first attempt at a true book, though, was around the age of fourteen.

That particular story was basically an embellished Mary Sue and while the set up and the characters seemed to be fresh and creative to me at the time, looking back on it now, as an older college grad, I can see all the details of my own life. The main characters friends were my friends, only prettier, with different names. I think I probably even have notes written in the margins somewhere that those girls had the personalities of people in my life. It didn’t stop there though. The drunken dad, the absent mother, the perfect boy; they were all versions of my family and friends, or at least my perceptions of them at that time. In that respect, rereading those clumsily written chapters is like reading a diary entry from around the same time. I drew on the things I saw around me and I planned and imagined what would happen to my characters, but ya know what?

I never finished that story and I’m pretty sure that I know why. Writing my fictionalized life story couldn’t very well end, since I hadn’t lived yet. I ran out of ideas once I hit the points to which I had lived through, and while I didn’t see it that way then, I see it that way now. Only a year ago I decided to pull that unfinished story out and try to finish it. A I read over the chapters and my notes it stirred up some painful memories, but at the same time, with the distance of many years between us, I could finally see my work for what it was.

Thankfully, when I couldn’t finish that story, I didn’t stop there. I wrote many other stories that would never see endings, and while a number have been resurrected and will (hopefully) see the light of day sometime soon, others will remain with that first book. In a bin of old memories, to be put aside but not forgotten.

I guess what I hadn’t realized, until last year at least, was that writing what you know, might be so subconsciously done that we don’t see it for what it is. In my case that didn’t end so nicely, but I think for adults or at least more experienced writers, it becomes easier to discern what came from fact and what it purely fiction and what strikes a happy medium in between.

That’s what this advice is all about. Finding the balance between what you know to be true about life or people and what you have experienced because of that, vs. how you see the world and how you recreate it for others. Each one of us has different experiences in our lives, and it’s those experiences which give us the fodder for our writing. I personally keep a journal, and while most of what goes on in there is random, I always write down bits of dialogue or notes from what I see or feel to use later. Sometimes I will even write my surroundings out as a description one might see in a novel. For future reference of course.

And whether I use it or not, who cares. But I suppose what I’m trying to say is that we can’t choose how our feelings and memories will influence our work. Sometimes it’s unpredictable and some times it so predictable it’s absolutely ridiculous.

For instance, I was recently reading one of my mother’s novels (she writes too!) and a description came up as the characters were walking through this gorgeous house showing another character the grounds. And as I read the passage I pictured a house we used to live in in my mind.

Suddenly I was there, walking through the dark wooden doors which snapped tightly closed, down the hallway where the floor boards shown like glass and squeaked like mice, up the grand staircase, past the … I think you get the picture. And so did I. I wasn’t just imagining my old house, my mother had written the story to take place there. Right down to the servants stair case.

Great fun to run up and down with my friends, but frightening for a child alone at home.

At any rate, when I confronted her, she agreed. She had been imagining our old house when she wrote the scene. And she’s not alone. I did the same thing with my current home on a novel I’ve been working on recently.

Why?

Because it’s easier to conjure the map of your old house, or your high school, or your dentist’s office, rather than to try and write a floor plan on the spot, let alone remember it for future scenes. In the heat of the moment a insignificant detail gets replaced with our go to details from our own life. Bars, local restaurants, towns, you name it and we’ve used the things from our lives to make our fictional world’s easier.

Now I’m sure there are probably people who don’t do this, but I think that a lot of people do and why not. Write what you know.

Not the traditional meaning I know, but still, it makes sense when you think about it. Right?! It’s not a bad thing either. It’s what gives us our unique perspective. When I read about some character walking to the park, I’m reading a road map to a place that author once lived or visited or vacationed, or even dreamed of going. Either way that is something which I haven’t seen, or maybe I have, and still it gives me more insight into the world.

Write what you know people!

I was going to address something else in that got me thinking in Cristian’s post but I think I’ll leave that for another day.

 

How do you feel about the advice, write what you know? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Scribbling!

It’s all in a name.

I wasn’t expecting to post again so soon but when I stumbled on this gem I couldn’t resist.  To all aspiring authors, read this —>How to Name Call.

Did you read it?

 

Be honest.

 

Alright, I have to confess that even though I’ve spent the better part of my brain power reworking my principle series for the past several months, I’ve not given any consideration to names and their meanings and I’m currently kicking myself for not doing it sooner.

My favorite author is J.K. Rowling and as this lovely blogger pointed out, The Harry Potter series would have been seriously lacking a major element of its development had the names been chosen at random.

As someone who cares deeply for double meanings and secret information buried away like dragon’s treasure  in the darkest pages of my favorite books, I cannot believe that I’ve overlooked this for as long as I have in my own works and now, I have something else to add to the To Do list…

Poor/random naming is actually one of my biggest pet peeves in sci-fi and high fantasy. While I can appreciate creating a new language from a linguistic perspective, I have trouble feeling anything for characters with whom I can infer nothing about their presence from their name.

 

Seriously.

 

Kicking myself…

 

At least I can repent within the pages of my manuscript until suitable changes are made. Thankfully I can only think of three names which actually require a total overhaul. There are also three MC’s whose names require no changes at all and were perfectly chosen. Well, perfect to me. At any rate.

 

Happy Scribbling!

 

 

 

A new home…

Well this is it. My second blog. I suppose that the first doesn’t count as it lives on LiveJournal and in about a year and a half it has seen no human contact. Though it should also be mentioned that I just counted up the number of posts in nearly two years and 35 is a pitiful number. Never mind allusive followers, I see now that I’ve failed you as a blogger.

 

Ahem.

 

More to the point, it has come to my attention that my LJ is really just a mind dump for whatever my creative blunders happen to be at any given time. Now while that journal has served me well, and I imagine, will continue to in that respect, I believe it is time for a more serious sort of blogging. At least the kind which hopefully others may read.  That is the hope anyway.

 

With that in mind I’ll lay out the parameters of what content will find itself splattered across these pages.

-Flash fiction (I’m hoping to start a flash fiction challenge with a few other writing friends)

-Excerpts from my current projects (as they are edited.)

-Tips!  (From writing to publishing to competitions and procrastination. Whatever I stumble upon or find myself using as a method that might be helpful to others.)

I’ll likely also plug any of my other projects just for exposure so be prepared for that too my avid would- be readers…

 

Dear Dumbledore,  let me find readers…

 

At any rate, legitimate content posts shall begin appearing within the week so if you stumble upon this now don’t fret and check back please.

Also once I hear back from my writing buddies I’ll set up some sort of regular posting schedule…

At least we can hope.

 

Link to my Live Journal for anyone interested.